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The Golden Plains Area Extension Program is a joint effort of the counties in Colorado's Northeastern Plains.

The Golden Plains Area Extension Program is a joint effort of the counties in Colorado's Northeastern Plains to provide citizens with valued Extension resources.

Value-Added Producer Grant Application Period is Now Open

USDA – Rural Development’s Value-Added Producer Grant Program’s (VAPG) 2021 application submission period is now underway with a deadline of March 22nd, 2020. There will be at least $19 million available for value-added projects this funding cycle. Eligible applicants include independent producers, farmer and rancher cooperatives, and agricultural producer groups. Planning Grants may be used to develop business/marketing plans and feasibility studies needed to establish viable marketing opportunities for value-added products or Working Capital Grants to help with operating costs for your value-added business venture. Applicants may submit a Planning Grant for up to $75,000 or a Working Capital Grant up to $250,000. There is a required 50% match for this program. Also, there are simplified applications available for projects under $50,000. Historically, about 40% of all applications are below $50,000. Value-added grants are an important opportunity for our entrepreneurially minded family farmers and ranchers in Colorado to expand their markets and increase farm income. The resulting projects also help meet consumer demand for quality food products and increase rural jobs. If you have any questions or would like application materials, please contact to P.J. Howe, USDA – Rural Development, 970 329-3151, p.j.howe@usda.gov.

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Colorado Ag Labor Survey

Recruiting and retaining qualified agricultural labor is an ongoing concern for many of you. This issue is complex and factors such as job market competition, lack of interest in manual labor jobs, wages, affordable housing, and H-2A policy combine to create the current situation. Research and Extension faculty from Colorado State University are collaborating with key Colorado ag sector partners to design and promote an online survey intended to characterize employer perceptions of ag labor in Colorado. Your responses in this online survey are voluntary and anonymous. The survey is 45 questions and will take approximately 15 minutes to complete. There are no anticipated risks or benefits from providing online responses. You may withdraw from participation at any time during the online survey process. We’ll use your feedback to create educational programs and resources, inform influencers and decision makers regarding the ag labor conditions in Colorado, and hopefully find creative solutions to current challenges. Please respond before February 1, 2021.

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Monday Night Marketing Webinar Series Coming in February

In today’s agricultural business environment of low commodity markets, high input costs and slim or non-existent margins, marketing skills are essential. In an effort to help farmers and ranchers improve their marketing skills, CSU Extension Ag Economist, Dr. Brent Young is offering a series of ag marketing webinars. The Monday Night Marketing webinar series is two programs in one. The first meant to be an introductory course covering the mechanics of cash, futures, and options markets. This four week series is designed to meet the needs of agriculture producers who are new to commodity marketing and are looking for techniques to improve the prices they receive for their crops and livestock. The final four sessions are a more advanced course that will focus on sophisticated marketing techniques and the development of a farm/ranch level marketing plan. These sessions are designed for producers who have a basic understanding of the topics presented in the introductory course.

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