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Colorado State Publications Blog

Time Machine Tuesday: The Colorado Extension

In 1914 the Federal government passed the Smith-Lever Act, which established a system of Cooperative Extensions at American land grant universities, including the Colorado Agricultural College (today’s Colorado State University). Extensions were set up to provide rural and agricultural communities with classes, clubs, demonstrations, and publications to help them learn about farm, garden, and home economics practices. To introduce Coloradans to the program, the Colorado Agricultural College and the U.S. Department of Agriculture produced the publication The Smith-Lever Act and What It Provides for Colorado Farmers and Housekeepers, which you can read online from our library.

Ten years after the Act, the university published Agricultural Extension in Colorado: A Record in Word and Picturealso available to view online from our library. This commemorative publication describes the purpose, activities, and successes of Colorado’s Extension, and is full of great photos of farm and rural life in Colorado in the ‘teens and ‘twenties.

Colorado’s extension work had actually preceded the Smith-Lever Act. In 1912, the Colorado Agricultural College sponsored the office of the “State Leader of Farm Management Field Studies and Demonstration for Colorado.” Logan County was the first Colorado county to appoint an extension agent that year, and several others followed over the next two years. Then, in 1914, after the Federal law went into effect, Colorado’s Extension became official through an agreement between the College and the U.S. government. For more on the history of the establishment of the Extension in Colorado, including legislation, see this section from the CSU Extension’s staff handbook. The Extension has also produced a short video on their history.

Since its founding, the Extension has produced hundreds of bulletins and fact sheets on a wide variety of topics. CSU’s Extension is still going strong today, with county extension offices, classes, volunteer programs like the Colorado Master Gardener Program and Planttalk, and much more, in addition to their publications. To learn about their work and how to get involved, visit the CSU Extenison’s website. To read Extension publications from a century ago to the present, search our library’s digital repository.

Inside the Weld County Extension Office, showing the many publications offered, 1924.
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Colorado State Publications Blog

Colorado’s Most Endangered Places

Every February, Colorado Preservation Inc. (CPI) releases their annual list of Colorado’s Most Endangered Places. The program brings awareness to historic buildings, landscapes, or archaeological sites around Colorado that are in danger of demolition, neglect, modification, or development. This year’s endangered places, highlighting the history of southern Colorado, are:

  • Adobe Potato Cellars of the San Luis Valley (Alamosa, Conejos, Costilla, Rio Grande, and Saguache Counties)
  • Hose Company No. 3 Fire Museum (Pueblo County)
  • Iglesia De San Antonio-Tiffany Catholic Church (La Plata County)
  • McIntire Ranch and Mansion (Conejos County)
  • R&R Market (Costilla County)

The Culebra River Villages of Costilla County, Colorado, a Colorado Historical Society publication available from our library, mentions the history of the adobe potato cellars:

An important consideration involved storage. When Anglo growers first marketed potatoes they stored surpluses above ground in circular wire-frames encased with hay or in straw-covered trenches. However, the Rio Culebra farmers preferred to store potatoes in a large, underground cellars, or soterranos. Because Hispano[s] used earth, not sod, for walls, their structures maintain an even temperature that kept potatoes from freezing. Hispano subterranean structures were so efficient and cheap to fabricate that Anglo farmers throughout the San Luis Valley adopted double-wall adobe construction for their above-ground storage facilities.

Adobe potato cellars in Rio Grande County, Colorado, circa 1939. Courtesy Library of Congress.

A second Historical Society publication offers information about Conejos County’s McIntire Ranch. An Archaeological Inventory in the Pike’s Stockade Area, Conejos County, Colorado discusses the ranch site‘s historical and archaeological resources, including what remains of the large adobe ranch house. The ranch belonged to Albert McIntire, governor of Colorado from 1895 to 1897. You can read about adobe construction in Adobe as a Building Material for the Plains and Adobe Brick for Farm Buildings, two early-twentieth-century publications from the Colorado Agricultural Experiment Station.

