Our view: Missing cooperative extension agent

Cooperative Extension agents measure their careers in county fairs.

Nate Balstad has been around for four Moffat County fairs.

Sadly, he won't be around for a fifth -- not in an official, paid capacity anyway.

Balstad resigned from his position as a Colorado State University Cooperative Extension agent serving Moffat County. Part of his job was being the director of the Moffat County 4-H programs.

Officially, Balstad was in charge of bringing 4-H members and their projects to the fair. Unofficially, he did anything that had to be done to make sure the fair went off without a hitch, Moffat County Fair Board members said.

Balstad's departure will leave a hole in the annual planning and execution of the county fair. He leaves an even bigger hole as one of the most positive role models in the county. He wrote a weekly column for this newspaper that focused on praising the accomplishments of 4-H members and providing parents with tips on raising confident and happy children. He often wrote about "community assets" and ways Moffat County could collectively enrich the lives of young people.

"4-H is a great program. It takes a lot of energy and it's time for a new energy," Balstad said Friday.

He's taking a job with Tri-State Equipment, and his last day at the Extension Office is Oct. 29.

"I have an opportunity to do something people thought I'd be good at -- something that will provide me with job security and the income that my family and I need to reach our goals."

Balstad, who has lived in several communities in the Midwest and the Southwest as part of his career path, reflected on the various changes he's made in his life. He said he's happy to be staying in Moffat County, even if he is switching jobs.

"I've been thinking about this the last couple of days and how life is really not a destination, but a journey."

Thankfully, he plans to stay involved in 4-H, but he'll take some time away from the organization for the next leader to get established. Hopefully, the next 4-H director will be as dynamic and hard-working as Nate Balstad. We wish him, his wife, Lisa, and his daughter, Emma, the best.

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