(a) For purposes of this section, the following terms have the meanings given.
(b) "Eligible farmer" means an individual who at the time that the grant is awarded:
(1) is a resident of Minnesota who intends to acquire farmland located within the state and provide the majority of the day-to-day physical labor and management of the farm;
(2) grosses no more than $250,000 per year from the sale of farm products; and
(3) has not, and whose spouse has not, at any time had a direct or indirect ownership interest in farmland.
(c) "Farm down payment" means an initial, partial payment required by a lender or seller to purchase farmland.
The commissioner must award farm down payment assistance grants of up to $15,000 per eligible farmer. An eligible farmer must match the grant with at least an equivalent amount of other funding. An eligible farmer must commit to own and farm the land purchased with assistance provided under this section for at least five years. For each year that a grant recipient does not own and farm the land during the five-year period, the grant recipient must pay a penalty to the commissioner equal to 20 percent of the grant amount.
No later than December 1, 2023, and annually thereafter, the commissioner must provide a report to the chairs and ranking minority members of the legislative committees having jurisdiction over agriculture and rural development, in compliance with sections 3.195 and 3.197, on the farm down payment assistance grants under this section. The report must include:
(1) background information on beginning farmers in Minnesota and any other information that the commissioner and authority find relevant to evaluating the effect of the grants on increasing opportunities for and the number of beginning farmers;
(2) the number and amount of grants;
(3) the geographic distribution of grants by county;
(4) the number of grant recipients who are emerging farmers;
(5) the number of farmers who cease to own land and are subject to payment of a penalty, along with the reasons for the land ownership cessation; and
(6) the number and amount of grant applications that exceeded the allocation available in each year.
Official Publication of the State of Minnesota
Revisor of Statutes