Our AGRI New Markets Cost-Share Program can help your Minnesota farm or branded food, beverage, or pet food company take advantage of market opportunities through E-commerce, digital and e-mail marketing, Business-to-Business (B2B) tradeshows (virtual and in-person), and store demos.

We’ve adapted to help you meet the challenges and opportunities of COVID-impacted food supply chains and changing consumer behavior. You can apply for two types of cost-shares (details below):

  1. E-Commerce and Digital Marketing Cost-Share Program
  2. Wholesale Cost-Share Program
two people giving samples to trade show attendees

Funds Available

We have up to $250,000 available for Cost-Share Program reimbursements in Fiscal Year 2022 (July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022). We will process applications as we receive them, until we run out of funds.

Funding for this program comes from the Agricultural Growth, Research, and Innovation (AGRI) Program.

General Program Rules

These cost-share programs are reimbursed at a rate of 50% of eligible investment made unless noted in the specific program details below.

  • The E-Commerce and Digital Marketing Program limit is $2,000 per farm or company during Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22).
  • The Wholesale Program limit is $2,000 per farm or company during FY22.
  • The maximum combined reimbursement per farm or company from both programs is $3,000 in FY22.

To apply for either of these programs, your business must be:

  • A Minnesota farm, or a branded food, beverage, or pet food making company registered with the Minnesota Secretary of State, AND
  • A small-to-medium enterprise, which is an entity with fewer than 500 employees.

NOTE: This program is not for brokers or distributors, retailers, or other re-sellers.

You must also agree to:

  • Promptly return post-event and follow-up surveys that ask for information including the number of leads generated and sales projections.
  • Retain receipts and records for three years and make them available for audit or inspection by the MDA or state auditor on request.

We reserve the right to deny claims from entities not in good standing with the State, or those who do not comply with the program requirements. Companies and farms that win awards at MDA-sponsored events may exceed annual limits by the amount of that award. Booth space discounts provided for companies who participate in our Minnesota Pavilion events through our Wholesale Cost-Share Program also do not count toward reimbursement limits.

Application Deadlines

We process applications as they come in (first-come, first-served) until the application deadline or the funds are gone, whichever is first. If funds remain through the end of FY22, the final application deadline is July 9, 2022.

How to Apply

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E-Commerce and Digital Marketing Cost-Share Program

From July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2022 (FY22):

  • $2,000 is the maximum reimbursement per entity from the E-Commerce and Digital Marketing Cost-Share Program.
  • The maximum combined reimbursement from the E-Commerce and Digital Marketing and Wholesale Cost-Share Programs is $3,000 this fiscal year.

E-commerce and digital marketing cost-sharing is targeted at Minnesota Grown licensed farms and MDA licensed Minnesota food, beverage, and pet food companies who offer their own branded products.

To be eligible, you must meet the general program requirements.

Additional eligibility requirements:

  • You must provide a current MDA Food or Feed License or Minnesota Grown License number (either your own or that of a Minnesota copacker that you use). Those holding local (municipal) food licenses may also be eligible if the MDA has provided delegated authority to the municipality.
  • Cottage Food producers with a Minnesota Grown license are eligible but must follow the regulations regarding online sales. These rules do not allow third-party distribution/delivery of your product.

Eligible E-commerce and digital marketing expenses might include:

  • Third-party E-commerce marketplace/platform (including registration and sign-up fees, fees paid based on sales, and fees for premium positioning)
  • Digital, e-mail, and social media advertising that drives traffic to E-commerce (including advertising on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media, and investments in email marketing formats such as Constant Contact, Hubspot, and MailChimp)
  • E-commerce consulting/management contracts (for comprehensive consulting programs; only the portion of that service clearly defined on an itemized receipt as E-commerce is eligible)
  • E-commerce training and educational event attendance
  • Website (with E-commerce) design and setup contracts (including photography or videography, website extensions such as store locators, and other web store utilities)

Ineligible E-commerce and digital marketing expenses include:

  • Equipment, hardware, and supplies
  • Print advertising and printing
  • Electronic payment equipment
  • Software
  • Merchandise and merchandise processing fees
  • Retailer and other reseller web marketplace platforms (i.e. Walmart.com, Target.com)

Contact us BEFORE you invest if you have questions on eligibility or qualified expenses.

