Colorado State University Extension provides education, information and programs for the benefit of every Coloradan. Our goal, as part of the University’s community outreach, is to help you improve your life. Groups and individuals will find resources on topics ranging from youth development, family finances, health, agriculture, food safety and natural resources to home and commercial gardening. You’ll find Extension agents, specialists, support staff and volunteers in every corner of the State, ready to answer questions, provide research-based insight and create programs to address specific local issues.
History of Cooperative Extension
Extension is part of the land-grant system, under which the first American public universities were established. Beginning with legislation signed by Abraham Lincoln in 1862, a series of federal laws set the standards. Each state was given 10,000 acres of federal land with the stipulation that it was to be sold and the proceeds used to create a public university dedicated to agriculture and “the mechanic arts” (engineering). The universities were also given a triple mandate: instruction, research and dissemination of information to the public. At its beginning in 1914, Colorado State University Extension had a decidedly agricultural emphasis that reflected both the federal requirement and the predominant lifestyle in Colorado. That focus has broadened over the decades to accommodate changing priorities.
Programs and Resources of Extension
The work of Extension is in two major categories: programs and resources. Programs in Colorado are built around nine statewide priorities: growth issues; economic and land-use decisions, family and community well-being, workforce challenges, horticulture, nutrition and food safety, youth development, agriculture and the environment and biotechnology information and risks. Areas of emphasis vary by county, depending on circumstances and local needs.
Resources are available in a variety of formats and can be accessed through a variety of media, including telephone, Internet, fax or face-to-face meetings. The Extension Web site, at www.ext.colostate.edu, is a good starting point.
At this site is access to Ask an Expert an online information repository that responds to requests for Colorado-specific insight on a myriad of issues, or links to contact information for Extension offices throughout Colorado.
At the “Publications” link, users are transported to the virtual version of the Extension Resource Center, also known as The Other Bookstore. Here there are lists of available material and order forms for booklets, CD-ROMs, brochures and videotapes. Prices range from zero to a few dollars, and subjects run the gamut from heart-healthy recipes to building plans for a house, a barn, a garage or a greenhouse.
Extension also provides free information on lawn and garden matters through a 24-hour-a-day hotline called Planttalk Colorado™. The service is provided through joint sponsorship with Denver Botanic Gardens and Green Industries Colorado. Call, toll-free, 1 (888) 666-3063, or go online at www.planttalk.org.
At the county level, residents have access to extension agents, who work with the Colorado Agricultural Experiment Station and Colorado State researchers and professors to bring the results of the latest research to the public. County offices offer local insight on issues as diverse as soil characteristics and economic indicators. They also provide publications and other material.