Funds Available to Improve Soil Health

Applications for soil health equipment grants due September 15

Applications are now open for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s (MDA) Soil Health Financial Assistance Grants.

These grants are available to individual producers, producer groups, and local governments to purchase or retrofit soil health equipment. Grant awards will provide up to 50 percent cost-share, with a minimum award of $500 and a maximum award of $50,000. The 2023 Legislature appropriated $2.375 million for this round of grants.

“Good soil health is important to water quality and our other natural resources in Minnesota,” said MDA Commissioner Thom Petersen. “It’s important to recognize the financial hurdles farmers face when trying to implement soil health practices because of specialized, expensive equipment and machinery. The Soil Health Financial Assistance Grants will help offset equipment costs, helping to expand the number of Minnesota farmers and acres engaged in soil health activities.”

Examples of eligible new or used equipment include, but are not limited to, no-till drills, air seeders, retrofit projects to allow no-till planting, and more. Parts and materials used to retrofit existing equipment are also eligible.

The Request for Proposals and application link can be found at www.mda.state.mn.us/soil-health-grant. Applications are due September 15, 2023. Awards will be announced by January 1, 2024.

This is the first full round of Soil Health Financial Assistance Grants. A pilot program earlier this year awarded $475,000 to 16 individuals and organizations across 15 counties. No-till drills and air seeders were among the most requested pieces of equipment. The pilot program received more than 230 applications for more than $6.5 million—over 13 times the funding available.