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Extension Update – January 12, 2017   arrow

On behalf of PLT:

Professional Development Funds – RDs & Judy Barth

As of January 9, all Professional Development Funds for 2016-17 have been expended.  Funds availability for ‘17- ‘18 will not be known for several months (later in the state budgeting process).  As soon as we know if, and how many, funds will be available, we will let you know.  Please do not request PD funds at this time.

Planning & Reporting Unit Updates

Community Development – Greg Felsen

The Community Development PRU is excited for our team efforts in 2017.  This year, Annette Shipley – Douglas County and Greg Felsen – La Plata County have taken on co-leadership roles.  They have planned their first PRU meeting for Tuesday, January 10th.  Don Albrecht, the Director of the Western Rural Development Center will be on the call to discuss resources and opportunities available to Agents.  In addition, the meeting will cover an update on an upcoming Urban Extension Conference, 2017 PLT funding opportunities and Community Development topics of interest for 2017.  Furthermore, we will plan our schedule of meetings for the year and highlight Professional Development trainings and opportunities in our area in 2017.

CPRS – Jan Carroll       

Thanks to everyone who completed reporting for 2016.  I’m looking forward to beginning the Federal Annual Report, and for the opportunity to enter your outcomes and narratives into this document. The summary sheet below shows we completed the following outputs in 2016:

Output # Participants
Group Educational Events 677,457 384,120
Individual Education 129,521 131,437
Meetings Convened and/or facilitated 6,075 8,371
Kits or similar resources 1,115 3,469
Extension-related research & assessment projects 2,232 5,726
Peer-reviewed publications 96 742
Media releases 21,126 5,088,732
Online posts 1,351,078 1,186,544


Staff Days reported were 32,652 (/200 = 163 FTEs), and Volunteers = 10,440 with volunteer hours reported 133,381:

Program Days
4-H Youth Development 13024.5
Community Development 1861.33
Crop Management Systems 1859.88
EFNEP 4409
Energy 402.8
Environmental Horticulture 3329.78
Family and Financial Stability 549.65
Food Systems 947.84
Livestock and Range 1396.77
Natural Resources 2295.44
Nutrition, Food Safety, and Health 2452.5
Radon 122.9
Total 32652.39

Cropping Systems – Ron Meyer

Team members harvested 20 Collaborative On Farm Trials (COFT) in 2016.  This activity includes 20 wheat producers who participate in a wheat variety testing program across Eastern Colorado.  The objective of the on-farm testing program is to compare the performance of wheat varieties that are of most interest to Colorado farmers. In 2016, five varieties were included: Byrd (popular HRW), Denali (HRW), Sunshine (high quality HWW), Avery (newly released HRW) and WB-Grainfield (HRW from WestBred).  Varieties in the COFT program are tested under farm field-scale conditions with farmer equipment. Colorado State University Extension Agents oversee all aspects of the program.

The Colorado Wheat Administrative Committee provides partial funding support which covers testing expenses.  Information generated by this program assists Eastern Colorado wheat producers make decisions that affect local variety choices.  In 2015, 63% of wheat grown in Eastern Colorado were Colorado State University varieties.  Colorado currently ranks 6th in United States winter wheat production with a value of approximately $325 million.

Energy – Cary Weiner

The Energy PRU has decided to pursue a number of projects for 2017 including: release of an online solar feasibility calculator; revamping County energy kits; LED demonstrations in select County Extension offices; solar feasibility assessments for feedlots; 4-H energy education; community energy planning; expansion of educational “How to Buy a Light Bulb” signs at retailers; an online digital badge program; and a rebrand of our energy efforts to be called Your Energy Colorado. Our goal is to facilitate sustainable energy decisions in Colorado.

Environmental Horticulture – Alison O’Connor

In early December the Rocky Mountain Regional Turfgrass Association Conference was held in Denver. Specialists Drs. Tony Koski, Jim Klett and Tamla Blunt presented sessions, as well as agents Eric Hammond, Carol O’Meara and Alison O’Connor. There were 1,200 attendees at this annual event.

