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A Country of Many Colors

Written by Dennis Sun
This week we are focusing our Fall Cattlemen’s Special Edition on Uinta County, a county where we have a good number of subscribers and some advertisers. We have to admit, it was a county where we didn’t know much about the agriculture industry and its role in the larger economy. While visiting the area we ran across numerous opportunities for great articles. In fact, we ended up with more than would fit inside the Fall Cattlemen’s edition itself. The overflow appears in the weekly publication with an icon noting their link to the special edition.
    Every fall we attend Micheli’s bull sale and catch a glimpse of the Bridger Valley. We’ve long realized the importance of agriculture to the county, but despite knowing some of the ranchers north and south of Evanston and over on the head of the Henry’s Fork, we were caught unaware of the diversity of Uinta County agriculture. That was especially true when we came to realize the number of sheep in the county. Despite its standing as one of the state’s smaller counties, Uinta County is one the state’s leading sheep producers. It parallels Lincoln County in sheep numbers and is second only to Converse County.
    Ag Statistics ranks it at number 14 in terms of cattle production. Hay is the county’s largest crop. One has to realize that the lowest elevation point in the county is 5500 ft., with most of the county a lot higher in elevation than that.
    We were equally surprised at the large private timber industry in the southern part of the county along the majestic Uinta Mountains. The mountains supply the water that nurtures the country and provides the dryer areas to the east and north water supplies.
    Frosts come early and often and the winter cold stays late, but as we found out, the warmth of the people is always there. As with people in agriculture across the state, Uinta County ranchers were gracious hosts to Jennifer and Christy as they crossed the county writing about the ranches and the families that live and work on them. Just like other communities, there are numerous family members who work away from the ranch to help support their life at home. Their passion, however, remains deeply rooted at the homestead. The good part is that with the oil, natural gas, coal and the railroad, there are plenty of jobs in the area.
    Uinta County has provided some of the strongest Conservation Districts and Farm Bureau organizations, along with strong leaders. The diversity of the county is reflected in its history, custom and culture, religions, dialects and people, but they live as one as citizens of Uinta County.
    We sometimes feel cheated because we don’t have the room to print all of the stories in full. This time is no different. They came back to the office with some great stories and experiences, as well as new friendships to treasure. As with the rest of the state, history was harsh, money was honestly earned and saved to buy more land and livestock, frivolous needs were done without to save for times in need and neighbors stayed strong to assist one another.
    It is not the ranches and farms and other businesses that make the stories in agriculture. We all know it is the people who provide the stories we write. Some are funny and some are heartbreaking, but they’re always informative and true to Wyoming. 
Dennis 

2011 Fall Favorites