Minnesota Corn Growers Association funds farmers tackling conservation

In the second year of the Innovation Grant Program, MCGA will provide $300,000 for farmer-led research projects Minnesota corn farmers will once again have the opportunity to put their innovative conservation ideas into action through the Minnesota Corn Growers Association’s (MCGA) Innovation Grant Program. Proposals on how to reduce nitrate loss, improve soil health, and protect water quality are being accepted through Dec.15. MCGA, working alongside the Minnesota Corn Research & Promotion Council, is offering a total of $300,000 in Innovation Grants to any Minnesota corn farmer seeking to test or develop an innovative or best practice in the following areas: • Nitrate loss reduction • Improved nitrogen management practices for Minnesota soils • Maintaining or improving water quality • Innovative soil conservation practices • Comparing and contrasting the measurable values of large data set decision tools In 2017, 23 farmer-led research projects received a total of $250,000 in funding through the Innovation Grant Program. Examples of the great work by Minnesota farmers this summer include the installation of a sub-surface irrigation system, a more calculated approach to nitrogen application, and a new apparatus that allowed one farmer to apply fungicide while also applying nitrogen. Corn farmers in Minnesota support about $4 million every year through respected research institutions like the University of Minnesota to address issues that corn farmers are facing every day. The Innovation Grant Program allows farmers to put their own ideas to the test and examine how other farmers in Minnesota might be able to replicate that idea on their farm. The Innovation Grant Program is one of many undertakings by the state’s corn growers to become the most sustainable and environmentally responsible corn farmers in the United States. The multi-faceted goal includes increasing the financial sustainability of farm operations, while adopting conservation practices that help farmers remain good stewards of the land and protect our state’s water quality. After the RFP period ends on Dec. 15, proposals will undergo review with awards determined by March 1, 2018 and project funding available April 1, 2018. Farmers can apply at http://www.mncorn.org/research-rfps/.

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