Agricultural promotion discussed at WSGAWritten by Natasha Wheeler
Casper – The Wyoming Stock Growers Association (WSGA) committee for agricultural promotion, education and enhancement met at this year’s Winter Roundup in Casper, held Nov. 30-Dec. 1, to share updates concerning scholarship and award opportunities, the University of Wyoming (UW) and the formation of the WSGA young producers assembly.
Scholarships and awards
Haley Lockwood, WSGA communication, publication and program director, noted the 2015 Environmental Stewardship Program winner will be announced in the Wyoming Livestock Roundup in January, and additional information will be distributed in the spring for the next round of applicants.
“Also, in April, I will be submitting the King Ranch 2016 nomination for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) environmental stewardship award,” she noted. “I always hope that our producers will be selected for the regional award through NCBA. They have great operations that are chosen every year, and I always hope that Wyoming will be represented.”
Lockwood also mentioned that information for the next Hansen Memorial Scholarship will be released in February 2016, and the winning recipient will be invited to the WSGA summer convention in Laramie June 1-4.
“Last year, we had a lot of student applications to go through, and it was extremely tough to decide. We had to create a committee to decide who would receive the scholarship,” she said.
This year, the application deadline for the WSGA rangeland internship program is set for Jan. 16.
“We are trying to target people who would get agency-level jobs out of school who also have no ranching experience,” she explained.
Interns will work with mentors to gain hands-on experience, connecting concepts from the classroom with real-world applications to bridge the gap between agencies and the realities that ranchers face.
“There are mentor opportunities for producers who are interested and use rangeland initiatives. Producers and students can contact me for information, or visit the WSGA website,” she added.
UW cattle update
Updates from the Wyoming Collegiate Cattle Association (WCCA) were also shared at the meeting, as WSGA scholarship recipients and WCCA club members BJ Bender and Micayla Crimmins described WCCA promotional events at UW.
“Our first event was the UW family farm day. We had a lot of families and students come to see what our ag facilities are like,” noted Crimmins.
The club also held their first annual beef box raffle, ordered promotional items such as t-shirts and roping gloves and promoted themselves on campus with booths set up at various student events.
“A few of us went to the Range Beef Cow Symposium in Loveland, Colo., and that was really good opportunity. We got to network, listen to industry professionals and go through the tradeshow to see new technologies and products,” added Bender.
In the spring, WCCA will also be hosting Curt Pate, a producer from Montana who emphasizes low-stress cattle handling techniques. Both UW students and the general public will be invited to attend the event.
College of Ag
Bret Hess, director of the UW Agricultural Experiment Station, and Pepper Jo Six, UW Foundation major gift officer paired with the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, spoke at the meeting as well.
Hess noted that both UW Extension Director Glen Whipple and Dean Frank Galey have been reappointed for new terms in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and the search is underway for the new university president.
Although a hiring freeze is in effect at UW, Hess also noted that efforts are being made to ensure that critical faculty are retained and hired, working on a case-by-case basis with an emphasis on serving both the university and the state.
He also mentioned that College of Ag building renovations are being reviewed, Extension listening sessions will continue in the state, and 2016 will celebrate 125 years of Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Stations.
Six encouraged producers to share their passion for agriculture, highlighting activities in the college of agriculture and natural resources, including continued work at the ACRES student farm, plans for an improved equine program and improved equine facilities on campus, efforts toward building a young producer program and the benefits of the sales of the Riverbend and Y Cross ranches.
“The sale of Y Cross Ranch has been really beneficial. We now will have $400,000 annually to use for scholarships and student support in the College of Agriculture. That is a lot of scholarship aid for our students to take advantage of,” Six explained.
There has also been an endowment established recently for the support of sheep-specific research at UW.
“This is a good era for the College of Agriculture, especially with the sheep industry, as producers have stepped forward and want to make a difference and be more viable,” she said.
The committee meeting also welcomed Kendall Roberts, who discussed plans to create a Young Producers Assembly within WSGA.
“Hopefully, this will be a tool to build and recruit for more young producers to become members of WSGA and for having a say in policy, leadership, education and activities that take place within WSGA,” she explained.
The meeting adjourned with support for the Young Producers Assembly. No other resolutions were considered.