Opportunities for Sublette County 4-H’ers to raise livestock and participate in agricultural education programs are expected to increase due to an energy company’s land donation.
QEP Energy Company, a subsidiary of Denver-based QEP Resources Inc., is donating approximately 35 acres to Sublette County 4-H in an agreement with the Sublette County 4-H Council, said Robin Schamber, Sublette County 4-H educator.
The donation will create the Sublette County 4-H Agricultural Center and the Rose Skinner Preserve 2 miles south of Pinedale on U.S. Highway 191. The preserve is named in honor of the longtime resident and former mayor of Pinedale.
Sublette County 4-H youth, including those who live on properties with restrictions that don’t allow livestock, will be able to participate in livestock and agricultural education programs at the preserve, said Schamber. QEP’s donation will also include construction of a barn, fencing and other livestock facilities.
QEP’s involvement in the natural gas industry in the Pinedale area dates back to the drilling of its first well in the area almost 50 years ago, said Charles Stanley, president and CEO of QEP Resources Inc.
“Through creation of the Rose Skinner Preserve, we wish to recognize the tremendous contributions Rose has made to the town of Pinedale and to Sublette County during her many years of public service,” he said. “We are pleased Sublette County 4-H will be able to use this land to preserve and promote Pinedale’s long and rich ranching heritage for future generations.”
Schamber said educational opportunities at the new 4-H center will include range and forage studies, horticultural programs, and livestock management, grazing and health programs.
“We are excited to also offer use of the center to Pinedale FFA members and to maintain our collaborative working relationship between the two youth ag programs,” she said.
Skinner served on the Pinedale Town Council and as mayor from 1990-2006, said Eric Peterson, former University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service educator in Sublette County.
“Rose Skinner is really thought of as a modern-day matriarch of Pinedale,” said Peterson, also a long-time Pinedale resident.
She served during a time of great change in the community, he said.
“Mayor Skinner earned tremendous respect for her insight and wisdom in working with the town and industry to accommodate the tremendous changes accompanying the development of the Pinedale Anticline gasfield,” said Peterson.
The donated land is part of a parcel purchased a few years ago by QEP, according to QEP. The company is constructing an office on a portion of the land adjacent to the 4-H agricultural center. The office will accommodate approximately 90 employees.
Schamber said agricultural education could begin this winter and livestock projects next summer.
“QEP’s donation is a wonderful gesture toward investing in the future of our youth while helping the county maintain its roots in agriculture,” she said.
QEP Resources Inc. is an independent natural gas and oil exploration and production company with operations in the Rocky Mountain and midcontinent regions of the United States.