SPOTLIGHT: Grain Bin Cost Share

SPOTLIGHT: Grain Bin Cost Share

Even though the days remain hot, humid and summerlike, fall harvest is just around the corner and many farmers are gearing up for the busy days.

Grain bin safety has been the subject of much discussion during the past few years and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is leading an effort to make safety more affordable. A new cost share program is available for farms looking to install safety equipment on grain bins and silos. Keep reading below to learn how to apply and make your farm a safer operation.

For Immediate Release
Larry Schumacher
MDA Communications

August 24, 2020

Funds Available to Improve Safety on MN Farms
New program can make grain bin safety more affordable

St. Paul, MN: Minnesota farmers who want to add safety equipment to their on-farm grain storage facilities can now apply for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s (MDA) new Grain Storage Facility Safety Cost-Share program.

The program reimburses up to 75 percent of the cost to buy, ship, and install eligible safety equipment for on-farm grain bins or silos. The program will pay up to $400 per bin or silo, with a limit of $2,400 per farm per year. The Minnesota Legislature appropriated $50,000 for this new program earlier this year.

“We’ve seen many tragedies in the recent past around grain bin accidents and I can tell you each one is devastating to a family and a whole community, We’re thankful to legislators for allowing us to help farmers reduce the cost of reducing risk on the farm.”

Thom Petersen, Agriculture Commissioner

Examples of eligible equipment include fall protection systems, engineering controls that prevent contact with an auger or other moving parts, dust collection systems that minimize explosion hazards, personal protective equipment that increases the likelihood of surviving a grain-bin-related emergency, grain silo air quality monitoring equipment, and other grain storage facility safety equipment with prior approval from the MDA.

The MDA is accepting applications through June 30, 2021, or until all funds are exhausted. Funds will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.


Jim Zwaschka

Instructor, South Central College
Station Captain, North Mankato Fire Department

  • This demo highlighted examples of available best practices for grain bin and machine safety using video examples and explanations of lockout tagout for entry, and what harnessing and anchor systems can do to make environments safer.
  • The demo taught what discussions should take place on the farm before the event of an emergency to assure first responders have needed information and processes in place.
  • These topics were presented along with examples and demonstrations of agricultural safety awareness.

Farm Safety Check: Grain Handling Safety

Grain handling is a high-hazard activity, where workers face serious injury and death. Youth should not be in grain bins or silos or in/around flat storage structures unless they are empty, proper lock-out/tag-out and other safety procedures are followed, and the youth is at least 16 years old.

Have you taken the proper steps to ensure the safety of grain bins/silo entry on your farm?