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To strengthen local food systems and create greater supply chain resilience, the Colorado Department of Agriculture will distribute grant funding to be used for agricultural processing projects. Up to $2 million will be awarded through a competitive Farm-to-Market Infrastructure Grant Program to help farmers, ranchers, food processors, and manufacturers improve local food systems and drive the development and expansion of agricultural value-added projects.
The early days of the COVID-19 pandemic revealed weaknesses in the U.S. food production and supply chain systems. With that in mind, Colorado’s legislature adopted Senate Bill 21-248, creating the Farm-to-Market Infrastructure Grant Program within the Colorado Department of Agriculture. Grant funds can be used only for agricultural processing projects — meaning the transforming, packaging, sorting, storage, or grading of Colorado livestock, livestock products, agricultural commodities, plants, or plant products.
“When the pandemic showed the vulnerabilities of our local food systems, Colorado producers stepped up to fill the gaps. What we heard them say was that the ability to quickly adapt business practices to counteract global supply chain issues requires investment into new equipment and technologies,” said Tom Lipetzky, Markets Division Director at the Colorado Department of Agriculture. “The Farm-to-Market Grants will help producers across our state create a more resilient and profitable food supply chain. We want to invest in Colorado producers to help them expand their businesses and their offerings of value-added agricultural projects.”
Value-added products generally go through a production or manufacturing process. A product could be considered value-added if there has been a change in the physical state or form (such as making meat into jerky or fruit into jam); the manner of production enhances the value of the product (such as processing of barley into malt or fruit into juices); or the product is segregated in a way that enhances value (such as medium and large eggs).
Farmers, ranchers, and agricultural processing businesses are eligible to apply if they are residents of and operate in the state of Colorado. The maximum grant award amount for any one project is $150,000.
Applications will be reviewed in two Award Periods. Those applications received by November 30, 2021 will be reviewed for Award Period #1, and those received by February 28, 2022, will be reviewed as part of Award Period #2. For each award period, $1 million will be available for grants, with up to $2 million to be awarded by June 30, 2022.
To apply, businesses must submit an online application form at ag.colorado.gov. Applications will be received on a rolling basis during the two Award Periods outlined above.