Worland conference speaker’s emphasis helping farm, ranch families settle turmoil

Man standing besides large, green farm tractor
Andy Junkin is the keynote speaker and a workshop presenter at WESTI Ag Days in Worland Feb. 12-13.

The seed that would begin a career helping farm families through personal and financial turmoil was planted the day Andy Junkin stepped off his family’s farm in Canada to attend college.

Junkin, owner of Agriculture Strategy of Solon, Iowa, is the keynote speaker and a workshop presenter at WESTI Ag Days Feb. 12-13 in Worland, an annual conference whose themes this year follow agricultural legacy, management and production.

Junkin’s stories about how he came to offer his services involve topics not usually in farm or ranch discussions around coffee shop tables or on farm and ranch conference agendas. Rather than commodity outlooks or fuel prices, the gist for his emphasis to create lasting legacies are divorce, suicide attempts and shattered families.

That day Junkin left the Bobcaygeon, Ontario, farm, about 100 miles northeast of Toronto, to attend the University of Guelph, his mother showed him the farm’s financials and said if he didn’t fix the numbers she’d leave his father.

The farm had not made money in 10 years.

Upon graduating and returning to the farm, his father agreed to a five-acre demonstration plot to show if what Junkin learned could be put to use on the farm. When a farm visitor observed Andy would probably be more productive on the one acre than his father on the rest of the farm and then laughed – Junkin’s father did not. His jealous father plowed the crops under.

Junkin said he quickly realized knowledge and skills aren’t the only things needed to turn around a failing farm.

Junkin recalls his mother telling his father he needed to write a business plan before he could buy any machinery. His father then bought a manure spreader at a farm auction.

Continue reading Worland conference speaker’s emphasis helping farm, ranch families settle turmoil

Home food preservation UW Extension online course focus

Photograph of woman
Extension nutrition and food safety educator Laura Balis

How to safely preserve a variety of foods is being taught through a six-week online course by the University of Wyoming Extension in partnership with the University of Idaho.

Registration for “Preserve@Home” ends Monday, Jan. 14, with the course opening Thursday, Jan. 17, said Laura Balis, UW Extension nutrition and food safety educator.

Participants will learn how to produce high quality, preserved foods and the science behind food preservation and food safety, she said.

All lessons include online text that can be downloaded and printed, an online bulletin board to facilitate participant discussion and a real-time weekly chat to interact with classmates and instructors, said Balis.

The first lesson opens 1 p.m. Jan. 17. The first weekly online chat session is 1-1:45 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 24.

Course topics include: Foodborne illness – causes and prevention; spoilage and canning basics; canning high acid foods; canning specialty high acid foods – pickles, salsa, jams, jellies, etc.; canning low acid foods; and freezing and drying.

Supplemental materials include information about planting varieties for food preservation, cold storage and root cellaring.

The cost is $35, and class size is limited. Register online at http://bit.ly/PreserveAtHome, by contacting Balis at 307-332-2363 or lbalis@uwyo.edu, or extension nutrition and food safety educator Julie Balzan at 307-322-3667 or jbalzan@uwyo.edu.

UW livestock judging team ends strong year with top 10 finish

10 members of the livestock judging team stand behind the many plaques and banners they won at competitions this year. Black banners with white lettering on each side display their top over all placings and individual high overall placing.
Members of the 2018 UW livestock judging team with their ribbons and awards are, back, from left, coach Caleb Boardman; Logan Henry, Joes, Colo.; Dallin Brady, Kimberly, Idaho; Alex Ames, San Clemente, Calif.; Carson Wurdeman, Node, WY; Tyler Shaw, Kimball, Neb.; assistant coach Colby Hales. Front, Laurel Rigby, Ronan, Mont.; Juan Gavette, Everson, Wash.; and Jessie Stewart, Johnstown, Colo.

The University of Wyoming livestock judging team completed their season with an eighth-place finish at the North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, Ky., Nov. 12.

Out of 29 universities competing, the team finished 5th in performance cattle, 5th in swine, 7th in cattle and 8th in reasons.

There were 138 contestants. