UW bulletin highlights agriculture research across Wyoming

 The eighth annual Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Station (WAES) Field Days Bulletin features 95 reports highlighting an array of research projects across the state, including studies involving cattle, sheep, crops, weeds, wildlife, rangelands, forests and wildfire.

The Field Days Bulletin documents and makes publicly available the content of ongoing and completed research projects and activities conducted or funded by WAES, said Bret Hess, WAES director and interim dean in the University of Wyoming College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

“This bulletin is a reflection of our commitment to document agricultural and other research at our four Research and Extension (R&E) centers in Laramie, Lingle, Powell and Sheridan, at UW and across the state,” Hess said.

Reports summarize dry bean, malting barley, sugarbeet and winter wheat variety trials, and also highlight studies relating to traditional and alternative crops, including alfalfa, grass hay, corn, table and wine grapes, chickpea, forage sorghum, camelina, as well as pulse and cover crops.

Other crop-related studies include irrigation practices, disease and insect control, fertilization, weed management and the use of compost in dryland winter wheat fields.

UW scientists, working in collaboration with others, also summarize a variety of research projects designed to help ranchers produce healthier and more efficient beef cattle and sheep.

“We are highly committed to conducting research and extension activities that help solve issues for farmers, ranchers, agricultural organizations, the owners of small acreages, the managers of both public and private lands, and others,” said WAES associate director John Tanaka, who also directs the James C. Hageman Sustainable Agriculture R&E Center (SAREC) in southeast Wyoming near Lingle.

“SAREC was formed to be a place where applied research will be conducted to help agricultural production in the region become more sustainable, and we’re working hard to achieve that mission,” Tanaka said.

Continue reading UW bulletin highlights agriculture research across Wyoming

Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS) turns 20

Chris Carparelli makes sure the rain gauge is level at the Beaverhead Conservation District office in Dillon, Montana. UW Photo: David Keto

A deadly rainstorm on the west side of Fort Collins, Colorado, led to an international network of citizen weather observers you can join.

CoCoRaHS officially began on June 17, 1998, with a few observers along Colorado’s Front Range. Today, more than 20,000 observers are active in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Canada and the Bahamas.

Volunteers include gardeners, rural landowners, teachers, students, youth in 4-H and after-school programs, and other volunteers. It takes about five minutes a day to measure and report precipitation using low-cost measurement tools and the interactive CoCoRaHS website or phone application.

The CoCoRaHS network provides valuable data for natural resource management, education and research. Meteorologists, flood plain managers, insurance adjusters, farmers, ranchers and recreationists use CoCoRaHS data to make decisions such as when to plan a trip or when to issue severe storm warnings.

To learn more, including how to volunteer, see the new fact sheet from University of Wyoming Extension at bit.ly/weathervolunteer and visit the CoCoRaHS website at www.cocorahs.org.

What has agriculture done for Wyoming lately?

Cows and calves on green rangeland with mountains in background
Of gross revenue from agriculture in 2014, 66 percent came from marketing livestock. Photo: Chavawn Kelley

Wyoming’s farms and ranches account for approximately 30.4 million acres of land and $22 billion in investments in land, buildings, machinery and equipment.

Families, individuals, partnerships and family-held corporations account for 96 percent of the approximately 11,700 farms and ranches in the state.

Wyoming agricultural production generated gross income of $2.1 billion in 2014.

Grocery stores, feed stores, veterinarians, bulk fuel dealers, health care providers and restaurants benefit from the $2.1 billion in secondary impacts resulting from local spending by Wyoming agriculture.

These are some of the insights presented in “The Economic Importance of Wyoming Agricultural Production,” a new four-page report from University of Wyoming Extension and the UW Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics.

The report is available free at bit.ly/UWEpubs.

Economists David “Tex” Taylor, Thomas Foulke and Roger Coupal, authors of the report, estimate the total economic impact of the agricultural industry is double the gross income from agricultural production, for a total contribution of $4.2 billion to the Wyoming economy.