To learn more about historic preservation and its impact on Colorado communities, see Preservation for a Changing Colorado, a 2017 publication of CPI and History Colorado. Search our library’s online catalog for more Colorado history resources.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Time Machine Tuesday: The WPA in Colorado

During the height of the Great Depression, as banks failed, unemployment soared, and farm prices dropped, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) was established as one of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal projects. The WPA focused on creating and providing jobs rather than handing out direct relief. Most of the WPA jobs were aimed at civic improvements, such as public buildings and roads. Thousands of out-of-work artists and artisans, architects, musicians, writers, historians, and others who had previously been employed in creative or intellectual fields were given temporary work. Parks, trails, bridges, public buildings, artworks, and literary projects produced by the WPA continue to be enjoyed to this day.

Colorado’s division of the WPA issued The WPA Worker: A Monthly Pictorial Journal for Workers and Citizens of Colorado Interested in the Statewide Projects of Works Progress AdministrationIssues from 1936 and 1937 have recently been digitized by our library. Each issue of this amazing periodical highlights WPA projects in all corners of the state. These included many construction projects like public buildings, roads, bridges, stadiums, and parks, but also included such varied activities as

As Coloradans suffered from the effects of the Great Depression, the WPA enhanced life in every part of the state, and often undertook long overdue projects that in many cases would not have been otherwise completed. Many of the projects continue to enhance our lives today.

For more resources on the WPA in Colorado, see the following publications available from our library:

Aguilar’s city hall was constructed by the WPA.

 

The playground at Lake Junior High in Denver was also a WPA project.

 

Old infrastructure was replaced across the state.
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Colorado State Publications Blog

Time Machine Tuesday: Colorado a Century Ago

Our library has recently digitized a delightful publication from 1917 that looks at life in the various regions of Colorado. The Story of Colorado examines all parts of the the state, for the purpose of attracting settlers and investors. The portfolio is divided first by region, then by county within each region. Each contains statistics on the area’s agriculture and industry, accompanied by some wonderful photographs of each region’s architecture, industry, and natural beauty. Find the section on your part of the state, and learn what life was like in Colorado a century ago!

The Story of Colorado
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Colorado Historic Newspapers

Topics in History: Colorado’s Homegrown History

As Thanksgiving approaches, there’s a chance you may be swapping recipes with friends, recreating an old family dish, or doing some googling for fresh ideas. Luckily for us Coloradans, our Rocky Mountain home has more than a few favorite foods that are as uniquely intertwined with our history as they are with our daily diets. Whether they’re from the sunny orchards of the western slope, the spicy southern Colorado border towns, or the eastern plains, Coloradans have always had a special love for their local fare.  These are some of our favorites that are ripe with flavor and Colorado history!

Palisade Peaches

The region that would one day become the town of Palisade was originally inhabited by the Ute tribe of Native Americans.  Settlers began to arrive in the area in the early 1880’s and named it for the palisade cliff formations to the North. Some of the first peach trees in the area were planted by John Harlow in 1882 and by the early 1900’s, new irrigation systems allowed for more than 25,000 pounds of peaches to be shipped daily from Palisade to destinations all around the region. The rich soil and nearly 200-day growing season of the Western Slope produces apples, cherries, and even impressive wine grapes, but are first and foremost responsible for these peaches, which are now some of the most sought after nation-wide. In fact, because the town owed so much to its peaches, in 1968, the town of Palisade began hosting an annual Peach Festival in August that now draws over 15,000 visitors to the town. In Colorado, Palisade peaches are used in everything from jam to barbeque sauce to Colorado whiskey and we could not be more proud!

Rocky Ford Melons

The town of Rocky Ford was named for a nearby shallow crossing of the Arkansas River by explorer Kit Carson, founded by G.W Swink and Asa Russell in 1871, and moved shortly thereafter following the placement of railroad tracks. By 1881, Swink had gardens so large that they were producing nearly 300 tons of watermelon a year and in 1886, he began to grow the Netted Gem Cantaloupe, the melon for which Rocky Ford is now most well-known. And just like Palisade’s famous peaches, Rocky Ford’s melons have their own festival that centers around Watermelon Day, which was founded by Swink himself in 1878 with about 25 friends and neighbors. Today Watermelon Day is the centerpiece of the Arkansas Valley Fair and boasts over 12,000 attendees and hosts events ranging from seed-spitting contests to watermelon carving competitions. It is also estimated that nearly 50,000 pounds of free watermelons are given away on that day at Rocky Ford’s famous Watermelon Pile. Also, the Rocky Ford cantaloupe don’t just grow bigger and healthier than other region’s melons. They actually contain up 5{66eaadba41c14e7e553ffe7a4ee73fbae213b19704eda0514b3dd79e37e4c0c5} more natural sugar, making them richer and sweeter than others and proving that Colorado sun and soil really do make all the difference!

