Tricounty News

Loans available for farm diversification and innovation

Loans of up to $40,000 available to eligible farmers

Minnesota farmers can apply for low-interest loans to help them adopt practices that will lead them to a more sustainable farming system. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture's (MDA) Sustainable Agriculture Loan Program provides loans for capital purchases to help farmers diversify their operations or implement environmentally sound practices.

Individual farmers are eligible to receive up to $40,000 in loans for the purchase of new or used equipment and/or facilities. For joint projects, each individual is eligible for $40,000 with a maximum of $160,000 per project.ÊThe interest rate for the loan is three percent (3 percent) over a five-or seven-year period.

MDA's Sustainable Ag Loan Program spokesman, Wayne Monsen, says the program has issued over $3.6 million in loans to more than 340 Minnesota farmers since it began in 1989.

"These loans have enhanced farmers' ability to respond to consumer demand for local foods, to adopt practices that conserve soil and improve water quality, and to see an increase in profitability," said Monsen.

Eligible purchases or improvements may include equipment needed to transition to or expand organic production; fencing and water systems for rotational grazing; manure handling; improvements to livestock facilities; hoop buildings or other low-cost livestock facilities; equipment for alternative weed and soil management; on-farm energy production; and on-farm value-added processing. A technical review committee evaluates the applications based on their potential to increase farm profitability and benefit the environment.

For an application or additional information, visit the MDA website and click on "Grants, Loans, and Financing," or contact Wayne Monsen, (651) 201-6260, or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .