Early Freeze Latest Disaster for Colorado Growers

Early Freeze Latest Disaster for Colorado Growers

Maura Bennett
Maura Bennett

Colorado wine grape growers will not know for some months the full extent of the damage done by the early freeze in late October.

Between the late freeze in April, wildfires summer and fall, and the COVID 19 pandemic…

Greenberg: “Choose your disaster” year.

Commissioner of Agriculture Kate Greenberg says the late October freeze was just the latest hardship for Mesa, Delta, and Montrose counties along the Western Slope.

Greenberg: “Especially in the wine industry out there but we know that fruit producers were also hit.”

Now those growers wait word on the Disaster Declaration from the Secretary of Ag requested by Governor Polis. If granted those producers will have access to disaster funding sometime in the new year.

Greenberg: “It would be available to any producer who was affected by that freeze, not just a single industry like grapes. We are encouraging folks to stay in touch with their county FSA office if they were in an impacted area. All of this will move through FSA. The governor and I are chief advocates in that process to try to move it along to get this declaration and then get the financial resources as quickly as possible.”

A survey of the damage in the Grand Valley by CSU found a minimum crop loss of 70% and losses of up to 100% are possible. The Vitis Vinifera grape varieties, the familiar European wine grape species, account for about 87% of Colorado’s grape production. Damage to the cold-tolerant, grape varieties, making up the other 13% of Colorado’s grape production, has been reported in Delta and Montrose Counties according to the Department of Agriculture.

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