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Technical Services Handles More Than You Might Think

Written by Hank Uhden

When people think of the Wyoming Department of Agriculture (WDA), there are a lot of things we do that may not come to mind. WDA houses a wide variety of services that focus on promoting and enhancing Wyoming’s agriculture, natural resources and contribution to Wyoming quality of life. The Technical Services division is one of the best examples of this, with seven major program areas overseeing 15 different laws.

From compliance assistance with mandated laws to hands-on training of citizens of the state, the expertise within the division focuses on meeting the goal of truthfully marketed commodities in the state.  In the following, you will see the depth and breadth of the work that Technical Services does for citizens of Wyoming by highlighting each major program.

The Administration program oversees aerial hunting permits, pesticide/aerial hunting aircraft registration, product registration – including feed, fertilizer, animal remedies, pesticides, soil conditioners and amendments, and establishment licensing of grain warehouseman, nursery stock dealers, nursery stock salesmen, pesticide dealers, seed cleaner/conditioning, seed dealers and weights and measures establishments. 

Administration in Technical Services also provides administrative support, apiary location registration, commercial and private pesticide application licensing and registering weights and measures service technicians.

The Grain Warehouse Program inspects and audits all state-licensed and bonded grain warehouses to ensure their financial soundness and good business practices, investigates all activities and transactions of warehouses to ensure compliance with state and federal laws and regulations, works with the Wyoming Wheat Commission and the Wyoming Bean Commission to conduct audits and interprets state and federal laws and regulations to determine if facilities meet the requirements of state licensing and bonding.

The Pesticide Program provides compliance assistance and enforcement of the Wyoming Environmental Pesticide Control Act of 1973, compliance assistance with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules and regulations, as well as the Wyoming Pollution Discharge Elimination System permitting through the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality. Along with this, the Pesticide program assists with the Ground Water State Management Plan and conducts pesticide applicator training, certification and licensing. They also manage pesticide dealer licensing, the pesticide disposal program, act as administrator for the Pesticide Board of Certification and maintain databases like the Pesticides of Interest Tracking System, Certification Plan and Reporting Database and National pesticide Information Retrieval System.

The Plant Industry Program oversees animal remedies, apiary or honeybees, commodity grading, establishment licensing, product registration, the State Seed Laboratory, fertilizer, nursery stock, leaf cutter bees and oversee Phytosanitary Certificates.  They also inspect feed under the Animal Drug Program and help ensure Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) Compliance and participate in the Animal Feed Network.

The Rodent and Predator Program administers the Animal Damage Management Board and the Wildlife/Livestock Disease Research Partnership, coordinates activities with the Predatory Animal Advisory Board and 23 County Predatory Animal Districts, trains pesticide applicators for the M-44, livestock protection collar, and small animal management supplies and techniques. They also work with federal, state, county, and local agencies and related wildlife and livestock associations in areas of wildlife and predatory animal issues. Finally, they oversee aerial hunting permits, aerial hunting aircraft registration, wolf management and rabies.

The Weed and Pest Program manages and coordinates weed and pest activities for the State of Wyoming among Weed and Pest Control Districts, Wyoming Weed and Pest Council, federal agencies – at the district, state and national levels, municipalities, trade associations, other states and other organizations, as well as the private sector.

They coordinate and manage grant programs for the federal and state agencies which benefit the Weed and Pest District programs, assist districts in the management of state designated or declared noxious weeds and pests on private, state, federal and municipally owned lands. Finally, they coordinate the Emergency Insect Management Program, Weed-Free Forage Program, state and private forestry grants and pesticide registration fee grants.

The Weights and Measures Program has the responsibility for insuring fairness in all commercial transactions involving weighing and measuring devices. WDA also maintains a Metrology Laboratory, which certifies weighing and measuring testing equipment to validate the accuracy of these standards. The lab certification services are available for government, commercial and private entities. The primary duties include testing, inspection and certification of scales, meters, package checking and price verification. 

They also provide establishment licensing, training and education for the private sector, certification and licensing of Registered Service Technicians, and receive and investigate consumer complaints regarding short measure of short weight.

The Fuel Quality Program samples and tests fuel around the state to make sure it is free of contamination and lives up to the standards claimed.

Along with this, Technical Services administers the Wyoming Bean Commission and works with numerous Boards and Commissions in Wyoming and nationally. It’s also important to recognize that they oversee programs from the University of Wyoming, EPA, USDA, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and U.S. Homeland Security.

While this is not a detailed list of each component of the programs in Technical Services, it illustrates the work that Technical Services does with 20 employees and highlights how important it is to the agriculture industry and the citizens of Wyoming. 

Along with this, Technical Services closely follows high priority topics that impact their programs. One example in the coming year is changes to the federal rules and regulations regarding pesticides from the EPA. This could have significant impacts for applicators in Wyoming and how they do their important work.

At first glance, many of these services and programs serve to provide consumer confidence in their transaction of daily business, but buried within these programs is the interaction with many commodity groups ranging from the livestock industries through the crop industries. For example, the scale inspection program provides a producer the opportunity to sell their livestock directly from the ranch to the buyer under the USDA Packers and Stockyards regulations.  Another example is the commodity inspection and certification programs. These provide a value-added element to the commodities produced in the state, allowing growers to ship their Wyoming products to foreign country markets. 

Learn more about WDA Technical Services at wyagric.state.wy.us/divisions/ts.