Eye on Extension: Extension agriculture program wears many hats

MONTE VISTA — The Colorado State University, San Luis Valley Area Extension program covers a wide range of programs to provide education and information to the agriculture industry in the San Luis Valley.  Some of the agriculture areas that the Extension program supports include, farming, ranching, horticulture, water, wildlife, business management and “other duties as assigned.” 

The “other duties as assigned” may include programs like the Introduction to Beekeeping class held recently. It may also cover other program areas such as wildlife management, business development, natural resource management, and insect management around homes or businesses. We are also a resource for buyers to find sellers of local products including agricultural products. We receive many calls from people looking for hay, straw, grain, potatoes and other products that are grown in the San Luis Valley.

Through the years, we have worked with ranchers on feeding and nutrition plans for their animals. Sharing new ideas on feeding and working to reduce feed costs so producers may be profitable. Ranchers have heard about calving management programs to help keep calves alive in adverse conditions from Extension and others who are brought together. Ranch management plans have been developed for ranchers, calving programs sponsored, or breeding programs developed for local ranches.

Range management techniques have been shared to help maintain a positive natural resource environment in pastures. New techniques for managing livestock are shared where ranchers can consider different options to decide which ideas might work best for them. Since each ranch has different resources, a different solution is needed for each operation.

Farmers can get information and education from the SLV Extension program on alfalfa, barley, hemp and other alternative crops. Potato information is available from the Research and Extension Agents at the San Luis Valley Research Center. 

Homeowners and businesses that have questions about lawns, gardens, flowers, trees, or other plants around the home or business get help on insect, disease, nutrition, and other questions on managing plants. We also answer question on managing other aspects of the home such as the water and sewer systems. There are many other areas where we can help homeowners with expertise locally, as well as the expertise from Colorado State University and other Extension Agents across Colorado.

Since a person can’t know all the answers, we have specialists in some knowledge areas who we call on to help with a question. One such area is agriculture economics. We are fortunate to have several excellent specialists across Colorado.  Two of the special programs that come to the San Luis Valley are the fall Agricultural Lenders meetings and the Legacy Planning workshops. The agriculture lenders meetings share up to date information each fall with local bankers on the conditions of agriculture in Colorado and localized areas. The Legacy Planning workshops help open discussions with agriculture operators and their families on how to pass the farm or ranch on to the next generation. There are other programs available when needed as well. 

There is a water specialist and range specialist in the Regional Extension Office.  These people provide specialized education and do research in water and range management programs when requested locally.   

Living in a rural community, wildlife can be a surprise guest. The Extension office receives requests regularly on how to manage with wildlife concerns around the home or business. This can range from birds such as woodpeckers damaging homes to rodents or rabbits in yards, gardens and fields and on to skunks, raccoons, foxes and other animals around the home. We share recommendations on how to reduce damage or potential damage to property.

Recreation is an industry in the San Luis Valley the Extension Office responds to information requests. We receive calls, or people stop by the office to ask about trails for biking, riding, and hiking. We are also asked about fishing or hunting areas, bird watching and wildlife viewing. If someone asks about where to cut firewood, we can direct them to the proper place to get a permit and locale where they can get wood. 

In many communities in Colorado or across the United States, the Extension Office is where people go to get answers to questions when they aren’t sure who to ask.  Because we have the resources of Colorado State University, we can find answers to many unusual questions where others may not be able to find an answer. If the local Extension Office doesn’t have an answer to a question, we will direct someone to a where they can get an answer.

As you can see, there are many ways that the San Luis Valley Extension program supports local industries including agriculture, business, recreation, and others.

If the SLV Area Extension Office can help you, please get in touch with us. For more information about the Colorado State University Extension program, contact the San Luis Valley Area Extension Office at 719-852-7381 or visit http://sanluisvalley.colostate.edu.

Extension programs are available to all without discrimination, Colorado State University Extension, U.S. Department of Agriculture and Colorado counties cooperating.

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