“(The Moffat County Fair) really brings the community together, and the amount of volunteers and people that donate their time and efforts to put on a county fair is just absolutely impressive to me.”
— J.D. Sexton, Moffat County Extension and 4-H youth agent, about why he enjoys the Moffat County Fair
J.D. Sexton has been around the ranching lifestyle for years.
“I’ve just been part of the livestock industry my whole life,” the Laporte native said. “As a youth I was able to be part of 4-H and showed livestock competitively. It’s just been kind of a family thing. My grandfather was actually the extension agent for Larimer County and Fort Collins.”
Following in his grandfather’s footsteps, Sexton began work June 18 as Colorado State University’s Moffat County Extension and 4-H youth agent.
Though daily responsibilities vary, he said a big part of the job involves helping local 4-H programs, in which he said he is “a huge believer.”
“Primarily what we’re here for is to help coordinate all of the 4-H programs and support the 4-H kids, and give them opportunities to get involved in any entity that 4-H might offer,” said Sexton, who graduated from the University of Wyoming in 2005 with a degree in animal science.
Part of supporting the local 4-H programs includes helping host the Moffat County Fair, which kicks off this week at the Moffat County Fairgrounds.
For Sexton, that means assisting in the organization of an event that showcases the diverse offerings the Moffat County community has to offer.
“One thing that’s nice for me, being a Moffat County resident for the past four years, the Moffat County Fair’s a special one because of the support that the community has and the kids that are involved in the 4-H and (Future Farmers of America) programs,” he said. “It really brings the community together, and the amount of volunteers and people that donate their time and efforts to put on a county fair is just absolutely impressive to me.”
Audrey Anna Charchalis, secretary of the Moffat County Fair Board, said Sexton’s passion for the fair, as well as those who participate in it, is apparent. “J.D. is really motivated and has some great new ideas,” she said. “He has a big long history of youth development, which is huge, and his vast experience in the livestock industry is such a resource.”
Sexton’s experience includes several years teaching animal science and coaching livestock judging at Eastern Wyoming College in Torrington, Wyo., before moving to Craig, hometown of his wife, Lacey.
Since then, Sexton had been serving as a cattle nutrition specialist at MJK Sales & Feed, 290 Ranney St., in Craig. In addition to helping him work with the 4-H programs, Sexton’s prior experience will help him in other aspects of his new job, which he said include supporting the Moffat County ranching and agricultural community.
That duty, he said, usually means answering questions and helping solve problems.
“A lot of the daily happenings, extension things, (include) helping the community maybe with noxious weeds, pest problems, to help educate and answer a lot of those agricultural questions,” he said. “Whether it’s the backyard garden or we’ve got a rancher that has 1,000 head of cows that has some question about a noxious weed or a nutritional thing or something like that.”
During his first few months on the job, supporting Moffat County ranchers has meant trying to figure out how to help them weather the drought the region has experienced this summer.
Sexton organized a drought workshop July 12 to try and do just that.
“I would say that the take-home message from that workshop was that we really have to be cautious of what our environment’s doing right now,” he said. “In terms of livestock producers, we really have to help those folks understand different opportunities they might have to get through the hard time, the limited feed and limited water. “There’s certain techniques and management practices that we can help them with … and there are some government programs that can help them maybe pay for some things to get them through the tough time. So just awareness of that.”
Though Sexton said he can’t predict if or when the drought might end, he thinks the experience will make the resourceful ranchers of Northwest Colorado stronger and smarter.
“If we can learn from how we got through this one, I think that we’ll be better off,” he said. “Agricultural people are some of the most resistant and resilient people out there. They get creative. They’re tough people.”
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