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Helping Minnesota farmers purchase land

Helping Minnesota farmers purchase land

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture will provide $500,000 in grants

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

Minnesotans purchasing their first farms can apply for assistance from the state government.

Gov. Tim Walz announced the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’ Rural Finance Authority will administer a new grant program, the Down Payment Assistance Grant Program.

Agriculture is a significant contributor to Minnesota’s economy.

The state’s ag sector generated $16.7 billion in ag cash receipts in 2020, representing 4.2 percent of the total state’s GDP that year.

And with the average age of a Minnesota farmer sitting at 55-years-old, helping new farmers acquire land stabilizes the health of the industry for years to come, Gov. Walz said.

“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,” he said in a statement. “These funds will help remove obstacles facing Minnesotans looking to get into farming, and help foster the next generation of farmers in Minnesota.”

Through the Down Payment Assistance Grant Program, qualified producers can receive up to $15,000 to use towards purchasing their first farms.

A total of $500,000 is available to farmers on a first-come, first-served basis once the application window opens on Jan. 4, 2023.

To be considered for the program, an applicant must meet multiple criteria.

This includes being a Minnesota resident, earning less than $250,000 annually in gross agricultural sales and it must be the applicant’s first time owning farmland.

The Rural Finance Authority is hosting two webinars about the program.

The first is Tuesday, Dec. 6 from 2-3 p.m., and the second is Thursday, Dec. 15 from 6-7 p.m.

Both webinars can be accessed via Zoom or by phone.

A second cycle of $750,000 in funding for the assistance program will begin on July 1, 2023.

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