Our view: A champion for agriculture | SteamboatToday.com

Our view: A champion for agriculture

At issue: Marsha Daughenbaugh is stepping down as executive director of the Community Agriculture Alliance. Our view: Her contributions to Routt County agriculture have been substantial, and she found a way to advocate for the industry while also challenging it to progress.

Editorial Board • Suzanne Schlicht, COO and publisher

• Lisa Schlichtman, editor

• Tom Ross, reporter

Contact the editorial board at 970-871-4221 or editor@SteamboatToday.com.

When it comes to Routt County ranching, a number of names quickly come to mind, and at the top of the list is Marsha Daughenbaugh, who has served as executive director of the Community Agriculture Alliance for the past 15 years.

Last week, Daughenbaugh announced she would be stepping down from that position at the end of the month, and as we reflect on her tenure in the role, we think she deserves praise for the great work she has done.

Daughenbaugh is a tireless advocate for promoting Routt County’s agriculture community and also working to help preserve Steamboat Springs’ western heritage. She was raised on her family’s Rocking C Bar cattle ranch west of Steamboat, and Daughenbaugh understands the business of agriculture inside and out. Before taking the reins of the CAA, she worked with the Agriculture Stabilization and Conservation Service and Farm Service Agency for 20 years.

And as we reflect on Daughenbaugh’s many attributes as a leader and an agricultural spokeswoman, it should be noted that she is not someone who is mired in the past. Daughenbaugh found a way to strike a balance between celebrating our rich agricultural heritage and challenging ranchers and the ag community to look to the future.

The Ag Alliance was formed in 1999 with the mission of doing just that – preserving the Yampa Valley’s agricultural heritage by helping the industry adapt to change — and while serving as CAA’s executive director, Daughenbaugh brought progressive ideas to the table that were successfully implemented by the CAA board, leadership team and volunteers.

During her tenure, the Community Ag Alliance has grown to become one of Routt County’s leading nonprofit advocacy groups. CAA now celebrates Ag Appreciation Week annually with a robust list of community activities that raise awareness of the important role agriculture plays locally and nationally under the slogan, “Naked and hungry. Where would YOU be without agriculture?”

CAA, under Daughenbaugh’s leadership, also successfully launched an online marketplace that allows area ag producers to sell their products online. Currently, there are 65 producers utilizing the CAA Market with weekly sales averaging $2,000.

Daughenbaugh also helped organize the Moots Ranch Rally, which was an ingenious way to bring together the seemingly divergent interests of ranchers and cycling enthusiasts. The June event invites cyclists to participate in the 50-mile bike tour that exposes them to some of Routt County’s historic ranches. The tour, which is highlighted by lunch at the Daughenbaugh’s ranch, serves to ease tensions between the agricultural community and cyclists by helping educate both riders and ranchers on how to coexist.

Daughenbaugh was also instrumental in organizing water conferences here, attracting high-powered speakers with an eye toward agriculture and also as a vehicle to educate the community about complex water policy issues.

The contributions Daughenbaugh has made to agriculture and the community as a whole are impressive, and she deserves a heartfelt round of applause.

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