Current Edition

current edition

Wyoming People

Boner ties ag passion to design

Written by Saige Albert

Glenrock – When she was 14, Laurie Boner moved  back to Wyoming and settled on land her Mom inherited from Laurie’s grandparents. Her grandparents raised both sheep and cattle, and her mom started raising and training quarter horses. Throughout high school and college, Laurie helped and worked at her grandparents whenever she could. Laurie’s passion for ag led her to a career as a ranch wife and as a web designer. 

“I’ve always had a passion for agriculture,” she said. “I think I was born to be on a horse and in ag.”

In college, Boner pursued that passion, graduating with a degree in food science. 

“My dad was an oil landman, and he tried to get me in that industry, but I knew I wanted to be in ag,” Boner comments. “As soon as I got out of college, I got a job with the Wyoming Department of Agriculture (WDA) and worked there for 15 years.”

Getting started

Boner began with WDA as a meat inspector, working her way up to a management position in the Consumer Health Services program. 

“Jim Schwartz was the deputy director of the Department of Ag then, and he really took me under his wing,” she says. “I shadowed him, and he taught me a lot about natural resources and water.”

Boner adds that, while she grew up around cattle and sheep,  natural resources was a new arena for her. 

“I learned a lot when I was there,” Boner says.

Next steps

After several years as an inspector, Boner accepted a job managing the Consumer Health Services program and moved to Cheyenne, where she also obtained vast legislative experience. 

“It was a very challenging job,” she says. “I was very green at that point, and at the time, we were working on a new food safety law. We were successful in passing it.”

She also notes that, while it was a grueling experience, she gained valuable insight into the legislative process. 

Boner met her future husband Brad at a Wyoming Stock Growers Association Convention in 2002, so she resigned from the Department of Agriculture and moved to Glenrock to Brad’s ranch. 

“It is ironic because my grandparent’s ranch borders Boner’s place,” she says. “Today, I help with the big jobs on the ranch and help with the bull sale in March.”

A complementary business

While she helps on the ranch, Boner’s day-to-day involves running a website design business, which keeps her busy. The business, LB Designs, was started about four years ago when Brad was looking to develop a website for the ranch’s yearly bull sale.

“We looked for a web designer, but it was hard to find someone nearby who had a ranch and  livestock background and could relate to the bull business,” Boner says. “It was even harder to find someone affordable.”

After several months of searching, the couple decided that she should just jump in and learn the business. 

“So, back to college I went,” she comments. “After a few courses in design, web design and animated graphics, I felt comfortable enough to design his website, and it has been a passion ever since.”

“My web design business isn’t a full-time job, but it could be,” she adds. “I love it because I get to work at home.”

Serving agriculture

Boner works on a number of websites for agriculture organizations, including the Wyoming Wool Growers Association (WWGA).

“Brad and I are members of WWGA,” says Boner. “I knew they were having hard times, so I decided to offer to take over their website. It has been beneficial for both the organization and myself.”

“I love it because they keep me busy,” she continues. “The WWGA want to keep their website active and current. It is great.”

She also designs sale catalogs and continues to develop her skills in any way she can.

Boner also organizes several livestock sales every year, including the Fort Fetterman Remount Horse Sale and helps with the M Diamond Angus Bull Sale. 

“This year I also took over the WWGA Ram Sale,” she says. “It was a challenge, but I have some experience with sales. It was very rewarding, and I’m going to do it again next year.”

“I always want to continue to learn,” she says. “I was a part of the Wyoming L.E.A.D program’s Class Seven, and that was extremely rewarding.”

Boner utilizes the skills she has gained from a wide array of projects and experiences to stay very involved in the agriculture industry.

Challenges

“Jim Schwartz taught me this a long time ago,” she comments. “I realized that we have to expand our horizons, challenge ourselves to learn new things and get involved.”

“The challenges change, but we have to embrace them positively with a great attitude,” Boner continues. 

She further notes, that getting started as a meat inspector, she was injected into a world that was traditionally identified as a “man’s world.”

“I think young women have to be careful and not allow themselves to be stereotyped,” she says. “We have to earn respect, just like anyone else. My experiences taught me a lot about how important it is to have good character and stick to my guns.”

A glimpse of the future

Boner plans to continue down the path that she and Brad have started on, continually developing her website business and improving their ranching operation.

“We are blessed with the ranch,” she comments. “The kids are going to be out of college soon, and Ryan will be coming back home. We are looking forward to integrating him into our operation.”

As the family ranch continues to prosper, Boner notes that she looks forward to the future and the challenges to come, saying, “I think so many more doors open if we embrace the challenges.”

Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..