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The Colorado Department of Agriculture is now accepting applications for the United States Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, aiming to enhance specialty crops’ competitiveness in promotion, education, research, trade, and nutrition.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) partners with state departments of agriculture through the annual grant program. Specialty crops include fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops such as floriculture and sod.
“It is inspiring to see the innovative and important work being done by producers and organizations, year after year, to enhance the competitiveness of Colorado-grown fruits, vegetables, and other specialty crops,” said the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) Grants Specialist Jennifer Benson.
CDA expects a total of $700,000 to be available for this year’s grant awards with approved projects beginning in early 2022. Those eligible to apply either as single entities or in combined efforts include producer groups, organizations, associations and state and local organizations, academia, and other specialty crop stakeholders.
Funds have been awarded to dozens of organizations over the past few years, which helped them conduct research and create new market opportunities for specialty crops. Recent grants included funds for the Colorado Farmers Market Association to promote specialty crops at farmers’ markets in addition to the Colorado Potato Administrative Committee to distribute locally-grown potatoes to public schools and educational content for students, faculty, and parents.
Those interested in applying should submit a concept outlining a proposed project, at which point concept proposals will be reviewed and selected to submit a full application to be included in the state’s plan to USDA. Concept proposals are required to be submitted electronically by Monday, February 15, 2021.
For more information regarding the Colorado Department of Agriculture, visit: colorado.gov/ag or to view program guidelines and application materials, visit: https://ag.colorado.gov/markets/markets-funding/specialty-crop-block-grant