Funding for ‘Climate Smart’ Farms

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) received a $100,000 grant from the McKnight Foundation to help farmers develop climate-smart farming practices that can mitigate climate change and build farm resiliency while cultivating a new income stream. The money will be used for the new Climate Smart Farms Project, part of the Minnesota Ag Water Quality Certification Program (MAWQCP).

The Climate Smart Farms project delivers individualized services to farmers in the program through piloting an opportunity to receive annual payments of $1,000, with the potential to continue annual participation up to 5 years. A farmer must first be certified or actively seeking certification as an Ag Water Quality Certified farm before receiving MAWQCP endorsements. “Climate Smart” is is the newest endorsement of four.

These payments will provide producers support as they work with local representatives to explore and prepare for evolving climate marketplaces and public programs. This project will also help producers access new and reliable income streams for the environmental benefits they are providing our state and nation.

Grant recipients will also receive the forthcoming Farmers Guide to Climate Markets, a farmer-focused analysis of private carbon market contracts. The guide is being produced by agricultural law attorneys and a 12-member review panel of Minnesota farmers to provide insights on the actual terms contained in the contracts that more than a dozen companies are offering Minnesota farms.

Applications are open as of July 15. Funding is limited. Eligibility is verified by the MAWQCP certifying agent and approved by the MDA staff. Contact your Certification Specialist if you have any questions or are interested in obtaining the Climate Smart Farm Endorsement.

If you have any questions about MAWQCP, you can also contact me by phone or email: Angie Walter at 320-815-9293 or