McCarty retires from CSU Extension Office
Pat McCarty logged his last day with the Colorado State University Extension Office in Garfield County Monday, capping a successful career, but by no means signaling the end of his life in agriculture.
The longtime extension agent said between his grandchildren, work on his ranch, agricultural interests and other hobbies, he will have no problem staying busy in retirement.
“There’s a lot of good people out there, and it’s been a good ride,” he said, “but it’s time to do something different.”
Remembering what a friend, who returned to work about a year after retiring for financial reasons, told him, McCarty joked that his goal is to make it one year and one month in retirement.
McCarty started as an extension agent with the office 18 years ago after working as a natural resource planner for four years and a farmer and rancher before that.
He also served as the Garfield County liaison for 4-H Youth Development during his first eight years with the extension office, but his involvement in the program started when he was 9 years old.
Now, with grandchildren involved in 4-H, he remains a strong proponent of the program.
Carla Farrand, current Garfield County liaison for 4-H Youth Development, described McCarty as a person who has a hard time saying no.
“He’s always been willing to go the extra mile,” she said.
He has traversed Garfield County, offering agricultural and horticultural advice, all while teaching classes and fostering programs based on his interests, such as the Master Gardener Program, which he helped launch. Diagnostic work, which he compared to being a detective, in the summertime was perhaps both the most enjoyable and most frustrating aspect of the job.
His extensive knowledge in a range of topics — friends attest to his beer brewing skills — leaves big shoes to fill, said Steve Anthony, Garfield County vegetation manager, who has worked closely with McCarty over the years.
“It’s pretty rare to find someone who can talk about beef production in the morning, horticulture and gardening in the afternoon, then go out and diagnose a problem on the spot. He’s as well-rounded an extension agent I’ve ever worked with,” Anthony said.
Among the final reflections McCarty outlined in a parting message in the July 4-H newsletter was some life advice he said he has learned throughout the course of his life, and that was “don’t believe everything you hear.”
“When someone says you can’t … take the time to throw away the ‘t,’ and make it happen,” McCarty wrote. “Most everything I have done in my life, I was told by someone at sometime, ‘You can’t do that.’”
We live in a pretty negative society, McCarty later explained, and an encouraging attitude can go a long way in helping others realize their potential.
In the same parting thoughts, McCarty wrote that it might be interesting to run as a libertarian candidate for public office in Garfield County. Asked about the remark, the rancher laughed and said that he has no immediate intention of running for office, but the thought is interesting.
“I’ve been really lucky in my life,” he said, “and I think we do all owe something back.”
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