Starting the week of January 9, training for the Master Gardener program begins. Training is 10 weeks and is held in various Colorado counties.

The ProGreen Expo, our largest state horticultural conference, will be held at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, February 7-10, 2017. Many agents and specialists will be presenting at ProGreen.

The Colorado Garden and Home Show will be at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, February 4-12. The Adams County horticulture staff, led by Eric Hammond and Cassey Anderson, and Master Gardeners are planning and building the educational display booth. Front Range Master Gardeners will be on hand each day to answer gardening questions from attendees.

Family & Financial Stability – Laurel Kubin

The Family and Financial Stability PRU is planning to receive training this spring in the use of the University of Illinois’ All My Money curriculum which provides very experiential tools for lower income families to learn basic financial concepts. During the training, the team members also plan to receive Mental Health First Aide training in in order to respond to local issues. The GRANDcares project is well underway in Adams and Larimer Counties. PRU members will be hosting local events and trainings during America Saves Week in February.

Food Systems – Becca Jablonski

CSU Extension’s Food Systems PRU has some exciting events/educational opportunities available:

  1. CO Blueprint for Food and Agriculture

The stage is set for a variety of Colorado agricultural and food system stakeholders to frame, guide and innovate a blueprint of the sector’s key assets, emerging issues and priorities for future investments and policies to sustain the state’s standing as a global leader in production and processing, while maintaining the culture of quality of life, health and livable communities that has made it a valued by both its long-time residents and those who choose to move to Colorado as their new home.

The Blueprint is a unique opportunity to frame and strengthen key food and agricultural areas through stakeholder driven conversations around industry and issue updates that will be developed in 2016, initially released in early 2017 and integrated with community feedback for a final report in 2017. We will be traveling across the state holding regional listening sessions and would love to hear from you.

More information, including dates and locations of regional listening sessions, can be found here:

  1. MarketReady Producer Training Program: designed to support farmers, ranchers, food hub managers, Extension Agents and other business development service providers.

The training will be held on February 15th and 16th, 2017, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s Broomfield office.

Program topics are focused on things to consider when entering new wholesale markets, including:

  • Packaging,
  • Labeling,
  • Pricing,
  • Supply,
  • Delivery,
  • Storage,
  • Invoicing,
  • Insurance,
  • Quality assurance
  • Temperature control, and
  • Communication strategies with buyers

Registration fees vary, based on background and dates, with group discounts for farmers available. Visit for details, registration and agenda.

Attendees will receive comprehensive program materials, and have the opportunity to meet with retail and wholesale buyers, Colorado Department of Agriculture staff specializing in meat and egg regulation, and with farmers who have built successful businesses using diverse market channels. Participants will be provided a lunch on both days.

  1. Food Safety trainings:
  • FSPCA Preventative Controls for Human Food Course
  • Denver Produce Safety Rule training
    • Date: February 20th (the day before the CFVGA conference)
    • Location: Adams County Extension Office, 9755 Henderson Rd, Brighton, CO
    • Description: The CFVGA will be hosting FSMA Produce Safety Rule training required for one person from each farm subject to compliance with the Produce Safety Rule. Registration closes on February 16th. To register, click HERE.
  1. Agritourism workshop
  • New Insights, Opportunities, and Barriers for Agritourism in the West

Friday, January 27th 12:00-4:30pm

The Farm House at Breckinridge Brewery, Littleton CO

Agritourism can provide additional income for beginning farmer businesses, and in some instances, may become a primary income source. Management of an agritourism enterprise requires understanding of consumer interests and behavior, marketing strategies, business risks, and leveraging available resources. Join Colorado Building Farmers for an intensive class that will help you understand how to start or refine an agritourism enterprise.

