To help develop and promote the state's specialty crops, the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) is seeking proposals for the Specialty Crops Block Grant Program. Specialty crops are defined as fruits and vegetables, dried fruits, and nursery crops including floriculture and sod.
"Colorado produces a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and horticultural products," said Glenda Mostek, CDA marketing specialist. "This grant program provides a great opportunity to improve the economic well-being of Colorado specialty crop producers by investigating potential crops, fighting diseases, and introducing innovative farming techniques."
In recent years, funds have been awarded to dozens of organizations, helping them to conduct research and implement consumer promotions. These grants included funds for Colorado State University to investigate Aronia berries as an alternate crop for Colorado, and to the Colorado Potato Administrative Committee to study crop rotation to promote soil health.
The grant program is funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) which partners with state departments of agriculture to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crop producers in areas such as marketing, promotion, education, research, trade and nutrition.
CDA anticipates that approximately $550,000 will be available for this year's grant program, with approved projects starting early in 2019. Producer groups, organizations, and associations, as well as state and local organizations, academia and other specialty crops stakeholders are eligible to apply either as single entities or in combined efforts. Grants must impact the specialty crop industry as a whole and cannot solely benefit an individual farming operation or business.
The initial phase of grant selection will involve shorter concept proposals. Concept proposals must be received electronically by close of business (5:00 p.m.) on Feb. 1, 2018. For program guidelines and an application, visit www.colorado.gov/ag/specialtycropgrant or call (303) 869-9173.
The election results are in at the local, state and national level, and as expected, Democrats are doing well in state and national races. Colorado has elected Jared Polis as governor; nationally the Republicans appear to retain control of the Senate while Democrats now control the House of Representative.
With a ballot full of local and state measures, voter turnout in Delta County topped 71%, with 15,889 ballots cast. Statewide, voter turnout was just over 52%.
Of the three Delta County residents seeking state offices, Matt Soper won over Thea Chase in State Representative Dist. 54; Mike Mason lost to Julie McCluskie in State Representative Dist. 61; and Olen Lund lost to Kerry Donovan in State Senate Dist. 5.
Locally, in the City of Delta voters rejected a .5% sales tax increase to fund recreation, as well as recreational marijuana sales. The sale of medical marijuana and cultivation/manufacturing facilities was approved by a slim margin. Delta voters also gave the city the green light to move forward with selling or trading the Cottonwood and Riverbend Park, and to sell the old Municipal Light and Power Building.