Colorado Comeback: Agricultural Stimulus

The Colorado Department of Agriculture is excited to announce $76 million in stimulus funding has been approved by the legislature to support agricultural industries in Colorado.

The Department and Governor Polis have been focused on securing funding for agriculture as part of the Colorado Comeback initiative, the state's stimulus plan aimed to help our state recover faster and build back stronger.

Read about each bill below or scroll down for all updates. 

Appropriates $2.5 million to expand market opportunities for Colorado Producers through the Colorado Proud program.

SB 21-203 legislative bill page

Colorado Proud Listening Session (held on 6/24/21)

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Update 10/05/21

The Colorado Proud Marketing and Technical Assistance grant program will award competitive grants to Colorado food and agricultural producers who are looking to broaden their reach and expand into new sales channels.  

Up to $375,000 in funding is available to Colorado producers to help grow their businesses, market to broader audiences, and create new market opportunities. Awards will be capped at $10,000 and require 10% cash or in-kind match of total funds requested. Projects must be completed by April 30, 2022.

Although any Colorado-based business can apply for this grant, priority will be given to proposals from Colorado Proud members and projects which intend to use the funding in the following specific areas:

  • E-commerce and website development
  • Packaging and labels design with most current Colorado Proud logo
  • Marketing and promotion

Membership in Colorado Proud is free and businesses can join at ColoradoProud.com

To apply, businesses must fill out the online application form. You will be asked to upload the following documents:

  • Project proposal
  • Project budget

To be considered, all items must be submitted by 5 p.m. on November 1, 2021. With questions about this program, please email cda_agstimulus@state.co.us for support.

Appropriates $1.875 million to engage in activities that promote the State’s ability to anticipate, prepare for, mitigate, adapt to or respond to drought. There is also $15,000 per Conservation District ($1.125 million total).

SB 21-234 legislative bill page

Conservation Initiatives: Drought, ACRE3 and Soil Health (listening session held on 6/24/21)

Update 9/1/21

The Drought Resiliency program is now accepting applications for competitive grants. CDA will award approximately $1.5 million in grants for drought-related projects. Projects that can demonstrate long-term and widespread benefits will be the most competitive. Funding can also be used to match investments in new projects.

Applications must be submitted through an online application< before Thursday, September 30, 2021 by 5 p.m. MT.

During your application process, you will be asked to answer the following questions. Please be prepared to add the answers to these questions to the google form, as there is no ability to save an application once you begin. 

  • Describe how the area/region associated with the project has been impacted by drought.
  • Brief narrative description of your project (what do you want funding to do, and why?)
  • Provide a description of the expected impacts below. Is there evidence (studies, reports, maps, etc.) to support your proposal? You may email additional supporting documents to: cda_agstimulus@state.co.us 
  • Does the project involve multiple stakeholders/partners? Please describe.

If you need assistance or have further questions, please contact cda_agstimulus@state.co.us.

Eligible entities include Tribes; state government including municipalities, enterprises, counties and agencies; districts including Authorities, title 32/Special Districts (conservancy, conservation and irrigation districts); Federal agencies that apply with a state entity; Private Incorporated entities including mutual ditch companies, homeowners associations, and corporations; Private individuals, partnerships and sole proprietors; and Non-Governmental Organizations.

 

Appropriates $5 million to expand agricultural efficiency and soil health initiatives, including $3 million to the ACRE3 program of which at least $150,000 towards agrivoltaics and $2 million for Soil Health activities of which at least $1 million will go through Conservation Districts.

SB 21-235 legislative bill page

Conservation Initiatives: Drought, ACRE3 and Soil Health (listening session held on 6/24/21)

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Update 8/11/21

Applications for the ACRE3 program are now open on a rolling basis. 

All agricultural producers in Colorado with at least $5,000 in annual energy costs (not including vehicle fuel costs) are eligible to apply for a free technical report (worth about $5,000 each), including an on-farm energy efficiency audit or renewable energy feasibility study. Applicants who have received technical reports may be eligible for grants of up to 65% of project costs based on the recommendations of the technical reports. The maximum award is $500,000 per applicant or farm enterprise.

