This National Volunteer Month, we celebrate those who serve on behalf of the land-grant university mission. Bob Mattive is a Partner in Worley Family Farms LLC., located in Monte Vista, Colorado. Learn more about how Mattive volunteers with the Council for Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching (CARET) in this Q&A:
Why do you volunteer for CARET? What does it mean to you?
I was asked to serve as CARET delegate and represent Colorado State University about 15 years ago. I didn’t know about the organization at the time but I was willing to serve and learn. It has been a valuable and enjoyable learning experience. I have met so many great friends from across the country that are passionate about what CARET does. We are all pulling together to educate others and to advocate for all the things CARET stands for: Agriculture Research, Extension and Teaching. I volunteer to be a CARET delegate because as a farmer and producer of food I know that each of these areas are vital to our survival.
Without research we will not progress with better technologies, varieties, pest management strategies, and the list goes on.
Without Extension, all of the research knowledge and work are in vain if the broader community of farmers and consumers are not informed of the latest and best ideas and techniques.
Without teaching we won’t have the scientists and researchers, extension agents, and producers of tomorrow.
Our commitment must be solid, less than 1% of our population produces our food and fiber for the rest of our country and world. Supporting the work that our land-grant colleges do for agriculture and our communities is and should be important to everyone.
How does funding for research, education and Extension help your community?
As a potato grower in the San Luis Valley of Colorado, funding for potato research is one of our highest priorities. We are primarily center-pivot irrigated and confronted daily with challenges from drought, diseases and pest issues. I was told that only 18% of farmland is irrigated but 40% of our food is produced on irrigated land. With potatoes, production has doubled on in the last 75 years. All of these gains are a result of improvement through research and with the Extension service to make the information available to growers many of these gains may not have happened.
Colorado State University recently hired a new potato breeder and there is a lot of excitement around the potential she brings to our industry. Without the resources to educate and develop outstanding plant breeders, researchers and educators well cannot and will not be leading the world in food production and economically feeding our population.
What do you hope for the future of CARET?
I hope that CARET can continue to be a driving force for advocacy and education around Agriculture policy. Funding for Agricultural programs is very small compared to other programs and we need to continually educate our policy makers of the importance of what the land-grant system does and the impact it has and can have on communities.
Raising awareness is a large part of what we do. I know that after being a part of CARET and the individuals who are involved from around the country our future looks bright but we must stay committed.
The Council for Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching (CARET) is a national grassroots organization of citizen advocates. CARET is dedicated to improving national support and understanding of the important role played by land-grant colleges in the food and agricultural systems, as well as the profound consequences of that role for the U.S. food supply and the nation. Learn more about CARET here.More From: CARET, Colorado State University, Volunteer
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