A shortage of new farmers threatens the future of agriculture. And while there are people who want to farm, new generations of farmers must overcome significant barriers to start and succeed in farming. Traditional patterns of farm entry and farmer support are no longer adequate; farmers of all backgrounds are challenged to find the resources they need to get started in farming.
To help the beginning, emerging, and retiring farmer, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) offers the following services, resources, and financial assistance:
Minnesota FarmLink brings together beginning farmers who are looking for land, farming operations, or mentors, with retiring farmers and landowners who want to see their farms or farming operations continue. It also allows users to search for land and livestock operations that are for sale or rent.
Farm Business Management (FBM) Scholarships
The AGRI Beginning Farmer FBM Scholarship program pays 50% of the cost for beginning farmers to enroll in Farm Business Management education through Minnesota State.
Beginning Farmer Tax Credit
The Minnesota Beginning Farmer Tax Credit provides tax credits for the rent or sale of farm land or a variety of farm assets to beginning farmers. This includes incentives for the sale of farm land.
Agricultural Microloan Program
The Agricultural Microloan Program is designed to help nontraditional farmers start or expand their businesses. The loan can be used for working capital (annual costs such as seed, feed, fertilizer, land rent) or equipment and other farm asset purchases with a common useful life of 10 years or less. The maximum loan amount is $20,000.
Down Payment Assistance Grant Program
The Down Payment Assistance Grant Program offers up to $15,000 for qualified farmers purchasing their first farm. The grant can be used to buy farmland or other agricultural real estate (hog barn, commercial greenhouse, etc.)
Grants, Loans, and Financing
The MDA has many other grant and loan programs to help farmers improve and expand their current operations. Whether you are in need of new equipment, changing your farm management practices, or expanding your farm, the MDA is here to assist you in making the process a little easier. Grants are generally awarded to finance a particular activity or facility.