The Specialty Crops Program at Colorado State University is accepting applications for grower research and education grants for the 2012 production season. But the deadline for applications is closing on Dec. 15, so the industry is urged to get paperwork in soon.
Grants of up to $10,000 per individual grower, or $25,000 for grower organizations are available.
Request for proposals is intended for research, demonstration projects and education programs addressing all specialty crops. Processing and marketing issues faced by small farms, startup producers or socially disadvantaged operators, will be a focus.
The classifications defined by USDA are:
n Small farmers are those with sales of less than $250,000 a year.
n Beginning farmers are those who have not operated a farm for more than a decade.
n Socially disadvantaged farmers are those who have been subjected to discrimination because of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all of part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance program.
Producers or grower groups interested in conducting research, demonstration projects or education programs related to specialty crop production, processing or marketing are encouraged to apply.
"More than 65 Colorado producers are recipients of Grower Research and Education Grants that have helped small specialty crop growers around the state try innovative production and marketing approaches to establish their niches in local markets," says Frank Stonaker, assistant professor in the CSU Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, and coordinator of the 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."
For a list of eligible specialty crops, go online to http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/scbgpdefinitions.
For a program description and application form, go to http://www.specialtycrops.colostate.edu.