ST. PAUL – Local farmers should begin planning now if they hope to capitalize on new livestock investment grants that will be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis. Funds are limited and applications will be accepted beginning in August.
The grants are the culmination of work state Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Grove City, began five years ago. The Legislature enacted the grants during the 2008 session and farmers may be eligible to receive up to 10 percent of the first $500,000 of qualifying expenditures; a minimum $4,000 in expenditures must be made.
“Farmers in our area are the reason these grants became available,” Urdahl said. “I want to make sure our farmers are up to speed with the process so we can have as many successful local applications as possible. A really wide range of projects are eligible for grants to defray costs and help our farmers improve their operations.”
Here’s an overview of eligibility terms:
Beef cattle, dairy cattle, swine, poultry, goats, mules, farmed cervidae, tatitae, bison, sheep, horses and llamas all are eligible livestock types.
Qualifying expenditures are defined as: the acquisition, construction or improvement of buildings or facilities for the production of livestock or livestock products; the development of pasture for use by livestock; or the acquisition of equipment for livestock housing, confinement, feeding and waste management.
That includes – but is not limited to – freestall barns; watering facilities; feed storage and handling equipment; milking parlors; robotic equipment; scales; milk storage and cooling facilities; bulk tanks; computer hardware and software and associated equipment to monitor the productivity and feeding of livestock; manure pumping and storage facilities; swine farrowing facilities; calving facilities; digesters; equipment used to produce energy; and on-farm processing facilities and equipment.
Other terms apply and further information – including how to submit an application – will be made available by the Minnesota Dept. of Agriculture in the days or weeks to come.