You can learn more about the Agricultural Energy Efficiency program from the Colorado Energy Office and from the Department of Agriculture.
 

Update 8/09/21

Applications for the S.T.A.R. Program are now open. You can find the application form and requirements on the Soil Health web page

There are also webinar opportunities to learn more about the S.T.A.R. program and how the grant program can work with the conservation districts. We are offering two sessions to accommodate different schedules, but the sessions will be the same. 

Tuesday, August 17, at 3:00 p.m. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/3808835749    
Wednesday, August 18, at 9:00 a.m. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/3808835749   
 

Appropriates $30 million to create an agricultural revolving loan and grant program, $5-10 million is for agricultural processing loans or grants and $10-20 million in loans to farmers and ranchers.

SB21-248 legislative bill page

Revolving Loans and Grant Program (listening session held on 6/23/21 and 6/24/21)

 

Update 9/15/21

The Colorado Department of Agriculture will hold sessions to gather public and stakeholder input on the rules governing the Loan Program. The Colorado Agricultural Future Loan Program comes as the result of SB 21-248, which appropriated up to $30 million for low interest loans and farm-to-market infrastructure loans and grants. 

CDA will hold two listening sessions about the Colorado Agricultural Future Loan Program. The sessions are staggered to accommodate varying schedules but the content will be the same, except for the Q&A portion of each presentation. 

These listening sessions will be held virtually and are free and accessible to all, though we are asking attendees to register in advance. 

CDA Listening Sessions on Colorado Agricultural Future Loan Program
You do not need to attend both sessions, please register for the session that works best for you.

  • Monday, September 20, 2021, 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. MT
    Register here
  • Tuesday, September 21, 2021, 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. MT
    Register here

You can view the recording of the Listening Session here

If you are unable to attend these sessions, you will have an opportunity to submit your feedback via an online form. Draft rule language will be available on the CDA website (under “Rule Hearings & Draft Rule Proposals”) in the coming days.

If you are unable to attend these sessions, you will have an opportunity to submit your feedback via an online form. Draft rule language will be available here and on the Draft Rule Proposals page in the coming days. 

CDA will also hold two additional sessions focused on specific audiences. These meetings are free and open to the public, but are meant to solicit feedback specifically from the identified audiences to better understand their needs. If you fall into either of these categories, please register for the meeting that best describes you. 

  • Young & Beginning Farmer/Rancher Meeting
    Monday, September 27, 2021, 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. MT

    Register here
  • Underserved or Underrepresented Communities Meeting
    Wednesday, September 29, 2021, 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. MT

    Register here

If you have questions or comments about the Colorado Agricultural Future Loan Program, please contact cda_agstimulus@state.co.us.
 

Appropriates $30 million to create an agricultural revolving loan and grant program (see above), $2 million is for agricultural processing grants.

SB32-248 legislative bill page

 

Update 10/08/21

The Farm-to-Market Infrastructure Grant Program will award up to $2 million to help farmers, ranchers, food processors and manufacturers improve local food systems and drive the development and expansion of agricultural value-added projects. The goal of the grants is to strengthen local food systems and create greater supply chain resilience.
 
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. Grant funds will be able to be used for agricultural processing projects -- the transforming, packaging, sorting, storage, or grading of Colorado livestock, livestock products, agricultural commodities, plants, or plant products.
 
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. Applications will be received on a rolling basis during the two Award Periods. 
 
To apply, businesses must submit the online application form. Please note: in order to save your work and upload the required documents, you will be asked to log into a Google account when accessing the application form. 
 
The Farm-to-Market Infrastructure Grant Program is part of Senate Bill 21-248, passed in response to the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, which revealed weaknesses in the U.S. food production and supply chain systems.

With questions about this program of the application process, please email cda_agstimulus@state.co.us for support.
 

Update 9/17/21

The Colorado Ag Commission has adopted an emergency rule to guide the Farm-to-Market Infrastructure Grant Program. 

In addition to loan listening sessions, CDA will hold a listening session to gather public and stakeholder input on the grant rule. These listening sessions will be held virtually and are free and accessible to all, though we are asking attendees to register in advance. 

