Community Agriculture Alliance: About the CAA Micro Loan Program
For Steamboat Pilot & Today
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Community Agriculture Alliance has been working to promote and support local agriculture in the Yampa Valley since 1999. As the community continues to grow and change, and especially over the past year with COVID-19 impacts, CAA’s local food Market has become the main connection with our community.
Programs for local ag producers remain a critical part of our mission as a nonprofit organization. Launched in 2019, CAA developed a Micro Loan Program focused on providing direct financial support for local agriculture. The program was funded by an initial generous donor with a $10,000 gift to begin the revolving loan fund. Over the past few years, more donors have contributed to the fund and expanded the impact.
A committee of CAA Board members will accept applications through May 15, with a goal of providing short term, micro loans for local ag producers. Loan terms and amounts will be based on specific project details. Basic information and eligibility are as follows:
• Must be an existing agriculture business or operation with a special interest in food production
• Must be 18 years old or have an adult co-signer
• Must adhere to CAA Anti-Discrimination Policy and be current CAA member
• Loans cannot be used for general operating, land purchase or leases; applications should focus on specific need or project
• Loans are small (under $10,000) and short-term (three months to two years) with an interest rate of 2.5%
• Repayment of loans will go back into CAA Micro Loan fund
The CAA Board approved the following loans in February 2020. We are proud to say that all of these loans have been repaid according to the loan agreement terms, and the funds are now available for the next loan cycle.
• Innovative Ag Colorado: a two-year loan to fund expansion of local food production, specifically mushroom and micro green production.
• Bee Grateful Farm: a seven-month, one growing season, loan for fencing, irrigation and season extension coverings with the goal of increased produce growing.
• M & M Custom Grazing: a six-month loan to purchase cattle to stock a rotational grazing program on leased land.
Current Micro Loan applications are being accepted through May 15. Some project ideas, beyond food production, for ag producers to consider include:
• Solar pump for livestock watering
• Seed cover crops for rangeland or erosion control
• Planting trees for water control, wind and/or animal habitat
• New or upgraded gate on existing head gate for improved water control
• Fencing or electric fence for cross fencing
• New spray nozzles or boom for better application and reduced drift
If you are interested in learning more about this program, please call Michele Meyer at 970-879-4370 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Loan application forms are available online at CommunityAgAlliance.org
If you would like to make an investment in local agriculture, this program is a unique way to directly impact local producers. You can donate online at CommunityAgAlliance.org using the Donate button on the homepage and simply note that you would like the contribution to go to the CAA Micro Loan Fund.
Michele Meyer is the executive director of the Routt County Community Agriculture Alliance.
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