“Agriculture plays an important role by bringing in outside revenue through export sales, and it provides economic diversity,” said Taylor.

Wyoming’s 2.4 million acres of cropland, 1.3 million cattle and calves, 355,000 sheep and lambs, 85,000 hogs and pigs, 72,000 horses, 27,000 chickens, 9,000 goats and 3 million pounds of honey also produce jobs.

Taylor, Foulke and Coupal report the $4.2 billion of economic activity associated with agriculture supported an estimated 33,000 jobs directly and in support industries, with total labor income of nearly a billion dollars.

From a government standpoint, Coupal found agriculture generates an estimated $77.5 million in tax revenue for Wyoming state and local governments yet costs only $0.54 in local government services for every $1.00 of revenue generated.

Open space from private agricultural lands provides landscapes, lifestyles, wildlife habitat, and other ecosystem services that have economic value to both residents and visitors.

A survey sponsored by the Wyoming Stock Growers Association, the Wyoming Stock Growers Land Trust, The Nature Conservancy and the Ruckelshaus Institute at the University of Wyoming found that nearly 80 percent of Wyoming residents feel they benefit from the presence of farms and ranches in Wyoming.

For more information, contact Taylor at 307-766-5682 or ttaylor@uwyo.edu.

“The Economic Importance of Wyoming Agricultural Production” is among the many free guides, courses and videos from UW Extension that help extend skills in ranching, irrigation, small acreage management, succession, legacy and estate planning and more. YouTube video series from UW Extension include “Barnyards and Backyards,” “From the Ground Up” and “Exploring the Nature of Wyoming.”

Wyoming may not have income tax, but there’s still lots to know

The Tax Facts logo
Wyoming Tax Facts gives the facts at a glance with just a click.

Ever wonder how sales and property taxes are determined and why they differ from county to county? A new course by the University of Wyoming Extension community development team walks curious citizens through the basics.

“Wyoming Tax Facts” covers who gets taxed, how we get taxed, and where the money goes. It’s free at http://bit.ly/Wyotaxfacts.

“This course is for all ages and could be a great middle school or high school classroom activity,” says Michelle Pierce, community development educator in Campbell County.

The self-paced course provides short, easy-to-read introductions plus interactive questions, activities and videos.

For more information, contact Pierce at 307-682-7281 or mrp10@ccgov.net.

“Wyoming Tax Facts” is among the many free courses, videos and guides from UW Extension that help extend skills in estate planning, lawn and garden design and maintenance, small acreage management, critter care, and more. See bit.ly/UWEpubs. YouTube video series from UW Extension include “Barnyards and Backyards,” “From the Ground Up” and “Exploring the Nature of Wyoming.”

UW plans cheatgrass management research field day

Photo of man standing
Extension invasive plant specialist Dan Tekiela during a recent plant identification walk in the Sierra Madres.

            Using bioherbicides and the herbicide Esplanade for cheatgrass control are among topics at the Cheatgrass Management and Research Field Day Wednesday, July 11, through the University of Wyoming College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

The program is 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Tom Thorne/Beth Williams Habitat Management Area, said Dan Tekiela, UW Extension invasive plant ecology specialist.

“We will be looking at some of the newest technologies in cheatgrass management,” said Tekiela, an assistant professor in the Department of Plant Sciences. “These tools may be something ranchers could be interested in utilizing in their own practices.”

Tekiela has been working with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department to find alternative ways to manage an area heavily infested with cheatgrass.

Previous attempts have failed, said Tekiela.

“We have multiple trials looking at multiple herbicide options,” he said.

Other topics include using drones in vegetation monitoring with a demonstration and cheatgrass effects on soil moisture. Lunch is provided.

The management area access is off Highway 34 in Sybille Canyon about 24 miles from U.S. 30 or 26 miles from Interstate 25.

Registration at http://bit.ly/2018cheatgrass is requested by July 1. Contact Tekiela at drtekiela@gmail.com for more information.