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Minnesota offers matching funds for first land purchases for beginning farmers

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture's Rural Finance Authority will award this funding using a first-come, first-served application process that will open at 9 a.m. Jan. 4, 2023.

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Minnesota Department of Agriculture
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ST. PAUL, Minn. — A new grant program will support Minnesotans purchasing their first farm.

The grant program will be managed by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and will offer dollar-for-dollar matching up to $15,000 for qualified small farmers to purchase farmland.

“We know from our work engaging emerging farmers that land cost is one of the biggest barriers keeping people from getting into farming,” Minnesota Ag Commissioner Thom Petersen said in a news release. “We have to address those barriers to make sure Minnesota agriculture stays strong, and this is a big step forward.”

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture's Rural Finance Authority will award this funding using a first-come, first-served application process that will open at 9 a.m. Jan. 4, 2023. The Minnesota Legislature appropriated $500,000 in fiscal year 2023 for these grants. The Rural Finance Authority 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 labor on the farm for at least five years. Applicants must not have previous direct or indirect farmland ownership.

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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 https://www.mda.state.mn.us/down-payment-assistance-grant-program . The Rural Finance Authority 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.loan@state.mn.us .

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