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State agriculture department to offer specialty crop grants


Last updated 12/22/2020 at 4:29pm

The Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) is now accepting applications for USDA’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. USDA partners with state departments of agriculture through the annual grant program to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops in areas including promotion, education, research, trade and nutrition. Specialty crops are defined as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops including floriculture and sod. 

CDA anticipates that approximately $700,000 will be available for this year’s grant awards, with approved projects starting in early 2022. Producer groups, organizations and associations, as well as state and local organizations, academia and other specialty crop stakeholders are eligible to apply either as single entities or in combined efforts. Grants will not be awarded to projects that solely benefit a particular commercial product or provide a profit to a single organization, institution, or individual.

“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 CDA Grants Specialist Jennifer Benson.

In recent years, funds have been awarded to dozens of organizations, helping them to 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 and for the Colorado Potato Administrative Committee to distribute locally-grown potatoes to public schools along with educational content for students, faculty, and parents.

Interested applicants should submit a concept outlining a proposed project. Concept proposals will then undergo a competitive review process, and those selected will be invited to submit a full application to be included in Colorado’s state plan to USDA. Concept proposals must be received electronically, at [email protected], by 5 p.m. on Feb. 15, 2021. Program guidelines and application materials are available at: 


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