Garfield County CSU Extension celebrates busy 2021

County fair’s 4-H Junior Livestock Sale brings in more than $740,000

December 14, 2021

The Garfield County Colorado State University Extension Office experienced a flurry of activity in 2021, including more than 330 volunteer hours from Master Gardeners and partnering with the Garfield County Fair and Rodeo’s 4-H Junior Livestock Sale, which raised a record amount.

The livestock sale featured a huge increase in entries at 1,058, which was up from 614 in 2020. The sales broke records as it returned to an in-person event, bringing in $742,578, up from $300,809 in 2020 and $473,583 in 2019.

“This past year was probably our record-breaking livestock sale at the fair, with more than $742,000 coming in,” said Carla Farrand, CSU Extension director, to the Board of County Commissioners. “Having a full fair for the 4-H program this year was huge. We’re looking at a lot of growth coming into this next year.”

Extension saw 491 projects take place in 2020-2021 for 4-H members, including 163 involving shooting sports, 67 with fowl, and 55 with swine. More than 640 entries were submitted to the Open Class competition in 2021, and more than 200 youth took part in the AmeriCorps program, completing 2,325 hours of service.

Extension offered summer survival, entomology, orienteering, hiking, and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs in 2021, among others. Local students also visited area farms to learn about agriculture.

“My focus is on AmeriCorp and after-school enrichment,” said Dani Wesolowski, youth development agent for school enrichment and afterschool programs. “We’re moving into outdoor education this upcoming summer, and we’re also starting a snowshoeing club. We’re offering a Girls Who Hike club and offering summer survival basics, so our goal is to get students outside as much as possible. We’re building a gear pantry for students to use throughout the year with their families, and we’re breaking into entomology, and embryology, so they can study the life cycles of animals.”

She added that the program has distributed more than 4,500 meal monkeys to under-resourced youth in the community, and extension is partnering with Colorado Mountain College to provide a six-week Summer STEM program that is offered five days a week and six hours per day.

“We will be reaching approximately 100 youth with that program,” Wesolowski said. “We have also placed, built, designed, and provided programming for more than 40 garden beds this past year across the county.”

The Master Gardener program assisted more than 300 people in the community through workshops and direct interactions. More than 375 pounds of fresh produce has been donated to local families through the CSU Grow and Give program this year.

The extension office provided 143 site visits to assist local growers with soil health through irrigation audits, soil moisture mapping, acidity and salinity testing, pest control, and more. The office took part in 182 soil tests, identified 82 different plants and 46 types of insects for community farmers and gardeners.

“Two of the most common questions that I get typically revolve around soil health and water,” said Drew Walters, CSU Extension agent – agriculture, horticulture, and natural resources. “One of the things I’ve been working on quite a bit is a soil-health testing program that’ll provide an intermediary between a full-blown lab analysis and not testing at all. It’ll give producers a little more flexibility to test their soil in the field. It’s focused on issues specific to our area.”

“Looks like you’re busy,” added Commissioner Mike Samson. “That’s good.”

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