Application Now Open for New MDA Continuous Living Cover Grant

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is now accepting applications for a new grant to develop enterprises, supply chains, and markets for continuous living cover crops and cropping systems in the early stage of commercial development.

Continuous living cover (CLC) refers to agricultural systems in which there are living plants and roots in the ground throughout the entire year. This can take many forms, from winter cover crops sown between summer annuals to agroforestry practices, perennial forage crops, perennial biomass crops, and perennial grain production. This includes but is not limited to regenerative poultry silvopasture systems, Kernza® perennial grain, winter camelina, and elderberry.

This one-time funding is provided to the MDA by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR).

CLC crops have been shown to enhance water and soil quality, sequester carbon, build soil health, and provide greater biodiversity and pollinator habitat. Significant environmental benefits of these crops will result from widespread production, which requires robust value chains and markets.

The goal is to provide grants to CLC crops and cropping systems value chain enterprises for equipment infrastructure and business and market development. For example, this could include customized equipment to harvest the crop, clean and store seeds, and process crops for food products. The intended outcome is supply chain and market development that can increase CLC crops and cropping systems on agricultural lands in Minnesota.

Applicants must:

  • Be an organization in Minnesota, including a company, government, tribe, urban American Indian Community, partnership, and any type of civil or political association of people.
  • Focus on continuous living cover.

The MDA anticipates awarding approximately $420,000 using a competitive review process. The maximum award is $50,000, and the minimum award is $10,000.

The Developing Markets for CLC Crops Grant application must be received by 3 p.m. on Thursday, April 13, 2023, through the MDA’s online application system. Decisions are expected in early May.

For more information and to see the complete request for proposal (RFP), visit the Developing Markets for CLC Crops webpage.