AgrAbility eNote banner
March 2014


Dr. Norman Dalsted is known around the state of Colorado as an expert in Agricultural Business. Born and raised in North Dakota, Dr. Dalsted was active in the FFA in high school and attended North Dakota State University. At the university, he participated in ROTC and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He spent more than two years on active duty serving in the Panama Canal Zone and Vietnam before returning back to North Dakota State University to pursue his Masters Degree. Always the educator, he shares his military experience with students every year. After spending a few years as a research associate, he decided to further his education by moving to Colorado State University where he worked on a grain survey for a faculty member in the economics department. He began work on his PhD at Colorado State University and upon completion, was hired on at the CSU as an extension farm management specialist. This work led to a promotion to associate professor in 1985 and professor in 1992, a position he still holds today.

In his early years at Colorado State, Dr. Dalsted was the first faculty member to develop enterprise budgets for common commodities in Colorado. These budgets have been updated regularly and are still in use some thirty years later. The work Dr. Dalsted did to compile these budgets has benefited an incredible number of producers over the years. Keeping with the spirit of education, in the 1980s, Dr. Dalsted organized a series of training programs for lenders across the state. These programs provided basic training in financial statements, ratio analysis, enterprise budget and whole farm analysis, and business organizational form. The lenders then took their newly gained knowledge and held private seminars for local producers. The information that Dr. Dalsted presented as these workshops has reached and benefited many farm families across Colorado.

In the late 1980s, as a result of legislation change, Dr. Dalsted spent much time researching the new Chapter 12 Bankruptcy protection option for farming operations. He studied the form extensively and wrote several scholarly papers on the subject. He was able to use his knowledge to help local producers reorganize their struggling operations through a series of extension programs. He eventually became involved in many Chapter 12 cases across the state and beyond. In the last thirty years, it is estimated that Dr. Dalsted has helped in over 300 Chapter 12 cases as well as a number of Chapter 11 cases. Not only was this beneficial to the producers, but he was able to take this knowledge to the classroom and assist future generations of agriculturalists enrolled in financial management, farm business analysis, and agricultural law classes. He continues to be an expert in cases today.

To further his contributions to Colorado agriculture, Dr. Dalsted had a starting hand in the Integrated Ranch Management program at Colorado State University. After this program began in 1981, there was a noted need for coursework in economics. Dr. Dalsted was pulled into the program and helped to develop several classes that covered basic economic concepts and tools in the context of ranch management. This effort was soon converted into several software programs that could be used by producers to help make business management decisions. The programs that were developed are still popular with extension specialists and producers throughout the region.

Dr. Dalsted's research at Colorado State University has led to a very impressive list of published articles, journals, chapters in books, proceedings, software programs, and university publications. He is also well known among students and an excellent professor who has a real knack for teaching all individuals from freshman college students using his popular beer and pizza examples to producers. Just as he spent time in the trenches securing freedom for Americans, his specialty has been reaching beyond the confines of the university by developing practical solutions in agricultural business that have allowed thousands of producers to be great agriculturalists.

Dr. Dalsted has had a long and distinguished career at Colorado State University and within the Colorado Agriculture industry.

Submitted by Candy Leathers