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three people standing by their products in a trade show booth

Wholesale Cost-Share Program

From July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2022 (FY22):

  • $2,000 is the maximum reimbursement per entity from the Wholesale Cost-Share Program.
  • The maximum combined reimbursement from the E-Commerce and Digital Marketing and Wholesale Cost-Share Programs is $3,000 this fiscal year.

To be eligible, you must meet the general program requirements.

Eligible expenses include:

  • Business-Business (B2B) Tradeshow costs:
    • Booth rental (if there is a Minnesota Pavilion booth space available at an event, booth rental cost is NOT eligible)
    • Badge scanner/lead retrieval services
    • Compostable sampling costs (i.e. cutlery and porter service)
    • Virtual B2B tradeshow registration
    • Shipping of samples to specific businesses for 1:1 meetings scheduled as part of a virtual domestic B2B tradeshow (only shipping costs are eligible; NOT product costs)
    • Videography created for a virtual B2B tradeshow
    • Association membership, if required to participate in an event
  • In-Store Demo costs:
    • Must be a retail product demonstration in a store where your product is sold (this does NOT include sales at consumer events like farmers’ markets, festivals, fairs, etc.)
    • May include labor for an employee, owner, or contracted help at a flat rate of $10/hour
    • May include mileage at $0.50/mile up to a maximum of $200 per demo (mileage is only available if owners or employees executes demos, not contractors)
  • Minnesota Pavilion Mentorship costs:
    • Only for approved participants in our Minnesota Pavilion Mentorship Program
    • One-time reimbursement per company; maximum $500
    • For expenses including airfare, hotel/lodging, car rental, education sessions, and badge for entry

Contact us BEFORE you invest if you have questions on eligibility or qualified expenses.

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Additional Information

Cost-Share Definitions and FAQs

Traditional business-to-business (B2B) tradeshows are showcases for manufacturers to display their products to wholesale buyers. Manufacturers and brand owners contract to rent a booth space at an event so they can pitch their products to buyers in-person. Virtual tradeshows are online events that include 1:1 meetings between manufacturers and wholesale buyers that are arranged in advance by an event organization or trade association. Events that include general “consumer” attendance or admission do not qualify as tradeshows.

Badge scanning is a way for exhibitors to electronically collect and compile leads at an event. It is usually accomplished by purchasing and downloading an app from the event organizer. The app then allows exhibitors to take photos of attendee (buyer) badges with their smart phone/device and keep all the information in one place. It’s a replacement for sharing business cards, although cards are still used.

For the purposes of these Cost-Share Programs, a “Third-Party E-Commerce Marketplace/Platform” is a web-based tool and/or marketplace used by Minnesota farms and food brands to gain exposure and make sales directly to online shoppers (individual consumers) or wholesale food buyers (retailers and foodservice operators). Third-Party E-Commerce Marketplace/Platforms include entities such as Amazon, Alibaba, Shopify, Barn2Door, RangeMe, Grazecart, Wordpress, Squarespace, and Localine. Web/online sales and transactional platforms offered by copackers, distributors, retailers, and other resellers (and any other entities that buy and re-sell products from manufacturers) do not meet our definition of a Third-Party E-Commerce Marketplace/Platform.

Privacy Notice

The information provided as part of the New Markets program cost-share application will be used to assess the applicant’s eligibility to receive payment under the MDA New Markets program and to fulfill applicable financial reporting requirements. Completing this application is voluntary; applicants are not legally required to provide the MDA with the information requested, but only completed applications will be considered. While much of the information applicants provide is classified by Minnesota law as public, some of the information may be classified by law as private or nonpublic at the MDA. Data classified as private or nonpublic will be accessible only to MDA employees and contractors that have a work assignment that requires access to the data, and to other entities authorized by state or federal law to receive the data. The MDA may be obligated to provide the data to law enforcement, the Minnesota Department of Administration, Minnesota Management and Budget, the Office of the State Auditor, or the Office of the Legislative Auditor. Finally, private data about you may be released to third parties through your informed consent, or pursuant to a valid court order or federal subpoena.

Internal Revenue Service Code Section 6109 requires applicants to provide their correct taxpayer identification number to payers who must file information returns with the IRS. The MDA will use the information provided on the applicant’s W-9 form in order to report payments received as part of the New Markets program to the IRS. The IRS uses the numbers for identification purposes and to help verify the accuracy of the applicant’s tax return. For more information on how the information provided on a W-9 may be used, refer to the Privacy Act Notice on page 6 of the W-9 form.