University of Wyoming Extension News

High Plains Ranch Practicum taking applications for 2015-16 sessions

UW Extension educator Dallas Mount

UW Extension educator Dallas Mount

A national award-winning livestock extension program is again being offered for 2015-2016 beginning in May and ending in February.

The High Plains Ranch Practicum is an eight-day, hands-on educational program hosted by the University of Wyoming Extension and designed to give participants the skills and application of management tools needed in today’s complex ranching industry, said Dallas Mount, UW Extension educator.

Session locations this year include near Ucross and Glendo. Enrollment is limited to 35. Participants must apply by May 15. For additional information or an application, contact Mount at 307-322-3667 or dmount@uwyo.edu or visit http://HPRanchPracticum.com.

“If you have ranched all your life, or if you are new to ranching, this school will teach valuable, necessary 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 generates an economic profit and supports the people who are building the fence and feeding the cow.”

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UW professor boost helps Sheridan College team advance to national Innovation Challenge finals

From left, University of Wyoming assistant professor of plant sciences Sadanand Dhekney, Sheridan College students Hannah Shafer of Rapid City, South Dakota, Paige Jernigan, of Cheyenne, Ceirra Carlson, of Greybull, and Hannah Jernigan of Cheyenne, and Sheridan College science faculty Rob Milne at UW’s research and extension center at Sheridan College. (Photo courtesy Daniel Mediate)

From left, University of Wyoming assistant professor of plant sciences Sadanand Dhekney, Sheridan College students Hannah Shafer of Rapid City, South Dakota, Paige Jernigan, of Cheyenne, Ceirra Carlson, of Greybull, and Hannah Jernigan of Cheyenne, and Sheridan College science faculty member Rob Milne at UW’s research and extension center at Sheridan College. (Photo courtesy Daniel Mediate)

Revving up the genetic horsepower of algae to gush lipids for use as biofuel has propelled four Sheridan College students onto the national stage in Washington, D.C.

Hannah Shafer, Rapid City, S.D., Ceirra Carlson, Greybull, and sisters Hannah and Paige Jernigan of Cheyenne are one of 10 teams from community colleges across the nation advancing to the Innovation Boot Camp in June, the final competition of the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Challenge.

The students use the laboratories in the University of Wyoming Sheridan Research and Extension (R&E) Center and draw upon the research expertise of Sadanand Dhekney, who holds the E.A. Whitney Professorship in Agriculture at the college.

The students proposed to genetically engineer algae for enhanced lipid production. They’re figuring out how to replace the original genes – yank out wimpy stock genes, insert turbo-charged replacements – and turn the algae into lipid megaproducers.

Lipids are molecules that contain hydrocarbons and make up the building blocks of the structure and function of living cells. Examples include fats, oils and waxes.

“We’re excited we made it all this way with this little idea that has come so far from the beginning,” said Hannah Jernigan. “We’ve thoroughly enjoyed learning what we have. It’s totally new, and we’ve grown leaps and bounds from where we were a couple months ago.”

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UW names Sheridan Research and Extension Center director

Brian Mealor, right, and Jim Heitholt, head of the Department of Plant Sciences, visit last summer during a research and extension center field day

Brian Mealor, right, is the new director of the Sheridan Research and Extension Center. He and Jim Heitholt, head of the Department of Plant Sciences, visit last summer during a research and extension center field day

A plant scientist experienced in teaching, research and extension will begin May 18 as director of the Sheridan Research and Extension Center.

Brian Mealor is an assistant professor in the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Wyoming and extension weed specialist.

“Brian’s professional experiences will serve him well in this position,” said Bret Hess, associate dean of research and director of the Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Station. The AES in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources directs four research and extension centers in the state.

“He has proven to be innovative, has strong organizational skills and possesses exceptional communication skills coupled with an ability to work with a broad range of constituencies,” said Hess.

Mealor received his Ph.D. and master’s degree in rangeland ecology and watershed management from the University of Wyoming. He joined the plant sciences department in 2009. Mealor replaces Valtcho Jeliazkov, who has accepted the director position of the Columbia Basin Agricultural Research Center with Oregon State University.

Hess said Mealor will retain a research appointment and be an active member of the plant sciences department. He will transition from his faculty role to the director position throughout the spring and summer.

“I am very anxious to have Brian join the Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Station team,” said Hess. “He brings much-needed leadership to the position.”

The Sheridan R&E Center is housed in the Watt Agriculture Center at Sheridan College with trials on the grounds and about 400 acres of the Adams Ranch south of the college. The ranch is owned by Whitney Benefits. The center also maintains 250 acres of dry land crops and irrigated vegetables and fruit trees at its former headquarters near Wyarno.

Governor’s Brucellosis Coordination Team meeting in Pinedale

Bruce Hoar

Bruce Hoar

Surveillance results of cattle testing in the Bighorn Mountains in the Bighorn Mountains is among agenda items at the Governor’s Brucellosis Coordination Team meeting Wednesday, April 15, in Pinedale.

The team meets 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Hampton Inn and Suites, 55 Bloomfield Ave., said Bruce Hoar, University of Wyoming brucellosis research coordinator.

Other items include:

* Update on brucellosis cases from Wyoming state veterinarian Jim Logan, and updates on cases from Montana and Idaho

* Discussion of National Academy of Sciences brucellosis study in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

* Wyoming Game and Fish Department update

* Presentation of study that used genomics to study brucellosis transmission

* Discussion of possible delisting of Brucella abortus, the bacterium that causes brucellosis, from the Federal Select Agents list

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

Wyoming Month of the Military Child events recognize family sacrifices

2015 month of military child1April events in Wyoming will honor sacrifices of military parents and their children during the Month of the Military Child.

Military and elected officials and free pizza, soft drinks and cake will be at the month’s kick-off celebration at the Cheyenne Historic Train Depot 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, April 1, said Brittany Johnson, University of Wyoming Extension 4-H Military educator. Other events include Purple Up Day April 15; wearing purple shows support for military children.

Other events are planned across the state in April, she said. The Department of Defense and the Extension Service have had a partnership for more than 25 years to support military personnel and their communities in which they live.

“Military children look the same to teachers, friends and the community after a parent deploys, but their lives have changed dramatically,” said Johnathan Despain, UW Extension State 4-H military liaison. “We want to help them connect with other youths in similar situations and to use the Department of Defense/Cooperative Extension and 4-H Military Partnership initiatives as a way to link with other youths in the community.”

Information about the military partnerships is at http://bit.ly/militarychildmonth. The site will also include events in Wyoming counties.

For more information, contact Despain at 307-766-5170 or at jdespain@uwyo.edu, or Johnson at 307-633-4383 or bjohns92@uwyo.edu.