Colorado ag receives $850,000

The Colorado Department of Agriculture announces that the state’s specialty crop industry has received more than $850,000 in grant funding. Specialty crops include fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, and horticulture, greenhouse, and nursery plants. This year’s recipients are diverse in crop, location, and project scope, and include ongoing projects as well as multiple first-time applicants.

First-time awardee GoFarm, a not-for-profit organization in Golden, Colorado, who will use the funding to create a farmer-to-farmer mentorship network to help train the next generation of specialty crop producers. “This funding will allow us to expand our mentorship and educational support for beginning farmers as they build sustainable farming businesses,” said Katie Huszcza of GoFarm.

Montezuma Orchard Restoration Project in Cortez, Colorado, has received multiple SCBGP grants in the past, and with this year’s funding will continue to build on the work of previous projects. “Support from SCBGP has been instrumental in MORP’s achievements to locate, identify, and preserve hundreds of heritage apple varieties found in Colorado’s historic orchards,” said Addie Schuenemeyer, MORP co-director. “This includes work to bring back the rediscovered Colorado Orange apple to make it available to consumers who are requesting it.”

The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program is a federal grant program housed within the U.S. Department of Agriculture and administered by state departments of agriculture. The amount awarded to each state is based on the previous year’s cash receipts for specialty crops in the state.

Through a competitive review by an outside panel of experts, 12 of the 29 applications submitted were selected for funding this year. “Interest in the program this year was strong, and the applicant pool was highly competitive,” said Jennifer Benson, grants specialist at CDA who oversees the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.