The Specialty Crops Program at Colorado State University is accepting applications for grower research and education grants for the 2012 production season. Grants of up to $10,000 per individual grower/producer or $25,000 for groups of growers are available. A total of $50,000 of grant funding is available to applicants.
The request for proposals is intended for research, demonstration and/or education projects addressing specialty crops production, processing and marketing issues faced by small farmers, beginning farmers or socially disadvantaged farmers in Colorado.
These classifications are defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as:
– small farmers are farmers whose farm sales are less than $250,000 per year;
– beginning farmers are individuals who have not operated a farm or ranch for more than 10 years. The 10-year requirement applies to all operators of the farm or ranch; or
– socially disadvantaged farmers include individuals of a socially disadvantaged group who have been subject to discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or a part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program.
Producers and groups of producers interested in conducting research, demonstration and/or education projects related to specialty crop production, processing or marketing are encouraged to apply. Applicants must fall into any of the categories defined above to be considered.
“More than 65 Colorado producers are recipients of Grower Research and Education Grants that have helped small specialty growers around the state try innovative production and marketing approaches to establish their niches in local markets,” said Frank Stonaker, assistant professor in the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture at Colorado State and coordinator of the Specialty Crops Program. “These home-grown and executed research projects have been impactful with long term benefits – not only for the farmer-researcher, but also for local consumers who enjoy home-grown fresh quality and neighboring growers who benefit from the findings of these projects.”
Projects will be funded based on:
– innovations and relevance to other producers in Colorado;
– the ability to identify specific problems, opportunities, or issues that hinder the adoption, processing or marketing of specialty crops and to offer potential solutions; and
– identifying how the projects will be demonstrated and/or disseminated to others.
The proposal must address “specialty crops” which include fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits and horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture and turf. Wheat, feed grains, oilseeds, cotton, rice, peanuts, quinoa and tobacco are not eligible. For a complete list of eligible specialty crops, visit http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/scbgpdefinitions.
For a downloadable program description and application form of the Grower Research and Education Grant Program, visit http://www.specialtycrops.colostate.edu, contact Frank Stonaker at (970) 491-7068 or apply by writing to:
Specialty Crops Program – Request for Proposals
1173 Campus Delivery
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523-1173
The deadline for applications is Dec. 15, 2011.