MDA Grant Funds 11 Innovative Agriculture Projects

department of agriculture

For Immediate Release

Contact: David Van Amber


October 23, 2018

Previous Announcements

MDA Grant Funds 11 Innovative Agriculture Projects

Farmers Test New Ideas to Increase Sustainability

St. Paul, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) has awarded Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Agricultural Growth, Research, and Innovation (AGRI) Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grants (SADG) to eleven farmers and researchers across Minnesota. Projects will explore sustainable agriculture practices and systems that could make farming more profitable, resource efficient, and personally satisfying. The program has been supporting Minnesota farmers for 28 years.

“Farmers know best when it comes to profitability, resource and asset management,” said Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson. “Innovation does cost, and by helping reduce the cost of testing new ideas and innovations, we are hoping the partnership will produce sustainable agricultural practices for the future.”

Projects, which last two to three years, are located in all regions of the state and involve a number of innovative topics that include cover cropping, irrigation, grazing, fertigation techniques, and poultry production techniques.

Jerry and Nancy Ackerman, a FY 2018 SADG recipient from Lakefield, used their grant to research the impact of cover crops on soil, “The purpose of this project is to determine if cover crops have an effect on soil moisture and soil temperature.  The farmers in southwest Minnesota are looking for a way to better utilize their costly nutrient inputs, protect our water resource, and protect their crops during flooding and drought conditions within the same growing season.”

All projects take place on Minnesota farms and their findings are summarized in the annual Greenbook, available at Results from FY 2018 grantees will be included in upcoming Greenbook publications.

Applications for the FY 2019 AGRI SADG are being accepted until December 12 at 4:00 p.m. Projects from farmers receive priority, but nonprofit and educational organizations are also invited to apply. Projects may be funded at up to $50,000. Full details and the online application are available at

Fiscal Year 2018 AGRI Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grant Recipients





Blazing Star Gardens LLC

Research the profitability of drip irrigation and its impact on yield of native prairie seed production

Clarks Grove

Freeborn, Steele

Cannon River Watershed Partnership

Investigate the impact of fall grazing on subsequent Kernza grain yields and the quantity and quality of the fall regrowth of Kernza biomass for forage



Jerry D. Ackermann

Obtain data on plant growth and nutrient uptake due to cover crop effects on soil temperature and soil moisture in southwest Minnesota


Jackson, Nobles

KISS LLC dba Brookview Winery

Test a non-traditional process for cleaning and sorting Minnesota wine grape varietals and demonstrate removal of other material at the crush pad


Mille Lacs, Stearns

Mashkiikii Gitigan

Investigate the sustainability and impact of production-oriented perennial systems on soil contaminant accessibility and for effectiveness to sequester carbon



Mighty Axe Hops

Investigate how to best evaluate, communicate, and market the specific aroma and terroir of Minnesota grown hops



Owl Forest Farm dba Kate I. Paul

Identify peony cultivars that grow well in Northeastern Minnesota and produce late season flowers and support use of peonies in commercial cut flower production in the region


St. Louis

Richard Traugott

Demonstrate cover crop and intercropping alternatives during the establishment period of perennial fruit plants and evaluate any added value of secondary crop produced



Seelye Brook Farms

Compare mobile confinement and day-range production systems for pastured broiler chickens for output, profitability and marketability of products

Oak Grove


The Good Acre

Evaluate the effectiveness of Sap Analysis to inform a customized nutrient management system using fertigation throughout the growing season to produce higher yields, better quality and reduced input costs

Falcon Heights

Ramsey, Goodhue

Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center

Develop an agro phenological calendar for Northeastern Minnesota that will serve as a more reliable planting guide for farmers and users of greenhouses and high tunnels




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