CDA Listening Sessions on the Farm-to-Market Infrastructure Grant Program

  • Tuesday, September 21, 2021, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. MT 
    Register here 

If you are unable to attend the session, you can submit your feedback using an online form

 

Update 6/25/21

Revolving Loans and Grant Program (listening session held on 6/23/21 and 6/24/21)

Appropriates $35.5 million for Agricultural Events of which $2 million will go to Local County Fairs and other agricultural events. There is also a non-discretionary allocation of  $28.5 million to National Western Stock Show for event support and construction of the National Western Stock Show Campus and $5 million to the Colorado State Fair.

HB 21-1262 legislative bill page

County and Local Agricultural Events (listening session held on 6/22/21)

County and Local Agricultural Events, Session 2 presentation (presented 7/29/21)

Update: 8/13/21

Ag Events Stimulus Funding Now Accepting Applications

Agriculture Events and County Fairs will be eligible to apply for this funding if they meet the following definitions:

  • Ag Event - a public event held for the primary purposes of promoting or disseminating knowledge concerning, and encouraging the growth and prosperity of, all agricultural, stock raising, and horticultural industrial pursuits in a county or region of Colorado.  
    • The Ag Event must have existed prior to the 2020 event
    • The Ag Event must show net losses comparable to fair type expenses for the 2020 event. 
    • The Ag Event organization must be a non-profit.
    • The Ag Event was not deemed critical or essential during the pandemic.
  • County Fair - an exhibition held for the purposes of disseminating knowledge concerning, and encouraging the growth and prosperity of, all agricultural, stock raising, horticultural, artistic, and other mechanical or industrial pursuits in a county or region.  The county fair must incorporate agricultural exhibits or shows and include competitions for youth programs, and be recognized by one or more county commissions.
    • Demonstration of losses in 2020 is not required, however those who complete this portion of the application will be eligible for additional funding.

Forms to prepare for submission with your application:

  • Net losses statement - this is for losses incurred in 2020 for the event only, not year round - required for Ag Events, optional for County Fairs;
  • W-9 for the entity that will receive payment if awarded;
  • Proof of insurance (see a sample insurance form here if needed);
  • Electronic Funds Transfer Form (recommended for faster distribution of funds);
  • Ag Events will need to attach their non-profit documentation.

Please plan to include a brief statement describing how the funding will be used.  

Ag Events will also need to provide a statement on how the event promotes or disseminates knowledge concerning and encouraging the growth and prosperity of, all agricultural, stock raising, and horticultural industrial pursuits in Colorado. For questions on the application process please contact:  cda_agstimulus@state.co.us.

APPLICATIONS MUST BE SUBMITTED BY FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2021!

Updates (7/16/21)

Applications are not open at this time. 

Based on feedback from our stakeholder sessions it was evident that we needed to revisit our model for allocations to county fairs.  We are in the process of developing that now and will schedule another stakeholder meeting in the next few weeks. 

We are working on the parameters for what other ag events will be eligible for funding and will ask for feedback during our next stakeholder meeting. 

Update 10/08/21

The Farm-to-Market Infrastructure Grant Program will award up to $2 million to help farmers, ranchers, food processors and manufacturers improve local food systems and drive the development and expansion of agricultural value-added projects. The goal of the grants is to strengthen local food systems and create greater supply chain resilience.
 
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. Grant funds will be able to be used for agricultural processing projects -- the transforming, packaging, sorting, storage, or grading of Colorado livestock, livestock products, agricultural commodities, plants, or plant products.
 
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. Applications will be received on a rolling basis during the two Award Periods. 
 
To apply, businesses must submit the online application form. Please note: in order to save your work and upload the required documents, you will be asked to log into a Google account when accessing the application form. 
 
The Farm-to-Market Infrastructure Grant Program is part of Senate Bill 21-248, passed in response to the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, which revealed weaknesses in the U.S. food production and supply chain systems.

With questions about this program of the application process, please email cda_agstimulus@state.co.us for support.

 

Update 10/05/21

The Colorado Proud Marketing and Technical Assistance grant program will award competitive grants to Colorado food and agricultural producers who are looking to broaden their reach and expand into new sales channels.  

