| TheFencePost.com

Colorado farmers, ranchers and processors awarded over $1.6M in CARES Act grant funding

BROOMFIELD, Colo. — The Colorado Department of Agriculture, in partnership with the Colorado Farm & Food Systems Respond & Rebuild Fund, announced the awarding of $1,658,000 in grants to Colorado farmers, ranchers, food hubs and processors.

Recognizing the fundamental importance of agriculture to the state, Gov. Jared Polis dedicated grant dollars to CDA through federal CARES Act funding to support ag producers in adjusting to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the food supply chain — including those who experienced costs, losses, or needed to pivot their business model. The initial $1 million in grants was expanded to $1.658 million as more funding became available.

The fund delivered individual grants of up to $12,500 to 156 producers and up to $50,000 to 45 ag-related intermediaries statewide. Additionally, 15 local processors received funding to help them meet surging demand and to support farmers and ranchers in managing excess supply as a result of backlogs at processing plants.

Grant recipients span the entire state and include Volberding Farms in Akron, Farm Runners in Hotchkiss, Frontline Farming in Denver, and Sunnyside Meats in Durango.

“We are able to get much-needed support to numerous ag and food businesses across our state,” said Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture Kate Greenberg. “As the pandemic continues to affect the food supply chain and present challenges for our farmers and ranchers, we will continue to fight for them and find ways to support Colorado’s agricultural community.”

The respond and rebuild grants are administered by the independent Colorado Farm & Food Systems Respond & Rebuild Fund. Applicants with questions may contact Helen Katich at corespondrebuild@gmail.com.

Fourteen food and ag-related organizations joined forces in the spring of 2020 to form the Colorado Farm & Food Systems Response Team and associated fund, to support Colorado farmers and ranchers in responding to changing market conditions in the midst of COVID-19.

To date, the fund has provided more than $2 million to producers and intermediaries across Colorado, focusing on the needs and opportunities of small- and mid-size growers, beginning farmers and ranchers, veteran farmers, farmers of color, LGBTQ+ farmers, and female farmers — producers who are often underserved by public programs and projected to bear the brunt of the crisis’s impact.

Earlier rounds of funding were made possible through donations from Colorado-based foundations including the Colorado Health Foundation, Gates Family Foundation and others, as well as from individual donations. Learn more at https://cofoodsystems.org/covid-19-response-fund/.