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Regional Spotlight: Adams County

Thaddeus Gourd, County Director for Adams County Extension, uses his years of experience in the private sector of agriculture to support food systems in his community. For over thirty years, the Northern Colorado Onion Variety Trials have been used to research red, yellow, and white onion varieties from around the world. Gourd took over the program in 2002, and he works with growers in the Brighton area to assess each variety’s ability to resist or tolerate the effects of weeds, insects, and diseases.

Some common problems they research are onion thrips, pink root fungus, and Iris Yellow Spot Virus. “Onions are also affected by the latitude they’re grown in, so we’re ground truthing how each variety grows in the Northern Colorado environment,” Gourd described. Finding these better varieties benefits both the grower and the environment, as the grower can produce higher yields while potentially reducing the need to apply pesticides that negatively impact the environment.

Gourd’s research also extends into testing biopesticides used to control nematodes on onions and carrots, and studies of mycorrhizae colonization on onions, presenting his findings to the National Association of Agriculture County Agents and at the National Allium Research Conference. With support from the Brighton Bee Club and Jennifer Tucker, Small Acreage Coordinator for Adams County, Gourd additionally helped construct a comparative beehive demonstration. Three different beehive designs were evaluated last year to discover which layout best promoted bee health and survival through the winter season. They plan to continue the study this year. Overall, Thaddeus Gourd’s background enables Adams County Extension to support different scales agriculture in the region, one field at a time. For more information on the Northern Colorado Onion Variety Trials and other Adams County Extension programs, please visithttp://adams.colostate.edu/.