Larimer County has a long and rich agricultural heritage. Looking forward, we see that agriculture has changed, and continues to change, in Northern Colorado. Community Supported Agriculture, rural tourism, niche farming on small acreages and growing energy crops on large farms, value-added agriculture, and the emergence of small arts and crafts enterprises will all play a part in creating a diverse, resilient rural economy. Below are some resources to help you explore your options or help you to find the specific help you need to take the next step.
Also see our page for resources on Value-Added Ag.
This page includes:
Industry Information - Educating Yourself • Statewide Resources • Northern Colorado Resources • Farmers' Markets • Getting Started in Rural Enterprise
Industry Information: Educating Yourself
Permaculture: A Beginners Guide
Permaculture offers a radical approach to food production and urban renewal, water, energy and pollution. It integrates ecology, landscape, organic gardening, architecture and agro-forestry in creating a rich and sustainable way of living. It uses appropriate technology giving high yields for low energy inputs, achieving a resource of great diversity and stability. The design principles are equally applicable to both urban and rural dwellers.
Growing For Market
America's most respected publication about growing and direct marketing for growing veggies, fruits, herbs, flowers and plants.
The term ‘food miles’ refers to the distance food travels from the location where it is grown to the location where it is consumed, or in other words, the distance food travels from farm to plate. Recent studies have shown that this distance has been steadily increasing over the last fifty years. Studies estimate that processed food in the United States travels over 1,300 miles, and fresh produce travels over 1,500 miles, before being consumed. This publication addresses how food miles are calculated, investigates how food miles affect producers and consumers, and evaluates methods for curbing the energy intensiveness of our food transportation system.
Agricultural Innovation Center
Great information on the many facets of the bio-economy.
Agritourism covers a wide variety of recreational, educational and other leisure activities and services, provided by farmers and ranchers and experienced by consumers who value the activity or service they receive and seek it out. Agritourism may be defined as activities, events and services related to agriculture that take place on or off the farm or ranch, and that connect consumers with the heritage, natural resource or culinary experience they value. There are three general classifications of agritourism activities: on-farm/ranch, food-based, and heritage activities.
We encourage visitors and Coloradans to experience the state's agricultural heritage by visiting agritourism events and activities. The last USDA Ag Census (2002) indicated that 867 Colorado farms offered recreational services, totaling more than $12 million in farm income.
In 2006 more than 13 million visitors experienced agritourism in Colorado and the economic impact was $2.2 billion. Whether you visit a farm, shop at a farmers' market or tour a winery, you are helping to support Colorado 's agriculture industry.
For more information on Ag, Culinary and Heritage Toursim in Larimer County, click here for resources.
Carbon Sequestration is the process through which agricultural and forestry practices remove carbon from the atmosphere. Sequestration slows the rate of climate change by enhancing carbon storage in trees and soils, preserving existing tree and soil carbon, and reducing emissions of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. (from the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service website) See their site for links to resources on agriculture, climate change and carbon sequestration.
Colorado Local Sustainability supports local sustainable food production, educates consumers on food related and sustainability issues and works to build community through food and sustainability.
This project is home to the Rocky Mountain Growers Directory, a print and online directory of sustainable farms and ranches in and around Colorado. The directory also lists farmers markets, food co-ops & grocers, as well as restaurants who serve local food.
Their newsletter contains valuable resources and tools for the industry.
Colorado Department of Agriculture
700 Kipling St., Suite 4000
Lakewood, CO 80215-8000
Department of Ag programs include:
• Colorado Proud is designed to help consumers, restaurants and retailers identify and purchase Colorado food and agricultural products. The bright Colorado Proud logo helps buyers find high-quality, Colorado-grown foods. Producers who become members can use the logo to market their products around the state. Colorado Proud members get:
- Free artwork for use on packaging and in advertising
- Free monthly newsletter
- Free link from our web site to yours
- Advertising opportunities such as television, radio, billboards and bus ads
- Invitations to participate in a variety of marketing opportunities
• Aquaculture The Colorado Markets Division licenses all private aquaculturists in the state. They also provide information and assistance to individuals interested in starting an aquaculture facility.
