Minnesota corn farmers once again have the opportunity to put their innovative conservation ideas into action through the Minnesota Corn Innovation Grant Program. The RFP for the program officially opened earlier this month, with proposals being accepted until Dec. 31.
In its fifth year, the Innovation Grant Program has widened its focus for innovative projects on the farm. Last year, the program expanded to accept solutions to prevent both nitrogen and phosphorous loss to ground and surface water. This year, the program now also seeks innovative ideas in nutrient use efficiency, tillage, economics and management, and production practices that enhance water quality.
“The Innovation Grant Program continues to be a great avenue for Minnesota’s corn farmers to showcase innovation on the farm in a way that has the potential to influence statewide farming practices,” Minnesota Corn Growers Association Senior Research Director Paul Meints said. “By expanding our focus this year, we look forward to new and exciting ideas that build a more sustainable future for our growers.”
To date, the program has invested nearly $600,000 in more than 50 farmer-led research projects bringing novel solutions to nutrient management and water quality protection. In the first four years of the program, projects have included novel approaches to cover crop systems, state-of-the-art drip irrigation for spoon-feeding nitrogen, evaluating variable-rate nitrogen programs and more.
In 2020, farmers are eligible for up to $7,000 per year in funding dependent on the cost to carry out each farmer-led involving ideas toward environmental and/or economic sustainability. Replicated trials may also be funded at up to $30,000 per year, but must include a statistical design and analysis protocol in the proposal. Criteria and expectations for each of the proposal levels are available within the RFP. Projects must be applied for and conducted by an active Minnesota corn farmer subject to the Minnesota corn check-off.
Visit mncorn.org/research to download the 2020 RFP and apply online before 3 p.m. on Dec. 31.