Colorado Green Chile (Pueblo Chilies)

Even though we saved it for last, if you ask anyone Coloradan what food we love most, our green chile is #1. Unlike our peaches and melons, the Pueblo Chilies that provide the base for our favorite dish are a fairly recent discovery. While chilies are no strangers to Southern Colorado, the particular variety that has become the commonly known Pueblo Green Chile of today was actually the result of a mutation in the crop of farmer name Harry Mosco.  After his passing in 1988, Mosco left a bag of seeds to his nephew, Dr. Mike Bartolo, the manager and vegetable crop specialist at Colorado State University’s Arkansas Valley Research Center.  Bartolo found that the peppers these seeds produced tended to be a little bigger, a little thicker and faced upward toward the sun while growing, as opposed to hanging down like most chilies.  Today, these Mosco chilies are the most common variety of Pueblo Chile found in Colorado and as you may have guessed, they too have their own festival. The Pueblo Chile and Frijoles Festival takes place in September and attracts over 140,000 attendees over 3 days. But Coloradans don’t need a festival to celebrate their favorite dish all year long.  From Burgers to biscuits to pasta and even pizza, our Colorado hearts pump green and spicy!

 

Historic Newspaper Articles/Ads About Palisade Peaches

Palisade Tribune, Volume 39, Number 7, August 15, 1941

Palisade Tribune, Volume 10, Number 7, July 12, 1912

Palisade Tribune, Volume 4, Number 13, August 25, 1906

Historic Newspaper Articles/Ads About Rocky Ford Melons

La Junta Tribune, Volume 21, Number 41, August 15, 1900

Middle Park Times, July 12, 1912

Aspen Daily Times, August 25, 1908

Historic Newspaper Articles/Ads About Colorado Green Chile

La Cucaracha, Volume II, Number 10, November 7, 1977

Louisville Times, Volume 64, Number 5, July 21, 1977

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Time Machine Tuesday: Victory Gardens

Victory gardens were a part of life on the home front during World War II. While farmers were encouraged to increase production to help feed the hungry soldiers, those living in urban and suburban areas were also encouraged to help the war effort by growing as much of their own food as possible. Eleanor Roosevelt even planted a victory garden on the White House lawn.

Many people who planted victory gardens were not experienced gardeners, or had only had small gardens before the war. So here in Colorado the Colorado State College (now Colorado State University) published a number of resources to help gardeners and small-size farmers learn the basics of home food production. Many of their publications focused on avoiding problems, such as diseases, which if controlled could lead to higher yield. One such publication, issued by the college’s Experiment Station, was Psyllid Control on Potatoes and Tomatoes in the Victory Garden. Other wartime Colorado State College publications included Increasing Home Vegetable Gardening and Starting Vegetable Plants.

The College’s Colorado Farm Victory Program published a series of brochures which included such titles as Alfalfa in Colorado; Diseases of Cucumber and Melons and Their Control; Concrete Tile for Sub-Irrigated Gardens; and Irrigation for Maximum Production.  Farm Victory Program brochures also focused on home food storage to reduce waste. Some of these titles include Drying Fruits and Vegetables; Home Storage of Fruits and Vegetables; Preservation of Meat, Poultry and Fish by Freezing; Home Canning of Vegetables in a Pressure Cooker; Clean Milk and Cream: How to Produce Them; and even Pest Control on the Home Front. Search our library’s online catalog for more Farm Victory Program brochures and other titles.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Colorado Dept. of Agriculture Photo Contest

From animals to scenery, products to people, Colorado agriculture provides numerous opportunities for artistic photographs that showcase this important part of Colorado’s economy and landscape. Are you a photographer interested in sharing what makes Colorado agriculture special? Enter the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s annual photo contest, which runs until December 31. Both amateurs and professionals are welcome to apply. This year’s contest features two new categories, “agriculture from above” and “urban agriculture,” in addition to the usual categories of crops, livestock, people, and wildlife in agriculture. The grand prize winner will receive a cash prize, and all winners will have their photos displayed at Northeastern Junior College and on the department’s website.

