The bill creates the Colorado agricultural future loan program (loan program) in the department of agriculture (department) to provide:
- Farm-to-market infrastructure loans to eligible applicants; and
- Low-interest loans to eligible farmers or ranchers and eligible businesses in Colorado.
The department shall administer the loan program and provide loans from the Colorado agricultural future loan program cash fund (fund), which is also created in the bill. The department may award the loans either directly or indirectly through the use of a financial entity.
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 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 farmers or ranchers and eligible businesses 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 bill 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.
(Note: Italicized words indicate new material added to the original summary; dashes through words indicate deletions from the original summary.)
(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)