The Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics is active in outreach education and applied research efforts throughout Colorado, the U.S. and Internationally. In conjunction with Extension representatives in the 64 counties of Colorado, research, information and expertise is made available to any inquirer, particularly in rural and agricultural regions. DARE is committed to providing practical solutions to real problems. We also encourage opportunities for outreach oriented graduate student projects.
DARE Outreach currently engages in significant activities in the following broad areas:
- Agribusiness • Agricultural and Resource Policy
- Economic Development • Farm and Ranch Management
- Marketing • Risk Management
- Natural Resources and the Environment
DARE Outreach dedicates significant effort and resources to improve the profitability of Colorado agribusinesses by providing educational programs to assist clientele in marketing, evaluation of pricing strategies, consumer targeting, developing niche markets and the likes. Key faculty members associated with this program area are Drs. Thilmany and Pritchett on-campus and Sharp located at Grand Junction. Major clientele groups on which this program area focus are directors and staffs of cooperatives and various producer groups. Current program focus is on:
- Developing the cooperative director training program in conjunction with Rocky Mountain Farmers Union and Kansas State University.
- Preparation of a tristate survey of cooperatives in Kansas, Nebraska, and Colorado to determine how cooperatives are dealing with equity issues in their respective cooperatives.
- Conducting a series of financial workshops for producers around the state to assist them in understanding how to manage financial risk and diversify their holdings.
- Planning market workshops to assist producers in preparing both market and business plans for their businesses.
International Outreach: The United States Department of Agriculture Faculty Exchange Program, managed by the Foreign Agricultural Service, International Cooperation and Development, Food Industries Division, Professional Development Program, was created in 1994 to bring qualified agricultural educators from progressive agricultural institutions of higher learning in Eurasia to the United States for 5 months to increase their knowledge of, and ability to teach, agricultural economics and marketing, agribusiness, and agrarian law in a market-based economy. Colorado State University has participated in the FEP since its inception, hosting approximately 50 scholars from Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan, while CSU agricultural and business economists have made numerous site visits to our FEP participant’s home institutions over the past decade. Currently, Drs. Davies, Seidl, and Thilmany in DARE and Dr. John Olienyk in the School of Business serve as mentors for the program Emeritus Associate Professor Bill Spencer coordinates the program on behalf of CSU. For more information on the FEP programs see: http://www.fep.vsau.ru/index0.htm.
Agriculture and resource policy may be broadly defined as the interaction between private individuals and businesses and state and national institutions. The topics falling within the scope of this program area range from public land use to water resource allocation to water quality issues to tax policy to animal feeding operations, and the Farm Bill. Specific policy issues that could, and in many cases, should be addressed, are so numerous that it is necessary for DARE Outreach to focus on issues warranted by the immediacy and severity of the issue. Issues that have been addressed, and will likely continue to occupy the attention of faculty members and extension personnel involved: Seidl, Pritchett, Dalsted, Frasier, Kaan, and Tranel; include education, outreach and research on economic impact analysis, drought, chronic wasting disease, federally regulated crop insurance, growth/development plans, tax policy, water policy and the U.S. Farm Bill. Immediate priorities for the future include:
- Continuation of the strategy of addressing clientele policy needs based on the team’s judgment as to the immediacy and severity of need.
- De-emphasis on the Commodity Title of the Farm Bill, but added emphasis on emerging Conservation, Energy and other title programs such as country-of-origin labeling will require further attention as they are developed and financed.
- Keep on top of continuing and emerging policy issues in water – cowherd restocking tax guidelines under emergency drought regulations, water banking, and inter-basin transfer compensation.
- Continue work on economic impact analysis, including the impact of irrigated agriculture on the state’s economy, as well as education and training in the area of local land use issues.
- Begin policy analysis in animal disease, both domestic livestock issues, foot and mouth disease, and wildlife issues, chronic wasting disease.
This program area has both the rural and urban economic development components. In the rural development component, primary efforts relate to projects on economic base and impact analysis, agriculture diversification, labor and immigration issues, water transfers and impacts on rural economics, business retention and expansion and agriculture and forestry entrepreneurship. Key players in this area are Seidl, Thilmany, Frasier, and Kaan. Priorities for outreach efforts in rural development include:
- Contributing positively to an understanding of direct and indirect impacts of alternative business development strategies on rural economies and communities.
- Providing technical assistance to agricultural and other businesses exploring new business opportunities in rural economies and in enhancing successful growth and change in rural communities.
- Explore and communicate the role of natural and human resources in economic and community development.
