As temperatures warm and the growing season approaches, local farmers and gardeners can connect with regional agriculture experts for support. Colorado State University (CSU) Agriculture Extension agents can help with things like testing soil nutrients, offering irrigation expertise and consulting on pest management.
The Sopris Sun recently caught up with Pitkin County’s CSU Agriculture Extension Agent, Drew Walters. Walters, according to Pitkin County, “is the first consistent Extension presence in Pitkin County in a decade.”
Walters splits his time, with 20% dedicated to his agriculture Extension agent work and 80% dedicated to his role at Pitkin County Open Space and Trails as their agriculture specialist. Walters, originally from Glenwood Springs, has a Biology degree from Fort Lewis College and a masters in Agricultural Studies from Colorado State University.
Walters credits his passion for agriculture to his mom, who got him started gardening at an early age. Walters worked in ranching and then as a greenhouse manager in the cannabis industry before pursuing his goal of working as an Extension agent. Walters recently served as the Extension agent for Garfield County before transitioning over to Pitkin County about a year ago.
According to CSU, their Extension program has been serving Colorado for over 100 years, connecting university agriculture research to producers around the state. To access the resources of an Extension agent, individuals and farmers should reach out to their nearest county Extension office or agent. In Garfield County it’s Amy Hauver and in Eagle County it’s Denyse Schrenker. In addition to agriculture specialists, Extension also offers expertise in horticulture, range, forestry, water, health promotion, financial literacy, business management, community development and 4-H.
The questions Walters receives can run the gamut, from taking soil samples to test nutrients on a farm to helping a gardener diagnose an ailing elderberry bush. Walters says that one of his favorite things about the job is the variety. “Throughout this past year I’ve been able to make approximately 40 visits to properties around the county and every visit is different,” he said.
Eagle County: email@example.com
Garfield County: Amy.Hauver@colostate.edu
Pitkin County: firstname.lastname@example.org