University of Wyoming Extension News

UW Extension hosts management-intensive grazing school near Glenrock

Cows watch management-intesnsve grazing participants watch them during a previous MIG school near Wheatland.

Cows watch management-intensive grazing (MIG) participants watch them during a previous MIG school near Wheatland.

A four-day school to coax more out of pastures, extend grazing seasons and reduce or eliminate the need for harvested feed is being sponsored near Glenrock by the University of Wyoming Extension.

The Management-intensive Grazing School is Monday-Thursday, June 6-9, at the Duncan Ranch near Glenrock. Each day consists of classroom work in the morning followed by hands-on applications of the concepts on the ranch. Registration deadline is May 24.

The school teaches participants how to design and implement a management-intensive grazing program focused on profitability and pasture production. 

Author Jim Gerrish, who operates a grazing operation near May, Idaho, and is a contributing writer for the “Stockman Grass Farmer,” will lead the school, said Dallas Mount, extension educator based in Wheatland.

The difference between high-profit and low-profit cow-calf operations can usually come down to the amount of harvested feed the operation uses, said Mount. He said the school teaches a way to reduce the cost of harvesting and feeding and improve pasture productivity. Continue reading

Mediation workshop teaches principles of negotiation, conflict resolution

Kimberly Chapman

Kimberly Chapman

A 30-hour mediation workshop June 6-9 in Rock Springs trains participants to become certified mediators through the Wyoming Agriculture and Natural Resources Mediation Program.

The program helps Wyoming citizens resolve disputes through a voluntary, confidential, low-cost and time-saving process (see bit.ly/MediationWY), said Kimberly Chapman, University of Wyoming Extension community development educator.

The workshop at Western Wyoming Community College covers the basics of integrated negotiation and introductory mediation skills.

The fee is $250 until May 20 and $275 after. The fee includes workshop materials, lunch on Tuesday and Thursday and beverage breaks. Pre-registration is required and class size is limited.

Continue reading

Irrigation specialist joins Powell Research and Extension Center

Vivek Sharma

Vivek Sharma

Vivek Sharma began April 4 as the University of Wyoming Extension irrigation specialist based at the Powell Research and Extension Center.

Sharma is an assistant professor in the Department of Plant Sciences at UW.

 “Water is the life support of irrigated agriculture in Wyoming, as the state’s 1.5 million acres of irrigated lands are vital to the economy,” said Sharma. “I welcome input on issues and concerns, especially those related to agricultural water management at different locations throughout the state.”

Sharma’s areas of focus are maximizing the benefits of irrigated crop production through efficiently designed agriculture water management, as well as monitoring of soil moisture and crop water use. He cites special interest in techniques such as remote sensing and geographical information systems (GIS) to enhance decision making in agricultural sustainability and water resources.

Sharma earned a bachelor of technology degree in agricultural engineering from Punjab Agricultural University in India and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in biological systems engineering from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Continue reading

UW Extension features Wyoming rangeland plants in new book, free e-pub

Rangeland PlantsA new field guide from University of Wyoming Extension specialists is designed for farmers, ranchers, hikers and others interested in Wyoming’s most common rangeland plant species.

Rangeland Plants: Wyoming Tough” is available at bit.ly/Rangelandplants as a free download or as a spiral-bound guidebook for $8.

The term rangeland encompasses open-space habitats grazed by domestic animals and wildlife throughout the world. Wyoming rangelands include tallgrass and shortgrass prairie and sagebrush steppe.

 “You will probably find that once you start to learn about the flora and fauna of Wyoming, it becomes a lifelong habit,” said Mae Smith, publication editor.

Seventy-five grasses, grass-like plants, forbs and woody plants are featured, as well as some non-native interlopers, such as cheatgrass (downy brome). Organization is by plant type and common name. Four color photos of each, plus physical and diagnostic characteristics aid plant identification.

Information includes scientific name, growth habit and preferred habitat, forage value and an interesting fact for each.

Arrowgrass, for example, is not a true grass and is poisonous in hay. Western wheatgrass is Wyoming’s state grass. Sticky purple geranium is protocarnivorous: it dissolves insects that get trapped on its leaves. Arrowleaf balsamroot, which fills landscapes across the state with yellow flowers in summer, has a tap root that has been used as a coffee substitute.

“Rangeland Plants: Wyoming Tough” is one of more than 500 guides and how-to videos available from University of Wyoming Extension (bit.ly/UWEpubs), covering livestock, wildlife and Wyoming open spaces, plus gardening, estate planning, enterprise economics, energy planning and other topics.  

For more on rangelands, see “Wyoming Weed Watchlist,” “Cheatgrass Management Handbook,” and the “Successful Restoration of Severely Disturbed Lands” series.

Riverton workshop provides ‘good agricultural practices’ information

Jeff Edwards

Jeff Edwards

How food safety can be increased through on-farm practices is the focus of a good agricultural practices (GAP) workshop in Riverton.

The sessions are Thursday-Friday, May12-13, in the Intertribal Building Wind River Room at Central Wyoming College.

The workshops benefit producers, retailers and wholesalers in supermarkets, farmers market managers and managers in food service industries, said Jeff Edwards, University of Wyoming Extension educator.

Sessions start 9 a.m. both days and end by noon the second. Snacks and lunches are provided. Early registration is requested by May 11. Register at http://bit.ly/rivertongap.

 “The GAP workshops will equip producers with the knowledge to create a written food safety plan,” said Edwards.

Food safety begins with sound practices on the farm, he said, especially with fresh vegetable and fruit produce.

“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.

Workshop topics include:

* Produce safety risk factors and impacts.

* Post-harvest produce handling.

* Water quality and testing.

* Creating a food safety plan.

* Auditing farms for GAPs/food safety.

* Soil management/manure management.

 * Worker health and hygiene.

* Traceability, recall and liability issues.

A binder of materials is provided. All printed class materials and other resources (such as editable templates) are provided on a USB drive.

For more information, contact Edwards at 307-837-2956 or jedward4@uwyo.edu.

UW Extension, University of Nebraska Extension, the Wyoming Department of Agriculture and the Wyoming Farmers Marketing Association are offering the workshop.