“Extension: One-Stop Shopping”, by Linda Langelo, CSU Horticulture Agent
Colorado State University Extension is as good as one-stop shopping. Doesn’t that seem like what everyone wants these days? You are only a click away from accessing our information. Extension Services are over 100 years old and still continuing to reinvent ourselves as we move into the future.
The Smith–Lever Act of 1914 is a United States federal law that established a system of cooperative extension services, connected to the land-grant universities, in order to inform people about current developments in agriculture, horticulture, home economics, public policy/government, leadership, 4-H, economic development, coastal issues (National Sea Grant College Program), and many other related subjects. In all areas listed above, we deliver science-based information. We try our best to stay abreast of community needs and relevant issues.
Part of being relevant in the communities we serve is listening to our constituents. One way we listen to our constituents is through our clientele who attend our programs. We sometimes do surveys or use other types of evaluation tools. We have improved our access to you through Facebook pages, having links on county pages, having an area website, doing radio spots and being published in the local papers. We are either a click with your mouse or a phone call away.
For horticulture, you will now be able to join in the conversation, ask questions or share a post through Garden the Plains Facebook page. Feel free to access this as well for timely information on topics. We still have the Golden Plains Area Website which has been renovated. You will find our website at the following link: http://goldenplains.extension.colostate.edu/ . For horticulture information on our website, go to the following link: http://goldenplains.extension.colostate.edu/programs/yard-garden/ .
Horticulture in the Golden Plains Area provides expert, on-site diagnostics for plant health in the home landscape, plant suggestions, landscape designs and many other home gardening topics. You can access some of these topics at http://gpahort.blogspot.com/ .
For our area Family and Consumer Science programming covers food safety, nutrition and health, financial management and child development. The following is a brief list of the program topics previously mentioned:
Food Safety: ServSafe food handler and manager certification trainings; food preservation classes; Cottage Food Producer trainings.
Nutrition & Health: A Healthier Weigh – health and fitness challenge; in-school and after school nutrition and physical activity programs; Cooking Matters course; Diabetes Education – quarterly webinars; A Matter of Balance classes and Strong People Stay Healthy classes – both focus on strength, flexibility, extending independent living.
Financial Management: America Saves – promotion and education on ways to save; Annie’s Project – series for farm and ranch women related to managing their farm/ranch at all levels (insurance, marketing, estate planning, etc.); Money Smart and Money Talks – basic financial planning and management classes.
Child Development: Babysitting Basics Training.
Each county Extension Office tailors programs to meet their constituent’s needs. No two counties in the Golden Plains Area Extension have the same needs, priorities and dynamics. Feel free to contact your local Extension Office and speak with an agent.
Beyond taking classes or courses, there are ways to assist Extension by volunteering in each county. One way is to become a Master Gardener, 4-H Leader, or a Fair Board member. We do have other types of volunteers that help with Extension including county fairs and community gardens. Contact your local Extension office for more information. There are other programs that train people to become a volunteer to teach or participate in a class.
CSU Golden Plains Area Extension also actively covers issues concerning livestock, agriculture, and community development. Agriculture agents conduct field visits, test plot research and field demonstration projects to find solutions to a range of crop production-related problems. Educational workshops related to crop production are also offered, including those meeting the requirements for maintenance of pesticide applicator licenses. We are in the process of hiring a new Livestock agent to provide similar resources to those involved in animal production. Many of our agents also serve on local non-profit boards, and provide support to community development efforts. If you have a community development effort that Extension might be able to help with, please contact us.
Last but not least, is 4-H and the projects that are offered to enable youth to become leaders and acquire life skills. Our local fairs are the culmination of youth learning and a time to display projects worked on over the rest of the year. Fair is a time to demonstrate new skills and abilities. Locally, 4-H offers Wild Bug Fish Camp and Ag Fest which assist youth in learning various aspects of ag education, outdoor recreation and woodcraft. The traditional livestock projects are most visible at fair, and remain a foundation of 4-H activities, but are by no means the only opportunities available. A wide range of other topics are also available as 4-H projects, including: shooting sports, the IFFY Exchange Program, robotics, gardening, entomology, quilting, carpentry, and more. 4-H can give youths a sound foundation for the rest of their life.
I encourage you to go to our Golden Plains Area Website and explore. Feel free to call, or stop in any of our area Extension Offices in the Golden Plains. We have an office in Julesburg, Holyoke, Akron, Wray and Burlington. We look forward to meeting and serving the public.
For more information visit www.ext.colostate.edu.