Looking to buy your first farm? A new grant could help with the down payment


Minnesotans looking to purchase their first farm might be able to qualify for a $15,000 grant from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) to help pay for it.

Applications are now being accepted for the Down Payment Assistance Grant Program managed by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA), which offers dollar-for-dollar matching up to $15,000 for qualified small farmers to purchase farmland, according to an announcement.

The MDA’s Rural Finance Authority (RFA) is awarding this funding using a first-come, first-served application process beginning Jan. 4, according to the program. Funding comes from the Minnesota Legislature appropriating $500,000 in Fiscal Year 2023, for a total of 30 to 40 grants.

A second cycle of $750,000 in funding has been secured and will be made available on July 1, according to the announcement.

To be eligible, potential 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 can’t have previous direct or indirect farmland ownership. Applications will be accepted through May 15 or until a waitlist of 100 applicants is reached.