Click here to view past winners back to 2011, along with other helpful resources about Colorado agriculture.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Cultivating Colorado: A New Magazine on Colorado Agriculture

The Colorado Department of Agriculture has debuted a new magazine all about Colorado farmers. Cultivating Colorado profiles Colorado producers, their crops and livestock, and their contributions to the Colorado economy. The 2018 issue, for instance, includes articles on Colorado dairy farms; high-tech gadgets for farms; horse therapy; Colorado’s “liquid arts;” brand inspection; Colorado products known nationally; and the story of one nursery business that has been in the same family for four generations. In the magazine you’ll also find recipes, charts for what’s in season, and more. Read it online from our library, or check out a print copy from us.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

It's National Farmers Market Week!

This is the time of year for fresh produce, and Colorado has many local farmers markets that sell quality, organic fruits and vegetables, along with a variety of other homemade items such as honey. To find a farmers market near you, check out the 2018 Colorado Farm Fresh Directory from the Colorado Department of Agriculture. Never been to a farmer’s market? See the Colorado State University Extension’s publication Shopping at Colorado Farmers’ Markets to learn what to expect.

If you’re a vendor, see Tips for Farmers Market Vendors and Food Safety for Farmers Market Vendors. Our library has a variety of other publications of interest so be sure to search our web catalog.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Time Machine Tuesday: Denver's Trees

Friday, April 27 is Arbor Day, a day for encouraging the planting of trees and celebrating their importance.  Today, Arbor Day is somewhat overlooked, being mostly supplanted by Earth Day. But a century ago, Arbor Day was a pretty big deal.
During the early decades of the 20th century, urban areas around the nation were swept up in the City Beautiful Movement, a movement to enhance cities by adding parks, parkways, and monumental, neoclassical civic architecture inspired by the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. In Denver, Mayor Robert Speer was one of the movement’s strongest advocates. On Arbor Day, Mayor Speer would give away thousands of free trees, and schoolchildren would plant trees in Denver’s City Park.

Denverites wait in line to receive their free trees on Arbor Day, 1912. 18,000 trees were given away that day. Photo from Denver Municipal Facts, v.4 n.17, 1912.

Among the most popular trees in Denver were American elm, ash, locust, maple, and birch, according to The Shade Trees of Denver, a 1905 publication from the Colorado Agricultural Experiment Station that has been digitized and made available online from our library.  This publication includes tips for planting trees and discussion of the various types and how well they grow in Colorado.  The best part, however, is the series of plates at the end of the book, illustrating the various tree types in Denver.  Examples are shown from parks as well as from the grounds of some of Denver’s large estates:
Ash trees in City Park

Hackberry tree in Fairmount Cemetery

Sycamore tree on the grounds of the Kountze Mansion at 16th and Grant

For other resources about growing trees in Colorado, search our library’s online catalog.  Also, for a look at how Arbor Day was celebrated in the public schools, see the Superintendent of Public Instruction’s Arbor Day books from 1908, 1911, and 1912, available online from our library.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Pesticide Safety

This is National Poison Prevention Week, and if you work in the agriculture industry, one of the poisons that you will most frequently encounter is pesticides.  If you are someone who handles or administers pesticides, or are an employer of those who do so, here are some resources from the State of Colorado that provide helpful tips on how to stay safe around pesticides.  Resources listed without web links can be checked out in print from our library or through Prospector.

