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Ag Producers: Tune up Your Taxes

Join ag business management specialist, Jeff Tranel, on February 6 from 6:00pm-7:30pm for a class on agricultural taxes.

Topics covered will include:

  • Farm/Ranch (Schedule F) income & expenses
  • Cost recovery (depreciation)
  • Reporting on Schedule C versus Schedule F
  • Tax management strategies
  • Time for questions

This class is free but you must register [] to attend.

2023 AgrAbility Winter Workshops

Registration for the 2023 AgrAbility workshops is now open. The following program will be offered at each location:

  • Introduction to the Colorado AgrAbility Project
  • Ergonomic safety and health in agriculture
  • Drought and the CO River, perspectives for agriculture
  • Resiliency and stress management on the farm and ranch

Programs will take place at the following locations:

  • February 10: 10am-2:30pm at the El Paso County Extension Office in Colorado Springs
  • February 17: 10am-2:30pm at the Logan County Extension Office in Sterling
  • February 23: 3pm-7:30pm at the Ault-Pierce Fire Station #2
  • March 1: 10am-2:30pm at the Community Building in Limon

For more information or to register, click here [].

Grain School Online 2023

The University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS) is offering an online grain school in the Spring of 2023. Three courses will be offered for $150 each, or all 3 courses can be taken for $400.

Online modules will be available for 12 months. Live online sessions will occur each Thursday from 4:30pm-6pm MST. Experiential sessions for UCCS students and local participants will occur each Friday from 10:50am-1:30pm MST at UCCS.

Courses offered will include:

  • Farming and processing (Feb 2-24)
  • Health and nutrition (March 2-31)
  • Community (April 6-28)

Scholarships for Colorado farmers and grain-focused businesses are available. To pre-register now, click here. []

Farm Bill Decisions Webinar hosted by CSU Extension

The deadline for farmers to make their ARC/PLC decisions for the 2023 crop year is fast approaching. In an effort to provide growers with the most up to date information needed to make this important decision, CSU Extension and the USDA Farm Service Agency have teamed up to conduct a Farm Bill Decisions webinar.

The webinar will be held Tuesday, February 7th from 6:00pm to 8:30pm. Topics to be addressed are: the mechanics of ARC/PLC and the limitations of ARC-IC for fruit and vegetable producers, the payment outlook in 2023 for ARC-CO/PLC for the major program crops in Colorado and managing the 2023 margin squeeze.

The webinar is free but you must preregister at this web link: []

Ready to level up your food business? Pueblo Food Project is hosting the second season of the Entrepreneur Development Program! This collaborative effort between the Pueblo Food Project, CSU Extension and the CSU Institute for Entrepreneurship explores a number of topics, including marketing, finance, bookkeeping, supply chains and food safety.

Classes begin Tuesday, February 21st at 5:30 pm and will run through the Spring of 2023.

This course is free! Applications are open now! More information at; Pueblo Food Project’s Facebook page [] Email for more information.

2023 Value Added Grant Series

The Food Finance Institute is offering a USDA Value Added Producer Grant Applications training series in preparation for the RFP to be released in February. These sessions are timed to help you best prepare for this (or the next) VAPG cycle. This series includes Tribal Producer VAPG Boot Camp [] (first session – Feb 13), and Producer VAPG Boot Camp [] (Feb 23-24). Registration is available at the program links.

Free Online Bean Class

Join CSU Extension on Friday, February 24th from 12- 1 pm MST for a lunch and learn. In this class, we’ll discuss beans from field to table. For example, did you know that Colorado is one of the top bean-producing states? Or maybe you wonder whether you actually need to soak beans? We’ll also share some creative and tasty recipe ideas to get you thinking outside the box on how you can enjoy more of this delicious, nutritious, and sustainable food.  

This class is part of a PhD project and was supported by a Colorado Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant. 

Please register here: [] and share with your networks. 

Contact with any questions.

For additional information on upcoming agriculture workshops, webinars, and conferences, visit CSU’s Food Systems website, here.

