Colorado specialty crops grant application now open

BROOMFIELD, Colo. – Colorado’s specialty crop producers can benefit from the Specialty Crops Block Grant Program (SCBGP), funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and administered by the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA). CDA is currently accepting applications for the grant program.

“The SCBGP is an important resource for strengthening the specialty crop industry,” said CDA grants specialist Glenda Mostek. “We encourage producer groups, researchers and other industry supporters to propose projects that enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops, sustain the livelihood of farmers, and strengthen local economies.” 

Specialty crops are defined as fruits and vegetables, dried fruits, and nursery crops including floriculture and sod. Priorities for Colorado’s specialty crop program include supporting the next generation of farmers and ranchers, scaling‐up high‐value agriculture and diverse market opportunities, and promoting and incentivizing soil, water, and climate stewardship.

CDA anticipates that approximately $650,000 will be available for this year’s grant program, with approved projects starting early in 2021. Producer groups, organizations, and associations, as well as state and local organizations, academia and other specialty crops stakeholders are eligible to apply either as single entities or in combined efforts. SCBGP will not award grant funds for projects that solely benefit a particular commercial product or provide a profit to a single organization, institution, or individual.

In recent years, funds have been awarded to dozens of organizations, helping them to conduct research and implement consumer promotions. In 2019, these grants included funds for Colorado State University to investigate organic methods of control for apple pests, and to the Colorado Cider Guild to help establish a cider apple industry in Colorado.

USDA partners with state departments of agriculture to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crop producers in areas such as marketing, promotion, education, research, trade and nutrition.

The initial phase of grant selection will involve shorter, concept proposals. Concept proposals must be received electronically by close of business (5:00 p.m.) on February 3, 2020. For program guidelines and an application, visit the CDA website or call 303-869-9173.

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By Brian Allmer - The BARN

Brian Allmer & the BARN are members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), the Colorado FFA Foundation, the Colorado 4H Foundation, the Colorado Farm Show Marketing Committee, 1867 Club Board Member, Denver Ag & Livestock Club Member, the Weld County Fair Board, the Briggsdale FFA Advisory Council, Briggsdale 4H Club Beef Leader & Founder / Coordinator of the Briggsdale Classic Open Jackpot Show.