Professors help disabled farmers and ranchers

Two CSU professors will continue assisting those who are responsible for feeding millions of Americans every year work through their disabilities and run successful agricultural operations.

Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics Norm Dalsted and Professor of Human Development and Family Studies Robert Fetsch have received a four-year grant of $720,000 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture to provide assistance, networking, and educational workshops across Colorado for farmers and producers affected by disabilities.

35090_00043The workshops, part of the Colorado AgrAbility Project, were developed in partnership with CSU Extension and Goodwill Industries of Denver. For the past 16 years, CSU has led the AgrAbility Project and has served 436 clients. Now, with another four-year renewal, the university will have led this program for a full 20 years.

“It is often hard to get farmers and producers to admit that they have disabilities such as back and hearing problems, arthritis, and PTSD,” said Dalsted. “That there has been so much interest in these workshops over the years testifies to their continued service to a sizable community.”

In addition to working with individuals with physical and emotional disabilities, Dalsted said that the workshops will also target veterans in need of assistance.

“We know that we can do more to help veterans who have returned to family farms and businesses. Our outreach will target that group more directly in this grant cycle,” Dalsted said.

Those interested in attending the free workshops should contact Candiss Leathers via email or phone at (720) 539-4435 or Norm Dalsted via email or phone at (970) 222-5657.


The AgrAbility Business & Financial Planning workshops will run from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. and will include a box lunch for those who pre-register at least one week prior to the workshop.

For additional information, individuals can contact local Extension agents. The workshop schedule is:

  • Oct. 30: Steamboat Springs: contact Todd Hagenbuch, (970) 879-0825
  • Nov. 6: Mancos: contact Tom Hooten, (970) 565-3123
  • Nov. 7: Alamosa: contact Marvin Reynolds, (719) 852-7381 ext. 15
  • Jan. 26: Burlington: contact Ron Meyer, (719) 346-5571
  • Jan. 27: Lamar: contact Bruce Fickenscher, (719) 438-5321
  • Feb. 2: Aurora: contact Sheila Gains, (303) 738-7943
  • Feb. 3: Greeley: contact Keith Maxey, (970) 304-6535 ext. 2075
  • Feb. 4: Sterling: contact Bruce Bosley, (970) 522-3200 ext. 285