06-13-19 CYFEA Board Makes Decision to Cease Operations Effective July 31, 2019

CYFEA Board Makes Decision to Cease Operations Effective July 31, 2019

Good afternoon CYFEA Chapter membership, CYFE Foundation Board of Directors, CYFEA Executive Team, CYFEA sponsors and supporters —

Please read the attached letter from Chairman, Dave Lieber, on behalf of the Colorado Young Farmers Educational Association’s Board of Directors, regarding the decision to suspend most the CYFEA’s operations as of July 31, 2019. This decision comes after much dialogue and with regrets to all of you that have supported this state Association recently and for as many as 50 years, in some cases!

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CYFEA Chapter Membership, Friends, Sponsors and Supporters,

It is with much consideration and sadness that the Colorado Young Farmers Educational Association’s Board of Directors have decided to suspend the CYFEA’s day-to-day administration and programs, effective July 31, 2019. This decision comes mainly with the realization of a declining membership and the lack of engagement with this state Association over the past several years. Any viable and successful organization needs regular and active involvement from its members.

Financial challenges have also contributed to this determination. The CYFEA has had to rely more and more on its Chapter membership numbers in the form of dues payments, since funding support from the Colorado community and university college system was withdrawn many years ago. There has been very little secondary and postsecondary ag educational buy-in in the past several years and the CYFEA Board of Directors are of the opinion that until that support is re-evaluated and revived, the CYFEA will continue to struggle. Also, the CYFE Foundation recently informed the Association that it is unable to provide the financial support that they have in the past.

There is a huge competition nowadays with the much larger and more establish organizations such as the National Farmers Union, American Farm Bureau, and the Cattleman’s Associations for both involvement and funding. These organizations are able to provide programs and services that the CYFEA cannot. Today’s social media and digital platform choices are the new and alternative sources of information and connection for the younger generation, and should the CYFEA make the decision to re-evaluate and rebrand itself, these current social communication avenues will be explored.

At this time, the CYFEA will forgo their monthly Board of Director and Executive Team meetings, the CO Young Farmer newsletter, the annual State Institute, and other ag related stakeholder involvement. There has been some discussion of having a couple of annual CYFEA social events on an occasional basis, so that members can keep in touch with each other. Information about these gatherings will be forthcoming when dates are determined. Financially, the CYFEA’s bank accounts will remain viable and administered to as needed. The limited 2019 Chapter dues payments, that were paid to the CYFEA in April, will be returned to their respective Chapters no later than July 15, 2019. The CYFEA website will also be maintained as needed.

With respect to the CYFEA’s Academic Scholarship program: The funding success earlier this year, through the proceeds of the 2019 “Tractor Hours” Live Auction event in January, will ensure that this important ag education support endeavor will continue indefinitely, with its annual fiscal award administration and student recognition.

The Board of Directors for the Colorado Young Farmers Educational Association truly regret what they hope to be a temporary suspension in the history of this 50-year-old organization, but feel that this is necessary at this time. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me, or Sharon by phone or email at (719) 291-3919 or spattee@cyfea.org. Thank you for your understanding and for the years of dedication to this state Association.

Most sincerely,

Dave Lieber, Chairman
On behalf of the CYFEA Board of Directors

The mission of the Colorado Young Farmers Educational Association is to provide support and resources for its local chapters to develop and strengthen their education, leadership, and advocacy. The organization provides opportunities for its members to grow, personally and professionally, beyond their local chapters and communities.   

Submitted to The BARN by:

Sharon Pattee, CYFEA Executive Director Colorado Young Farmers Educational Association