October 23, 2018

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) has awarded Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Agricultural Growth, Research, and Innovation (AGRI) Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grants (SADG) to eleven farmers and researchers across Minnesota. Projects will explore sustainable agriculture practices and systems that could make farming more profitable, resource efficient, and personally satisfying.  The program has been supporting Minnesota farmers for 28 years.

“Farmers know best when it comes to profitability, resource and asset management,” said Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson. “Innovation does cost, and by helping reduce the cost of testing new ideas and innovations, we are hoping the partnership will produce sustainable agricultural practices for the future.”

Projects, which last two to three years, are located in all regions of the state and involve a number of innovative topics that include cover cropping, irrigation, grazing, fertigation techniques, and poultry production techniques.

Jerry and Nancy Ackerman, a FY 2018 SADG recipient from Lakefield, used their grant to research the impact of cover crops on soil, “The purpose of this project is to determine if cover crops have an effect on soil moisture and soil temperature.  The farmers in southwest Minnesota are looking for a way to better utilize their costly nutrient inputs, protect our water resource, and protect their crops during flooding and drought conditions within the same growing season.”

All projects take place on Minnesota farms and their findings are summarized in the annual Greenbook, available at www.mda.state.mn.us/greenbook. Results from FY 2018 grantees will be included in upcoming Greenbook publications.

Applications for the FY 2019 AGRI SADG are being accepted until December 12 at 4:00 pm. Projects from farmers receive priority, but nonprofit and educational organizations are also invited to apply. Projects may be funded at up to $50,000. Full details and the online application are available at www.mda.state.mn.us/sustagdemogrant.

Fiscal Year 2018 AGRI Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grant Recipients
Name Project City County
Blazing Star Gardens LLC Research the profitability of drip irrigation and its impact on yield of native prairie seed production Clarks Grove Freeborn, Steele
Cannon River Watershed Partnership Investigate the impact of fall grazing on subsequent Kernza grain yields and the quantity and quality of the fall regrowth of Kernza biomass for forage Northfield Rice
Jerry D. Ackermann Obtain data on plant growth and nutrient uptake due to cover crop effects on soil temperature and soil moisture in southwest Minnesota Lakefield Jackson, Nobles
dba Brookview Winery
Test a non-traditional process for cleaning and sorting Minnesota wine grape varietals and demonstrate removal of other material at the crush pad Milaca Mille Lacs, Stearns
Mashkiikii Gitigan Investigate the sustainability and impact of production-oriented perennial systems on soil contaminant accessibility and for effectiveness to sequester carbon Minneapolis Hennepin
Mighty Axe Hops Investigate how to best evaluate, communicate, and market the specific aroma and terroir of Minnesota grown hops Foley Benton
Owl Forest Farm
dba Kate I. Paul
Identify peony cultivars that grow well in Northeastern Minnesota and produce late season flowers and support use of peonies in commercial cut flower production in the region Iron St. Louis
Richard Traugott Demonstrate cover crop and intercropping alternatives during the establishment period of perennial fruit plants and evaluate any added value of secondary crop produced Foley Benton
Seelye Brook Farms Compare mobile confinement and day-range production systems for pastured broiler chickens for output, profitability and marketability of products Oak Grove Anoka
The Good Acre Evaluate the effectiveness of Sap Analysis to inform a customized nutrient management system using fertigation throughout the growing season to produce higher yields, better quality and reduced input costs Falcon Heights Ramsey, Goodhue
Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center Develop an agro phenological calendar for Northeastern Minnesota that will serve as a more reliable planting guide for farmers and users of greenhouses and high tunnels Finland Lake



Media Contact
David Van Amber, MDA Communications