MDA Awards Grants To Support Emerging Farmers

Truterra Sustainable Farming

Eight Minnesota organizations receive over $550K in one-time funding

(Minnesota) — November, 2023 — As part of a continued effort to strengthen support available to Minnesota’s emerging farmers, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) has announced recipients of grant funding for organizations that provide business and technical support to farmers from historically underserved communities.

Through the Emerging Farmer Technical Assistance Grant Program, eight organizations have received a total of $554,920 in one-time grants. Grant funds can be used to provide technical and culturally appropriate services to emerging farmers, and to pay up to 65% of emerging farmers’ premium expenses under the USDA Micro Farm Crop Insurance program.

“Agriculture is a cornerstone of Minnesota’s economy, but it can be hard to find an entryway to this important and fulfilling work for beginning and emerging farmers,” said MDA Assistant Commissioner Patrice Bailey. “We’re thankful for these eight organizations and their efforts to provide technical assistance to Minnesota’s emerging farmers, helping them overcome barriers and challenges in farming.”

Forty percent of this funding will go directly to farmers supported by these organizations in the form of scholarships, stipends, mileage reimbursements, and crop insurance premium payments. A full list of grant recipients and their support activities can be found below.

The funding comes in response to the MDA’s Emerging Farmers’ Working Group and first-of-its-kind Emerging Farmers Office, which have identified technical assistance as one of the top needs for emerging farmers. Technical assistance includes helping with record keeping, financial statements, business plans, licenses and regulations, land access, applying for grants and loans, sales and marketing, and other business support.

Emerging farmers include farmers who are American Indian or Alaskan Natives, Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander, members of a community of color, women, veterans, persons with disabilities, LGBTQIA+, or any other emerging farmers as determined by the commissioner of agriculture.

Visit the MDA website for more information on the Emerging Farmer Technical Assistance Grant Program.

Org Name Project Summary Headquarters Award
AgCentric Scholarships and outreach for emerging farmers to enroll in Farm Business Management Programs at state colleges. Staples $50,000
Farm Commons Legal and other business support (workshops and one-on-one support) for farmers in Nagaajiwanaang (Fond du Lac Reservation); also helping farmers enroll in and providing premium payment support for USDA’s Micro Farm Crop Insurance. Duluth $47,896
Forty Acre Cooperative 10-week business mentorship program and rural networking opportunities for BIPOC farmers. Willow River $68,850
Friendly Hmong Farms One-on-one business coaching and marketing support for direct-market farmers’ market farmers. Minnetonka $67,224
Kilimo Minnesota One-on-one mentorship for farmers of African descent, expanding capacity of existing incubator farm program. Cambridge $99,993
Land Stewardship Project Providing group classes and one-on-one business mentorship in English and Spanish; also helping farmers enroll and providing premium payment support for USDA’s Micro Farm Crop Insurance. Minneapolis $53,189
MN Farmers’ Market Association Helping farmers navigate USDA’s Micro Farm Crop Insurance and supporting farmers with the insurance premium payments. Nerstrand $100,000
Renewing the Countryside Training and supporting 10 farmers’ market food hub managers around the state to provide marketing, food safety, and licensing support for farmers. Hammond $67,768
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