Our library also has a series of Pesticide Application and Safety Training Study Guides from the Colorado State University Extension and the Colorado Department of AgricultureEach guidebook covers a single subject, such as weeds and insects, and application area, such as forest, rangeland, household, ornamental/garden, aquatic, and agricultural. Search our library’s online catalog for a list of titles.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Time Machine Tuesday: Colorado Farming During the Great War

A few months ago I wrote a Time Machine Tuesday feature about the state’s efforts to increase farm production during WWII. These types of efforts were not limited to the Second World War, however; the state had also worked to encourage greater farm production during World War I.
One hundred years ago today, on January 2, 1918, the Craig Empire published an article headlined “Rent Free Farms as War Measure: Plan to Add 100,000 Acres to State’s Productive Area by Furnishing Tracts free of Rent to Capable Farmers,” which you can read online courtesy of the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection.  The article cites a plan from the Colorado State Board of Immigration and other agencies to encourage increased farm production for the war effort.  Under the plan, owners of non-cultivated land could turn over portions of their land to the Board for a period of two years or the duration of the war, whichever came first.  The Board would then find qualified farmers to cultivate the land, rent-free.  At the time of the article, “already nearly 50,000 acres of such land has been pledged, and the Immigration board is in touch with a number of experienced farmers who will lease it and place it in cultivation.”
Much of the land to be cultivated, explains the article, was found on the Eastern plains where in many cases irrigation was limited and would require dryland farming techniques.  In the early twentieth century, after much of the state’s best farmland was already under cultivation, the state had worked to encourage farming of some of the state’s less fertile lands.  Dry farming would become a major contributing factor to the Dust Bowl in the 1930s; but during the first two decades of the twentieth century it was highly encouraged.  The State Board of Immigration issued several pamphlets during the World War I era that were meant to encourage and assist both dryland farmers and those that had access to irrigation.  These 1917-1918 pamphlets are available to read online via our library and give interesting insight into Colorado farm life a century ago:

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Colorado's Conservation Districts

Did you know that Colorado has seventy-six Conservation Districts?  Nearly every part of the state falls under one of these districts.  Overseen by the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s State Conservation Board, the districts were established in 1937 to “represent private landowners’ interests in conservation planning and practices.”  According to the agriculture department’s website,

The Colorado State Conservation Board (CSCB) is comprised of Conservation District representatives from Colorado’s 10 watersheds and provides guidance to the Department of Agriculture for:

  • Dispersing state grant funds and direct assistance to the Conservation Districts
  • Developing training tools for long and short term planning, budgeting, and laws pertaining to local governance
  • Performing as a board of appeals for landowners appealing Conservation District activities
  • Facilitating local conservation programs that improve soil health, water quality, water conservation, wildlife habitat, forest health, plant communities and energy conservation.

Check out the website for more information, including the online Conservation District Reference ManualOur library also has cataloged profiles of several individual Conservation Districts:

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    Colorado State Publications Blog

    CSU's National Western Center

    Last week was the groundbreaking for the new National Western Center, a major project to revitalize the National Western Stock Show complex into a “year-round educational and entertainment hub.”  The project includes both the construction of several new buildings as well as the preservation and restoration of several of the complex’s historic structures, most notably the 1909 Stadium Arena.

    One of the major partners in the project is Colorado State University, which will have three new facilities at the complex: the CSU Water Resources Center; a facility for equine sports medicine; and the “CSU Center,” which will provide classroom, laboratory, and art spaces as well as a “K-12 Food Systems Exploration Center.”  For details on the CSU buildings see their program plan.  You can also find out more about the project at http://nwc.colostate.edu/ and at the City of Denver’s National Western Center webpage.

    A rendering of the site, including the historic Stadium Arena and the new CSU buildings.  Photo courtesy Colorado State University.

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    Colorado State Publications Blog

    Western Slope Colorado Wine

    Colorado wine enthusiasts may delight in the book An American Provence, published in 2011 by University Press of Colorado.  In this book, author Thomas P. Huber examines the many geographic similarities between Colorado’s Western-slope wine country and the Provence region in France.  From the book summary:

    In this poetic personal narrative, Thomas P. Huber reflects on two seemingly unrelated places-the North Fork Valley in western Colorado and the Coulon River Valley in Provence, France-and finds a shared landscape and sense of place. What began as a simple comparison of two like places in distant locations turned into a more complex, interesting, and personal task. Much is similar-the light, the valleys, the climate, the agriculture. And much is less so-the history, the geology, the physical makeup of villages. Using a geographer’s eye and passion for the land and people, Huber examines the regions’ similarities and differences to explore the common emotional impact of each region. Part intimate travelogue and part case study of geography in the real world, An American Provence illuminates the importance sense of place plays in who we are.

