Grants support West Slope fruit production

Two grants worth a total of $21,300 will support efforts to improve peach and sweet cherry production in Western Colorado.

“We are glad to support two projects that will make a difference for fruit growers in Colorado,” said Glenda Mostek, marketing specialist for the Colorado Department of Agriculture.

“Increasing the availability of Colorado fruits and vegetables and helping fruit growers combat disease are important focus areas for the Specialty Crops Block Grant Program,” Mostek added.

Colorado State University received a $18,684 grant to provide peach growers in Western Colorado disease management solutions for controlling cytospora canker.Cytospora canker disease reduces peach productivity and profitability as well as orchard longevity.

Osito Orchards in Hotchkiss received a $2,616 grant to evaluate sweet cherry production methods.

The two grants come from reallocated funds from cost savings from other projects in the Colorado Department of Agriculture 2013 Specialty Crops Block Grant Program.

Specialty crops include fruits and vegetables as well as dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops and tree nets. Funding comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Specialty Crops Block Grant Program to improve the competitiveness of specialty crops.

For additional information about the Colorado Specialty Crops Block Grant Program, call (303) 869-9173 or log on to www.colorado.gov/ag/specialtycropgrant.