The application for the Soil Health Financial Assistance Program is closed. Awards will be announced by January 1, 2024.
The Soil Health Financial Assistance Grant provides cost-share for the purchase and retrofit of soil health equipment. Adopting soil health practices often requires expensive and specific pieces of equipment, creating a need for a cost-share opportunity to offset those costs. Another round of funding for the Soil Health Financial Assistance Program is expected in late summer 2024.
- One of the first and only programs to reimburse for equipment
- Covers purchase of new equipment, used equipment, and parts to retrofit existing equipment
- Awards range from $500-$50,000 (up to 50% cost share)
- Individual producers, producer groups, and local government units are eligible to apply
- Eligible equipment purchases must advance soil health in Minnesota
- These grants are competitive. Awarded contracts will last for 12 months
The application will require the cost of the equipment, an explanation of how the equipment will be used to advance soil health on your farm, the number of acres the equipment will be used on, and other information.
Who is eligible?
Individual producers, producer groups, and local government units (including cities, towns, counties, soil and water conservation districts, tribal nations, and joint powers boards). A local government unit that receives a grant for equipment purchases must make those purchases available for use by the public.
- Prioritization points will be awarded to applicants who belong to historically underserved communities
- Prioritization points will also be awarded if an operation is actively certified or assessed and working towards certification in the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program and/or the equipment will be used to implement an NRCS Resource Management System (RMS) plan.
How much is available?
$2,375,000 are allocated for distribution through the Soil Health Financial Assistance Program in Fiscal Year 2023. Grant awards will provide up to 50% cost-share, with a minimum award of $500 and a maximum award of $50,000.
Grant applications must be for the purchase of equipment that will be used to establish, improve, or accelerate soil health. Equipment can be new or used. Parts and materials used to retrofit existing equipment (this does not include tools that can be used again on another project) may also be eligible. To receive funding, successful applicants must submit proof of payment for their equipment. Examples of eligible equipment include, but are not limited to, no till drills, air seeders, high boys, variable rate equipment, retrofit projects to convert corn detasslers to high boys, and more. Note that equipment purchases must not be made until after the start date of the grant contract.
What will I need for my application?
Be prepared to provide a justification for how the equipment you plan to purchase will contribute to soil health on your operation. Additionally, you will need to report how many acres you plan to use the equipment on and provide a budget that includes the cost of the equipment you plan to purchase. Additional information is required in the application, these are just some of the key aspects that could take more time to prepare. See the Request for Proposals for more detailed information about the application questions and evaluation criteria.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. As long as the person or entity purchasing the equipment is in Minnesota and the equipment will be used in Minnesota, it can be purchased from somewhere out of state.
Yes, you can include equipment shipping costs in your cost estimate when you submit your application.
You can submit an application for any equipment not listed under the “ineligible expenses” section of the RFP, which will be available August 1, 2023. Rather than MDA providing a finite list of eligible equipment, we are asking that applicants present an explanation for how the equipment they want to buy is necessary to advance soil health on their operation.
Applicants must be owners or lessees of farmland in Minnesota. It must be the owner or lessee of farmland involved in a given operation who applies for a grant on behalf of that operation. Local government units (including cities, towns, counties, soil and water conservation districts, Tribal nations, and joint powers boards) do not have to be owners or lessees of farmland to apply.
No money can be spent on the equipment until the grant is awarded and a grant contract agreement is signed by the Commissioner of Agriculture.