The act creates the Colorado agricultural future loan program (loan program) in the department of agriculture (department) and requires the department to administer the loan program.
Beginning on or before January 1, 2022, and until January 1, 2025, the department may distribute money from the Colorado agricultural future loan program cash fund (fund), which is also created in the act, to financial entities to award farm-to-market infrastructure loans to eligible applicants. The department is not permitted to engage in direct lending activities.
Beginning on or before January 1, 2022, the department may award farm-to-market infrastructure grants to eligible applicants.
In administering the loan program, the department, to the extent practicable, shall attempt to award:
- A total of at least $5 million but no more than $10 million in the form of farm-to-market infrastructure loans or farm-to-market infrastructure grants by June 30, 2022; and
- A total of at least $10 million but no more than $20 million in the form of low-interest loans to eligible applicants by December 31, 2022.
In administering the loan program on and after January 1, 2023, to the extent practicable, the department shall prioritize the provision of loans to eligible farmers or ranchers who apply for loans from the loan program and who have owned or operated a farm or ranch for less than 10 years or represent a population that is underserved or underrepresented in Colorado agriculture.
The commissioner of agriculture is required to promulgate rules to implement the loan program, and the department is required to submit an annual report to the general assembly concerning the loan program.
The act requires the state treasurer to transfer $30 million from the general fund to the fund for use by the department to implement and administer the loan program. The money in the fund is continuously appropriated to the department to expend for the loan program.
For the 2021-22 state fiscal year, the act appropriates $165,890 to the department of law, from reappropriated funds received by the department of agriculture in the fund, to provide legal services to the department of agriculture.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)