April 3, 2024

Demand is high for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s (MDA) new Soil Health Financial Assistance Grant.

The MDA recently awarded 81 grants to individual producers, producer groups, and local governments to purchase or retrofit soil health equipment. The grants total over $2.35 million.

Interest far outpaced available funding. The MDA received 284 applications for $8.4 million in requests – more than three times the money in this round of grants.

The grants will provide up to 50% cost-share for equipment and parts, up to a cap of $50,000.

“Given the amount of interest in this program, we see Minnesota farmers want to invest in healthy soils that provide important benefits to water quality and our other natural resources,” said MDA Commissioner Thom Petersen. “Specialized equipment and machinery can be a financial barrier for most producers trying to implement soil health practices. Yet we can offset costs through the Soil Health Financial Assistance Grant, helping to expand the number of Minnesota farmers and acres engaged in soil health activities.”

The equipment provided by these grants is estimated to be used on more than 141,000 acres annually across Minnesota (SEE MAP). The soil health practices on those acres include cover cropping, no-till planting, strip tillage, incorporation of perennials into cropping systems, low-disturbance nutrient application, and more. The most common types of equipment noted in the grant awards were no-till drills (21) and strip tillage equipment (12).

This is the first full round of the Soil Health Financial Assistance Grant. A pilot program in early 2023 awarded $475,000 to 16 individuals and organizations across 15 counties. The pilot program received more than 230 applications for more than $6.5 million – over 13 times the available funding.

Applications for the next round of the Soil Health Financial Assistance Grant will open in August.


Media Contact
Allen Sommerfeld, MDA Communications