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Front Range Chapter receives CYF runner-up award

Colorado

It was Daniel Webster who said, "Let us not forget that the cultivation of the earth is the most important labor of man. When tillage begins, other arts will follow." And, in holding true to this thought, each and every year members of Young Farmer chapters all over Colorado put away their farm equipment for part of the year and begin work on other causes. By most definitions, this work could be considered a form of art--art that benefits others. The Front Range Chapter, which operates in the Fort Lupton and Brighton areas, completed a number of noteworthy projects this last year and, for this effort, it was given the state runner-up award for the Outstanding Colorado Young Farmer Chapter for 2009.

Much of the chapter's activities have centered around community service. The group also received the coveted Outstanding Colorado Young Farmer Chapter Community Service Award in 2009.

The organization is only 15 members strong; but, because each member is really committed to the mission of the organization, the Front Range Chapter shines year after year. It currently has three members serving as state officers and one who holds a national office as well.

From educational presenters and fun nights and field trips, this organization is always doing something for the betterment of its community and its members. One meeting per month is used as a regular business meeting; the other is dedicated to educating the membership through guest presentations. This year presentations were made by the NRCS on winter snow measurements and how to estimate the availability of the spring run-off and water supply. A representative from Sun Honda gave a presentation on four wheelers and how they can most safely be used in agriculture. A presentation on the country-of-origin labeling requirements for the purpose of verifying the source and age of livestock was provided. Other programs centered around crop controllables and the use of crop insurance as a tool for marketing.

A popular chapter activity that was held this year was a "shop night" where members brought welding and wood projects into a member's shop and took time to complete these in one night, some asking for the help of fellow members.

The Front Range Chapter plays a big role each year in helping with the Weld County Food Bank's Fort Lupton branch center. The group contributed more than 800 pounds of food to the bank this year. It also did a special donation of personal hygiene items and coats to the food bank as, in this day and age, many clients who come to the center need items beyond food. In addition, the chapter adopted two families and provided grocery gift cards and wrapped gifts to them during Christmas. Helping the less fortunate seems to be a good niche for the chapter, as it also volunteered to paint walls and stain woodwork at a traditional housing facility in Longmont. Other community service projects included giving Easter lilies to an assisted living center in Brighton, helping with a highway clean-up project and working with the Adams County Farm Bureau to serve as group leaders and presenters during the Adams County Farm Days event which provides information and demonstrations on agriculture to elementary students. The chapter also helps with the Fort Lupton Special Olympics program and supports the annual Cody's Car Show which raises funds and awareness of autism. The chapter made donations to several memorials as well as a donation to the Dacona VFW in 2008.

Supporting future farmers is also a big part of the work the Front Range Chapter does each year. It supports the ongoing activities of both the Brighton and Fort Lupton Future Farmers of America chapters in numerous ways.

The Front Range group is not all work and no play. This past year the group held a casino night, a Christmas party potluck, a bring-a-buddy steak-fry night, summer picnic, and end of year dinner.

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The Outstanding Chapter Runner-Up award went to the Front Range Chapter. Pictured left to right is chapter advisor Steve Sterkel and his wife, Michelle, and Darrell Johnston and his wife, Cindy Johnston. Cindy is president of the Front Range Chapter. She is also the national president this year. (Courtesy photo.)



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