Berry to serve as WDA deputy directorWritten by Natasha Wheeler
Cheyenne – Agriculture isn’t just a way of life for Stacia Berry – it’s her passion, and the industry represents the future for the Cheyenne native who was recently named deputy director of the Wyoming Department of Agriculture (WDA).
“I am humbled and excited to have the opportunity to serve citizens in the state as deputy director of the Wyoming Department of Agriculture,” says Berry. “While I have spent the majority of my career as an attorney, my ties have always been to Wyoming and the agriculture industry.”
“We are incredibly happy and excited to have Stacia join us at the Wyoming Department of Agriculture,” says Doug Miyamoto, director of WDA. “With her strong ag background and legal experience, she will bring a unique skill set and fresh perspective to our department that will help us navigate through the challenges the ag industry faces in Wyoming.”
Born and raised
Berry was born into an ag lifestyle, starting her life on a registered Hereford operation 20 miles northeast of Cheyenne. She is the fourth generation on the ranch.
“My family homesteaded over 100 years ago,” she says. “I came from a family of six, and I’m the oldest of four kids. All of us grew up on the ranch raising Hereford cattle with my parents Jay and Janice.”
Each year, the Berry family holds their production sale and is committed to raising high-quality Hereford bulls.
“Agriculture is something that really became most important to me when I joined FFA,” Berry remembers. “I realized I could advocate for an industry I truly loved at that point.”
She continues, “When I was young, agriculture was a way of life, but as I started getting involved and learning more about agriculture on a larger scale, I learned it was not just a lifestyle but also an industry I could work for and protect.”
With a jumpstart into the ag industry through FFA, Berry quickly progressed through the organization, serving first as a Wyoming State FFA officer during her freshman year of college and as National FFA Secretary the following year.
“In the fall of 2003, I was elected as National FFA Secretary,” she says. “That changed everything. National office gave me a global perspective of agriculture.”
“I went from loving Wyoming agriculture to being exposed on the national and global stage, seeing how it really is an industry that is everywhere on the planet,” Berry explains.
During her year of service with the National FFA Association, Berry visited nearly all 50 states, as well as Japan, Mexico and Puerto Rico. She presented leadership workshops, interacted with students and industry professionals and saw a wide variety of agriculture operations.
Berry also credits involvement in FFA for much of her success, noting that it prepared her for the future.
“The neat part about FFA is that it prepares young people with the skills to go out and not only work in the industry but advocate for the industry,” she explains.
“FFA helped me channel my passion for ag,” Berry continues. “It also gave me the skills to utilize that passion.”
She credits FFA for training her in the tangible skills, ranging from public speaking to record keeping, necessary to be successful in business and life.
“When I was done serving as a National FFA Officer, I came back to the University of Wyoming (UW) and majored in animal and veterinary science,” Berry says.
Berry completed her bachelor’s degree and moved to Colorado State University (CSU), where she received a master’s degree in Agricultural Science with a specialization in integrated resource management.
“It was a really neat program,” she explains. “The integrated resource management program is an agricultural management master’s degree program.”
She notes that the experience provided her the opportunity to see a wide variety of operations and compare them to what she knew from growing up on a Wyoming ranch.
“From CSU, I went to law school at UW for the next three years,” Berry says.
On graduating from UW for the second time, this time with a law degree, Berry went to work for Hageman and Brighton Law Offices, now Hageman Law P.C., as an attorney.
“One thing about working in law is it can be narrow,” she says. “I was working on water and natural resources.”
“I am really excited to work for the agriculture industry in Wyoming as a whole,” she comments. “This is an opportunity to work for the industry that I am really passionate about.”
Just last week, the Wyoming Department of Agriculture announced that Berry will join their ranks on July 6.
Berry continues, “I am most excited about working with the people of Wyoming’s ag industry. Regardless of the species or sector, the people are what make this industry run.”
As Berry prepares for the new position, WDA is also excited about the potential she brings to the agency.
“Stacia’s outgoing personality, work ethic, legal background and deep knowledge of ag and natural resources will help WDA do the best work in the ever growing policy review side of WDA,” says Miyamoto. “She is passionate about agriculture, has worked hard for the state’s agriculture industry and knows Wyoming and the challenges we face. I am sure she will be an exemplary deputy director at the WDA.”
“I’m excited to get to work,” Berry comments. “I’m here to listen and go to work for Wyoming agriculture.”