State 4-H president gives CSU board insight on youth development program

[caption id="attachment_16855" align="alignright" width="213"]Nick_Dorothy State 4-H President Nicholas Ortner with Dorothy Horrell, member of the CSU Board of Governors.[/caption] The Colorado State University Board of Governors is regularly updated on various aspects of the university, but rarely does it have the chance to hear firsthand from participants in CSU’s premier youth-development program, 4-H. So it was a great opportunity in May when the Board met with the state’s 4-H student leader. Colorado State 4-H President Nicholas Ortner, a graduating senior from Holyoke High School in northeastern Colorado, provided a glimpse into 4-H, the state’s largest out-of-school educational program for boys and girls. 4-H is more than 100 years old in Colorado and has always been a part of CSU Extension, which is a division of the Office of Engagement. Ortner said that in 2013-14, Colorado 4-H reached about 20 percent of 8- to 18-year-olds – or more than 101,000 young people – through club or after-school activities. Those youth who participate in 4-H work on developing life skills such as communication, decision-making, leadership, interpersonal relationships, citizenship and community and global awareness. Cousin Steven Ortner was deeply influenced by his cousin, Steven, who grew up nearby and was heavily involved in 4-H. Steven Ortner, who is 10 years older than Nicholas, instilled the values and morals that helped shape his younger cousin’s life. “We were in the same 4-H club, and these were the traits that I looked up to in him and wanted to imitate,” Nicholas Ortner said. “I always wanted to be involved in all the activities Steven was involved in.” Steven Ortner is now serving his country as a sergeant in the U.S. Air Force stationed in Alaska. [caption id="attachment_16840" align="alignright" width="300"]Nick_Governor Nicholas Ortner with Gov. John Hickenlooper and District 6 4-H President Chad Russell at the 2014 Colorado State Fair 4-H and Livestock Sale.[/caption] Make the best better Nicholas Ortner, meanwhile, wears the 4-H emblem with pride. “This is a youth organization that is the best it can be by helping its members develop leadership skills,” he said. “I try to follow the 4-H motto – to make the best better – every day.” During his decade in 4-H, Ortner learned the tools to be an effective public speaker, and he developed another interest during his early 4-H days – a knack for livestock judging. He used the public speaking skills he learned to defend his judge decisions and explain why he scored one animal higher than another. “Now it is a life skill that I can’t live without,” he said. 4-H Hall of Famers Ortner used that skill as he made his presentation to the CSU Board of Governors. Several members of the Board of Governors are former 4-H’ers themselves, including Past Board Chair Dorothy Horrell, who also is a member of the Colorado 4-H Hall of Fame. Another 4-H Hall of Fame member is CSU President and Chancellor Tony Frank, who said the impact of the program is profound – for students and society. “4-H was a fabric of my life growing up on a farm in Illinois,” said Frank. “4-H adds to a community, and 4-H’ers are shown to have increased academic performance, enter the STEM disciplines at a higher rate than other students, and demonstrate improved leadership skills.” Next for Ortner Nicholas Ortner’s next steps include enrolling at Northeastern Junior College in Sterling and becoming a member of the school’s Livestock Judging Team. He intends to transfer to a four-year institution afterward, then return to the family farm outside of Holyoke, and continue his work with 4-H. Cousin Steven would be proud.

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Ag Summit connects food, innovation and problem-solving

[caption id="attachment_13153" align="alignright" width="281"]Colorado State University Agriculture and Innovation Summit Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper highlights Colorado’s rise and prominence as an agricultural producer.[/caption] “If you eat, you are a part of agriculture.” This theme, and many others similar to it, were echoed at Colorado State University’s “Advancing the Agriculture Economy Through Innovation” summit held at the Lory Student Center, March 18-20. Over 400 individuals attended the summit, co-presented by CSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Office of Engagement, as sponsors, panelists, and attendees. Leaders and innovators Day one of the summit saw 21 agricultural leaders and industry innovators assembled at a leadership roundtable where they discussed issues such as meeting increased demand for food and educating consumers as to where their food comes from. The day ended with master class seminars focused on big data and climate smart agriculture that were delivered to standing-room only audiences. The second day of the summit began with introductory remarks from CSU College of Agricultural Sciences Dean Craig Beyrouty who outlined some of the global challenges facing agriculture including reducing food waste, ensuring nutritional security, and making optimal use of the land. [caption id="attachment_13156" align="alignright" width="300"]Colorado State University Agriculture and Innovation Summit Denver Mayor Michael Hancock discusses the strong partnership between the City and CSU.[/caption] Importance of agriculture CSU President and Interim Chancellor Tony Frank emphasized the importance of agriculture to Colorado’s economy, and that the summit was an opportunity to anticipate the future of agriculture, a future that will be impacted by CSU research and outreach. The audience also heard from Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper. Hancock emphasized CSU’s strong partnership with the city of Denver highlighting the redevelopment of the National Western Stock Show complex as an example, while Hickenlooper noted Colorado’s rise and prominence as an agricultural producer, third only to Texas (five times the size of Colorado) and California (seven times the state of Colorado). The future [caption id="attachment_13157" align="alignright" width="276"]Colorado State University Agriculture and Innovation Summit CSU President Tony Frank highlights the importance of agriculture in Colorado.[/caption] Moderated conversations figured prominently over the remainder of the summit as industry leaders discussed how their businesses have changed and what they see as agriculture’s future in the areas of:

  • dairy;
  • water use and availability;
  • business innovation;
  • nurturing the next generation of talent;
  • financing the future of agriculture innovation;
  • the fast and fresh revolution; and
  • healthy food systems to guarantee safe, secure and plentiful agriculture.
The summit wrapped up with possible next steps. Participants acknowledged there were many opportunities to build on the topics and themes discussed; that additional collaborative investments were needed from a variety of funding sources from traditional banks to venture capitalists; and refining the definition of agriculture in light of the innovations and revolutionary technological advancements making food more available, accessible and affordable. Advancing the Agriculture Economy Through Innovation [caption id="attachment_13155" align="alignright" width="300"]Colorado State University Agriculture and Innovation Summit CSU Associate Vice President for Engagement Kathay Rennels talks about the university's commitment to being a strong link in the agricultural value chain.[/caption] The Advancing the Agriculture Economy Through Innovation summit was produced in partnership with Colorado State University Offices of the President, Provost, Vice President for Research, Vice President for External Relations, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, College of Business and CSU Ventures. The event was supported by the Colorado Innovation Network (COIN) and Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA). Media Assets

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