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Extension Update – January 23, 2018   arrow

On behalf of Bill Nobles:

2018 Performance Appraisal Document Updated

Based on your input, the Performance Appraisal Task Force has tweaked the performance appraisal form. Thank you for your recommendations. The form should be posted this week before the County /Area Directors Meeting. We have completed building the new, usable form. This new form will be used for the 2017 review process. Congratulations to Travis Hoesli and the rest of the Task Force Committee for getting this completed.

Salary Task Force

The Salary Task Force headed up by Eric McPhail will also be meeting Tuesday, January 30 at the Jefferson County Extension Office.  The intent of the meeting is to further discussion on salary issues and maybe to broaden the ways we compensate our employees beyond just salary. All input is welcome. Contact your regional rep or Eric if you have input.

Video Update from Ashley Stokes

Please click here to view Ashley’s latest update:

2018 PLT Funding Awarded!

On Tuesday, January 16, nine Planning and Reporting Units (PRUs) were notified that they were funded for programming in 2018, according to the applications they submitted earlier this month.  Everyone who applied was funded; most levels were at or near the amounts requested.  RDs awarded the entire available amount of $35,000.  Thanks to the PRU leaders who spent time crafting fundable applications.  We look forward to seeing results by the end of 2018.

PLT Meeting F2F

The next PLT meeting will be held at the 27th Annual Governor’s Forum on Colorado Agriculture. The meeting is February 20th from 1:00 to 4:00 pm at the Renaissance Hotel in Denver. We hope at least one leader from each PRU can attend. Please send your agenda items to Jan Carroll and me.

Our goal is to give you an opportunity to attend the Governors Reception and the Colorado Fruit and Growers Annual Conference held February 19 thru the 20th.  Please register on line if you choose to attend the conferences. Here is the web site:

2018 WEDA Awards of Excellence Application

Please find attached the 2018 WEDA Awards of Excellence Application information. I know there has been some great work accomplished this past year. So, apply! Applications need to be submitted to Yvonne Bridgeman. We can select two entries to submit for Colorado.  Multistate entries may be submitted by a state or territory in addition to the two state entries.  This award, which is presented through Western Extension Directors Association with the assistance of the Western Region Programs Leadership Committee, recognizes outstanding Extension programs in the Western region.  Winners will be asked to present at the Joint Summer Meeting. This is a great opportunity!

The due date for all submissions is 5:00 p.m., Friday, March 2, 2018.  Please send the electronic application to Yvonne.Bridgeman@ColoState.EDU

If you have questions please do not hesitate to call or email.

Peaks and Plains Region Positions Updates and Hires

  • Debbie Chapman is the new Family and Consumer Science Agent in the Southeast Area. She is located out of Otero/Crowley Counties.  Her email is: or call her at 719-468-8909.
  • JD Sexton is the new Logan County Ag/4-H Livestock Agent in Sterling CO. He started this last week and his contact information is: or call him at (970) 522-3200 x281
  • We are in the final stages of filling the GPA/Yuma County Livestock position.
  • We are in the final stages of filling the Custer County Director/Ag position.
  • Park County Director Position is under review and should be posted soon.
  • Peaks and Plains Range Specialist Position is under review and should be posted soon.
  • The Las Animas County Extension Agent, Agriculture & 4-H is under review.

Tommy Covington is retiring! Help us congratulate his retirement by gathering for an evening of food, fellowship and fun. The event is on Thursday, February 8 at the Fremont County 4-H Building 1595 S. 9th St., Canon City 4-7 PM. No gifts, please! Your presence is your present. 719-276-7390 for more information.

In addition Sheila Kelley, Elbert County and Janice Dixon, Morgan County will be retiring the first week in March. We will miss all these Extension agents and I am sure there will be more to follow as we get closer to March. Congratulations as you move on to your next journey!

Where to next?

By: MJ Fisher, Pueblo County Extension Director

SUCCESS!  Three years from when we began thinking about this and after a year of serious planning and development, the tour of agriculture and culture across the Andalusian region of Spain has been achieved.  All twenty-two of our travelers returned to the USA safe and sound with only one suitcase taking an extra day of world exploration.  Our group has learned many things about the technology being used in Spain to grow vegetables and fruits.  We experienced both traditional Spanish foods and the prototype snacks and drinks that researchers are developing to promote Spain’s ag products into the future.  There is a much better understanding among our group for how Spaniards approach production and marketing of livestock and how they’ve searched out niche markets that they can cater to.  And we’ve greatly grown our knowledge and comprehension of how the Andalusian culture was formed over centuries with influences from numerous other cultures.  We’ve expanded our knowledge of ag, we’ve grown our understanding and appreciation of other peoples, and we’ve returned with suitcases full of olive oil, Flamenco castanets, Spanish wool scarfs, and tapas recipe books.  A successful trip.

Check out the blog “American Agriculturist Visit Spain” at  Joanne Littlefield coordinated the blog and several of your coworkers have contributed to it.

Where to next?

That’s a good question.  I’ve begun exploring options for putting together another international agriculture tour, with Lou’s permission, and currently I’m waiting to see some sample itineraries and hear some cost estimates.  While nothing has been decided at the time that I am writing this (1.19.18), I can tell you that the itinerary samples I’ve asked for are all in the Southern hemisphere and the time frame I gave for the travel would be either January or February of 2020.  As was the case with the Spain trip, the next tour will be set up to learn about agriculture in wherever will be the host country but there will also be time built in for the group to be able to explore the country’s culture and history.

Once I have the trip itinerary put together and price estimates calculated (hopefully by May), I’ll be asking Agents around the State to help me get the word out to the ag community.  But my Regional Director asked that I point out that Lou, Ashley, and the RD’s are very supportive of international professional development.  Approximately half of our group that went to Spain were CSU employees and several of them were able to find some travel grant dollars to help them with part of the cost of this educational trip.  If that is something that you are interested in trying to do for a future trip, I would encourage you to begin a conversation with your Regional Director in the near future about traveling internationally for work and start looking for some professional development grants that allow for international travel.

The Pueblo County Extension office is going to keep a list of interested persons who want more information about the next tour once a travel plan is solidified and promotional material is created.  So if you think you might be interested in international ag travel with Colorado State University Extension, give us a call at the Pueblo County Extension office (719-583-6566) and ask to have your contact information added to the list.