- Improve education and outreach strategies such as use of fact sheets, economic base and impact analyses, curriculum development, group and one-on-one working relationships with clientele who have leadership and advocacy roles in rural economies.
The urban development outreach program consists mainly of conducting economic analyses and local impact assessments. This component of the overall economic development program is rather small at the present time. Seidl’s work on local impact assessment in several locations in the state and Frasier’s research and outreach on water transfers in the Arkansas and South Platte River Basins provide examples of important work that has been done by the key figures in this program area. Priorities for future efforts here include:
- The development of economic databases in additional counties in the state.
- Research on local land use impacts, public finance issues, and municipal water issues deemed critical by clientele and outreach personnel.
This traditional program area remains a focus for faculty in the department as well as personnel in the field. The area represents the application of economic, business, and scientific principles in successful farm/ranch business operation. It is very broad and includes programming in areas such as budgeting, business planning, estate planning, financial management, taxes, records keeping, impacts of government regulation, bankruptcy, labeling, and many others. The department faculty members and Extension personnel involved in this area are Dalsted, Tranel, and Kaan. The near term objectives of this program area are:
- To increase the use of group meetings, workshops, presentations, and dissemination of written materials to keep clientele up-to-date on developments of importance in farm/ranch business operation. While one-on-one consultations with producers are important, constrained resources may restrict wide spread use of this means of meeting producer management needs.
- To continue to work with various Colorado partners to determine clientele needs, develop resources, and deliver educational programming.
- To continue to work with colleagues from other western states to develop education and information resources and to find outside funding to support ongoing efforts.
- To expand the annual Ag Lenders tour to include sessions for producers.
The marketing area of the outreach program consists of commodity marketing, food marketing and product marketing. The general focus of this program area is on price outlook for crop and livestock commodities, livestock and meat product traceability, infectious animal disease in the food marketing system, commodity futures and options as a hedging/risk management strategy, strategic market planning, product marketing, direct marketing, development of pricing strategies, identification of market feasibility, and market development. Key faculty and Extension personnel responsible for efforts in this program area, Koontz and Pendell, have identified several priority areas for immediate attention:
- Provision of marketing information related to market planning and market strategy, supply chain management, contracting, futures/options/hedging, price/basis, price determination and price discovery.
- Continuation of efforts in providing workshops on futures, options, and hedging. Provision of market outlook information as requested by clientele.
- Development and dissemination of material on alternative beef markets through web-based publication.
- Development of local and state policy options to better support value added marketing and collaborative work with groups having interest in developing a state food policy, patterned after work in Iowa, Oregon and New Mexico.
- Continuation of work started in the past two years on beef labeling issues such as traceability and country-of-origin labeling.
The risk management program area emerged largely in response to the 1996 Farm Bill that introduced five categories of risk management-production, marketing, financial, legal and human risk. Department and Extension personnel include Kaan, Tranel, Dalsted, Hine, and Koontz, who have devoted resources and substantial time and effort to the program. Dr. Hoag, while not formally funded on an Extension/Outreach appointment, has also been a key contributor to this program area. Several significant and well-received projects have been developed from the efforts: Risk and Resilience in Agriculture; Right Risk; and Ag Help Wanted. The present work plan in risk management includes:
- Continuation of efforts to expand risk management education to increase the capacity of education programming through outside funding.
- Expand the Right Risk simulation software and merge Risk and Resilience in Agriculture materials with the RightRisk program.
Outside funding will be sought and will increase the capacity to conduct programming around the state of Colorado. If the search for extramural funding is successful, the plan is for risk management team members to partner with commodity organizations to promote and provide agricultural producers and agribusiness professionals with risk management programming. The goals of the risk management program are to provide new risk management tools to this clientele and to provide a simulation environment in which participants can gain the level of expertise they need to implement these new tools and strategies.
The department and Extension recognize the importance of this outreach area to the state of Colorado. Particular challenges exist, however, because of a lack of resources that prevents in-depth attention being paid to water allocation issues, water quality, public and private land management issues, natural resource based rural development, and land use planning focusing on tourism. While these reflect priority areas within the natural resources area, success in addressing them will require internal reallocation of resources and efforts and increased collaboration with DARE faculty without extension appointments as well as leveraging work from other areas like NREL, Natural Resources, U.S. Forest Service. Key personnel working in this area at the present time are Seidl, Frasier, Goemans, and Dalsted. Current efforts are divided among issues in water quality, grazing management and natural resource based economic development.