Gov. Walz announces funding to help new farmers purchase land
ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan announced Thursday a new grant program to support Minnesotans purchasing their first farm.
According to the announcement, the grant program will be managed by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) and will offer dollar-for-dollar matching up to $15,000 for qualified small farmers to purchase farmland.
MDA’s Rural Finance Authority (RFA) will award this funding using a first-come, first-served application process that will open at 9 a.m. on January 4, 2023.
“Farming is a part of Minnesota’s identity, and a significant component of our economy. We want every Minnesotan to have an opportunity to explore a career in farming,” Governor Walz said. “These funds will help remove obstacles facing Minnesotans looking to get into farming, and help foster the next generation of farmers in Minnesota.”
The Minnesota Legislature appropriated $500,000 in fiscal year 2023 for these grants. The RFA expects to award between 30 and 40 grants in this cycle, depending on the size of requests.
A second cycle of $750,000 in funding has been secured and will be made available on July 1, 2023.
Farmers must be Minnesota residents who will earn less than $250,000 annually in gross agricultural sales and plan on providing the majority of the day-to-day physical labor on the farm for at least five years. Applicants must not have previous direct or indirect farmland ownership.
“Emerging farmers are the future of Minnesota’s agriculture industry. As we continue to expand economic opportunity for Minnesotans across the state, these grants will go a long way in breaking down the barriers preventing emerging farmers from getting a solid footing,” Lieutenant Governor Flanagan said. “I’m proud of the work being done to expand opportunities for emerging farmers who work every day to fuel and feed our state.”
Applications will continue to be accepted until a waitlist of 100 applicants forms, or May 15, 2023, whichever comes first.
Approved applications will remain valid for purchases closing within 90 days of approval or until May 15, 2023, whichever comes first.
Applications and more information will be made available as they become ready at here.
The RFA will host two informational webinars about the grant opportunity, with Spanish, Hmong, and Somali interpretation available. Additional language interpretation needs can be requested up to one week before each webinar. Send requests and other questions to RFA.firstname.lastname@example.org.
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