Up to $375,000 in funding is available to Colorado producers to help grow their businesses, market to broader audiences, and create new market opportunities. Awards will be capped at $10,000 and require 10% cash or in-kind match of total funds requested. Projects must be completed by April 30, 2022.

Although any Colorado-based business can apply for this grant, priority will be given to proposals from Colorado Proud members and projects which intend to use the funding in the following specific areas:

  • E-commerce and website development
  • Packaging and labels design with most current Colorado Proud logo
  • Marketing and promotion

Membership in Colorado Proud is free and businesses can join at ColoradoProud.com

To apply, businesses must fill out the online application form. You will be asked to upload the following documents:

  • Project proposal
  • Project budget

To be considered, all items must be submitted by 5 p.m. on November 1, 2021. With questions about this program, please email cda_agstimulus@state.co.us for support.

 

Update 9/17/21

The Colorado Ag Commission has adopted an emergency rule to guide the Farm-to-Market Infrastructure Grant Program. 

In addition to loan listening sessions, CDA will hold a listening session to gather public and stakeholder input on the grant rule. These listening sessions will be held virtually and are free and accessible to all, though we are asking attendees to register in advance. 

CDA Listening Sessions on the Farm-to-Market Infrastructure Grant Program

  • Tuesday, September 21, 2021, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. MT 
    Register here 

If you are unable to attend the session, you can submit your feedback using an online form
 

Update 9/15/21

The Colorado Department of Agriculture will hold sessions to gather public and stakeholder input on the rules governing the Loan Program. The Colorado Agricultural Future Loan Program comes as the result of SB 21-248, which appropriated up to $30 million for low interest loans and farm-to-market infrastructure loans and grants. 

CDA will hold two listening sessions about the Colorado Agricultural Future Loan Program. The sessions are staggered to accommodate varying schedules but the content will be the same, except for the Q&A portion of each presentation. 

These listening sessions will be held virtually and are free and accessible to all, though we are asking attendees to register in advance. 

CDA Listening Sessions on Colorado Agricultural Future Loan Program
You do not need to attend both sessions, please register for the session that works best for you.

  • Monday, September 20, 2021, 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. MT
    Register here
  • Tuesday, September 21, 2021, 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. MT
    Register here

You can view the recording of the Listening Session here

If you are unable to attend these sessions, you will have an opportunity to submit your feedback via an online form. Draft rule language will be available on the CDA website (under “Rule Hearings & Draft Rule Proposals”) in the coming days.

If you are unable to attend these sessions, you will have an opportunity to submit your feedback via an online form. Draft rule language will be available here and on the Draft Rule Proposals page in the coming days. 

CDA will also hold two additional sessions focused on specific audiences. These meetings are free and open to the public, but are meant to solicit feedback specifically from the identified audiences to better understand their needs. If you fall into either of these categories, please register for the meeting that best describes you. 

  • Young & Beginning Farmer/Rancher Meeting
    Monday, September 27, 2021, 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. MT

    Register here
  • Underserved or Underrepresented Communities Meeting
    Wednesday, September 29, 2021, 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. MT

    Register here

If you have questions or comments about the Colorado Agricultural Future Loan Program, please contact cda_agstimulus@state.co.us.
 

Update 9/1/21

The Drought Resiliency program is now accepting applications for competitive grants. CDA will award approximately $1.5 million in grants for drought-related projects. Projects that can demonstrate long-term and widespread benefits will be the most competitive. Funding can also be used to match investments in new projects.

Applications must be submitted through an online application before Thursday, September 30, 2021 by 5 p.m. MT.

During your application process, you will be asked to answer the following questions. Please be prepared to add the answers to these questions to the google form, as there is no ability to save an application once you begin.&

  • Describe how the area/region associated with the project has been impacted by drought.
  • Brief narrative description of your project (what do you want funding to do, and why?)
  • Provide a description of the expected impacts below. Is there evidence (studies, reports, maps, etc.) to support your proposal? You may email additional supporting documents to: cda_agstimulus@state.co.us
  • Does the project involve multiple stakeholders/partners? Please describe.

If you need assistance or have further questions, please contact cda_agstimulus@state.co.us.

