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 diversity of ideas for projects from Colorado agriculture is amazing,” said Glenda Mostek, grants specialist, “Colorado agriculturalists have vision and imagination and are using these funds to transform their industries and communities.”
In recent years, funds have been awarded to dozens of organizations, helping them to conduct research and implement consumer promotions. In 2018, these grants included funds for Colorado State University to investigate the peach disease Cytospora, and to LiveWell Colorado to promote specialty crops to low-income communities across Colorado through the Double Up Food Bucks program.
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. Specialty crops are defined as fruits and vegetables, dried fruits, and nursery crops including floriculture and sod.
CDA anticipates that approximately $550,000 will be available for this year’s grant program, with approved projects starting early in 2020. 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.
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 1, 2019. For program guidelines and an application, visit www.colorado.gov/ag/specialtycropgrant or call (303) 869-9173.