Local Ag Day blooms into an annual Expo | PostIndependent.com

Local Ag Day blooms into an annual Expo

Dr. Temple Grandin will be the keynote speaker at the Feb. 3 Ag Expo in Rifle.
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In 1987, local conservationist Dennis Davidson gathered with other agriculture enthusiasts to discuss noxious weed control, and after a few consecutive years, they started to call it “Ag Day.”

Now, 30 years later, the annual meeting has grown to include keynote speakers and informational sessions on all things agriculture. The main attraction this year will be the keynote speaker, noted veterinarian Dr. Temple Grandin.

For the second year in a row, Ag Day has now fully blossomed into the Ag Expo. It is set for a full day at the Garfield County Fairgrounds, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 3.

In partnership with the Bookcliff, Mount Sopris and South Side Conservation Districts, Colorado State University Extension and Natural Resources Conservation Service, Ag Day’s legacy continues.

Sharie Prow, manager for the combined conservation districts, said last year’s expo received 180 RSVPs with an estimated 300 in attendance throughout the day. By Tuesday, this year’s Expo up to 338 RSVPs.

“We plan to continue the Expo for years to come,” Crow said. “Partnership between the three agencies will continue and we will build on this to attract new and diverse speakers.”

True to its roots, the day is set to include a talk about pasture and range management for noxious weed control, as well as a variety of other topics.

Dr. Grandin is an award-winning pioneer in improving the handling and welfare of farm animals and will be speaking about equine-assisted horse therapies.

Along with presentations from Grandin, there will be sessions all day long on a wide variety of agriculture topics.

“We try to include all of the agricultural community in the area: backyard farmers, small acreage owners, large producers, in order to bring the ag community together,” Crow explained. “There will be break out sessions all day that will appeal to a large crowd.”

Topics that will be discussed this year include talks on soils, Colorado’s water plan and more.

Crow said the goal is to try to bring in new topics every year. New this year will be a session about bee keeping with Paul Limbach.

“You will learn how to become a bee keeper this year,” Crow said. “Bee keeping is something everybody seems to be interested in and is a new addition to this year’s lineup.”

Just like last year, a local high school will receive an Ag Expo Scholarship to recognize 4-H and FFA students who have been active in their programs, communities and classrooms. Last year, Rifle High School senior Rylie MacLaughlin received $2,500 to go into agriculture or STEM courses as she was active in 4-H, Roaring Fork Boost Camp, and Grand River Hospital.

Tickets are still available to attend this year’s Ag Expo at http://bit.ly/2n8tDRe, with sales closing next week. Anyone interested in going must RSVP to attend.