The application period for this Mini-Grant is closed. Details on this page apply to the previous round of funding. Announcements regarding future Mini-Grant funding opportunities will be made in winter 2024. 

The Produce Safety Mini-Grant helps reimburse Minnesota produce farmers for expenses that improve on-farm food safety systems including water testing for generic E. coli and/or other on-farm food safety improvements.

Amount Available

The Produce Safety Program has approximately $26,400 to distribute via this mini-grant. 

This grant provides reimbursement up to $800 per farm. No matching funds from the applicant are required.

Eligible Applicants

Applicants must:

  • Be a Minnesota produce farmer that sells one or more of the following crops:
    • Leafy greens, apples, berries, carrots, cucumbers, garlic, green beans, herbs, melons, microgreens, mushrooms, onions, peppers, sprouts, summer squash/zucchini, tomatoes.
  • Have an eligible expense that occurred between January 1, 2022 - March 25, 2023 or planned expense between March 26, 2023 - July 14, 2023

What expenses are eligible for reimbursement?

Expenses related to improvements in on-farm food safety systems including water testing for generic E. coli and/or other on-farm food safety improvements. Below is a list of items eligible for reimbursement.

  • Water testing for generic E. coli*
    • Pre-harvest water: must be a quantitative testing method for generic E. coli. Post harvest-water: can be presence/absence or quantitative testing method for generic E. coli.
  • Plastic or paper liners
  • Harvest collection tools
  • Market containers
  • Supplies to build or purchase a portable handwashing station
  • Supplies to build or purchase a portable produce washing station
  • Canvas bags
  • Sanitizer used for wash water and food contact surfaces
  • Consultation fees for developing an on-farm food safety plan
  • Wax boxes
  • Harvest totes
  • Carts and pull wagons

Types of funding and eligible timeframes

Reimbursement Type Timeframe Required Documentation
Past January 1, 2022 - March 25, 2023 Proof of purchase with application
Planned March 26, 2023 - July 14, 2023 Proof of purchase after grant approval for reimbursement
Past and Planned

January 1, 2022 - March 25, 2023
March 26, 2023 - July 14, 2023

Proof of purchase with application
Proof of purchase after grant approval for reimbursement

Funding Priorities

All Minnesota produce farmers that sell one or more of the crops listed above are eligible to apply. If more applications are received than can be funded, funding will be prioritized for socially disadvantaged farmers, as well as farms that have engaged with the Produce Safety Program through training, the Grower Questionnaire, and/or inspections.

Application Scoring Criteria Score
Minnesota produce farm which grows one or more of identified crops (meets minimum eligibility) 50
The ownership of the farm business identifies as Socially Disadvantaged 12.5
A farm which is fully "Covered" by the Produce Safety Rule and must follow the full standards of the rule 12.5
The principal operators of the farm have been involved in the farm's operations for less than 10 years 5
At least one responsible party has attended a FSMA Produce Safety Rule Grower Training and/or attended minimum half-day (3+ hours) Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) training offered by the University of Minnesota Extension 5
The Grower Questionnaire from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture has been filled out anywhere between 2019-2023 5
A farm that grows one or more of the following commodities: leafy greens, microgreens, berries, melons, sprouts 5
A farm that applied for the 2022 Produce Safety Mini-Grant and received a denial notice due to unavailable funding 5
Total 100


We are accepting applications from February 27, 2023, through March 25, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. CST

We must receive all parts of the application before it is considered complete. Incomplete applications will be considered ineligible and notified of denial. Required documents:

  • Answer all questions that have an asterisk symbol (*) indicating they are required.
    • Answering additional questions may help you earn more points on your application.
  • If you are applying for past expenses you must include:
    • Documentation showing the date of purchase, item(s) purchased (water testing must indicate the methods used; for example, SM 9223B), that the item(s) were paid for and how much.
      • If there is sensitive information in the documents, please cover, remove or redact it before making copies of your documents. We do not need to know your bank account, credit card information, or the results of testing. 
  • If you have attended an applicable produce safety training and want to receive points for that as part of your application you must include:
    • A certificate of attendance for a Produce Safety Rule Grower Training or a certificate of attending at minimum half-day (3+ hours) GAP training hosted by the University of Minnesota Extension.

What should I expect after I apply?

  • Award notices will be sent in April 2023.
  • Awardees will be required to register as a vendor with Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) using the State Wide Integrated Financial Tools services (SWIFT) or complete and return an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) W9 in order to receive payment.
  • The application can be completed online or with a paper form. Paper applications can be:
    • Emailed to
    • Or, mailed to:
      • Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Attention: Produce Safety Program - Mini Grant, 625 Robert Street North, Saint Paul, MN 55155


For questions, please contact the Produce Safety Program via email at or call 651-539-3641. Questions about the grant must be submitted by March 3 at 4:00pm.

All questions asked are added to the regularly updated list of Questions and Answers about the grant.

This grant application and the Grower Questionnaire are available in a paper format which can be returned via email or mail. 


We welcome comments about this mini-grant scope, application, and process, and we will consider them in developing future produce safety funding opportunities. Written comments can be emailed to at any point before October 31, 2023. In your comments, please state that you are commenting on the 2023 Produce Safety Mini-Grant.

Funding for the mini-grant was made possible by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service through grant AM200100XXXXG055. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the USDA.