Mower County farmers encouraged to apply for state grants for soil-health equipment

(ABC 6 News) – Farmers living in Mower County are invited to apply for state cost-share assistance to buy soil-health equipment or make new additions to their current machinery.

It is part of the Minnesota Dept. of Agriculture (MDA) program that is offering 50% cost-share, ranging from $500 to $50,000 for the purchase of new equipment, used equipment or parts to assist existing equipment for the benefit of the soils help.

According to the Mower Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD), nearly $2.4 million has been allocated to the state’s program to encourage farmers to use more soil-health equipment on croplands. Types of soil-health equipment that would fall under the state’s covered costs include no-till drills, air seeders, high boys that seed cover crops before harvest, variable-rate equipment and retrofit projects to convert corn detasslers to high boys.

“This is a huge opportunity for farmers to get much more involved with soil-health practices on their land,” Mower SWCD manager Cody Fox said. “Soil health not only benefits the environment but also an overall farming operation.”

Interested farmers must submit their applications via the MDA’s website by 4 p.m. on Sept. 15.

According to the MDA, using soil-health practices have the potential to improve productivity by reducing input costs and increasing productivity.

The Mower SWCD says soil-health practices help to protect water resources by reducing the movement of pollution to area lakes and rivers.

In order to apply, applicants must be owners or lessees of Minnesota farmland. However, if you are located in local-government units like cities, towns, counties and SWCDs, you can still apply.

The MDA grants run for one year and are only to get reimbursements, although expenses cannot occur prior to the grant’s contract start date.

Applications can be submitted here. Once on the MDA website, the “Request for Proposal” will include details on the application and eligibility.