October 29, 2019

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) has awarded Agricultural Growth, Research, and Innovation (AGRI) Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grants (SustAg) totaling $241,009 to nine farmers and researchers across Minnesota. The grants are featured in the new Greenbook, which is now available.

Projects will explore sustainable agriculture practices and systems that could make farming more profitable, resource efficient, and personally satisfying.  The program has granted more than $4.2 million to Minnesota farmers over its 29-year history.

“I’ve been a long-time supporter of these programs and believe the projects presented here are great examples of the innovative ideas Minnesota farmers and researchers are exploring and testing to make farming in Minnesota more productive and sustainable,” Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen said.

All projects take place on Minnesota farms and are summarized in the annual Greenbook, now available at www.mda.state.mn.us/greenbook or by contacting Alison Fish at 651-201-6012 or alison.fish@state.mn.us.

Annual and final progress reports of grantees announced during the past three years are also included in the Greenbook. Results of new grantees’ projects will be included in future Greenbook publications.

Projects, which last two to three years, are located in all regions of the state and involve several innovative topics that include cover cropping, soil fertility, fruits and vegetables, alternative markets or specialty crops, livestock, and energy.

Applications for the next round of SustAg grants are being accepted until 4 p.m. Tuesday, December 17, 2019. Projects from farmers receive priority, but nonprofit and educational organizations are also invited to apply. Projects may receive funding up to $50,000. Full details and the online application are available at www.mda.state.mn.us/sustagdemogrant.

FY 2019 AGRI Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grant Recipients





Allen Kraus, Cannon River Watershed Partnership

Determine a pathway for greater farm profitability and practice adoption by testing the effect of corn row width on cover crop biomass and corn grain yields.


Rice and Goodhue

Sacha Seymour, Environmental Initiative

Investigate and create case studies for farming practices that benefit both cost of production for farmers and natural resource conservation and demonstrate the benefits of these practices.


Stearns, Todd, Morrison, Benton, Wright, Meeker, Kandiyohi, Pope, and Douglas

Sarah Brouwer, Brouwer Berries

Test the effectiveness of sheep grazing on grass cover crops as a method of improving soil health, reducing weed pressure, and increasing strawberry yield.



Robert Blair, Canosia Grove

Rotational grazing in an orchard to improve pasture health, reduce energy input, and increase profit.


Saint Louis

Nicolette Slagle, Anishinaabe Agriculture Institute

Create an integrated hemp and traditional foods working and demonstration farm, utilizing rotational planting, natural fertilizers, and greenhouses.



Melodee Smith and Wendy Wustenberg, North Star Farm Tour

Exploring North Star Farm Tour as a sustainable Agri-tourism model for small fiber producers.


Dakota, Faribault, Fillmore, Goodhue, Olmstead, Ramsey, Rice, Scott, and Wright

Jane Jewett, WillowSedge Farm

Determine the viability of a Forever Green poultry ration built on small grains and perennial crops for production of small-flock meat chickens.


Aitkin, Ramsey, and Rice

Anna Johnson, Keith and Anna Johnson Farm

Testing two pasture types to finish lambs on pasture and an evaluation of economics and meat quality from each type compared to lambs on a feedlot ration.



Wyatt Parks, Main Street Project

Evaluating hazelnuts as a soy-protein replacement in free-range poultry systems for feed quality, nutrition and palatability.


Dakota and Rice


Media Contact

Larry Schumacher, MDA Communications