January 25, 2024

To help Minnesota farmers and ranchers protect livestock from disease and other risks, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is offering a new grant opportunity to help eligible producers buy and install supplies or equipment that will help prevent disease outbreaks and protect animals not currently covered by existing depredation programs.

The Protecting Livestock Grant Program, also referred to as the Protect Grant, offers one-time competitive grants of up to $10,000 and requires a 50% match. While all types of livestock operations are eligible to apply, priority consideration will be given to those who produce:

  • Cervids (farmed elk and deer): Due to new fencing requirements passed during the 2023 legislative session.
  • Poultry and ratites (ostrich, emu): Due to the ongoing threat of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). Since 2022, the most recent outbreak has affected at least 150 poultry operations and more than 6 million birds in Minnesota.

“With risks like chronic wasting disease and HPAI continuing to threaten Minnesota livestock, it’s important for farmers and ranchers to take proactive efforts to protect their animals,” said MDA Commissioner Thom Petersen. “I encourage all livestock producers to apply for these grant funds to fortify their operations.”

For the purpose of this program, “livestock” includes beef and dairy cattle, swine, poultry, goats, mules, bison, sheep, horses, farmed cervids (deer, elk), ratites (flightless birds including emu), llamas, and honeybees. 

Eligible projects include fencing, electronic animal ID systems, air filtration, exclusion systems, Danish entry systems, truck washes, and other strategies to prevent and mitigate disease and other risks. 

A total of $500,000 is available, and the MDA expects to award 50-75 grants. Applications are currently being accepted through March 7, 2024. Applicants will be notified as soon as possible, but no later than April 15, about whether their proposal was funded.

The Protecting Livestock Grant Program is funded through the Agricultural Growth and Research Initiative (AGRI) Program, which provides grants to farmers, agribusinesses, schools, and more throughout the state of Minnesota. The AGRI Program exists to advance Minnesota’s agricultural and renewable energy sectors.

Full grant details and the request for proposals (RFP) can be found on the MDA website.


Media Contact
Logan Schumacher, MDA Communications