• Beginning Farmer Program The Colorado Agricultural Development Authority (CADA) provides tax-exempt bonds for low-interest financing of land or equipment purchases. Individuals must qualify as beginning farmers to participate in this program. A beginning farmer is defined as a person who does not own more than 30% of the median county farm size.
• Inspection and Labeling: The Seal of Quality program is an inspection and labeling program that differentiates Colorado fresh produce of the highest quality. The program is voluntary, but if producers or packers choose to market products with the Colorado Seal of Quality, they must meet standards established by the industry.
• Specialty Crops This program is a partnership between the Colorado Department of Agriculture and Colorado State University. Grants are available for producers or groups of producers who are interested in conducting research, demonstration, and/or education projects related to specialty crop production, processing, or marketing.
• Value-Added Development Fund Program
In May 2001 the Colorado legislature passed HB 1086, which created the Agriculture Value-Added Development Board within the Department of Agriculture. The Board makes grants, loans and loan guarantees, and equity investments, and also offers tax credits to eligible agricultural value-added cooperatives. The tax credit is available for members of eligible agriculture value-added cooperatives in an amount equal to the lesser of 50 percent of the member's investment or $15,000, up to a maximum
amount per project of $1,500,000.
Also see Larimer County Business & Enterprise's page on Value-Ad Ag.
Center for Rural Entrepreneurship
Welcome to the RUPRI Center for Rural Entrepreneurship. Our mission is to help leaders and citizens in rural communities and regions across the U.S. embrace entrepreneurship as a core rural economic development strategy.
Colorado Centennial Farms
This program recognizes the importance of agriculture in Colorado by honoring the contributions made by our long-standing farm and ranch families. Centennial farms and ranches must be owned by the same family for more than 100 years. The application deadline is April 30 of each year.
Renewable Energy for Farmers and Ranchers - NREL
There are a number of renewable energy technologies that you can use on your farm or ranch. There also are many agribusiness opportunities in renewables. You can grow crops to make biofuels and bioproducts. And some farmers and ranchers have the opportunity to lease land to utilities for the installation of large wind turbines.
Northern Colorado Resources
Northern Colorado Food Incubator
- Business advisement & mentoring
- Kitchen space
- Training and advisement
- Professional Services
Colorado State University
1525 Blue Spruce Drive
Fort Collins, CO 80524-2004
525 North 15th Avenue
Greeley. CO 80631-2049
CSU Department of Food Sciences and Human Nutrition
234 Gifford Building
Fort Collins, CO 80523-1571
The mission of the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition (FSHN) is to illuminate the role of food and nutrition in the health of society through education, research, outreach, and service.
CSU Food Processing Support Services includes:
Water activity (Aw)
Shelf-life Testing: To provide minimum/maximum shelflife of product.
Product Development Consultation
Sensory analysis (trained or consumer panels)
Food safety issues
Pilot plant facilities for baked products, extruded products (including pasta, meats)
Instrumental texture assessment
Clinical feeding trials
Farmers' Markets: Fort Collins & Surrounding Areas
Larimer County Farmers' Market
Agricultural Marketing Cooperative
Drake Road Farmers' Market
Greeley Farmers' Market
1100 10th St., Suite 202
Greeley, CO 80631 970.350.9783
Loveland Farmers' Market
Ft. Collins 80522 970.224.2611
Estes Park Valley Farmers' Market
101 Keep Circle
Berthoud,CO 80513 970.532.4581
Windsor Farmers' Market
348 Camino Del Mundo
Ft. Collins, CO 80524 970.215.2690
Visit http://nocofoodincubator.com/ for more information.
Getting Started in Rural Enterprise
USDA offers a free DVD, "Shared Wisdom: Selling Your Best at Farmer's Market". You can call 202-720-8317 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to request it.
Article: "Some Thoughts on Selling at Markets", Nina Planck
Article: "Recipe for a Great Farmer's Market", Nina Planck
Report: "Farmers' Markets and Beyond: Expanding the Market", Nina Planck
Considerations for Farmers Looking to Start an Agritourism Enterprise
Agricultural Business PlanningTemplates and Resources