4-H director quits

CSU will find, fund replacement

Moffat County 4-H could be without a director for the next six months after director Nate Balstad's resignation takes effect Oct. 29.

In the meantime, it will fall on the two remaining Moffat County Colorado State University Cooperative Extension agents, the Moffat County Fair Board, and 4-H volunteers to manage the club, Commissioner Marianna Raftopoulos said.

Balstad, who helped organize four Moffat County Fairs during his time with the cooperative extension, resigned his position Monday to work at Tri-State Equipment.

Frank Kawcak, 4-H Foundation president, described Balstad's job as difficult, as are most jobs that require working with children and their parents.

"He did a good job of it. He was a good diplomat about it," Kawcak said.

About 250 children are members of Moffat County 4-H, making Moffat County one of the larger 4-H per capita counties, Balstad said. His position was primarily funded by CSU, and he said he'd been told CSU would refill it.

The university will consult the Moffat County commissioners before selecting a new cooperative extension director, Balstad said.

Balstad's main job was managing 4-H. But a new agent could spend 75 percent of his time on 4-H and the remainder on agricultural issues, Raftopoulos said.

Moffat County had an agriculture and horticulture agent until the commissioners cut the position in light of budget constraints.

Balstad spent much of his time organizing the fair. Fair board member Joann Roberson said he did "everything" to get the fair ready, from setting up displays for livestock, ceramics, needlework and rocket competitions to overseeing fair superintendents.

"People are going to have to buck it up," Roberson said of Balstad's departure.

As part of its budget, the Cooperative Extension Office requested a part-time employee to help work on coordinating the fair, Raftopoulos said.

But the commissioners haven't considered budget requests yet, and she didn't commit to granting the request.

Rumors had been circulating that Balstad was quitting, Kawcak said, so the resignation letter didn't come as a surprise. But Balstad chose a good time of the year to quit, because the fair is still months away.

All the same, Balstad's resignation will affect 4-H in the long term, Kawcak said.

He typically supervised the leaders of the various 4-H clubs, which are starting up soon. In March and April, the 4-H Foundation will begin considering scholarships, and Balstad helped with those as well, Kawcak said.

Balstad said his favorite times as the director of 4-H as well as the Extension Office were spent traveling with 4-H members.

He said he'd like to volunteer with 4-H again, but he'd take a break for now to avoid getting in the way of the new director. But he'd be happy to help his replacement if needed.

"We need people to step up and volunteer and hopefully I can do that for the new director. The people I worked with in Moffat County are great people," Balstad said.

Rob Gebhart can be reached at 824-7031 or rgebhart@craigdailypress.com.

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