MDA Offers Mini-Grant for Produce Growers

Reimbursement possible for water testing, harvest supplies, and other expenses

St. Paul, MN: Minnesota produce farmers who improve their on-farm food safety systems may be eligible to reimburse those expenses through the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s (MDA) 2024 Produce Safety Mini-Grant, which is now accepting applications.

The Produce Safety Mini-Grant will distribute a total of approximately $33,600. Awardees will receive up to $800 per farm. No matching funds are required.

To be eligible, applicants must be produce growers farming in Minnesota, who grow and sell one or more of the following crops: leafy greens, apples, berries, carrots, cucumbers, garlic, green beans, herbs, melons, microgreens, mushrooms, onions, peppers, sprouts, summer squash/zucchini, or tomatoes.

Applicants must also have completed the Minnesota Department of Agriculture Produce Safety Program Grower Questionnaire at least once between 2021-2024.

Expenses must occur on or after October 1, 2023 or be planned to take place before August 2, 2024. Examples of eligible expenses include:

· Supplies to build or purchase a portable handwashing station

· Harvest totes or collection tools

· Water testing for generic coli

· Consultation fees for developing an on-farm food safety plan

· Waxed boxes and market containers

Additional information and the online application are available on the MDA website.

Farmers can contact the MDA Produce Safety Program at 651-539-3648 to request a paper copy. Applications will be accepted through 11:59 p.m. on March 30, 2024.

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