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NextGen Grant Program Funding Ag Leadership Opportunities Accepting Applications

The state of Colorado has announced the NextGen Leadership Grant Program, which supports the next generation in agriculture through scholarships, career development, and other leadership training opportunities. To answer questions about this new grant program, the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA0 will hold an informational webinar at 11:00 a.m.  Tuesday, April 11, 2023. Any organizations interested in learning more can register here to attend.

Agriculture is a key element in Chaffee County’s landscape, economy and environment. Photo courtesy Buena Vista Chamber of Commerce.

It is now taking applications from agricultural organizations and educational institutions that support developmental and training opportunities for people going into the broad and diverse food and agricultural industry. The competitive grants will fund up to $25,000 per project with $120,000 in total funding available.

“Programs qualifying for NextGen Ag Leadership grants must help lead new people into careers in the food and agriculture industry and help prepare them to become the industry’s leaders of tomorrow and beyond,” said Tom Lipetzky, Director of the Markets Division at the Colorado Department of Agriculture. “CDA is focused on expanding access to learning and leadership opportunities for future generations in agriculture.”

Agriculture is a critical industry that includes not only farmers and ranchers, but also people trained in the biosciences, nutrition, meat science, veterinary science, agronomy, soil health, engineering, food safety, technology, product development, marketing, and logistics. Applications will be accepted from agricultural organizations and educational institutions that can show their proposed programs meet one or more of CDA’s strategic program priorities.

The NextGen Ag Leadership program priorities include:

  • Developing individual leadership and/or entrepreneurial skills. Examples might include established leadership and training programs.
  • Enhancing organizational leadership and capacity building. Examples might include agricultural organizations seeking to develop leaders internally.
  • Creating educational and/or training opportunities. Examples might include foundations providing NextGen educational and/or training, conferences wanting to offer scholarships, community colleges, and other educational entities offering financial assistance for youth pursuing education in a food or agricultural program.

Applications are accepted digitally until 11:59 p.m. on Monday, May 1, 2023 (individuals are not eligible to apply) at A CDA committee will review the applications and make recommendations to the Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture for approval. CDA anticipates that winning applicants will be notified after May 19, 2023.

All projects must be fully completed by the end of the state fiscal year in which funds are awarded. The state fiscal year runs from July 1 – June 30 of the following year. For example, projects funded in July of 2023 must be fully completed by June 30, 2024.

Starting with this grant cycle, the NextGen Ag Leadership grant program will take applications annually in April. The last round of NextGen Ag Leadership grants funded more than a dozen projects that provided scholarships, equipment, and policy training for organizations across the food and agriculture sectors.

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