The Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) launched the fifth year of the Innovation Grant Program, investing in five farmer-led research projects and four led by University of Minnesota researchers. This year’s projects focus on improved soil health, nutrient management and water quality protection.
To date, the program has invested nearly $700,000 in 37 original projects identifying practical innovations that can be replicated by Minnesota farmers.
Working with the Minnesota Corn Research & Promotion Council, MCGA announced the Innovation Grant Program in 2016 as part of its goal to make Minnesota corn farmers the most sustainable and environmentally responsible in the United States. With farmers continuing to face challenging times on the farm, the program has allowed growers to put their ideas to the test with financial support.
“Despite the tough economics on the farm today, Minnesota’s farmers continue have a drive to become better stewards of the land. The Innovation Grant Program provides an avenue for farmers to showcase those novel ideas that have the potential to shape how we farm moving forward,” MCGA Senior Research Director Paul Meints said.
Examples from this year’s participants include using a three-crop rotation and cover crops to eliminate soil erosion, measuring the benefits of a wider row crop, impacts of precision manure application and more.
The 2020 Innovation Grant Program also funded four projects led by University of Minnesota researchers. In addition to farmer-led research, the program reserves funds for projects led by researchers to produce data that can be used in future research focused on nutrient management, soil health and water quality. This year’s projects include a focus on impact of rain events on water quality, manure application, phosphorous loss and soil carbon loss.
Along with the Innovation Grant Program, corn farmers in Minnesota support about $2.6 million every year through respected research institutions like the University of Minnesota to address issues that corn farmers are facing every day. Reviewed by MCGA and Minnesota Corn Research & Promotion Council, Innovation Grant proposals were accepted through Dec. 31, 2019, for the 2020 crop season.
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