Organic producer suggestions, certification workshop during annual Cheyenne conference

John Gordon of Carpenter checks a box of resources and tools passed among attendees during UW Extension educator Caitlin Youngquist’s presentation “Measuring Soil Health and Fertility in the Lab and Field” at last year’s conference.

Organic grain, vegetable and livestock producers will share information about their operations during the High Plains Organic Farming Conference in Cheyenne this February.

The fifth-annual meeting is Tuesday-Wednesday, Feb. 27-28, at Laramie County Community College, said Jay Norton, University of Wyoming Extension soils specialist and conference organizer.

“This year’s conference is shaping up to be the best yet, with concurrent symposia focused on dryland grain systems, intensive vegetable production, and livestock systems plus a keynote address on the changing policy environment in Washington, D.C.,” said Norton.

The detailed agenda is at

A half-day organic certification workshop Tuesday afternoon features step-by-step procedures for getting and staying certified, said Norton, an associate professor in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management at UW.

The day includes a session on record keeping and a panel discussion including producers who have participated in technical and financial assistance programs for organic transition and certification.

Producers will share information for dryland systems, intensive vegetable production and livestock systems Wednesday morning, followed by concurrent technical sessions featuring scientists and educators from Colorado, Nebraska and Wyoming during a total of 16 sessions that day.

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State’s brucellosis team plans meetings in Worland, Lovell

The status of brucellosis in Wyoming, producer requirements for transport or selling and liability and reports on a new test for the disease are among topics at February meetings in Worland and Lovell presented by members of the Governor’s Brucellosis Coordination Team.

The first is the afternoon of Thursday, Feb. 15, during WESTI Ag Days in Worland, said Bruce Hoar, coordinator of brucellosis research at the University of Wyoming. WESTI Ag Days is Feb. 14-15 at the Worland Community Center, 1200 Culbertson Ave.

The team then meets 10 a.m. Friday at the Lovell Community Center, 1925 US 310, he said. Lunch is available following the meeting.

Hoar will give a background on the disease to start the meetings followed by producer responsibilities by a representative from the state veterinarian’s office and researcher Brant Schumaker of the Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory will provide an update on current testing and progress of a new brucellosis test his team is developing.

If successful, the much-more-accurate novel molecular assay (polymerase chain reaction [PCR]) test could replace culture testing.

The team will also address finding elk positive for brucellosis in the Bighorn Mountains.

“I think the fact that seropositive (blood test) elk have been found in the Bighorn Mountains over the past five years raises a concern by the Wyoming Livestock Board and the University of Wyoming,” said Hoar. “We want producers to have accurate, up-to-date information they may not be aware of.”

For more information, contact Hoar at 307-766-3372 or at

UW Extension presents backcountry horse care workshop

Veterinarian Karl Hoppes will discuss horse car at the Park County workshop.
Karl Hoopes

A veterinarian will present backcountry horse care at a workshop Tuesday, Feb. 6, in Park County.

The session is 5-9 p.m. at Trapper Arena off Highway 14A between Cody and Powell, said Jeremiah Vardiman, University of Wyoming Extension educator. The workshop is tailored to outfitters, dude ranches, backcountry horse enthusiasts, hunters or anyone who spends time on horseback in remote places.

Dr. Karl Hoopes, DVM, of Utah State University will present on common problems in the mountains, discussing topics ranging from saddle sores to colic, said Vardiman.

There will be a live demonstration of equine dental care and a presentation on dental care and nutrition for working and idle horses. Vardiman will end the workshop discussing proper hoof care.

Reservations are requested by Thursday, Feb. 1, by calling Vardiman at 307-754-8836.

More than 31 topics highlight this year’s Fremont County Farm and Ranch Days

Profitable ranching and an eye on the weather are subjects of lunch speakers during Fremont County Farm and Ranch Days Wednesday-Thursday, Feb. 7-8, in Riverton.

More than 31 sessions are offered this year in the fairgrounds Armory Building in addition to private pesticide training classes, said Chance Marshall, University of Wyoming Extension educator.

Sessions and lunches at the 34th annual event are free.

Retired farm and ranch manager and consultant Burke Teichert is Wednesday’s lunch speaker. His career spans managing several ranches in the U.S., Canada and Argentina, in addition to ranch acquisitions.

“He developed a reputation for organizing ranches to be very cost-effective and profitable with very efficient, small crews,” said Marshall. “He is also a proponent of planned, time-controlled grazing for improved soil health and ranch productivity.”

“Climate Change and Weather Outlook” is Don Day’s subject for Thursday’s lunch.

Day started DayWeather Inc. soon after graduating from the University of Wyoming in 1992 by providing customized forecasts for 14 radio stations in Wyoming. The network has grown to nearly 80 across four states in the Rocky Mountain West and High Plains.

Sessions begin 9 a.m. both days, and topics include a livestock market outlook, rancher’s rules of thumb, alternative crop options, DNA barcoding to understand livestock and wildlife diets, sheep parasite management, water regulations, alfalfa weevil management, ag leasing, breeding mares, food preservation, retirement planning and Wyoming grizzly bear status.

Contact Marshall at 307-332-2363 or at for more information.


Trump Ag Advisory Committee member keynotes annual Worland ag event

Columnist and blogger Trent Loos is the keynote speaker at the annual WESTI Ag Days in Worland.

A member of President Trump’s Ag Advisory Committee and columnist for the High Plains Journal publication is the keynote speaker to open WESTI Ag Days, Wednesday-Thursday, Feb. 14-15, in Worland.

Trent Loos will discuss bridging the gap between rural producers and urban consumers at 10 a.m. Wednesday, said Caitlin Youngquist, University of Wyoming Extension educator based in Washakie County.

University of Wyoming Extension’s Strategically and Technologically Informative (WESTI) Ag Days is at the Worland Community Center, 1200 Culbertson Ave.

“WESTI Ag Days started nearly 30 years ago and is a great partnership between UW Extension and local businesses,” said Youngquist. “We work hard to pull together a great set of educational programs, and the Washakie County Cow Belles always feed us well.”

Coffee and pastries are offered at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday and 8:30 a.m. Thursday. Go to a complete schedule.

Youths and parents can attend a free dinner 5:30-7:30 p.m. Wednesday to meet with professionals from various fields and explore college options. RSVPs are requested. Call 307-347-3431.

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