Oct 22, 2020
Colorado Potato Administrative Committee receives grant to explore biopesticide use

The Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) is pleased to announce the recipients of more than $850,000 in grant funding to support Colorado’s specialty crop industry.

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 nonprofit organization in Golden, 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.

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.

Among the awarded projects will begin in early 2021, the following involve or could involve the Colorado potato industry:

  • Colorado Potato Administrative Committee, Monte Vista— $72,238 for two efforts: to explore the use of seven different biopesticides by potato growers in the San Luis Valley as a means to promote environmental stewardship, and to provide Colorado public schools with access to and education on Colorado potatoes.
  • Colorado State University, Fort Collins — $81,148 to oversee and conduct research and supply technical support and outreach to Colorado specialty crop producers to stimulate innovation, competitiveness, and success. This project pays a part of the salary of the CSU Specialty Crops Coordinator and convenes grant recipients to share information and learn from each other.
  • Fort Lewis College, Hesperus — $78,745 to create 12 grower guides for growing a variety of specialty crops at elevation, addressing the unique challenges of short growing season, arid conditions, water scarcity, clay soils, cool nights, early frosts, and widely variable weed and pest pressure.
  • Colorado Department of Agriculture, Broomfield — $71,000 to promote Colorado produce to 19,000 attendees from more than 60 countries at the Produce Marketing Association Fresh Summit Expo in 2021 through the development of a Colorado Pavilion.
  • Colorado Farmers Market Association, Denver — $62,127 to provide business development training for farmer vendors and year-long, coordinated marketing support for farmers and market managers.
  • Colorado Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, Longmont — $53,424 for marketing and promotion of Colorado specialty crops through consumer tours, youth education, and social media outreach, as well as to develop educational opportunities for beginning and small-scale producers.

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