Wyoming Stock Growers recognize 2012 award recipients at summer convention in JacksonWritten by Christy Martinez
Among the awardees were Fremont County rancher Jim Hellyer, who received the Wyoming Beef Council Award; Niobrara County Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Soil Conservation Technician JoAnn Wade, who received the Outstanding Range Professional Award; UW College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Dean Frank Galey, who was recognized as a Guardian of the Grasslands; and Sublette County ranchers Albert and Jonita Sommers, who are the 2012 Environmental Stewardship Award recipients.
“JoAnn is always willing to help the district do anything, and she believes in partnerships and helping producers on the land,” said Niobrara County rancher Dustin Cushman of Wade’s reputation. “JoAnn has the landowner’s respect and trust, and is highly regarded as the go-to gal for USDA in the county.”
Cushman said Wade has assisted the local conservation district as technical support in stream surveys, windbreaks, drip irrigation design and grazing plans, as well as plant identification.
“She’s highly knowledgeable on topics such as carbon sequestration, contracts for in situ mining, grazing plans and noxious weed control. JoAnn also assists with education efforts with the school, offering the Hat Creek Stage Station as a learning center, plus helping distribute trees, work at the tree show and any other effort the district might undertake, such as the Black Hills Natural Resource Youth Camp,” Cushman expounded. “We are thankful for her technical expertise and working knowledge of conservation districts.”
Of Galey, WSGA summer intern Brittany Schaneman said that, as a student at UW, he “encouraged me, as well as other students, to work hard to and strive to enhance agriculture in Wyoming.”
Schaneman also worked with Galey in the dean’s office for two summers.
“I saw on a daily basis how important ag and natural resources are to him, and how encouraging he is to everyone else to enhance the image,” she said. “He’s very intelligent, and he really cares about ag in Wyoming, and I don’t think a better person deserves this award.”
Sublette County rancher Joel Bousman also recognized Galey, saying, “Frank Galey has been dean of the UW Ag College since 2001, and under Frank’s leadership the college has grown in all areas, including education, teaching and research. Graduates are proud to say they’ve received their degree from UW during Frank Galey’s tenure.”
Bousman said that Galey also has an outstanding reputation on campus, including leadership in the Wyoming State Vet Lab and the BSL-3 lab, which is designed to perform in-state disease research, including vaccine research for brucellosis.
“Wyoming ranchers are the ultimate environmentalists, dedicating their lives, resources and money to the preservation of our open spaces, the enhancement and protection of our wildlife habitats, and to conserve our resources, because the land is our lives and no farm or ranch could be successful without solid stewardship practices,” said Diane Berger of the Wyoming Environmental Stewardship Award Committee when recognizing siblings Albert and Jonita Sommers for their conservation accomplishments.
The Sand County Foundation, the Wyoming Department of Agriculture, Encana USA and Peabody Energy sponsor the annual Environmental Stewardship Award.