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Local and Regional Programs

Colorado AgrAbility

Ryan Davis grew up on his family farm in Colorado. His family represents several generations of farmers and Ryan had thought he too would continue this path. An auto accident in 2014 changed all that. A spinal cord lesion at the T-6 level left Ryan in need of using a wheelchair for his mobility.

His life had been dramatically changed and working on the family farm presented many physical obstacles he felt he could not overcome. After high school graduation he attended college and concentrated on Ag related goals, such as Ag Economics, Business and Agronomy. But he still desired to help his family with more “hands on” help with their farm.

Ryan and his folks attended an AgrAbility Winter Workshop in February 2019. The Davis’s were interested in learning more about Assistive Technology that would provide access to the large farm equipment the Davis’ use in their production Ag business. Candy Leathers, AgrAbility Program Manager put them in touch with another AgrAbility client in the area, who provided a demonstration of a flatbed lift, a truck lift that would lift him from the truck cab, or ground level and insert him into the cab of a tractor, combine, or back hoe so he can perform daily work activities. This was such a revelation to the Davis family and got them thinking of all the work that Ryan could do for the farm.

Although Ryan had worked with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation in the past, after meeting with the AgrAbility staff he felt he had a new vocational direction that would allow him to combine his educational goals with his employment goal of working on the family farm. Ryan shared his personal goals were to be able to improve his overall mobility on the farm, accessing the farm yard, fields, buildings, and equipment and to operate and repair equipment and machinery. Colorado DVR requested that AgrAbility complete a formal Farm/Ranch Situational Assessment with Ryan and provide them with ecommendations and ideas to address the limitations he was experiencing.

Through the combined efforts of both programs and with coordination, collaboration, creative and open mindedness Ryan is excited and encouraged about working safely on the farm once again. He continues to receive support from DVR and is working towards making necessary modifications to farm equipment and work tasks through assistive technology to allow him to access farm fields, workshops, tools, and farm equipment.

The Colorado AgrAbility Project, working through CSU Extension on a grant from the USDA/NIFA, Aer once again brining to our community their Winter Workshops. This year we will feature an introduction to AgrAbility outlining what we do and how we serve farmer and ranchers throughout Colorado by making on farm visits to assess your work tasks and recommend ways to accomplish your chores less painfully and more safely. Then our staff will introduce you to things you can do to be part of the solution in suicide prevention. The rate of farmer suicide in Colorado continues to climb and we must stop it in our own community. Come learn how to have a conversation with a farmer in need. Lastly Dr. Norm Dalsted will give you an update of what farmers need to know on the Farm Bill.

Call Candy Leathers Program Manager at (720) 435-5539

Learn about ways to discuss suicide with someone in distress!

January 14th in Mancos/Cortez

Pueblo Community College SW Campus
33057 Highway 160
Mancos, CO  81326
Room To Be Determined
12:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Host is Tom Hooten

January 16th in Montrose

Friendship Hall
1001 N. 2nd Street
Montrose, CO  81401
12:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Host is Doug Dean

February 4th in Yuma

Yuma County Fairgrounds
410 Hoag Street
Yuma, CO
12:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Host is Travis Taylor

February 11th in Rocky Ford

Arkansas Valley Research Center
27901 County Road 21
Rocky Ford, CO  81067
12:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Host is Bruce Fickenscher

February 18th in Greeley

Weld County Extension Office
525 N. 15th Avenue
Greeley, CO  80631
12:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Host is Keith Maxey

2020 Basic Ag Marketing Lunch and Learn

Webinar Series
Noon-2:00 p.m.
February 6th-February 27th

Hosted by:
Weld County Extension Office
525 N. 15th Avenue
2nd Floor of Exhibition Building
Greeley, CO 80631

Pre-registration is REQUIRED

Deadline to register is February 1, 2020
Cost is $15.00
Space is limited so be sure to register early

To register go to

This webinar series will be delivered using the Zoom platform.  Systems requirements are:

  • An internet connection - broadband wired or wireless (3G or 4G/LTE)
  • Speakers - built-in or USB plug-in or wireless Bluetooth

Topics to be addressed:

February 6th is Cash Markets, Basis
February 13th is Using the Futures Market to Manage Price Risk
February 20th is Using the Options Market to Manage Price Risk
February 27th is Price Seasonality, Selecting a Broker, Pre and Post Harvest Market Planning

The Basic Ag Marketing Webinar is meant to be an introductory course covering the mechanics of cash, futures, and options markets.  This webinar is designed to meet the needs of agriculture producers who are new to commodity marketing and are looking for techniques to improve the prices they receive for their crops and livestock.

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.

For more information contact:
Brent Young
(970) 522-7207


Keith Maxey
(970) 400-2075

Hosted by the CSU Agricultural and Business Management Economist Brent Young.  2020 Basic Ag Marketing Lunch and Learn Flyer.​

Annie's Project

Empowering farm women to be better business owners or partners through networks and by managing and organizing critical information. 

Registration is Required

$75.00 registration fee includes all materials and dinner at each class.  Enrollment is limited to 20 in order to facilitate discussion.  Registration will be accepted on a first-come basis.  Registration deadline is January 31, 2020.  Register online at Eventbrite.

Thursday Evenings from February 13-March 19, 2020

Weld County Extension Office
525 N. 15th Avenue
Greeley, CO

Dinner begins at 5:30 p.m.
Class is from 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Farm and Ranch Women are Decision Makers

The decisions made today have a long‐range impact on all businesses.

