November 15, 2023
Minnesota’s Department of Agriculture announces recipients of grant funding, strengthening support to the state’s emerging farmers.
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.
The following organizations received funding through these grants.
AgCentric in Staples received $50,000 for scholarships and outreach for emerging farmers to enroll in Farm Business Management Programs at state colleges.
Farm Commons from Duluth will receive $47,896 for legal and other business support (workshops and one-on-one support) for farmers in Nagaajiwanaang (Fond du Lac Reservation); the funds also will help farmers enroll in and provide premium payment support for USDA’s Micro Farm Crop Insurance.
Forty Acre Cooperative of Willow River is granted $68,850 for a 10-week business mentorship program and rural networking opportunities for farmers of color.
Friendly Hmong Farms, based in Minnetonka, will receive $67,224 for one-on-one business coaching and marketing support for direct-market and farmers’ market farmers.
Kilimo Minnesota, based in Cambridge, will receive $99,993 for one-on-one mentorship for farmers of African descent, expanding capacity of an existing incubator farm program.
Land Stewardship Project in Minneapolis will receive $53,189 for providing group classes and one-on-one business mentorship in English and Spanish. The funds also will help farmers enroll and provide premium payment support for USDA’s Micro Farm Crop Insurance.
Minnesota Farmers Market Association, based in Nerstrand, receives $100,000 for helping farmers navigate USDA’s Micro Farm Crop Insurance and supporting farmers with the insurance premium payments.
Renewing the Countryside in Hammond receives $67,768 for training and supporting 10 farmers market food hub managers around the state to provide marketing, food safety and licensing support for farmers.
Lending a hand
“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,” says Patrice Bailey, MDA assistant commissioner. “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.
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.
Source: Minnesota Department of Agriculture
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