Extension financial specialist recommends actions following Equifax breach

Cole Ehmke

Freezing credit and signing up for free credit monitoring are among strategies a University of Wyoming Extension specialist recommends in response to the massive hack of the consumer credit reporting agency Equifax.

Information for about 145 million people was compromised, potentially exposing names, addresses, birthdates and Social Security numbers.

Equifax has taken a few steps to help people protect their identities, said personal financial management specialist Cole Ehmke. All Americans can sign up for free credit monitoring at www.equifax.com at the Equifax Cybersecurity Incident link. The monitoring is effective for all three credit bureaus, including Experian and TransUnion. Enrollment ends Nov. 21.

Equifax has also promised to waive the fee to freeze credit reports through the end of January.

A credit freeze limits access to a credit report, limiting potential creditors from accessing credit files, so the creditor is less likely to issue credit, said Ehmke.

“The end result is that identity thieves are less likely to open an account in your name,” he said.

There is a charge each time a credit report is frozen and also when the freeze is lifted. The cost in Wyoming is $10.  Equifax has waived this fee until the end of January, said Ehmke.

He recommended freezing credit at all three agencies – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – as the best identity theft protection.

“You’d need to do it with each of the main credit reporting agencies for both yourself and for a spouse,” said Ehmke. “Remember that you’ll have to “unfreeze” your report temporarily if you want to open a new line of credit yourself.”

He said Equifax has announced a new service called a credit lock, which they say will launch by Jan. 31.

“Offering a credit lock is a more significant offer than Equifax’s previous ones of one free year of credit monitoring or its promise to waive the fee to freeze your credit through the end of January, since it is free for life, but it offers slightly less than a credit freeze,” Ehmke said.

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UW scientists part of regional $6 million biofuel, carbon capture modeling project

Selena Gerace

Agricultural economists at the University of Wyoming will generate models of what economies in the Upper Missouri River Basin might look like if raising biofuels and carbon capture technologies were implemented.

UW is part of the four-year, $6 million National Science Foundation project working with Montana State University and the University of South Dakota to determine if changes in commodity production and capturing carbon are sustainable, or even feasible, in the basin.

The group includes more than 31 private, state and federal institutions and more than 50 people. Project organization began last year. The project’s website ishttp://waferx.montana.edu/index.html.

Each university is receiving $2 million. UW’s role is developing the economic models, said Selena Gerace, UW Extension outreach coordinator for the project.

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Hello sagebrush birds!

A brown bird, looking but not singing, is perched on a strand of barbed wire.
Sage thrashers, included in the new Thunder Basin Ecology factsheet, incorporate dozens of unique sound fragments into their songs.

A new factsheet on three Thunder Basin bird species gives a quick introduction to inhabitants of the wide-open, wildlife-rich landscapes where the Great Plains meet the sagebrush steppe.

Free from University of Wyoming Extension, Birds of Thunder Basin: Sagebrush Specialists is available at bit.ly/UWEpubs.

The ecology factsheet describes the sage thrasher, Brewer’s sparrow and greater sage-grouse and includes a brief overview of breeding, nesting, migration, and conservation status. Quick ID tips, fun facts and definitions of birding terms round out the introductions.

“Sage thrashers are superb singers,” writes Courtney Duchardt of this sagebrush specialist. “Thrashers are classified as mimids. They incorporate snippets of surrounding noises into their songs, possibly to show potential mates they are familiar with the area and will make good partners.”

Duchardt, a University of Wyoming graduate student in ecology and ecosystem science and management, has spent more than 235 days (and nights) in Thunder Basin camping, photographing and conducting research.

Birds of Thunder Basin: Sagebrush Specialists is the second in a series from University of Wyoming Extension in partnership with the Thunder Basin Research Initiative, area ranchers and energy companies, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Forest Service and the Thunder Basin Grasslands Prairie Ecosystem Association.

The factsheet is one of more than 600 guides from UW Extension (see bit.ly/UWEpubs) that help extend skills in cooking, canning, calving, conservation and community change, plus gardening, grazing, cropping, habitat restoration and more. YouTube video series from UW Extension include From the Ground Up, Barnyards and Backyards and Exploring the Nature of Wyoming.

Hatch brings Thomas Jefferson’s revolutionary gardens to Laramie

Gray-haired man, arms crossed, stands smiling beside vegetable garden.
Peter Hatch, retired director of gardens and grounds at Monticello.

Thomas Jefferson’s 57 years of gardening notes, dated 1767 to 1824, guided a modern restoration of his two-acre kitchen garden led by Peter Hatch, director of gardens and grounds at Monticello, now retired.

The 1,000-foot-long garden has been called a living expression of Jefferson’s genius and distinctly American attitudes. Hatch will give a free public presentation, “Thomas Jefferson’s Revolutionary Gardens,” in Laramie, October 12. The talk is 4:30-5:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the Berry Center on the University of Wyoming campus.

Hatch will discuss the history of horticulture from the perspective of the famous scientist and president and discuss some of Jefferson’s hundreds of vegetable varieties, his foundational seed-saving techniques, and the experimentation of his later years.

Copies of Hatch’s book, A Rich Spot of Earth, will be available for signing.

The event is sponsored by the UW College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the Department of Plant Sciences, and ACRES Student Farm.

For more information, contact Anne Leonard, UW College of Agriculture and Natural Resources coordinator of college affairs, at (307) 766-4134 or aleonard@uwyo.edu.

Extension bulletin shows how ranchers can use net present value in investment decisions

Bridger Feuz, extension livestock marketing specialist

How ranchers can use net present value (NPV) to determine if an investment is worthwhile is described in a University of Wyoming Extension bulletin.

NPV discounts future returns based on the riskiness of an investment and compares them directly to current or future costs, stated authors of “Net Present Value,” B-1302.

“Many decisions on a ranch require significant capital investment to facilitate change,” said Bridger Feuz, UW Extension livestock marketing specialist. “This type of investment typically includes initial costs but also provides returns over a period of time.”

The time value of money must be included in an investment analysis because these returns occur over time.

The bulletin is free to view or download by going to www.uwyo.edu/uwe and clicking on Find a Publication then type the number or title in the search field. The bulletin is available in pdf, HTML or ePub formats.