Growers might be eligible for reimbursement of water testing, packaging, and more

Published 6:24 pm Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Minnesota produce farmers may be eligible for reimbursement of expenses that improve on-farm food safety systems, including water testing for generic E. coli and other on-farm food safety improvements, via a mini-grant program from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA).

The Produce Safety Mini-Grant will distribute a total of approximately $18,400, with awardees receiving up to $800 per farm. No matching funds are required.

To be eligible, applicants must be a Minnesota produce farmer that sells one or more of the following crops: leafy greens, apples, berries, cucumbers, green beans, melons, microgreens, mushrooms, onions, peppers, sprouts, summer squash/zucchini, and tomatoes.

Growers may be reimbursed for past expenses that occurred between Sept. 30, 2020 to March 12, 2022, and future expenses taking place between March 13 to Aug. 31, 2022.

Examples of eligible expenses include:

• Supplies to build or purchase a portable handwashing station;

• Harvest totes;

• Water testing for generic coli; and

• Consultation fees for developing an on-farm food safety plan

Additional information and the application are available on the MDA website at www.mda.state.mn.us/minigrant. Applications will be accepted through March 12 at 11:59 p.m.