Local and Regional Programs

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Colorado Building Farmers Program

Applications for the Colorado Building Farmers Program are available now.

We are offering the Colorado Building Farmers and Ranchers Program in three different formats across the state.

Classes will be 6:00 – 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays, January 12-March 2, 2022 (tentative schedule based on location.  Contact the location’s program manager for more information).

  • The Colorado Building Farmers and Ranchers Program is a non-credit series of classes focusing on the steps to help farmers and ranchers develop a business plan and to provide insight into how to identify and manage business risks specific to farmers and ranchers.
  • The course begins with creating a vision or mission statement, developing short- and long-term goals and instruction on how to perform a strength/weakness/opportunity/threat (SWOT) analysis which helps to identify a potential marketing niche, customer base, etc.
  • During our eight weeks together, participants will also develop a strategic marketing plan to include product, pricing, placement and promotion goals and strategies, while identifying customers, costs, and competition.
  • We will also address a variety of current risk topics including setting up an appropriate business structure; thinking about insurance for a farm business; planning for and responding to emergency situations; and recent changes in Colorado labor law and their impact on agriculture.
  • We will round out the education you receive with understanding the importance of recordkeeping for decision making in business planning and how to use those records in your business decisions.
  • Lastly, you will have the opportunity to present your business plan and receive feedback. Following the presentation of your business plan, you will receive a certificate of completion for the Colorado Building Farmers and Ranchers Program.

Ag Marketing Webinar Series

Many agricultural producers don’t feel confident in their abilities to market the commodities they produce. In today’s agricultural business environment of high input costs and slim or non-existent margins, marketing skills are essential. In an effort to help corn producers improve their marketing skills, CSU Extension Ag Economist, Dr. Brent Young is offering a series of ag marketing webinars.

The Basic Ag Marketing Lunch and Learn – Corn Producers Edition webinar series.  You can view the Ag Marketing Lunch and Learn Flyer(PDF, 316KB).

is meant to be a basic course covering the mechanics of cash, futures, and options markets with advanced sessions leading up to the development of a marketing plan. Participants will have the opportunity to participate in four additional webinars throughout the marketing year and an interactive online corn marketing game.

The webinar format is interactive and will allow for live questions. Each webinar session will be recorded for review if you miss a session or for additional viewing to clarify concepts.

The webinars will be held from noon to 2:00 p.m., Tuesdays in February & March (1, 8, 15, 22, 1, & 8). One fee of $50 covers all six sessions. Register for the Ag Marketing Lunch and Learn.  For more information contact Brent Young at (970) 580-2204 or email at brent.young@colostate.edu.

Landscaping with Colorado Native Plant Conference

The conference will be VIRTUAL from 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 26, 2022

Questions? Contact Irene Shonle or Deryn Davidson

REGISTER NOW for the Landscaping with Colorado Native Plant Conference

What’s the buzz about native plants? Find out at the 7th Annual Landscaping with Colorado Native Plants Conference! Experts in horticulture, ecology and landscape design share how to plan, plant and maintain beautiful and biodiverse native landscapes from the ground up. To enable participation statewide, this year’s conference is online. Recordings of the speakers’ presentations will be available for registrants to view.

Featuring speakers from diverse fields, this year’s Landscaping with Colorado Native Plants Conference offers inspiration and insight to both novice and tenured gardeners. Professionals in the horticulture and design industries may apply for continuing education credits for the Landscape Industry Certified Technician program and through the Association of Professional Landscape Designers. This year’s keynote speaker, renowned entomologist Dr. Doug Tallamy and author of Nature’s Best Hope outlines a homegrown approach to conservation. Other program topics include merging ecosystem function with landscape aesthetics, growing Castilleja spp. in Colorado gardens, well-behaved prairie plants, gardens that cater to Colorado birds, and native plant production. The Conference will also showcase the River’s Edge Natural Area Native Plant Demonstration garden in Loveland and the 2021 Conference Grant awardee residential and public gardens.

“As a gardener, it is a delight to see my fellow horticulturalists working alongside birders, ecologists, entomologists and botanists to encourage the use of native plants in landscapes,” says Jennifer Bousselot, Assistant Professor in Horticulture and Landscape Architecture at Colorado State University. Not only do native plants attract and support imperiled insect and bird populations, they connect people to the land and to the community.

