For our November 4, Zoom meeting, Dr. James Pritchett, Dean of the CSU College of Agricultural Science, updated us on the curriculum, enrollment, and teaching focus, as well as share concerns he sees in Colorado's agricultural industry.  He started by saying that he is asking the approximately 260 employees in the College to focus on the “brand”:  “Come to the Table”.  His view of that table is possibly a picnic table (everyone gathered around to maintain contacts), a negotiation table (different groups solving problems collegially), or a meeting-room table (groups sharing ideas).  Click here to view the meeting and presentation.  
Dr. Pritchett gave a brief overview of forces driving change in agriculture: growing population, evolving consumer preferences, a more demanding food industry, the pivotal role of evolving technology, effects of the dynamic and changing climate, the disruptive effects of changing policies and regulations, and globalization of markets and its associated competition for resources.   Some of his themes for making a difference include: focusing on globally sustainable land initiatives; regenerative and resilient cropping systems with predictive analytics and genetic improvements (Colorado’s wheat productivity, worth some $400 million per year, has increased some 30 % over the last few decades); elevating soil, water and energy stewardship with investments in agri-tech and agri-biome (e.g., using technology including the internet to improve soil moisture analysis); enhancing food security and safety (including increased shelf life) using real-time biology; improving well-being with intentional stewardship of the human experience (highlighting their equine assistance therapy program).  He asserts that the Land-Grant approach will be key to addressing wicked agricultural problems that are either already on us or are coming in the near future. 
Within the School of Agriculture, there are some 2000 students (around 1750 undergrads, 300 grad students), around 2/3 of whom are female.  Some 50% of the students come from Colorado and some 60% have no previous agricultural experience; approximately ¼ are first generation college students and 30% are minorities.  There is significant federal funding that helps address the student costs (around $12,000 per year tuition and fees, $17,000 per year living expenses). 
Since May, the University has had some 650 cases of Covid-19.  So far this semester, around 70% of classes have been in-person, but that will switch to all virtual after the Fall break until the end of the calendar year. 
The College's focused areas include climate change, water availability and use, and chemical usage.  For plants, they are interested in getting the right amount of water to the root zone, in spite of “institutional drought” (drought caused by processes rather than climate change), and trying to develop crops that use less water.  In soil science, they are looking at nutrient- and water-holding capacity, perhaps the possibility of loading carbon to the soil directly from the air.  Use of pesticides per unit area has been decreasing since the 1980s and now there is some possibility of using microbiome in place of chemical pesticides.  In the areas of both plant protein and animal protein, they are aimed at improving security of amounts and safety as well as long-term sustainability. 
One of the areas of coming importance is the interaction of agriculture with engineering and they need to add some agricultural engineers.  At the local level, they already do significant on-farm modeling.  They are also getting into basin-level modeling.  They already have robust interaction and cooperation with the Colorado Water Conservation Board and they are developing the Western Water Center at the Spur Campus in Denver to develop interactions with other entities concerned with water in Colorado.  One of the areas of current research is on the effect of livestock on arid public lands in the west (including use of drones to track grazing patterns), trying to develop best practices to have livestock improve the land or, at least, to understand the thresholds for impacts on land and game animals. 
One of the areas of discussion was on relations with China.  For agricultural products, it appears that soybean trade has held up (according to the US Soybean Council) but trade in beef has had mixed results, at least in part due to slow-down in transport.  In the area of academic relations, the number of Chinese students at the school has fallen substantially but partnerships and scientific relationships with Chinese universities seems to have held up, with some American personnel going to China but fewer Chinese professionals coming here.  As far as Dr. Pritchett knows, there has been little of the illicit transfer of agricultural intellectual property that is a concern in other academic and industrial areas. 
They are doing some work with hemp but no work on marijuana.  They are doing some work on “closed environments” (greenhouses).  They are involved in seed certification, exploitation of varietal traits, and study of the chemical composition of products from hemp, including any health benefits. 
The CSU Extension Service is directly involved with farmers/ranchers across the state: “what can we help you with?”  Although with the decrease in state funding their scope is narrowing, they do have annual meetings and field days across the state, local schools and workshops, and do try to hand out useful documents at events like county fairs.  He even has a twitter feed: @AgDeanCSU.  There is significant cooperation with both commercial enterprises and other universities; they try not to be competitive, typically handing off any development or deployment of new ideas/technologies to private industry.
In Colorado, the Ag Council is an established forum and lobby for ag workers, in part working on improvement in worker safety and worker compensation.