ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) has announced a new Farm Business Management (FBM) scholarship program that is funded through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Nearly $250,000 in scholarships will be available to farmers negatively affected economically by COVID-19. Priority will be given to farmers engaged in any stage of mediation or bankruptcy between March 2 and Dec. 30, 2020.

An estimated 350 Minnesota farmers are currently distressed due to COVID-19 impact, including farmers in mediation, bankruptcy, foreclosure and debt restructuring. The FBM program offered by the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, helps farmers manage their finances and learn how to navigate the complicated financial systems of farming.

The scholarships will cover approximately 75% of the cost of tuition.

To apply, contact an FBM instructor. Applications are available now. Applicants must be registered for at least 10 credits for either fall, spring, or combination by Dec. 10.

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Funding for this program is made available through the CARES Act, and is part of a $7.7 million plan announced by Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan to support ag producers, meat processors and farmers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

To learn more contact Brad Schloesser, Director of the Minnesota State Southern Agricultural Center of Excellence, at brad.schloesser@southcentral.edu or (507) 389-7263.