The Landscaping with Colorado Native Plants Conference is a collaborative, educational initiative that promotes the inclusion of native plants in our landscaping to benefit pollinators and songbirds, save water, and restore the beauty and health of nature in the places we live, work and play. The Landscaping with Colorado Native Plants Conference is brought to you by a coalition of partners: the Butterfly Pavilion, Colorado State University Extension and the Colorado Native Plant Master Program®, the Colorado Native Plant Society, the Denver Botanic Gardens, the Wild Ones Front Range Chapter, the High Plains Environmental Center and Susan J. Tweit, author and plant ecologist. “Our collaboration of partners, all with a shared mission of conserving native plants and pollinators, have been extremely pleased with the enthusiastic public response,” says Jim Tolstrup, Executive Director of the High Plains Environmental Center. We are seeing a shift in public awareness of the critical role that native plants play in our local food webs and in people’s desire to make an impact. Jim writes, “We need our landscaping to be more than just pretty, we can utilize landscaping as a life raft to save our dwindling wildlife and share the world that we design and build with them.”

Attendees are invited to preview the conference platform prior to the event. Register now for the virtual Landscaping with Colorado Native Plants Conference.

Building Land Stewards in Colorado

By Jennifer Cook

Air, water, soil, plants, and animals are natural resources we depend on every day and yet many of us don’t understand their dynamic relationships or how to protect them. We can be better land stewards through simple strategies that will help protect these natural resources.

Grazing livestock and horses can help regenerate our soils and forages if managed in a way that protects from overgrazing. Overgrazing occurs when our livestock graze for too long in one area. The desired forages eventually die-off from continued defoliation and weeds take advantage of overgrazed areas, becoming infestations and reducing palatable forages even further.

Strategies to limit overgrazing are to fence a “sacrifice area” and utilize temporary fencing. A sacrifice area is an area with shelter and water that is a comfortable size for livestock and horses to move around and spend much of their time. Pastures can be subdivided using temporary/movable fencing so that YOU control where and when your livestock graze. Pastures are grazed for a short time, protecting grasses by always maintaining at least a 3-inch stubble. When pasture grasses are 3-inches or shorter, it’s time to move livestock to the sacrifice area to let the grass regrow. The sacrifice area is also used in the winter when grasses are not actively growing.

Manure is a valuable resource and adds organic matter and nutrients to our soils. But manure can also become a water pollutant. Store manure at least 150 feet away from wells, ditches, dry washes, lakes and streams, to protect water quality. As water runs through manure, it carries with it nitrogen and other nutrients from the manure that will pollute aboveground and underground water. Excess nutrients in our water can cause human and livestock health issues and are what causes the algae blooms and fish kills we hear about on the news.

Regenerative farming and carbon sequestration are words you may have heard recently. They have to do with building soil health and protecting air quality. Land managers play an important role in reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide, a greenhouses gas. Carbon sequestration is the process by which atmospheric carbon dioxide is taken up by grasses, trees, and plants through photosynthesis, and stored as carbon in soils, roots, branches, and foliage. Carbon sequestration offsets carbon dioxide emissions from sources such as burning fossil fuels and forest fires.

Tilling, burning, and tearing up the soil releases stored carbon and increases particulate matter (inhalable particles such as dust and smoke) into the air. We can protect soil health and air quality by planting cover crops on bare ground and/or establishing perennial vegetation. These are some of the strategies we use to regenerate the soil as in regenerative farming.

An easy way to learn more is through CSU Online non-credit Land Stewardship badge program, developed in partnership between CSU Online and CSU Extension. Take one or more of the online self-paced short courses. The target audience includes: small acreage land owners, farm or livestock managers, urban/rural hobby farmers, realtors and listing agents.

Participants will gain a better understanding of the available natural resources, how to cultivate them sustainably, and build an effective long-term land management plan. The Land Stewardship Program, developed for the Colorado-arid west soil and climatic conditions, provides the learner with more localized land strategies.

Online courses are open and available for registration. To register, please visit the link to the course below:

Learn more about the Land Stewardship Program.

CSU Extension’s Small Acreage Management website is also a great place to find recorded webinars, videos, and articles on managing your land at CSU Extension’s Small Acreage Management.

Weld County, Colorado Master Gardeners

Flower garden with watering pot Weld County Colorado Master Gardeners are operating a Remote Garden Help Desk to help you with your gardening questions during this time. If you would like to submit your lawn, tree or gardening question, please send an email to weldmastergardeners@outlook.com

For more information visit the Weld County Colorado Master Gardeners.



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