Wyoming Month of the Military Child events recognize family sacrifices

2015 month of military child1April events in Wyoming will honor sacrifices of military parents and their children during the Month of the Military Child.

Military and elected officials and free pizza, soft drinks and cake will be at the month’s kick-off celebration at the Cheyenne Historic Train Depot 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, April 1, said Brittany Johnson, University of Wyoming Extension 4-H Military educator. Other events include Purple Up Day April 15; wearing purple shows support for military children.

Other events are planned across the state in April, she said. The Department of Defense and the Extension Service have had a partnership for more than 25 years to support military personnel and their communities in which they live.

“Military children look the same to teachers, friends and the community after a parent deploys, but their lives have changed dramatically,” said Johnathan Despain, UW Extension State 4-H military liaison. “We want to help them connect with other youths in similar situations and to use the Department of Defense/Cooperative Extension and 4-H Military Partnership initiatives as a way to link with other youths in the community.”

Information about the military partnerships is at http://bit.ly/militarychildmonth. The site will also include events in Wyoming counties.

For more information, contact Despain at 307-766-5170 or at jdespain@uwyo.edu, or Johnson at 307-633-4383 or bjohns92@uwyo.edu.

Casper, Lander workshops offer farmers market, local food grant writing training

4-translanting-tomatoes-with-the-youthHands-on training for writing grants to promote farmers markets, local food programs and raising specialty crops is offered during April workshops in Casper and Lander.

“Writing grant proposals can be challenging,” said Jennifer Thompson with University of Wyoming Extension and one of the presenters. “Much of the information provided in the conference session in Casper or the workshop in Lander is applicable to anyone interested in writing their first proposal or those who have written one but have not been successful.”

The Casper workshop is 1:30-4:30 p.m. Saturday, April 11, as part of the Wyoming Farmers Market Association conference at the Ramkota Hotel. There is a fee associated with the conference. The conference agenda and registration is at www.wyomingfarmersmarkets.org. The link is under “Exciting News.”

The Lander workshop is 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, April 18, at the Fremont County Library, 451 N. 2nd St. There is no fee to attend. Registration is requested by Friday, April 10, at http://bit.ly/landergrant. Lunch is on your own.

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Fremont County program aims to boost newer producer financial skills

Tin Russell
Extension educator Tina Russell

Developing financial sense for managing dollars and cents is the aim of a program for second-generation and beginning farmers and ranchers April-May in Fremont County.

“Building Farmers and Ranchers in the West” is Wednesday evenings beginning April 1. Sessions are 5:30-8 p.m. at the Hudson Fire Hall, said Tina Russell, University of Wyoming Extension educator.

“This class is all about helping you get things done on your operation, whether you are just in the beginning stages of development or if you have had a few years under your belt,” said Russell.

Russell said many beginning or second generation farmers and ranchers find there are numerous financial hurdles in starting an agricultural operation and much to learn. The goal is to make the business planning and financial assessment process more straightforward and streamlined for new or newer producers.

Russell said participants will learn strategic business planning; enterprise budgeting and record keeping; where and how to seek funding sources; human relationships as they relate to agricultural business operations; and have an opportunity to develop their own business plans with individual help from instructors and more experienced agricultural operators.

For more information or to sign-up, contact extension educators Ron Cunningham at 307-332-2363, Mae Smith, 307-765-2868, or Russell at 307-332-2135. Visit buildingfarmers.colostate.edu for more program specifics.

Pollinators in spotlight at Natrona County Master Gardener conference

2015SpConferenceWeb_201502271303258256Who has the busiest job in Wyoming?

Gov. Matt Mead? Nope.

Craig Bohl, Cowboy football head coach? Not if you like to eat.

Bees and other pollinators, and their influence on plant productivity of yards, gardens and fields across Wyoming, are session topics at the Natrona Master Gardener spring conference in Casper.

“The Pollinators: Bees, Butterflies, Birds, Bugs, and More” is 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, April 11, at the Agricultural Resource and Learning Center, 2011 Fairgrounds Rd. Lunch and refreshments are provided.

“The conference is open to all gardeners or those interested in learning more about the pollinators in Wyoming,” said Donna Hoffman, horticulturist in the Natrona County office of University of Wyoming Extension.

Pollinators of Wyoming and how they help a garden is discussed in the morning with nine presentations during three afternoon sessions.

Sessions 1, 1:1:50 p.m. – Welcome bats to your Wyoming garden; Living sustainably from your garden; Native plants for Wyoming gardens

Sessions 2, 2-2:50 p.m. – Welcome bats to your Wyoming garden; Bee nest/house construction and bee ID; If they plant it or build it will they come?

Sessions 3, 2:50-3:10 p.m. – If they plant it or build it will they come?; Beekeeping; Native plants for Wyoming gardens

Registration is $30 by March 31 and $45 after. Ticket information and registration information is at natrona.net/springbuzz.

Fresh produce safety workshop in Casper

Fresh produce growers and buyers will learn appropriate agricultural practices to prevent food-borne illnesses as part of a two-day workshop in Casper.

“Good Agricultural Practices” is Thursday and Friday, April 9-10, at the Best Western Ramkota Hotel as part of the Wyoming Farmers Marketing Association’s annual conference.

“This workshop will benefit producers as well as those who buy and use local produce in inspected kitchens like schools, hospitals and restaurants,” said Cole Ehmke, University of Wyoming Extension specialist, who helped organize the sessions.

Recent outbreaks of foodborne illnesses involving fresh and processed food products heightened public concern about food safety, he said. Illness-causing pathogens, such as salmonella and listeria, come from a variety of sources. The most common source is fecal matter, Ehmke said, which can be spread by water, wildlife, waste and workers.

Producers will stay competitive in the specialty produce business by becoming food safety compliant.

“Many fresh produce retailers now require their suppliers to have third-party audits to verify safe food production and handling practices on the farm,” he said.

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