Eligible entities include Tribes; state government including municipalities, enterprises, counties and agencies; districts including Authorities, title 32/Special Districts (conservancy, conservation and irrigation districts); Federal agencies that apply with a state entity; Private Incorporated entities including mutual ditch companies, homeowners associations, and corporations; Private individuals, partnerships and sole proprietors; and Non-Governmental Organizations.

 

Update 8/27/21

A Request for Information (RFI) has been sent out to seek input from current agricultural lenders who can provide insight and expertise into structuring a comprehensive scope of work and cost response for an agricultural loan program. More information can be found here

Responses submitted as a result of the Request for Information solicitation will be used to produce an Invitation to Negotiate (ITN) to identify one or more financial institutions to help the Department run the loan program. Response to this RFI is not required to be considered for any future solicitation.

The full RFI can be viewed here and all answers must be submitted via email to Nikki Pollack by Thursday, September 2 at 12 p.m. MT. 
 

Update: 8/13/21

Ag Events Stimulus Funding Now Accepting Applications

Agriculture Events and County Fairs will be eligible to apply for this funding if they meet the following definitions:

  • Ag Event - a public event held for the primary purposes of promoting or disseminating knowledge concerning, and encouraging the growth and prosperity of, all agricultural, stock raising, and horticultural industrial pursuits in a county or region of Colorado.

    • The Ag Event must have existed prior to the 2020 event 
    • The Ag Event must show net losses comparable to fair type expenses for the 2020 event.
    • The Ag Event organization must be a non-profit.
    • The Ag Event was not deemed critical or essential during the pandemic.
  • County Fair - an exhibition held for the purposes of disseminating knowledge concerning, and encouraging the growth and prosperity of, all agricultural, stock raising, horticultural, artistic, and other mechanical or industrial pursuits in a county or region. The county fair must incorporate agricultural exhibits or shows and include competitions for youth programs, and be recognized by one or more county commissions.

    • Demonstration of losses in 2020 is not required, however those who complete this portion of the application will be eligible for additional funding.

Forms to prepare for submission with your application:

  • Net losses statement - this is for losses incurred in 2020 for the event only, not year round - required for Ag Events, optional for County Fairs;
  • W-9 for the entity that will receive payment if awarded;
  • Proof of insurance(see a sample insurance form here if needed);
  • Electronic Funds Transfer Form (recommended for faster distribution of funds);
  • Ag Events will need to attach their non-profit documentation.

Please plan to include a brief statement describing how the funding will be used.&n

Ag Events will also need to provide a statement on how the event promotes or disseminates knowledge concerning and encouraging the growth and prosperity of, all agricultural, stock raising, and horticultural industrial pursuits in Colorado. For questions on the application process please contact: cda_agstimulus@state.co.us.

APPLICATIONS MUST BE SUBMITTED BY FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2021!

Update: 8/11/21

Read the most current update about stimulus funding on our blog

Update: 8/09/21

Applications for the S.T.A.R. Program (through SB 235) are now open. You can find the application form and requirements on the Soil Health web page

There are also webinar opportunities to learn more about the S.T.A.R. program and how the grant program can work with the conservation districts. We are offering two sessions to accommodate different schedules, but the sessions will be the same. 

Tuesday, August 17, at 3:00 p.m. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/3808835749    
Wednesday, August 18, at 9:00 a.m. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/3808835749   
 

The ACRE3 (Advancing Colorado’s Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency) program is also seeking applicants on a rolling basis. You can learn more about the Agricultural Energy Efficiency program from the Colorado Energy Office and from the Department of Agriculture.

______________________________

The initial listening sessions have now concluded, you can see the presentations from each session below.

County and Local Agricultural Events (listening session held on 6/22/21)

County and Local Agricultural Events, Session 2 presentation (presented 7/29/21)

Revolving Loans and Grant Program (listening session held on 6/23/21 and 6/24/21)

Colorado Proud (listening session held on 6/24/21)

Conservation Initiatives: Drought, ACRE3 and Soil Health (listening session held on 6/24/21)

If you have additional questions about the Agricultural Stimulus programs, you can email your questions to cda_agstimulus@state.co.us

 

Quick Links:

Legislation, Laws, Regulations and Rule Hearings
Proposed and draft rules are under the "Rule Hearings and Draft Rule Proposals" heading

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