Funding Opportunities:

Food Safety Certification for Specialty Crops

USDA plans to provide up to $200 million in assistance for specialty crop producers who incur eligible on-farm food safety program expenses to obtain or renew a food safety certification in calendar years 2022 or 2023.

USDA’s new Food Safety Certification for Specialty Crops (FSCSC) program will help to offset costs for specialty crop producers to comply with regulatory requirements and market-driven food safety certification requirements, which is part of USDA’s broader effort to transform the food system to create a more level playing field for small and medium producers and a more balanced, equitable economy for everyone working in food and agriculture.

To be eligible for FSCSC, the applicant must be a specialty crop operation; meet the definition of a small business or very small business; and have paid eligible expenses related to the 2022 (issued on or after June 21, 2022) or 2023 certification.

The FSCSC application period for 2022 is June 27, 2022, through January 31, 2023, and the application period for 2023 will be announced at a later date. FSA will issue payments at the time of application approval for 2022 and after the application period ends for 2023. Click here for more information.

Funding for Innovative Water Usage

LOR’s Field Work initiative will provide funding for research into innovative approaches to using water in agriculture. Farmers and ranchers in rural parts of Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, and Wyoming are eligible for up to $10,000 to implement innovative water projects in the face of unprecedented drought. Applications will open will be accepted from Feb. 1, 2023 to Feb. 22, 2023. To apply, click here. []

New Agrarian Leadership Grant

Quivira Coalition’s New Agrarian Program is excited to offer its first Colorado New Agrarian Leadership Grant. [] Thanks to the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s NextGen Ag Leadership Grant, Quivira is offering up to $1000 to any beginning agrarian (with ten or fewer consecutive years of experience as an operator of a farm or ranch) across Colorado to participate in leadership opportunities that will further their careers in agriculture. A total of $12,000 is available to be awarded. This can include registration for workshops, conferences, field days, webinars, or other training opportunities that expand your leadership capacity.  Applications will open on February 6th, 2023, and will be accepted on a rolling basis until all funds are distributed.

The CO Dept. of Agriculture Offering Funding to Businesses Hiring Interns

The Colorado Department of Agriculture’s (CDA) Agricultural Workforce Development Program (AWDP) [] is offering funding to businesses hiring interns for the 2023 growing season. The AWDP provides financial incentives to Colorado farms, ranches, and agricultural businesses to hire interns and provide them with the hands-on training needed to begin a career in agriculture. Qualified businesses may be reimbursed for up to 50 percent of the actual cost of hiring an intern, up to $5,000, in exchange for providing an educational experience to the intern. Since the program was created in 2018, CDA has funded more than 75 internships at farms, ranches, and agricultural businesses across the state (25 in 2022 alone).  To apply, qualifying agricultural businesses must complete an online application [] found on CDA’s website ( []). Applications are open now and will be accepted through February 10, 2023.

Fellowship Fund for Beginning Veteran Farmers

The Farmer Veteran Coalition has opened applications for their Fellowship Fund, which is a grant program designed to purchase equipment for veterans in the beginning years of launching an agricultural business.The application will remain open until February 14. For more info and eligibility details, visit the Fellowship page [].

USDA Rural Development is seeking applications for two financial opportunities:

  1. To apply for a Rural Business Development Program Grant, click here. These grants that will support entrepreneurs and create jobs in rural America. These projects will use local rural materials or human resources, and must be consistent with local and area-wide community and economic development plans. Applications must be submitted by 4:30pm local time on Feb. 28, 2023.
  2. To apply for a Rural Development Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan, click here. This program is Rural Development Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan Program [] is offering loans of up to $40 million for qualified lenders to finance food systems projects. These grants will be offered to projects that are starting or expanding activities in the middle of the food supply chain. For example, the program will support new investments in infrastructure for food aggregation, processing, manufacturing, storage, transportation, wholesaling, and distribution. Applications will be accepted until funds are exhausted.

Keeping ahead of COVID-19

This rapidly evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) has imposed an unsettling, fluid situation upon our community and its businesses. While the team here still aims to maintain a “business as usual” approach, we are making a number of significant changes to our operations to account for a situation that is far from normal.