Livestock & Range – Todd Hagenbuch

The Livestock and Range PRU is excited to move into 2017 with new team members and renewed vigor. We welcome new Extension Beef Specialist Ryan Rhoades on our livestock side, and on the range side, we welcome new Regional Range Specialists Don Schroderbek (Peaks and Plains) and Retta Bruegger (Western). These folks join a group of on-and-off campus educators who are eager to focus in on three areas of work this year to deliver new programming in our communities.  The focus areas for 2017 are Drought, Invasives, Rangelands, Next Generation Ranching/Legacy Planning, and Cow/Calf Issues. Because some of these areas might have crossover with other PRUs, if you’re interested in joining these work teams and don’t report to the L&R PRU, please let Chris Shelley or Todd Hagenbuch know. Happy 2017!

Natural Resources – Brian Kailey

The Natural Resource team is gearing up for a great 2017 programing year. On the horizon we have a field guide for identifying the common native trees of Colorado. This guide will have twenty species broken down into deciduous, spruce, pine, fir and cedar. Each tree will have a NRCS map showing the native range in Colorado, key identifying factors, tree value and a section about insect and diseases. These pocket guides will be distributed to county offices once they are printed.

At the end of annual forum, we hosted the second Natural Resource Consortium meeting with Warner College of Natural Resources, Colorado State Forest Service, Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Colorado Forest Restoration Institute and the Colorado Environmental Management of Military Lands. This meeting was a great opportunity for us to work with other organizations that have similar interests in natural resources. With that being said we are in the process of creating a suite of apps with all of the groups listed above along with Kevin Brown from the CSU Research Software Facility. The framework that we are creating will allow us to create any app with a plant base. The first two apps that we are looking into developing is a woody plant app for Colorado and an Ash tree identification app that will help people become more aware of ash problems in the state like the Emerald Ash Borer. Our hope is that this framework will open the doors to other apps such as invasive species, range, small acreage management, horticulture etc. All of these apps that we plan on creating will be free to the public and will allow us to showcase the natural resource departments of CSU.

Nutrition, Food Safety, and Health – Marisa Bunning

Campus recently completed 3 monthly resource kits including handouts, posters, videos, newsletters, and social media posts on the following topics:  MIND Diet and leafy greens, mindfulness, and ancient grains.  Topics for the next two months are fermented foods and sugar sweetened beverages/soda tax.

Eat more greens!
Eat more greens in 17!  Leafy greens are healthy additions to any meal. In 2017, watch for our FaceBook posts, videos, handouts, and posters about selecting and preparing these nutritionally gifted vegetables.

Master Food Safety Advisor Volunteer Program: Starting in January of 2017, Edie McSherry, Larimer County FCS agent, will be serving part-time as the state-wide coordinator of this program focused on training volunteer educators in the areas of food safety and food preservation.

FCS agents in Jefferson, Boulder, and Arapahoe Counties are partnering to teach Cottage Food Safety classes.

Starting in January, agents in the Golden Plains Area will be providing “A Healthier Weigh” program. This year some face-to-face components and the Healthy You curriculum will be offered in selected sites.  This group of agents will also continue their partnership with the NE Health Dept. and offer ServSafe food safety training in the northeastern part of the state.  Joy Akey in Yuma County will continue to provide the Integrated Nutrition Education Program for K-4th grades at the Wray Elementary, monthly Yuma County Head Start nutrition lessons, and two after-school programs related to healthy foods and physical activity.

Golden Plains agents are also planning to provide several webinars in 2017 as part of their diabetes webinar series.

  • 2, 2017: Dr. William Polonsky from the Univ. of California Behavioral Diabetes Institute.
  • April, 2017:  Dr. Michael Shomake with Colorado Kidney Care, kidney health
  • August, 2017:  Judy Weimer, Holyoke hospital, grocery shopping for diabetes management
  • November, 2017: TBD, CO Plains Medical Center on generational links/family impacts on diabetes.  Agents will do a follow up that evening related to type 1 diabetes.

The NFSH and FES PRUs are teaming up on a new venture this year – Watch for the launch of the Live Smart Colorado blog in 2017!