New publications explore ups and downs of high-altitude cooking and baking

The publication covers, showing cookie dough  and spaghetti
From Beulah to Burns to Big Piney, from Aladdin to Lander to Laramie, cooking and baking at elevations above 3,000 feet is different. These guides can help.

Ever wonder why cakes rise to the oven roof before falling and foods are undercooked when you follow the directions exactly? Two new publications from University of Wyoming Extension let you blame it on the altitude.

They help curious cooks and bakers adjust for the effects of lower air pressures, humidity and boiling temperatures at higher elevations.

 “Cooking and Baking It Up! Altitude Adjusters” covers food preparation from cookies, breads and cakes to boiling eggs, deep frying, candy-making and canning.

“Baking It Up! Tested Recipes and Tips for Baking at Altitude” is a revised and expanded remake of the classic “Baking at High Altitude,” first published more than three decades ago.

Both publications feature new, original photographs and food safety fundamentals. They’re free at bit.ly/UWEpubs.

“The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines high altitude as anything over 3,000 feet,” says Vicki Hayman, UW Extension nutrition and food safety educator in Weston County. “That means parts of most western states and ALL of Wyoming.”

Since most recipes are created for sea level, success at higher elevations may require adjustments in time, temperature or ingredients, she says.

Hayman helped prepare the new guides, which join “Friendly One-Pot Meals from Your Pressure Cooker” and “Diabetes-Healthy Recipes Everyone Will Love” in extension’s “Cooking It Up!” series.

For more information, contact Hayman at 307-746-3531 or vhayman@uwyo.edu.

“Baking It Up!” and “High Altitude Adjusters” are among the many free guides, courses and videos from UW Extension that help extend skills from soufflés and strawberry jam making to master gardening, estate planning, critter care, and more. See bit.ly/UWEpubs. YouTube video series from UW Extension include “Barnyards and Backyards,” “From the Ground Up” and “Exploring the Nature of Wyoming.”

University of Wyoming brings Western experiences to Cheyenne Frontier Days

Actually, lamb is very tasty! Pick up some recipes July 27 and 28 during Cheyenne Frontier Days.

Visitors to Cheyenne Frontier Days can build a ranch, change a stream flow, meet Wyoming’s most (un)wanted outlaw weeds, eat a beef stick from UW Cowboy Branded Meats and test their wool grading skills.

The University of Wyoming College of Agriculture and Natural Resources is presenting displays and interactive activities at the Western Experience area of Cheyenne Frontier Days Park, July 21-22 and July 24-28. Hours are 10:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Look for them next to the BLM horses.

July 21 and 22, visitors can explore native grasses, measure soil pH, gain perspective on the state’s rainfall, and learn what it means to be a headwaters state for three major river basins.

July 24 and 25 are beef days. Highlights include beef trivia, build-a-ranch, meet your meat and free giveaways.

July 26, visitors can view plants and insects and try their hand at determining which are friend and foe.

July 27 and 28 are sheep days. Highlights include sheep trivia, “not your grandmother’s wool,” meet your meat and key qualities of different fleeces.

College of Agriculture and Natural Resources students, staff and faculty members will be on hand. Partners for these activities are the Wyoming Beef Council, Wyoming Wool Growers Association and Laramie County Conservation District.

Other organizations offer demonstrations of horsemanship and training, rodeo and other Western experiences.

For more information, see Western Experience at www.cfdrodeo.com.

Farmers can reduce extreme weather impacts, say extension educators

Field of yellow flowers with blue skies and clouds
Brassicas, such as this flowering rapeseed (brassica napus), can be used as cover crops. Shutterstock photo: Daniel Prudek

Farmers can’t change the weather, but two management practices can help buffer the effects of heavy rains, drought and other weather extremes, according to new guides from a team of extension educators at University of Wyoming, University of Nebraska and Montana State University.

“Minimizing Extreme Weather Impacts: Cover Crops 101” and “Using No-Till to Minimize Extreme Weather Impacts” are available free from UW Extension at bit.ly/UWEpubs.

Planting cover crops in rotation with primary agricultural crops can support soil quality and fertility, increase water infiltration and reduces erosion. A cover crop can be a single species crop or a mixed-species crop, such as legumes, grasses and brassicas (mustard family).

Other benefits may include reducing soil compaction, suppressing weeds, improving soil microorganism populations and providing habitat and food sources for birds, mammals and beneficial insects.

“Cover crops should be customized to the individual operation and objectives,” said Jerimiah Vardiman, lead author from UW Extension. He noted the potential exists for no benefits or even negative impacts, such as reduction in soil nitrogen, if cover crops are not managed correctly.

