Second annual ag expo held in DouglasWritten by Jennifer Womack
By Jennifer Womack, WLR Managing Editor
Douglas – Wyoming’s second annual Ag Expo was held at the Wyoming State Fairgrounds this past week. While organizers hope to see improved attendance at next year’s event, they were quick to thank the numerous sponsors, vendors and exhibitors who stepped forward in support of the event.
“I’m so impressed with the vendors who were here,” said Scott Keith of the Wyoming Business Council’s Agribusiness Division as the event wrapped up. Keith along with a team comprised of Steve Paisley, Wayne Tatman, Milt Green, J.J. Werner, Mike Fabrizius and Ervin Gara, organized the event. “I appreciate the support we had. I was very pleased with the cattle exhibits we had,” said Keith. “Although numbers were down from last year, the quality was up.”
According to those working the registration desk at the event, 300 people attended the two-day event. Most attendees were ranchers with about two-thirds of the attendees registered from the Douglas and Casper communities.
Others were in town for the Ag-based Innovative Marketing Expo (AIMe) and the Farmer’s Market Conference, held in unison with the Ag Expo’s trade show and cattle exhibits. Keith says combining the four events, with the Roping the Wind Conference hosted in a tent as part of the Ag Expo, proved positive.
“I think it’s fair to say we’re disappointed in this year’s turnout,” said Keith. Looking to next year he says he hopes to receive feedback on how the conference might be improved. Noting the Black Hills Stock Show in South Dakota and the NILE in Billings, he said Wyoming should be able to hold a similar event. “I hope this grows and Wyoming producers will support Wyoming vendors a little more,” said Keith. “I know it takes a while for people to get to know about an event.”
A hay show and forage analysis competition were also included in this year’s event. With entries due Monday, they were overnight shipped to Ward Labs for analysis. With results back on Tuesday the winners were announced. Ron Hinman of Wheatland entered the top alfalfa. Lon Eisenbarth of Goshen County entered the top mixed hay and Bob Pingetzer of Shoshoni entered the top testing grass hay. Attendees were also asked to take a guess at determining the relative feed value of one entry in each of the three categories. In the alfalfa division Ron Richner of Casper was the winner. Bryan Werner of Riverton topped the mixed hay division and Brad Boner of Glenrock was the closest in the grass hay division.
The new facilities at the Wyoming State Fairgrounds, according to Keith, provide a perfect location to host the event. The Expo was held in the southernmost of the two new barns and offered room for cattle, equipment displays and more.
“I’d like to thank our sponsors,” said Keith noting the Northern Ag Network, the Converse County Tourism and Promotion Board, Rocky Mountain Power, Best Western of Douglas, the University of Wyoming Animal Science Department, the Wyoming Business Council Agribusiness Division and the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Keith also thanked several individuals who aided in the event’s organization.
“As we look to next year as a committee,” said Keith, “we’ll be looking at the evaluation and getting together with the leaders of other groups to set the date for next year.”