Positive Focus Team Honored with Cooperative Extension Award


October 16, 2003

Media Contact: Dell Rae Moellenberg                      

(970) 491-6009



FORT COLLINS – A group of Colorado State University Cooperative Extension experts who help rural families deal with issues they face in these changing agricultural times was recognized Oct. 16 with the Cooperative Extension Team Award. The award, given by Epsilon Sigma Phi, the Cooperative Extension professional fraternity, recognizes teamwork that makes a difference in Colorado communities and was given at the organization’s annual banquet.

The group, The Positive Focus team, provides assistance to rural families, communities and other individuals by providing information, education and other tools to face and survive agricultural issues facing them.

"This team shows an example of how Cooperative Extension responds to the needs of residents within the state by offering educational opportunities that help communities and make a difference in people’s lives," said Milan Rewerts, Colorado State Cooperative Extension director. "The team has made significant impacts on the families and Colorado communities facing difficulties in the current agricultural economy."

The current drought has had severe effects on the Eastern Region, the economy of which is based on agriculture. The drought reduced harvested acres and yields which cut farm incomes.  With less money to spend, farm spending is minimized and farm and household spending is cut.

Families feel the impact of financial stress. Increased economic pressure leads to emotional distress resulting in deteriorating marital relations and decreased quality parenting.

Farm and ranch families face unique challenges because their work and family are so closely intermingled.  The Positive Focus team created ways to educate families and communities on how to deal with and reduce stress. The team presented workshops in three locations and small group Web sites focusing on family dynamics, healthy lifestyles and current Colorado State University Agricultural Experimental Station research.

In addition, news columns are published in 12 counties in the eastern area of the state and a Positive Focus website was created to educate viewers and to promote additional resources and programs.  

Also, a four-hour in-service for Cooperative Extension professionals, members of the faith community, college personnel and government personnel shared information and tips on how to deal with clients who come to them seeking advice.

Team members include Karen Brock, Colorado State Cooperative Extension family and consumer sciences and 4-H youth development agent in  Baca County; Kaye Kasza, family and consumer sciences and 4-H youth development agent in Kiowa County; Bruce Fickenscher, livestock and 4-H youth development agent in Kiowa County; Tim Macklin, cropping systems agent in Prowers County; Leonard Pruett, area livestock program leader in Prowers County; Sheryl Holden, family and consumer sciences and 4-H youth development agent in Prowers County; Perry Brewer, technical education and 4-H youth development agent in Kit Carson County; Ron Meyer, agriculture and agronomy agent in Kit Carson County; Dennis Kaan, extension agriculture and business management specialist in the eastern region; and Jan Nixon, family and consumer sciences and 4-H youth development agent in Logan County.


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.