The Colorado Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for a competitive grant program to assist with projects that help Colorado anticipate, prepare for, mitigate, adapt to, or respond to any event, trend, or climatological disturbance related to drought or climate. Resulting from Senate Bill 21-234, this funding is intended to support drought and climate resilience efforts for agricultural producers.
“Many farmers and ranchers have been affected by multi-year hazards: 2018 drought, 2019 freeze, 2020 drought and wildfires. Climate extremes can be very detrimental to producers and the 2021 season does not look any more forgiving,” said Conservation Services Division Director Les Owen. “These hardships have caused deep economic and ecological costs to agriculture in Colorado and this program aims to mitigate some of those losses and help prepare ag producers for changing climatic conditions.”
The purpose of the competitive grant program is to respond to Colorado’s prolonged drought conditions caused by absent monsoon seasons, record-high temperatures, and extreme evaporative demands from wind, low humidity and high temperatures. After several years of unusual weather patterns, a warm spring, dry summer, and critically hot autumn further contributed to the 2020 record-breaking wildfire season. So far in 2021, Colorado has experienced a long lasting and severe drought in most parts of the state.
CDA will award approximately $1.5 million in grants for drought-related projects. Projects that can demonstrate long-term and widespread benefits will be the most competitive. Funding can also be used to match investments in new projects.
Applications for the competitive grants are open now and the deadline to apply is September 30, 2021. All applications must be submitted via an online form (printable link: bit.ly/droughtfund2021). Applicants will be asked to include narrative statements about the project they are applying for, including the expected outcomes and drought preparedness impacts.
Eligible entities include Tribes; state government, municipalities, enterprises, counties and agencies; districts including Authorities, title 32/Special Districts (conservancy, conservation and irrigation districts); Federal agencies that apply with a state entity; Private Incorporated entities including mutual ditch companies, homeowners associations and corporations; Private individuals, partnerships and sole proprietors; and Non-Governmental Organizations.