AGRI Minnesota Value Added Grant Program

Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA)

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Grant amount: US $1,000 - US $200,000

Next deadline: Mar 8, 2019 2:00pm PST

Later deadlines: Oct 5, 2019 2:00pm PDT

Applicant type: For-Profit Business Government Entity Individuals

Funding uses: Applied Project / Program, Capital Project

Location of project: Minnesota

Location of residency: Minnesota

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NOTE: We offer two rounds of AGRI Value-Added Grants each year.

  • For Round 1, grants are funded at Level 1 only. (October deadline)
  • For Round 2, grants are funded at Levels 1 and 2. (March deadline)
  • Applicants may apply for only one level.

AGRI Minnesota Value Added Grant Program

The funding for this grant comes from the Agricultural Growth, Research, and Innovation (AGRI) Program which was established to advance Minnesota’s agricultural and renewable energy industries (Minnesota Statute 41A.12). This program focuses on areas of greatest opportunity and potential economic impact to create agricultural jobs and profitable businesses in the categories of livestock investment, value-added business and market development, and renewable energy. The AGRI Value Added Grant Program is intended for new or established for-profit businesses to stimulate development or growth of value-added agriculture that supports Minnesota agricultural producers and processors to expand markets for Minnesota agricultural products.

Supports Minnesota agricultural producers and processors to increase sales of Minnesota agricultural products by expanding markets.

Program Goals

The goal of the Value Added Grant Program is to increase sales of Minnesota agricultural products by diversifying markets, increasing market access, and increasing food safety of value-added products. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is providing these competitive grants to encourage development of value-added agriculture. Valueadded is the increase in value of an agricultural product through added processing, segregating, or manufacturing. These grants are intended to support businesses that will:

  • Start, expand, or update livestock product processing businesses.
  • Purchase equipment to start, upgrade, or modernize value-added businesses.
  • Increase the use and processing of Minnesota agricultural products (required for all grants).
  • Purchase equipment or facility improvement to increase food safety (ex. Implementing a food safety plan).
  • Increase farmers’ processing and aggregating capacity to sell to schools, hospitals, or other institutions.

Eligible Projects & Expenses

Equipment Purchases and Physical Improvements: Eligible grant projects are the purchase and installation of equipment and the costs incurred to make physical improvements to or construction of a processing facility (capital expenditures). Up to 25% of the total project cost may be reimbursed with grant funds, with a maximum grant award of $150,000 and a minimum grant award of $1,000. Recipients must contribute the remaining (at least 75%) of the total project cost as a cash match. 

To be eligible, the equipment or facility improvement grant project needs to be used in the process of adding value to an agricultural product. Grant project purchases must address improved efficiency, expansion, modernization, or profitability of the business. These benefits must also increase or maintain market access, market diversity of applicant or supplier, or improve food safety AND sales of Minnesota agricultural products. 

Eligible grant project expenditures cannot be made until after you are notified of the grant award, which is 6-8 weeks after the submission due date and should be completed in about 18 months. 


  •  Equipment that helps to maintain the identity and traceability of products.
  • Grading/packing/labeling/packaging/sorting equipment.
  • Equipment used to process agricultural products such as fermenter for wine production, pelletizer for feed production, commercial mixer for food production, color sorter for seed cleaning, or smoke house for meat products.
  • Agriculture related processing facilities including fruit, vegetable, meat, grain, cultivated timber, etc.
  • Washing systems, delivery and treatment devices, and improvements.
  • Hand-washing sinks (mobile or stationary).
  • Processing equipment or physical improvements to value-added processing facility to reduce food safety risks.
  • Cooler walls and refrigeration units.
  • Contractor costs and materials for installation of approved equipment, plumbing, drainage, venting and performing electrical work.
  • Refrigerated trucks to access new markets (not routine replacement).
  • Construction costs for building walls, ceilings, floors of a food, feed, or other type of agricultural product processing facility.
  • Creamery or milk product processing and packaging equipment.
  • Livestock slaughter equipment and facility additions.
  • Season extension facilities – item cannot be used for production of an agricultural commodity unless required for food safety. 

Additional uses may be proposed.

Project Levels

Level 1

Project applications with the following elements will receive priority points:

  • meat processing,
  • marketing to schools (or other institutions) component,
  • a food safety plan or requirement,
  • minority- or veteran-owned businesses, or
  • projects serving communities of color or Native American Tribal communities.

Level 2 (Round 2 only)

Project applications with the following elements will receive priority points:

  • a feasibility study has been conducted,
  • the percentage of Minnesota grown ingredients/inputs is at or above 50 percent,
  • minority- or veteran-owned businesses, or
  • projects that serve communities of color or Native American Tribal communities.

Level 2 Projects are subject to Prevailing Wage requirements.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


    • Individuals (including farmers) or for-profit businesses: individuals or companies (including LLCs and S and C corporations) whose primary function involves the production, processing, or marketing of Minnesota agricultural products; or
    • Agricultural cooperatives: Member-owned business entities that provide, offer, or sell agricultural products or services for the mutual benefit of the members; or
    • Local government entities involved in the operation of a farmers market, food hub, or other activity that involves the processing or marketing of Minnesota agriculture products.
    • All applicants must be in good standing with the State of Minnesota (no back taxes owed, no defaults on Minnesota State-backed financing for the last 7 years, acceptable performance on past MDA grants, and in compliance with current state regulations).
    • Individuals must live or work in Minnesota, businesses must be based in Minnesota, and projects must occur in Minnesota.
  • Applicant must provide documentation for at least 75% of the total project cost as a cash match (no in-kind matches).


  • Applications that market to schools or other institutions, have a meat processing component, or are addressing a food safety plan or requirement will receive priority. 


  • School districts that purchase processing equipment to increase purchasing of locally grown products are not eligible for a grant under this proposal but are eligible for our Farm to School Grant.
  • Economic development organizations, non-profit organizations, and academic entities are not eligible, but may apply on behalf of and act as fiscal agents for eligible individuals or businesses. These organizations must: 
    • Provide letters from eligible farmers or businesses they represent that clearly describe the benefit of the grant project to their businesses.
    • Clearly identify these eligible entities and focus the application on their businesses.
    • Expenditures incurred prior to notification of award, which is 6-8 weeks after the submission due date
    • Equipment and facilities used for agriculture plant or livestock production. Examples include watering systems, harvesting equipment, and equipment or facilities used for livestock care and feeding 
    • Advertising, public relations, entertainment and amusement costs
    • Construction or expansion of a restaurant or grocery store and restaurant equipment or furniture. Grocery store equipment may be eligible for a Good Food Access Grant (contact [email protected]
    • Supplies, consumables, ingredients, and items that are not reusable
    • Beginning inventory costs, start-up costs, beginning working capital costs, and license fees
    • Bad debts, related collection costs, and legal costs
    • Contingency expenses for events or set aside for possible overages
    • Donated or volunteer (in-kind) services. While these may be furnished to an applicant by professional and technical personnel, consultants, and other skilled and unskilled labor, the value of these services is not an eligible cost
    • Donations, in-kind contributions, including property and services, made by the applicant, regardless of the recipient 
    • Employees’ wages and benefits. Please contact staff for exceptions
    • Fines, penalties and other settlement expenses resulting from failure of the applicant to comply with Federal, State, local, or Indian tribal laws and regulations 
    • Land purchases
    • Indirect costs (expenses of doing business that are not readily identified with the project)
    • Lobbying and political activities
    • Fundraising; including financial campaigns, solicitation of gifts and bequests, and similar expenses incurred to raise capital or obtain contributions 
  • Note: Routine maintenance is considered a normal operating expense and will not be funded.