    An American Provence is available for checkout from our library.  Also, you can learn more about Colorado’s wine industry in the following state publications, also available from our library:

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    Colorado State Publications Blog

    Time Machine Tuesday: The Colorado Agricultural Society

    Colorado Territory had barely been established when a group of leading farmers, agriculturalists, and promoters got together and formed the Colorado Agricultural Society in 1861. Society founders included such notables as William N. Byers (Denver promoter and founder of the Rocky Mountain News), Richard Sopris (future Denver mayor), William Gilpin (territorial governor), and William Larimer (founder of Denver).
    The organization was already ten years old — and Colorado hadn’t even attained statehood yet — when they kicked off their annual agricultural exhibition in Denver 146 years ago today, September 19, 1871.  In his newspaper Byers wrote that “the fair which opens to day will be the most extensive ever witnessed in Colorado.”  (You can read the full article online via the State Library’s Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection.)
    The exhibition, on the eastern outskirts of the city, boasted a fairgrounds of forty acres with a mile-long racetrack and “an elegant new grandstand…with orchestra for musicians, and seats for the accommodation of 3,000 persons” — especially interesting since Denver’s entire population in 1870 was only 4,759.  The fairgrounds also included stock pens, a 2-story building with “a large and commodious dining hall,” a 150-foot circular pavilion for agricultural displays, “ladies’ and gentlemens’ saloons,” and “a large hall for minerals, fine arts and fancy goods.”  This description comes from the Agricultural Society’s biennial report and report of the exhibition, which you can view online from our library.  The document also includes a history of the Society and a report of the previous year’s (1870) exhibition, as well as the society’s annual reports for both years. Detailed “programmes” for the 1870 and 1871 exhibitions can also be found.  The lists of all of the prize winners are also included.  Mrs. H. B. Bearce must have been especially talented; she won first prize in three categories: “best worked pair slippers,” “best display bead work,” and “best embroidered chemise.”  It might have helped, though, that her husband was President of the Society!
    The Colorado Agricultural Society was dissolved in 1873 and the task of promoting agriculture in Colorado went to the Colorado Industrial Association.  Smaller, local fairs such as county fairs were held in lieu of the territorial fair until 1882, when Denver constructed a huge pavilion for a major Mining and Industrial Exposition.  Although mining was the major focus of this exposition, it did include large displays devoted to agriculture and other industries.  This exposition was located near South Broadway and what is now Exposition Avenue.  It was only held for three years; a major decline in attendance at the 1884 fair spelled the demise of the exposition.  Later, in 1901, the Colorado State Fair was established in Pueblo, where it is still held every year.

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    Colorado State Publications Blog

    The Colorado State Fair

    The Colorado State Fair begins today and runs through September 4.  This annual event began in 1869 — before Colorado even was a state — with a horse show in Pueblo.  148 years later Pueblo still hosts the fair.  The State Fair includes a variety of contests and entertainment, including rodeos; livestock and animal shows; concerts; carnival rides; a 5K run; cooking, baking, and brewing contests; arts and crafts judging, and more.

    What does the State Fair bring to Colorado?  A 2011 economic impact study of the fair reports that the fair brings about $29 million of economic activity into Colorado.  Our library also has annual financial audit reports for the State Fair back to 1990; see our library’s online catalog for these and other resources.

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    Colorado State Publications Blog

    Time Machine Tuesday: Increasing Farm Production in Wartime

    Following the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, ever-increasing numbers of Americans were joining the armed forces.  Whether they were training stateside or had been shipped overseas to fight in Europe or the Pacific, the huge numbers of soldiers, sailors, nurses, and others involved in the war needed to be fed.  Luckily, the United States had millions of acres of farmland to grow crops and livestock to feed the hungry soldiers.

    A USDA poster promoting wartime farm production.

    There was one problem, however.  Throughout the 1930s farmers on the Great Plains had suffered through drought, dust storms, and the Depression.  Agricultural production had declined as a result, and many wary farmers were reluctant to increase production.  By 1942, however, rising farm prices and a push by government agencies to encourage farm production helped to reverse this trend.  Among the agencies here in Colorado working to help farmers increase production was the Colorado State Board for Vocational Education.  A forerunner to today’s community college system, the Board worked to improve education in vocations and trades.  In 1942 they teamed up with the Colorado State College of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts (today’s Colorado State University) to offer a Rural War Production Training Program.

