Oct 10, 2022
Colorado establishes NextGen ag leadership program

The Colorado Department of Agriculture is launching a new grant program to support the next generation in agriculture through scholarships, career development and other leadership training opportunities.

The NextGen Leadership grant program will provide funding to agricultural organizations and educational institutions that support developmental and training opportunities for people going into the broad and diverse agricultural industry.

“The Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) is focused on supporting the next generation in agriculture by expanding access to learning and leadership opportunities,” Tom Lipetzky, director of the Markets Division at the CDA. “Agriculture is a critical industry, and this program aims to support not just the next generation of 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.”

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. 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 (individuals are not eligible to apply).

The NextGen Ag Leadership program priorities include:

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

To answer questions about this new program, CDA will have a webinar at 8:30 a.m. Oct. 12. Any organizations interested in learning more can register here to attend.

Grant applications are accepted digitally until 11:59 p.m. Nov. 7. You can apply at ag.colorado.gov/nextgen. A CDA committee will review the applications and make recommendations to the Colorado Agricultural Commission for approval. CDA anticipates that winning applicants will be notified by Dec. 16.

This year’s application and grant period are on a shortened timeline. Beginning in 2023, this grant program will begin accepting applications each spring, with a May deadline and awards set to distribute funds with the start of the state fiscal year on July 1.

Alison Williams Helm, program manager, can answer additional questions at [email protected]. You can download a PDF flier about the program here.

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