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Sugarbeet seed company donates to FFA programsSugarbeet seed company donates to FFA programs

Minnesota Minute: ACH Seeds sweetens local efforts; conservationists recognized at conference; sustainable ag research grants available.

November 1, 2023

3 Min Read
Members of WCA FFA chapter holding oversized check
HOMEGROWN GIVING: Eric Sawatzke (far right), West Central Area Schools ag education teacher, along with members of the WCA FFA Chapter accept the Homegrown Giving donation from Jake Boersma, ACH Seeds central region manager (far left). West Central Area FFA was nominated by Jordan Schneeberger (back row, second from right) and Larry Schneeberger (back row, far right) and was one of six recipients of the 2023 Homegrown Giving award from ACH Seeds. Courtesy of ACH Seeds

Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg Schools FFA Alumni and the West Central Area Schools FFA in Barrett, Minn., are among six organizations in the nation selected to receive $10,000 from the ACH Seeds Homegrown Giving program.

Nominees met the criteria of serving and promoting the agriculture industry in their rural communities.

Winners were determined by a collaborative panel of local growers, industry representatives and ACH Seeds sales team members. Nominations were judged within their respective regions, based on:

  • organizational need

  • fit with ACH Seeds services and values

  • organization’s potential benefit to the ag industry

Funds will be used at KMS Schools to enhance class offerings and provide additional resources to expand crop plots for student learning, while WCA FFA will use the funds to expand agricultural equipment and supplies to produce and donate wholesome food to local community members in need.

“We are proud to support organizations in communities where our growers live and work,” says Andy Finkral, ACH Seeds sales leader. “When local communities thrive, everyone benefits. Homegrown Giving empowers and strengthens organizations in those areas that are working to make real impacts, while also enhancing the future of agriculture.”

Other recipients are Cass City, Mich., Public Schools; Declo, Idaho, High School FFA; Gering, Neb, High School FFA and Ag Career Pathway; and Worden, Mont., Huntley Project Schools FFA and ag department.

ACH Seeds markets Crystal-brand sugarbeet seed and has its headquarters in Eden Prairie, Minn.

Convention recognizes top conservation efforts

The annual convention and trade show of the Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts will take place Dec. 11-13 at the DoubleTree Hotel in Bloomington, Minn.

The MASWCD annual convention includes business meetings, updates on current issues, a keynote address, informational sessions, a trade show, and recognition of outstanding soil and water conservation districts and individuals.

Awards include Teacher Award; Outstanding Conservationist Award, with support from The Farmer magazine; Community Conservationist Award; Wildlife Habitat Steward Award; and the Outstanding Forest Steward Award.

Sustainable ag research grant apps due

Individuals and organizations in Minnesota interested in researching sustainable agriculture practices and systems can now apply for funding through the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

The Agricultural Growth, Research and Innovation Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grant Program (AGRI) funds innovative projects by farmers, educational institutions, individuals at educational institutions and nonprofit organizations that explore the energy efficiency, environmental benefits or profitability of sustainable agricultural techniques or systems, from production through marketing. The MDA will award up to $350,000 in grants using a competitive review process.

Applicants may request up to $50,000 per project. The first $25,000 does not need to be matched by the applicants. For requests between $25,000 and $50,000, applicants must provide a dollar-for-dollar match on the amount above $25,000.

Past grants have funded a wide range of projects, such as exploring cover crops and crop rotation; conservation tillage; input reduction strategies; integrated pest management; and alternative energies such as wind, methane and biomass.

Projects may last two to three years and need to take place on Minnesota farms, and grantees must be willing to share what they learn with others. Grant projects are published annually in the MDA’s Greenbook, which provides a summary of each project along with results, management tips, locations of previous projects and other resources.

Funding for this program is made available through the AGRI Program, which administers grants to farmers, agribusinesses, schools and more throughout the state of Minnesota. The AGRI Program exists to advance Minnesota’s agricultural and renewable energy sectors.

Applications will be accepted through 4 p.m. Dec. 7, and funding will be awarded in early 2024. For more information and application details, visit the AGRI Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grant webpage.

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