Purchase Your First Farm and Engage With These Programs to Support Emerging Farmers In Minnesota

Join Jenny Heck, Lillian Otienno, and Patrice Bailey with your host Emily Reno for an exciting conversation about resources available to Emerging Farmers in the state of Minnesota, recent programs that can help you with a down payment for your first farm, and more!




Transcript Excerpt:


Emily Reno: You’re listening to the Transcendent Farmer podcast with Emily Reno, created to inspire and empower the next generation of land managers. Welcome everyone to another episode of Transcendent Farmer. I’m happy because today I have not one, but three amazing guests, and all of them are within the state-level agricultural space within the state of Minnesota. And we’re going to talk a little bit about the work they’re doing, the cool things they’re working on, and the opportunities you can get involved with.

So I’ll just introduce them and then we’ll delve into our questions here. First, we have Jenny Heck, program manager for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture Rural Finance Authority, which is the MDA, the agricultural lending office of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. And at RFA, Jenny administers the Beginning Farmer Tax Credit and Minnesota’s new Down Payment Assistance Grant.

And Jenny’s experience includes managing farmers markets, horticultural production, and supporting emerging and small-scale farmers. Then after Jenny, we have Lillian, and Lillian is the Emerging Farmer Outreach and Engagement Coordinator at the Minnesota Department of Agriculture Commissioner’s Office.

She has also served as public engagement liaison for the office of Governor Tim Walz and Lt. Governor Penny Flanagan. Then, on any given day, Lillian navigates the spaces of community engagement, social intelligence, diversity, equity and inclusion, diplomacy, and empathy. And finally, we have Patrice Bailey, who was appointed to the position of assistant commissioner in June 2019. Patrice oversees agricultural outreach, marketing and development, dairy and meat inspection, and food safety and feed for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. 

Additional Resources:

Emerging Farmers Office Director Announced

Down Payment Assistance Grant

  • The Minnesota Legislature appropriated $500,000 for the first round of Down Payment Assistance Grant funding, which took place from January to June 2023. The state has also funded $1,000,000 for both a second and third round of funding, which will begin July 2023 and July 2024, respectively.


Emerging Farmers Working Group – Minnesota Department of Agriculture

  • Subscribe to the Working Group’s newsletter to be notified about when applications are open to apply for the working group


Minnesota Local Food Purchase Assistance Program

  • A second application cycle is anticipated to be issued in fall 2023. Please contact us if you would like to be notified when additional information is available.

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