Where We Will Invest
College of Agricultural Sciences Strategic Plan 2022-2025
People, Programs, and Places
While a wide range of ongoing efforts at Colorado State University will amplify impact in our strategic focus areas, the following investments in people, programs and places serve as points of collaboration for guiding us forward.
Investing In Our People
The microbiome is the community of microorganisms that live everywhere – on our skin, in our bodies, and within the soil, plants and animals within agriculture. We have invested in a world-class team of scientists spanning diverse disciplines who apply biological experimentation, informatics and decision science in a systems approach to improve understanding of the agricultural microbiome (agribiome).
This work has exciting implications for addressing stakeholder concerns of food security, food safety and the sustainability of food systems.
CSU and the USDA-ARS Center for Agricultural Resources Research are committed to providing the science and engineering necessary to develop resilient agriculture. The world’s only Climate Agricultural Resiliency with Engineering & Science (AgCARES) Hub will assemble researchers, students and staff from a diverse complement of disciplines needed to achieve climate resilience, coupled with shared spaces and unique, state-of-the art teaching and research facilities to foster innovation and inspiration. These bold commitments, built on the tremendous expertise that resides across ARS and CSU, acknowledges the realization that only together can we succeed.
Minor in Agricultural Data Science
Agricultural data analysts are among the most highly sought-after employees by agribusiness. Training students to make data-based decisions is essential to equipping our future leaders to reduce the impact of global climate change, improve ecosystem resiliency, and ensure food safety and security. Students from this minor will be able to provide data-informed technical advice on trends related to crop or animal production, serving as a necessary bridge between agronomists or animal scientists and data scientists. They will gain practical experience with complex agricultural data through an internship with an industry client, living our land-grant mission of teaching in service of Colorado agriculture.
Enhancing Our Programs
At CSU, we believe animal agriculture is an important part of our global food system. This first-of-its-kind collaborative brings together livestock and animal health experts from across the university with industry and government partners to innovate sustainable and profitable solutions for feeding the world. Success is defined as not only answering the questions of today but building a nimble and adaptive collection of talent to meet tomorrow’s challenges.
In Colorado and beyond, a shortage of skilled workers is hindering the growth of agricultural and food sectors and placing critical strains on local and regional food systems. Traditional post-secondary education pathways are not currently meeting the needs of employers nor the potential agricultural workforce. Through the creation of an online, accessible, experiential and cutting-edge Upskilling program, we will support the development of technical, applied and professional skills to aid learners in their pursuit of successful careers and entrepreneurial businesses related to food, agriculture, natural resources, and the environment. This effort will provide new career pathways while strengthening local communities, enhancing food system resiliency and promoting regenerative agriculture, including enhancing soil health and water conservation.
Inclusion, Diversity and Equity in Agriculture
Building upon CSU’s strong leadership in inclusive excellence, there is an opportunity within the College of Agricultural Sciences to formalize and elevate existing efforts toward nurturing a diverse, inclusive and equitable environment for our faculty, staff, students and external constituents. A critical next investment will be the hire of an experienced director to work in close collaboration with university and industry partners to develop strategies, policies and programming that will position the college as a model for its peers and the greater agricultural community.
Renewing Our Places
Opening in early 2022, the CSU Spur Campus at Denver’s National Western Center will bring together research, teaching and engagement activities from the three campuses of the CSU System in a modern-day approach to the university’s land-grant mission. The public-facing campus will celebrate the proud tradition of Colorado agriculture while inspiring innovation with global impact. Diverse research, demonstration and education programs at Spur will promote agricultural literacy and lifelong learning, foster agribusiness entrepreneurship, enhance the health and well-being of individuals and communities, and advance the sustainability of urban and rural food systems.
Regenerative Agricultural Management Systems
RAMS bridges the agricultural tradition of producer-led innovation with the development and application of cutting-edge tools, leveraging the broad scientific expertise at CSU and the creative spirit of our producers and ranchers to co-create new knowledge and practice. RAMS will be a network of collaborative hubs across Colorado that work with local communities to co-create regenerative approaches unique to each region of the state. Frontier Projects stationed at CSU’s research centers will pilot groundbreaking research, education and extension programming designed to encourage and facilitate adoption by small-scale operations, while creating experiential learning opportunities for students. CSU’s new Metropolitan Agricultural Research Center at Spur will strengthen this network, acting as an important bridge between urban and rural interests.
Ag Campus @ ARDEC
Located just 4 miles north of CSU’s Fort Collins campus, the Agricultural Research, Development and Education Center (ARDEC) has been a valued part of the university’s research center network since 1993. Our vision for the future of this center is the creation of a world-class campus where teaching, research and industry engagement are thoughtfully integrated to provide diverse learning experiences in production agriculture to advance agricultural literacy, student success and workforce development. The Ag Campus will also be a gathering place for students and industry leaders alike, building community and inspiring solutions for the industry’s greatest challenges.