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news Wadena, 56482
Wadena Minnesota 314 S. Jefferson, P.O. Box 31 56482

Grants available to Minnesota farmers

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) has another round of funding available for projects to help farmers, producers and processors add value to their operations. A total of $2 million in funding has been made available through the Agricultural Growth, Research and Innovation Program (AGRI), established by the legislature to advance Minnesota's agricultural and renewable energy industries.

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The MDA will distribute the funds through its AGRI Value Added Grant Program which aims to increase sales of Minnesota agricultural products by diversifying markets and by increasing market access and food safety.

Proposals that have a meat processing, farm-to-school (or other institution) component, or are addressing Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) or similar type of food safety plan will receive priority, but all value added proposals are encouraged to apply. Small to medium sized operations will also receive special consideration.

Proposals that include business planning, feasibility studies, marketing planning and succession planning are eligible for 50 percent of the total project cost up to a maximum grant award of $30,000. Equipment purchases or physical improvements are eligible for 25 percent of the total project cost up to a maximum grant award of $150,000 with a completed business plan or food safety plan. A business or food safety plan must outline what equipment and improvements are necessary to fulfill the plan.

Applications must be received no later than 4 p.m. on Mar. 3. Proposals may be delivered by mail, in person, or by email. If a proposal is emailed, the time and date it is received by the program administrator will be considered the received-by date. Applications are available at www.mda.state.mn.us/valueadded.aspx.

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