Colorado's famous peaches, sweet corn, chiles and melons, as well as an abundance of other specialty crops, will benefit from grants totaling more than $745,000 through the Colorado Department of Agriculture's 2019 Specialty Crops Program.
Specialty crops include fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, nursery and greenhouse production, and sod. Every state receives funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, with the aim of enhancing the competitiveness of specialty crops.
"We are especially pleased to be funding four iconic crops this year, as well as sod and greenhouse growing, which are a huge share of our specialty crop market," said Glenda Mostek, grants specialist. "These grants will fund projects all over the state, from the Western Slope to the Arkansas and San Luis valleys, and benefit many of our farmers."
The Colorado Cider Guild received its first-ever grant this year.
"We are excited to receive a specialty crop grant to further the cooperative relationship between current and future apple growers and dedicated Colorado cider producers," said Brad Page, the guild's president. "We look forward to seeing many cider apples grown in Colorado in the coming years."
Here is a full list of projects that will receive funding:
Colorado Cider Guild, Denver: $58,000 to conduct research for Colorado's apple growers to supply cider apples to the fast-growing Colorado hard cider market;
Colorado Department of Agriculture, Broomfield: $76,000 for development of a Colorado Pavilion at the Produce Marketing Association Fresh Summit Expo in 2020 to promote Colorado produce to 19,000 attendees from more than 60 countries;
Colorado Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, Eaton: $49,642 to increase sales of Colorado produce, help Colorado growers gain knowledge about business management tools and resources through conferences; and to help Colorado growers enhance their produce safety programs;
Colorado Potato Administrative Committee, Monte Vista: $33,148 to determine the effect of crop rotations on soil-borne pathogens on potato farms;
Guidestone Farm to School, Salida: $18,000 to increase production of specialty crops at high altitude, increase farm-to-school produce and local produce availability, and educate students and adults about growing food at high altitude;
Rocky Mountain Sod Growers, Mead: $30,000 to educate the public about the benefits of sod to the environment and water conservation;
San Luis Valley Local Foods Coalition, Alamosa: $22,500 to increase cooperative distribution and market access for remote specialty crop producers in southern Colorado;
Colorado State University, Fort Collins: $53,897 to develop sustainable orchard management strategies that improve the economic aspects of peach tree fruit production in Western Colorado;
Colorado State University, Fort Collins: $98,373 to document the costs and returns of current treatment strategies for Cytospora canker management in Colorado peach orchards and develop an economic threshold for those strategies;
Colorado State University, Fort Collins: $37,647 to identify integrated pest management practices to control codling moth in Colorado organic apple production;
Colorado State University, Fort Collins (in cooperation with Leprino Foods): $59,075 to evaluate lactobionate (whey) from cheese-making as a soil health amendment to enhance chile pepper production;
Colorado State University, Fort Collins: $36,847 to identify integrated pest management methodologies for the control of seed-corn maggot in organic Colorado sweet corn;
Colorado State University, Fort Collins: $77,762 to oversee and conduct research and supply technical support and outreach to provide Colorado specialty crop producers with science-based information to stimulate innovation, competitiveness, and success. This project pays part of the salary of the CSU specialty crops coordinator and convenes grant recipients to share information and learn from each other;
Colorado State University, Fort Collins: $37,858 to improve Colorado native plant finishing protocols for the horticultural industry;
Colorado State University, Fort Collins: $56,748 to define the characteristics of Rocky Ford melons and identify which varieties are most suitable for the Rocky Ford growing area and have the best storage characteristics.