No-till farming is not new but is not widely used, said Tyler Williams of University of Nebraska Extension.

With a no-till approach, crops are grown with minimal soil disturbance, and the soil is kept covered with crop residue to conserve soil and water.

Advantages are soil moisture conservation, erosion control, reduced fuel and labor costs and benefits to soil structure and health. Disadvantages are increased dependence on herbicides, no incorporation of residue, manure or fertilizer and slow soil warming on poorly drained soils.

For more information, contact Vardiman at 307-754-8836 or jvardima@uwyo.edu.

These short introductions to field management systems are among the many guides, free courses and videos from UW Extension that help extend skills in cropping, small acreage management, irrigation, wildlife habitat and more. YouTube video series from UW Extension include “Barnyards and Backyards,” “From the Ground Up” and “Exploring the Nature of Wyoming.”

Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS) turns 20

Chris Carparelli makes sure the rain gauge is level at the Beaverhead Conservation District office in Dillon, Montana. UW Photo: David Keto

A deadly rainstorm on the west side of Fort Collins, Colorado, led to an international network of citizen weather observers you can join.

CoCoRaHS officially began on June 17, 1998, with a few observers along Colorado’s Front Range. Today, more than 20,000 observers are active in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Canada and the Bahamas.

Volunteers include gardeners, rural landowners, teachers, students, youth in 4-H and after-school programs, and other volunteers. It takes about five minutes a day to measure and report precipitation using low-cost measurement tools and the interactive CoCoRaHS website or phone application.

The CoCoRaHS network provides valuable data for natural resource management, education and research. Meteorologists, flood plain managers, insurance adjusters, farmers, ranchers and recreationists use CoCoRaHS data to make decisions such as when to plan a trip or when to issue severe storm warnings.

To learn more, including how to volunteer, see the new fact sheet from University of Wyoming Extension at bit.ly/weathervolunteer and visit the CoCoRaHS website at www.cocorahs.org.

What has agriculture done for Wyoming lately?

Cows and calves on green rangeland with mountains in background
Of gross revenue from agriculture in 2014, 66 percent came from marketing livestock. UW Photo: Chavawn Kelley, Sims Cattle Company, McFadden, Wyoming

Wyoming’s farms and ranches account for approximately 30.4 million acres of land and $22 billion in investments in land, buildings, machinery and equipment.

Families, individuals, partnerships and family-held corporations account for 96 percent of the approximately 11,700 farms and ranches in the state.

Wyoming agricultural production generated gross income of $2.1 billion in 2014.

Grocery stores, feed stores, veterinarians, bulk fuel dealers, health care providers and restaurants benefit from the $2.1 billion in secondary impacts resulting from local spending by Wyoming agriculture.

These are some of the insights presented in “The Economic Importance of Wyoming Agricultural Production,” a new four-page report from University of Wyoming Extension and the UW Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics.

The report is available free at bit.ly/UWEpubs.

Economists David “Tex” Taylor, Thomas Foulke and Roger Coupal, authors of the report, estimate the total economic impact of the agricultural industry is double the gross income from agricultural production, for a total contribution of $4.2 billion to the Wyoming economy.

“Agriculture plays an important role by bringing in outside revenue through export sales, and it provides economic diversity,” said Taylor.

Wyoming’s 2.4 million acres of cropland, 1.3 million cattle and calves, 355,000 sheep and lambs, 85,000 hogs and pigs, 72,000 horses, 27,000 chickens, 9,000 goats and 3 million pounds of honey also produce jobs.

Taylor, Foulke and Coupal report the $4.2 billion of economic activity associated with agriculture supported an estimated 33,000 jobs directly and in support industries, with total labor income of nearly a billion dollars.

From a government standpoint, Coupal found agriculture generates an estimated $77.5 million in tax revenue for Wyoming state and local governments yet costs only $0.54 in local government services for every $1.00 of revenue generated.

Open space from private agricultural lands provides landscapes, lifestyles, wildlife habitat, and other ecosystem services that have economic value to both residents and visitors.

A survey sponsored by the Wyoming Stock Growers Association, the Wyoming Stock Growers Land Trust, The Nature Conservancy and the Ruckelshaus Institute at the University of Wyoming found that nearly 80 percent of Wyoming residents feel they benefit from the presence of farms and ranches in Wyoming.

For more information, contact Taylor at 307-766-5682 or ttaylor@uwyo.edu.

“The Economic Importance of Wyoming Agricultural Production” is among the many free guides, courses and videos from UW Extension that help extend skills in ranching, irrigation, small acreage management, succession, legacy and estate planning and more. YouTube video series from UW Extension include “Barnyards and Backyards,” “From the Ground Up” and “Exploring the Nature of Wyoming.”