Larimer County Extension Advisory Committee

March 2, 2011


Present:  Jessie Mae Hendrickson, Suzanne Jarboe-Simpson, Ralph Bender, Seth Anthony, Ronda Koski, Dixie Dick, Trena Anastasia, Pam Harrold, Mel Hilgenberg, Commissioner Lew Gaiter.  Staff present: Laurel Kubin, Edie McSherry, Nora Garza

Chairman Suzanne Jarboe-Simpson convened the meeting at 8:00 a.m. and welcomed all who were present.

The minutes of the previous meeting were reviewed. Ralph made motion to approve, Seth seconded. Motion carried.

Edie McSherry, Extension Food Safety Agent, provided a report on the food safety education she and her volunteers provide for food service workers and the public.  There are an estimated 48 million cases of foodborne illnesses in the U.S. each year, including 128,000 hospitalizations and ~3,000 deaths. Food Safety Works is the class Edie teaches food service workers that covers the basic requirements for safe food handling. In 2010 she taught 32 classes, 4 of which were in Spanish, with 526 class participants. In cooperation with the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment, she publishes a Food Safety Works newsletter that was initially funded by a CSU Extension Venture Capital grant, published quarterly and mailed to 1,000 food service establishments in Larimer County. For the public, Edie trains Master Food Safety Advisor Volunteers who assist her in responding to consumer telephone calls, conducting safe food preservation workshops, pressure canner gauge testing, and providing education through displays, farmers' market booths, and classes.

Nora Garza, Food Stamp Nutrition Education Agent, discussed the education she provides to low income families. The classes are free and funded through the USDA to help families improve their food selection and preparation so that they are eating more nutritiously and stretching their food resources further. Classes are informal and involve hands-on experiences. She provided charts showing the numerous agencies with whom she works to reach the intended audience. During the last year she taught 383 individuals. Impacts of her work are: 54% of participants report more often planning meals in advance; 65% more often used "Nutrition Facts" on food labels to make food choices; 28% less often ran out of food before the end of the month; and 51% more often used a list for grocery shopping. Program graduates save an average of $98 per month on their monthly food expenditures, stretch their food stamps to last up to a week longer, and feed their families more nutritiously.

Results of the 2010 Extension Needs Assessment were distributed. The survey was mailed to a random sample of 800 Larimer County voters. The response rate was 38%. Respondents ranked issues as to their importance and their desire for CSU Extension to address their high priority issues. Very few issues were seen as less than important issues. On a scale of 1 (unimportant) to 7 (very important), respondents mean score was a 5.23 on the question "How important is it to you that CSU Extension address your most important issues as identified in this survey?"

Laurel discussed the 2012 budget process. Lew asked the group their feelings about charging for use of the 4-H building. Responses were: “It would be OK to charge non-Extension groups a reasonable fee plus security deposit.” He then asked for reactions to putting a cap on Extension and 4-H usage. Response: “the 4-H community would feel betrayed”. “Could donations be requested instead?” Lew stated that the Commissioners are seeking ideas, and anyone is welcome to provide public comment about the budget at 3 PM on Mondays.

In her Directors report, Laurel told that (1) Nora Garza has resigned to accept a position in Greeley. To hopefully continue the nutrition education program, Laurel is seeking other grant funds. (2) She stated the Larimer County Fair Board has a subcommittee that wants to help raise money to assure local continuation of 4-H programming. (3) Jacque Miller’s time allocation has been revised. She is now spending half of her time as the state Extension Community Development Leader but will continue to work from the Larimer County Extension Office. (4) The Northern Region Extension Director allocated funding to increase Diane Kern’s time to nearly full time during six months of 2011 to help manage the 4-H program in the absence of a 4-H Livestock Agent. This was very much appreciated. (5) The new Regional Small Farms Specialist will have an office in the Larimer County Extension Office beginning in April. Martha Sullins was recently hired into this position which serves all of the front range counties. (6) The State Extension Director has allocated funding for cross county travel to support cluster / regional work. While this has not been a significant new expense for the Larimer County Extension office, this extra support is appreciated.

Election of officers was held. Suzanne was re-elected chairman by unanimous vote. Mel and Dixie were nominated for vice chair. Dixie received the majority vote.

Trends that were noted by committee members were:  Mel encouraged members to apply for the Larimer 101 program. Other members discussed the increasing interest among people wanting to be self sufficient, growing and preserving their own food. Career field trips are of interest to some.

At the next meeting, May 5, plans for the 2011 Extension Showcase will be discussed. 

The next meeting will be May 5, 2011, 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

Meeting adjourned at 10:07 a.m.

Notes recorded by Laurel Kubin