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 today, with proposals being accepted until Dec. 31.

    In its fourth year, the Innovation Grant Program is accepting proposals focused on innovation solutions to preventing both nitrogen and phosphorous loss to ground and surface water. Each accepted proposal will feature novel practices related to improved nitrogen and/or phosphorous management on a field scale program.

    Last year, 12 projects were approved for funding, each with a focus on preventing nitrogen loss. The 2019 Innovation Grant Program has expanded to solutions that improve phosphorous management, which has been a focus for farmers in the Red River Valley, specifically.

    To date, the program has invested nearly $400,000 in 40 farmer-led research projects (33 unique projects and 7 replicated projects) bringing novel solutions to prevent nitrogen loss on the farm. In 2019, farmers are eligible for up to $7,000 per year in funding dependent on the cost to carry out each farmer-led, conservation-minded project. 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.

    In the first three 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.

    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.

    For more information on research funded by Minnesota’s corn organizations, visit mncorn.org/research.