    The program offered 20-hour courses designed to help farmers increase the production of specific commodities most needed by the war effort (beef, vegetables, wool, etc.).  The courses also encouraged home vegetable gardening due to shortages of imported foods.  “The main purpose of the war production courses is to discuss with producers ways and means, and to assist them in outlining plans of action, by which the production goal can be reached in the shortest possible time and with the greatest efficiency,” wrote the Board in one of their course manuals.  These manuals, which you can read online courtesy of our library, were issued for the course instructors to help them develop syllabi. They included teaching tips, discussion questions, sample course outlines, and suggestions for film strips and reference material.  These manuals offer an interesting look at the teaching methods of the past as well as of the importance of farming during wartime.  The manuals available from our library are:

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    Colorado State Publications Blog

    Japanese Beetles

    While gardening last weekend I discovered that my trees are being eaten by Japanese beetles; since then, I’ve spotted them in other parts of town, as well.  Biologists say that 2017 is the worst year yet in Colorado for the invasive pests, which up until a few years ago were only found east of the Mississippi.  According to the Denver Post, Japanese beetles have been munching their way up and down the Front Range from Boulder to Pueblo.  The Colorado Department of Agriculture issued a quarantine against the Japanese beetle in 2010, but the spread has continued.

    Experts say that Japanese beetles, which are most active in July and August, feed on the leaves of over 300 species of plants, but their favorites are beans, linden trees, and rosebushes.  So what can you do to prevent and control Japanese beetles?  Colorado State University entomologist Whitney Cranshaw wrote a helpful fact sheet that describes identification of the beetle as well as techniques and recommended products for control.  Also see the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s Japanese Beetle Best Management Strategies and their powerpoint presentation about Japanese beetle.

    Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

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    Colorado State Publications Blog

    Agri-Tour Colorado this Summer

    If you’re looking for a fun way to experience Colorado this summer, consider the many facets of agritourism.  The Colorado Department of Agriculture has a handy webpage which includes information on how both producers and consumers can take advantage of agritourism in our state.  What is agritourism?  According to the Department,

    Agritourism covers a wide variety of recreational, educational and other leisure activities and services, provided by farmers and ranchers and experienced by consumers who value the activity or service they receive and seek it out. Agritourism may be defined as activities, events and services related to agriculture that take place on or off the farm or ranch, and that connect consumers with the heritage, natural resource or culinary experience they value. There are three general classifications of agritourism activities: on-farm/ranch, food-based, and heritage activities.

    Use their webpage to find out about farmer’s markets; food festivals and county fairs; fishing, birding, and wildlife watching; wineries, breweries, and distilleries; dude ranches; bed and breakfast inns; and more.  Agritourism isn’t just for summer, either — check back in the fall for a list of corn mazes and pumpkin patches, and in winter for a Christmas tree list.  The site also contains a list of producer workshops and events.

    For more about agritourism, see the following publications, available from our library:

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    Colorado State Publications Blog

    The Buzz on Bees in Colorado

    Bees are essential pollinators that ensure our being able to grow fruits, vegetables, and flowers — yet bee populations have been decreasing over time.  In response, beekeeping is steadily growing in popularity in Colorado, while many others are gardening with native plants to attract bees.
    If you are a beekeeper or are interested in becoming one, or if you are looking for information on the status of bees and beekeeping in Colorado, the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s Apiary Program has a number of resources on their webpage.  Among them are the results of a recent honey bee health survey; the results can be viewed here; see also their recent press release.
    The University of Colorado Museum of Natural History also has a number of bee studies available on their website, including The Bees of Colorado; and the Colorado State University Extension has recently issued a booklet Integrated Hive Management for Colorado Beekeepers.
    Also be sure to check out Beekeeping in the Intermountain Region and Building a Secure Beehive Enclosure from our library.
    Finally, for a historical perspective on Colorado beekeeping, see Report of Experiments in Apiary (1887); Apiary Experiments (1900); Beekeeping in Colorado (1922) and Introduction to Beekeeping (1934).
    Photo courtesy http://maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com/Bees-Honey-Human-Honey-Bees-Beehive-Beekeeper-970216