AGRI Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grant Program

Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA)

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Grant amount: Up to US $25,000

Anticipated deadline: Dec 17, 2020 2:00pm PST

Applicant type: Nonprofit Indigenous Group For-Profit Business College / University Faculty Postdoctoral Researcher Working Professional

Funding uses: Project / Program, Research

Location of project: Minnesota

Location of residency: Minnesota

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AGRI Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grant Program

The Minnesota Legislature created this grant program to demonstrate and publicize the energy efficiency, environmental benefit, and profitability of sustainable agriculture techniques or systems from production through marketing. The grants must fund research or demonstrations on Minnesota farms. (MN Statute 17.116). If you have an idea of how to make farming more profitable, resource efficient, and personally satisfying, this program is for you.

This 26-year old program provides small grants to test ideas that could conserve natural resources enhance profitability, and improve life on the farm.  

Eligible Projects

The program objectives are to explore the profitability, energy efficiency, and benefits of sustainable agriculture practices and systems from production through marketing. Grants are available to fund on-farm research and demonstrations and may include, but are not limited to: 

  • Enterprise diversification and organic production using traditional and non-traditional crops and livestock.
  • Cover crops and crop rotations.
  • Conservation tillage and weed management.
  • Seed breeding and/or conservation.
  • Integrated pest management systems for insects, weeds, and diseases.
  • Livestock production systems or management strategies.
  • Nutrient and pesticide management, including runoff protection.
  • Farm-based energy production such as wind, methane, or biomass.
  • Conservation (energy, soil, water).
  • Developing/refining/improving marketing opportunities, including season extension and post-harvest storage and handling.
  • Other creative ideas that address farm conservation, energy, and/or profitability.

The program does not fund projects that duplicate previously funded projects. It may, however, fund similar projects in parts of the state where the practice or system is still considered new or innovative. 

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


  • Who is eligible:
    • Minnesota farmers, educational institutions, individuals at educational institutions, and nonprofit organizations.
  • Applicants must be Minnesota residents.
  • Projects must take place on Minnesota farms. 
  • Eligible costs include:
    • Wages for time spent directly on the grant project (beyond normal farming operations).
    • Consultant fees.
    • Costs to lease or use farm equipment needed for the project.
    • Durable equipment or other items necessary for the project valued at less than $1,000 each.
    • Project-related services such as soil testing or other analyses.
    • Project-related travel.
    • Postage, printing, and telephone expenses related to the project.
    • Outreach expenses (advertising, handouts, refreshments, etc.) for one outreach event in the final year.


  • Projects led by a farmer or group of farmers receive additional points in scoring.
    • A farmer is someone who cultivates, operates, or manages a farm for profit, and who grows or raises at least $1,000 of agricultural products for sale annually.


  • Government entities are not eligible. 
  • Minnesota Department of Agriculture employees are not eligible to receive grants from this program.
  • The program does not fund projects that duplicate previously funded projects.
  • Ineligible costs include:
    • Equipment or other items that cost more than $1,000. Examples include: tractors, motorized vehicles, buildings (including greenhouses and high tunnels), windmills or wind turbines, building construction, and computers.
    • Compensation for a grant writing consultant or grant manager.
    • Business start-up costs (i.e., starting a farm).
    • Pre-award costs (expenses incurred before a contract is signed).