The application period for the for the 2024 program has closed. 

The Produce Safety Mini-Grant helps reimburse Minnesota produce farmers for expenses that improve on-farm food safety systems.

Amount available

The Produce Safety Program has approximately $33,600 to distribute via this mini-grant. Funding comes from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Specialty Crop Block Grant (SCBG), Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) 10.170.

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

Who can apply?

Produce growers who farm in Minnesota, who: 

  • Grow and sell 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 completed the Minnesota Department of Agriculture Produce Safety Program Grower Questionnaire at least once between 2021-2024.
  • Are in good standing and not debarred or suspended to receive state or federal funds.

What expenses are eligible for reimbursement?

Expenses must be related to improvements in on-farm food safety systems and fall within one of the below categories. Expenses must occur on/after October 1, 2023 or planned to take place before August 2, 2024.

  • 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
  • Waxed boxes
  • Harvest totes
  • Carts and pull wagons

How will awardees be selected?

Starting in 2024, the Produce Safety Mini-Grant will be managed through a lottery selection process that will consist of 5 rounds of randomized selection. Selection rounds 1-4 will each focus on drawing applicants who qualify under one of the below funding categories. Applicants may qualify under multiple funding categories and be entered in multiple selection rounds. However, applicants are only eligible to receive one award maximum. Applicants who are not awarded in earlier rounds will progress to the next selection round(s) they are eligible for. The 5th and final round will draw from all remaining eligible applicants.

Every effort will be made to ensure accuracy of the random selection process. Eligibility and draw outcomes are the final decision of the MDA.

Funding categories

Selection rounds 1-4 will draw from the following categories:

  • Farmers that have completed a Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule Grower Training and/or a Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) training offered by the University of Minnesota Extension. Minimum amount awarded via this round: $6,400.
  • Farmers that were confirmed to be fully covered and subject to routine inspection under the FSMA Produce Safety Rule in 2023. Minimum amount awarded via this round: $6,400.
  • Farmers that are underserved. Minimum amount awarded via this round $6,400.
  • Beginning farmers. Minimum amount awarded via this round $6,400.

The final round 5 drawing will draw from all remaining eligible applicants and award a minimum amount of $6,400.

How to apply

Applications are due by March 30, 2024 at 11:59 p.m. Central Time. Applications received after the due date will not be considered for funding.

The application can be completed online or with a paper form. Submit paper applications by:

  • Email to:
    • Emailed applications must be received by 3/30/24.
  • Mail to: Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Attention: Produce Safety Program - Mini Grant, 625 Robert Street North, Saint Paul, MN 55155
    • Mailed applications must be post-marked by 3/30/24 and received by 4/13/24. Applications postmarked by the correct date but not received by the two-week deadline will not be considered for funding.

What do I need to include with my application?

  • Answer all the questions that have an asterisk symbol (*) indicating they are required. Note that answering additional questions may help you be considered in additional drawing rounds.
  • If you have attended an applicable produce safety training and want to receive consideration for being drawn in that category you must include:
    •  A copy of a certificate of attendance for a Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule Grower Training or a Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) training offered by the University of Minnesota Extension
  • The MDA reserves the right to waive minor irregularities or request additional information to further clarify or validate application information, provided the application, as submitted, substantially complies with the requirements of this Request For Proposals. There is, however, no guarantee the MDA will look for information or clarification outside of the submitted application.

What should I expect after I apply?

  • Award notices will be sent in May 2024.
  • In order to receive reimbursement, awardees will be required to:
    • Register as a vendor within the state's payment system (State Wide Integrated Financial Tools services, known as "SWIFT") 
    • Submit documentation no later than August 2, 2024, that verifies they have purchased and paid for items they are seeking reimbursement for.
  • Awardees will receive a 1099 from the State of Minnesota for income tax purposes. Grant awards are taxable. 


For questions, please contact the Produce Safety Program via email at or call 651-539-3648. Questions about the grant must be submitted by March 22 at 4:00pm.

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


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, 2024. In your comments, please state that you are commenting on the 2024 Produce Safety Mini-Grant.

Funding for the Produce Safety Mini-Grant was made possible by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the USDA.