Farm and ranch women are generating a cultural tide in American agriculture that is moving management, assets and opportunities to a new wave of farmers across the country.

Why Annie's Project?

This six‐week course is a discussion‐based workshop bringing women together to learn from experts in production, financial management, human resources, marketing and the legal field.

There’s plenty of time for questions, sharing, reacting and connecting with your presenters and fellow participants.

It’s a relaxed, fun and dynamic way to learn, grow and meet other Farm and Ranch women.

Annie's Alumnae Speak Out

“I took the class to gain a better under- standing about agribusiness and how financial decisions impact our farm operation. I have a better understanding of balance sheets and the futures market… this class has improved communication with my spouse on concerns he works with on a daily basis.” – Linda

“I grew up on the family farm for 21 years, but today’s way of farming is much different. As my father would say, ‘It’s a sophisticated business.’ I needed to learn more so I could be an effective member of a team in the areas of marketing and financ- es. I have learned about the future of farming and have been given a variety of tools that will help my father currently and my husband farm in the future.” – Carrie

Schedule of Topics

February 13, 2020

Program Overview
True Colors Assessment
Communication Skills

February 20, 2020

Enterprise Analysis
Insurance for Families (not crop)
Farm Leasing

February 27, 2020

Farm Service Agency
Natural Resource Conservation Agency
Basic Financial Documents

March 5, 2020

Estate Planning
Commodity Marketing
Interpretation of Financial Documents

March 12, 2020

Women and Money
Crop Insurance
Web Soil Survey
Graduation Photograph

March 19, 2020

Topics of Interest, Chosen by the Class

February 25th, March 10th and March 24th are make-up days if needed

Contact Stacey Swanson with questions at (970) 313-7792 or email her at  You can find all information in the Annie's Project Flyer.

The USDA Rural Development’s Value Added Producer Grant Program’s
FY 2020 Funding Opportunity is Now Available!

The Deadline for Applications is March 10, 2020!

This is a friendly reminder that the deadline for FY 2020 Value Added Producer Grant (VAPG) applications is quickly approaching; all applications must be received in a Colorado Rural Development office by 4:00 p.m. on March 10, 2020, or post marked by that date if mailed.

The VAPG program is designed to help producers of agriculture commodities with Planning or Working Capital grant funds to help create, market and sell their Value-Added Products (VAP). One recent recipient of the VAPG is Rolling T Livestock who has raised Corriente Cattle for decades when they applied for and received funds from the 2018 VAPG funding. Marketed as High Plains Beef, they used the grant and their 50% matching funds for marketing and labeling their beef VAP’s made in Northwest Colorado. The funds have been used to purchase marketing materials, build a website and start using social media methods for advertising. Their success in getting their Corriente Beef products to market is attributed to their dedication and hard work as well as the financial assistance the VAPG has provided. Not only did sales exceed initial expectations, but they are now selling in several states.

What about your project? Could we help you get your value-added product started or expand the market place for your current one? Contact us to discuss it soon!!! We will stop our complimentary eligibility and completeness reviews sometime toward the end of February. Successful applications are ones that are submitted early! Any applications submitted on the deadline will be final and any missing information will result in an ineligible application.

We look forward to working with you!

P.J. Howe, Business Program Specialist
USDA Rural Development
145 Commerce Street, Craig, CO 81625
(970) 329-3151


Cindy Chadwick, Business Programs Specialist
USDA Rural Development, Colorado State Office
Denver Federal Center, Building 56, Room 2300
PO Box 25426, Denver, Colorado 80225-0426
(720) 544-2924

Colorado Leopold Conservation Award Seeks Nominees

Nominations are now being accepted for the prestigious Leopold Conservation Award® honoring agricultural landowners in Colorado who demonstrate outstanding stewardship and management of natural resources.

Sand County Foundation, the nation’s leading voice for conservation of private land, presents the Leopold Conservation Award to private landowners in 20 states for extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation. In Colorado, the $10,000 award is presented with the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, and USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, the award recognizes landowners who inspire others with their dedication to land, water and wildlife habitat management on private, working land. In his influential 1949 book, “A Sand County Almanac,” Leopold called for an ethical relationship between people and the land they own and manage.

Nominations may be submitted on behalf of a landowner, or landowners may nominate themselves. The application can be found at:

The application deadline date is February 1, 2020. Applications can be emailed to or If mailed, applications must be postmarked by February 1, and mailed to:

Leopold Conservation Award
c/o Colorado Cattlemen’s Association
8833 Ralston Road
Arvada, CO 80002-2239

“The Leopold Conservation Award not only highlights the positive influences agriculture has on the environment, our communities, and our economy, but also teaches others about the heritage of natural resource stewardship on working landscapes,” said Steve Wooten, 2018 Leopold Conservation Award recipient and Colorado Cattlemen’s Association president.

“Leopold Conservation Award recipients are at the forefront of a movement by America’s farmers and ranchers to simultaneously achieve economic and environmental success,” said Kevin McAleese, Sand County Foundation President and Chief Executive Officer.

The Leopold Conservation Award Program in Colorado is made possible thanks to the generous partnership and support of Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Assoc., USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, The Gates Family Foundation, The Stanko Ranch, American AgCredit, McDonald’s, The Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, and The Nature Conservancy.

The first Colorado Leopold Conservation Award recipient, Capps Ranch of Walsenburg, was selected in 2003. Livingston Ranch of Stratton received the award in 2019.

​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 coarse 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 -


Weld County, Colorado Master Gardeners

Flower garden with watering pot

Send your garden questions to:

Email Address: