The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is currently accepting applications for Agricultural Growth, Research and Innovation (AGRI) Sustainable Agriculture and Demonstration Grants (SAD). Focusing on the rural landscape, farmers and their families, this grant provides funding for projects that explore new ways of conserving natural resources, enhancing farm profitability, increasing energy efficiency, and improving life in rural communities.
“Our farming communities are by nature innovative and dedicated to the sustainability of the land. We encourage farmers who want to try new techniques and share their experiences with other producers to apply for this grant,” said Assistant Commissioner Andrea Vaubel.
In the past, SAD grants have funded a wide range of projects; such as exploring farm diversification, cover crops and crop rotation, conservation tillage, and input reduction strategies and alternative energies like wind, methane, and biomass. Projects are published annually in the MDA’s Greenbook, which provides a summary of each project along with results, management tips, and other resources.
For example, awardees of a 2015 SAD grant, Megan and Steve Henry of Sundogs Prairie Farm in Douglas County, explored how to maximize vegetable production and profitability in a segmented, modular hoop house that can be moved and reassembled in a new location. “We determined a schedule of applying a mobile modular hoop house that allows us to produce our spring carrots a month earlier, maximize our tomato and cucumber crop, and extend our fall spinach by a month or longer."
Applications from farmers receive priority, but the program also funds Minnesota nonprofit and educational organizations as long as Minnesota farmers are involved in the project. Projects last two to three years and may be funded at up to $50,000. Grant applications are due by 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 12, 2018. For more information and to apply, visit with www.mda.state.mn.us/sustagdemogrant.
David Van Amber, MDA Communications