Applications are now being accepted for a new grant program to support Minnesotans purchasing their first farm. The Down Payment Assistance Grant Program is managed by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) and offers dollar-for-dollar matching up to $15,000 for qualified small farmers to purchase farmland.
The MDA’s Rural Finance Authority (RFA) is awarding this funding using a first-come, first-served application process that opened on January 4, 2023. 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.
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.
The application and more information on the Down Payment Assistance Grant can be found at https://www.mda.state.mn.us/down-payment-assistance-grant-program.