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Need Dollars Too

Written by Dennis Sun

For those of us in agriculture in Wyoming and the surrounding states, we have a state treasure down at the University of Wyoming in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.  And it truly is a treasure, especially the education it provides for its students, our youth from Wyoming and other states.

I have to admit, I’m one of the few lucky ones who gets to know the whole story down at the Ag College, I’m on the Dean’s Advisory Board. We meet twice a year to learn about what’s happening and to give our input to Dean Frank Galey. Many times I’ve said to myself, “I hope all in agriculture know this,” or “Everyone needs to know this.”

The Ag College does have some good publications they send out telling their success stories, and we hear from those in Extension at different information workshops and venues like at the Wyoming Stock Growers Association Winter Roundup, the Fremont County Farm and Ranch Days or the WESTI Ag Days in Worland.  But we all need to tell the story more.

With our Legislature in session, we need to tell the legislators before each session that we support our university, in particular, the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and the good it does for agriculture and the state of Wyoming.

Until I was on the Advisory Board, I didn’t know of all the departments within the Ag College. Included in the college are schools for Agricultural and Applied Economics, Agricultural Communications, Family and Consumer Sciences, Microbiology, Veterinary Science, Plant Sciences, Molecular Biology and – the two schools we all know most about – Animal Science and Ecosystem Science and Management.

The Animal Science program is a big one for those of us in Ag. We all know how important genetics is for understanding the cattle, sheep and horses on our ranches and farms. 

The Ecosystem Science and Management program encompasses those things that many of us think about every day – range and water, but it’s more than that. I wonder if you or our Legislatures know that the University of Wyoming houses the largest range school in the nation.  A big factor of this is the Wyoming Reclamation Restoration Center, a much-needed school in any state with energy issues or soil, water, air, invasive species, wildlife, wild horses, brucellosis research, endangered species and livestock issues.  All of these issues are important to Wyoming and the West.

Our Legislature, in recent times, has been very kind to the University of Wyoming in the providing dollars for improvements for various sports facilities, the building for the Engineering School and many other much needed buildings, but I hope they don’t forget about the Ag College, and the UW Extension service and all the research facilities they need.  

It is up to us to tell them about our Ag College and its importance. The Ag College awarded 180 scholarships in 2013-14 school year totaling $365,000. They received $415.3 million in research grants in 2013, and the faculty to student ratio is one to 10. All of these numbers are impressive.  The total enrollment is around 1,040 students. Of that number, around 62 percent of these students are from Wyoming, and international students make up six percent of our College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. If they don’t stay in the state after graduation, they support the College the rest of their lives.  

So you see, we do have a treasure, and we hope no one forgets it or neglects it in their support.