Experts from Colorado State University’s Cooperative Extension team, known for providing agricultural producers with the necessities to survive difficult economic times, was recognized Oct.16 with the Team Award. The award, given annually by Epsilon Sigma Phi, the Cooperative Extension professional fraternity, recognizes teamwork that makes a difference in Colorado communities.
These experts, who comprise the Agriculture and Business Management team, develop and implement concepts and procedures to assist agricultural producers in Colorado during seasons of drought and low commodity crop prices. Since the 1996 Farm Bill was passed producers have been forced to manage risks alone, increasing the need for education to manage production, marketing, financial, legal and human risks in their own businesses. Agriculture is in the top-five economically important industries in Colorado, and numerous agricultural producers throughout the state have participated in ABM educational programs.
"This team has had a significant impact on our state economy by increasing individual productivity for agricultural producers," said Milan Rewerts, Colorado State Cooperative Extension director. "They have represented Cooperative Extension values of education and dedication to residents as well as benefiting the agricultural industry in Colorado."
The team presented a variety of topics including financial education such as analyzing financial statements, managing price risk, following standardized financial guidelines, managing for drought, comparing costs of production systems and analyzing lease arrangements as well as general business information including diversification of enterprises, implementing value-added and direct marketing strategies, comparing different business plans, understanding labor and personnel management, developing strategic plans and understanding government policies and regulations. They provided this information through workshops, fact sheets, publications and bulletins, Web sites, workshops, simulation models, expos, field days, leadership schools and videos. Team members also have collaborated with other states, government agencies and universities on several other projects in association with their educational outreach efforts.
Evaluation of 2002 Agricultural Lender Meetings has shown that information provided by the ABM team was useful and resulted in a 149 percent increase in attendance at these meetings. The greatest indicator of the team’s success is a growing demand for ABM educational programming and requests for input into policy decisions.
Team members include Norm Dalsted, Cooperative Extension economist; Dennis Kaan, Cooperative Extension regional economist and ABM specialist in the Northeastern region of the state; Steve Koontz, Cooperative Extension commodity marketing economist; Rod Sharp, regional economist and ABM specialist on the Western slope; Jeff Tranel, regional economist and ABM specialist in Southern Colorado; and Wendy Umberger, Cooperative Extension economist, food and livestock marketing.
Colorado State University Cooperative Extension brings the resources of the university to you. As part of a nation-wide system, we call upon the latest research to help Coloradoans learn more about gardening and commercial horticulture, healthy eating, personal finances, community resources, agricultural technology, food safety, dealing with changes in their community, family relationships and managing small acreages and natural resources. Our youth development program annually reaches more than 115,000 children in Colorado. Our 57 county offices, serving 59 Colorado counties, help people use university expertise on the job, at home and in their community.