University of Wyoming Extension News

Farm manager joins UW Sustainable Agriculture Research and Extension Center

Kevin Madden

Kevin Madden

Kevin Madden began April 30 as farm manager at the James C. Hageman Sustainable Agriculture Research and Extension Center (SAREC) near Lingle. 

Madden brings experience as an owner, operator and manager of a family production farm and ranch in Potter, Nebraska, said SAREC director John Tanaka.  

Madden will manage irrigated and dryland crops, rangelands, and livestock at SAREC. He will also help coordinate off-site research and extension activities on the center.

“He is a good fit,” Tanaka said. 

SAREC is now growing corn, sugar beets, wheat, dry beans, alfalfa, millet and barley, as well as pollinator flowers, cool season grasses, quinoa, fenugreek and cover crops.

A small cow-calf herd and feed cattle are maintained at SAREC for livestock research, including blue tongue disease in cattle and several feed efficiency trials.

“In Nebraska, Madden produced similar crops on dryland and center pivot irrigated acres similar in size to SAREC,” said Tanaka.  “He raised livestock as a commercial cow calf producer, small feeder, and breeder of American Quarter Horses for ranch work and pleasure,” he said.

Madden earned a diploma in center pivot sprinkler irrigation service/installation from Western Nebraska Technical College in Sidney and holds a Nebraska special electrician irrigation equipment license. He has also worked as a federal crop insurance adjuster. 

Madden’s involvement with youth programs includes 4-H, Odyssey of the Mind and Destination Imagination programs to promote creative and critical thinking, and the Cheyenne County, Neb., fair and rodeo royalty program. 

For more information, contact Madden at 307-837-2000 or

High Plains Ranch Practicum taking applications for 2016 session

Dallas Mount and participants in a prior ranch practicum.

Dallas Mount and participants in a prior ranch practicum.

A livestock program that provides producers skills and management expertise is again being offered beginning in June and ending in November.

The 2016 High Plains Ranch Practicum tools are needed in today’s complex ranching industry, said Dallas Mount, University of Wyoming Extension educator.

The eight-day, hands-on program is hosted by UW Extension in partnership with Laramie County Community College in the Cheyenne area. Enrollment is limited to 35, and participants must apply by June 3.

“Whether you have ranched all your life or are new to ranching, this school will teach you valuable skills for running a successful ranch,” said Mount, an instructor in the practicum.

“Dad taught us how to build a fence and feed a cow, but he didn’t teach us how to build a business that supports the people who are building the fence and feeding the cow,” said Mount.

The course provides ranchers tools to understand and integrate four areas of ranch management: range and forage resources, integrating nutrition and reproduction, cost-of-production analysis and family working relationships.

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Wyoming State 4-H Foundation awards $69,000 to state’s youths

4-H logoMore than $33,000 in new scholarships has been awarded to Wyoming 4-H’ers by the Wyoming State 4-H Foundation.

In addition, foundation director Steve Mack said past Ella E. Schloredt scholarship recipients with a grade point average of at least 3.0 are eligible to continue receiving the scholarship for up to four years. Fifteen continuing scholarships were awarded, ranging from $1,750 to $2,200 for the fall 2016 academic year.

In total, 4-H youths attending the University of Wyoming or a Wyoming community college were awarded over $69,000 in scholarships for the coming school year, said Mack.

The Wyoming State 4-H Foundation over the past 20 years has given between $45,000 and $69,000 annually to 4-H-ers for college scholarships.

“This total will be over $1,000,000 in just the past 20 years,” said Mack.

The ability to provide for a family, donate within a community and contribute to society at large is enhanced when higher levels of education are achieved, said Johnathan Despain, Wyoming 4-H Program director.

“If 4-H can assist in reducing barriers that may preclude youths from getting education or engaging in learning, then we try to do our part,” he said.

Whether $300 or $1,750, a few hundred dollars can be the difference between being able to get an education or not, Despain said.

“Tuition is the bulk of the cost of an education, but housing, food, books and required fees and equipment tend to be breaking points for students who are tight financially,” he said. “Three hundred dollars can pay a month’s worth of food or a third of the cost for books for a semester. Every piece supports the opportunities.”

Scholarships and first-time recipients by county are:

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Cheyenne conference illustrates organic certification, production systems

Jay Norton, University of Wyoming Extension soils specialist, is one of the organizers of the High Plains Organic Farming Conference in Cheyenne.

Jay Norton, University of Wyoming Extension soils specialist, is one of the organizers of the High Plains Organic Farming Conference in Cheyenne.

Production in the High Plains is difficult and margins are slim, but raising certified organic crops could increase profit margins, according to the University of Wyoming Extension soils specialist who helped organize the February High Plains Organic Farming Conference in Cheyenne.

The conference is Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 23-24, at Laramie County Community College, 1400 E. College Dr., said Jay Norton, UW Extension specialist.

Registration and agenda information is at

In response to audience suggestions from last year, this year’s conference features presentations by six producers from Wyoming and Colorado talking about their production systems, cover crops, marketing, pest control and other topics, said Norton.

The conference targets dryland crop, irrigated crop and forage and livestock producers, and focuses on crop, soil, pest and livestock management, marketing and USDA National Organic Program updates.

“Organic production is definitely not for everyone, and the conference does not emphasize ideological reasons for going organic,” said Norton, an associate professor in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

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UW Extension publications recommend best shrubs, trees for Wyoming

Screen Shot 2016-01-07 at 9.12.43 AM ShrubsPublications offering information on the best shrubs and trees for Wyoming are available from University of Wyoming Extension. “Landscaping: Recommended Trees for Wyoming”, B-1090R, and “Landscaping: Recommended Shrubs for Wyoming”, B-1108R, have been revised by extension horticulture specialist Karen Panter and state Master Gardener coordinator Chris Hilgert.

The scientific name, common name, altitude limits, USDA zone, height, width, sun exposure and comments about 52 shrubs and 51 trees are in the separate publications. Proper site selection, purchasing healthy shrubs and trees, site preparation, planting and maintenance are described.

The publications are free and available in PDFs or at their respective websites. Go to and click the Publications link on the left-hand side. Enter the publication numbers to access each bulletin. Clicking on the title provides access to the PDF and website URLs.