CSU innovators, educators, researchers and rising stars honored among DBJ’s 2023 Who’s Who in Agriculture | TheFencePost.com

CSU innovators, educators, researchers and rising stars honored among DBJ’s 2023 Who’s Who in Agriculture

Colorado State University
Pictured are Dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences James Pritchett and agricultural education and equine science student Jo Smeby. Photo courtesy CSU

Four Colorado State University agriculture leaders are being honored by the Denver Business Journal and the Colorado Farm Bureau for their innovative work within the industry, including Dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences James Pritchett, who is the 2023 DBJ Who’s Who in Agriculture Trailblazer, and agricultural education and equine science student Jo Smeby, who will receive the Rising Star award.  

Pictured are Dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences James Pritchett and agricultural education and equine science student Jo Smeby. Photo courtesy CSU

Hayley Chouinard, department head of Agricultural and Resource Economics, and Jim Bradeen, associate vice president for Spur strategy, at the CSU Spur campus are also among the 22 Who’s Who in Agriculture honorees for 2023.

“We are so proud to see Jim, Hayley, James and Jo recognized for their contributions to Colorado agriculture,” President Amy Parsons said. “This honor speaks directly to the talent that we have here at CSU and the impact that they are making in our urban and rural communities across the state.” 

“It’s especially wonderful to see Dean James Pritchett honored as the 2023 Who’s Who in Agriculture Trailblazer for his dedication to our land-grant mission, to our students, to serving our community and to finding solutions for global challenges,” Parsons said. “In addition, I want to congratulate CSU College of Agricultural Sciences student Jo Smeby, who was recognized as this year’s Rising Star.”


As the 2023 Trailblazer, Pritchett — a land grant economist and director of the Colorado Agricultural Experiment Station — is being honored for his work preparing the next generation of agricultural professionals and researching solutions to some of the industry’s greatest challenges, including the global food crisis and climate change. 

“I am appreciative and grateful for having been selected for this honor,” said Pritchett, who was named to the DBJ’s 2020 Who’s Who in Agriculture program and is now returning to accept its highest award. “This year’s awardees have made a significant impact on Colorado agriculture. I am proud of our colleagues — especially those from CSU — and their commitment of service to industry, and I look forward to seeing all their accomplishments in the years to come.” 

Smeby, a student in the CSU College of Agricultural Sciences, said she was surprised and honored to learn she will receive the Rising Star award. Upon graduation this year, she hopes to become an agriculture teacher at the high school or collegiate level and provide students with the education she says she wished she’d received growing up outside of Seattle. 

 “Everyone should have an understanding of agriculture,” Smeby said. “Understanding the agricultural industry and how it affects our lives every day, from the food on our plates to the clothes on our backs, is so integral for people of all backgrounds, whether they were raised on farms and ranches or in the city.”


The DBJ Who’s Who in Agriculture program highlights leaders within Colorado’s $40 billion a year agriculture industry. List makers come from a variety of fields that impact Colorado’s food economy, including crop and livestock production, water, biotech, agribusiness and food/nutrition. 

Fellow CSU list makers from previous years include CSU Director of AgNext and Professor of Animal Sciences Kim Stackhouse-Lawson; retired Western Regional Extension Director CJ Mucklow; and CSU Human Development and Family Studies Professor, Extension Specialist Emeritus and Co-Project Director of the Colorado AgrAbility Project Robert Fetsch. 

Honorees will be celebrated at a cocktail reception at CSU Spur’s new Hydro Building from 5 to 7 p.m. March 30. During the event, DBJ senior reporter Greg Avery will host an armchair discussion with Trailblazer winner Pritchett. Tickets are available through the Denver Business Journal.


Hayley Chouinard

Hayley Chouinard, Department Head, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Colorado State University, August 5, 2019
Colorado State University

Department Head and Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics Hayley Chouinard’s research covers a diverse range of topics spanning everything from the impact of nutrition information on consumer food choices and health outcomes to natural resource use and access. A prolific author, her publications have covered topics including the influence of packing size on consumer decisions and the impact of gasoline price differences on taxes and pollution. Chouinard came to CSU in 2017 after spending more than 15 years as a faculty member at Washington State University. She earned her Ph.D. in agricultural and resource economics from the University of California at Berkeley, as well as an M.S. in applied economics and a B.S. in business, both from Montana State University.


Jim Bradeen

As the associate vice president for Spur strategy at the CSU Spur campus, Jim Bradeen oversees strategy development, partnerships and implementation of Spur, designed as an extension of the CSU System with a focus on educating the public and engaging the next generation in the interdisciplinary areas of food, water and health. Bradeen has more than 35 years of experience in agricultural research and education and has a passion for tackling global challenges and achieving local impacts. Bradeen is also a professor of plant pathology in the Department of Agricultural Biology. Before becoming part of the CSU community, he served as a professor and head of the Department of Plant Pathology at the University of Minnesota and was the founder and co-director of the Stakman-Borlaug Center, an innovation platform focused on interdisciplinary research, outreach and student training, with an emphasis in sustainability.

CSU connections

In addition to current faculty, staff and students, several of the DBJ’s 2023 honorees are CSU alumni or affiliated with the university, including:  

  • Robyn Carlson — owner, Cowgirl Publications and CSU alumna — B.A. Journalism and Technical Communication, Animal Sciences ’10, Master of Agriculture ’11. Carlson also teaches agri-business and animal sciences courses in the Integrated Resource Management program in the Master of Agriculture degree program. 
  • Joel Currier — partner, Currier Ranch and CSU alumnus — B.S. Agricultural Business ’16 
  • Jim Ehrlich — CEO, Colorado Potato Growers and CSU alumnus — B.S. Agronomy ’83 
  • Erin Karney — EVP, Colorado Cattlemen’s Association and CSU alumna — B.S. Animal Sciences and Agricultural Business ’12, M.S. Animal Sciences ’14 
  • Brian J. McFarlane — head of food safety and quality assurance, JBS Foods USA — affiliate faculty in Animal Sciences 
  • Mark and Chris Frasier — owners and operators, Frasier Ranch — B.S. Animal Sciences ’83
More Like This, Tap A Topic