NextGen Ag Leadership Grant Program

NextGen Ag Leadership Grant Program header


The NextGen Ag Leadership Grant Program is a new opportunity created by the Colorado Department of Agriculture in the fall of 2022. This program provides grants to agricultural organizations and educational institutions that support developmental and training opportunities for the next generation of agriculturalists.  

Programs qualifying for NextGen grants must help lead young people into careers in food and agriculture and prepare them to become the leaders of tomorrow. 

To ensure the security of our food systems, stewardship of natural resources, and equitable food access across communities, CDA is advancing our support of educational and leadership development opportunities for the next generation of agricultural producers, aspiring producers, and young people across the food and ag value chains. 

Colorado’s food and agriculture industry is broad and diverse. This program is geared toward not just future generations of farmers and ranchers, but also people trained in the biosciences, nutrition, meat science, veterinary science, agronomy, soil health and conservation, engineering, food safety, technology, product development, marketing, and logistics.


The 2024 NextGen Ag Leadership Grant Application Period is now open. Applications will be accepted starting April 01, 2024 through 5 P.M. on May 02, 2024. Apply here.


Who Can Apply?

Proposals for grants can be submitted by any agricultural organizations and educational institutions serving the next generation leaders in agriculture. The grant application must address one or more of the following strategic NextGen program priorities:

  1. Develop individual leadership and/or entrepreneurial skills. Examples might include established leadership and training programs. 
  2. Enhance organizational leadership and capacity building. Examples might include agricultural organizations seeking to develop leaders internally. 
  3. Create educational and/or training opportunities. Examples might include  foundations providing NextGen educational and/or training, conferences wanting to offer scholarships, community colleges and other educational entities offering financial assistance for youth pursuing education in a food or agricultural program. 

Creative and innovative ideas that fit within the strategic priorities are encouraged. Grants will not be awarded to individuals. 

Anticipated Schedule

CDA anticipates following the timeline below but may deviate from the schedule as needed and without notice.

April 01, 2024 – Grant application period opens. 

April 09, 2024 – Informational webinar to answer questions 1 P.M. 

May 02, 2024 – Grant application period closes. Applications are due by 5:00 P.M. 

May 02 - May 24, 2024–  Applications will be reviewed and a recommendation of projects to be funded presented to the Ag Commissioner.

Week of June 03, 2024 - Notices will be sent to applicants 

No later than June 30, 2024 – Agreements in place with awardees.

Additional details:

  • This grant program will accept applications annually in April.
  • All projects must be fully completed by the end of the state fiscal year in which funds are awarded. The state fiscal year runs from July 1st - June 30th of the following year. For example, projects funded in July of 2024 must be fully completed by June 30, 2025. 

Applications & Review Process

Any organization can submit an application for a grant if their proposal addresses one or more of the strategic NextGen program priorities. 

Applicants will be asked to provide information about the organization applying, the description and timeline of the project, and details about the project's budget. The application also asks about specific outcomes the proposal will hope to achieve. 

A cross-divisional CDA team will review applications and assist in the recommendation of projects to receive funding.

Applications will be scored against key criteria including:

  • Degree to which the project focuses on educational, training, and/or leadership development opportunities for NextGen agriculturalists
  • Expected impact of the proposal, including number of people supported, showing that funds will serve young people who otherwise wouldn't have the resources to access opportunity, etc.
  • Newer or innovative initiatives will receive special consideration
  • Matching funding is not required but will receive special consideration


Review our Frequently Asked Questions document for common answers for this program. 

If you have additional questions about this program, please reach out to Joanne Hernandez, Program Manager at joanne.hernandez@state.co.us

You can download a PDF version of the application here.


Read the latest news on NextGen initiatives here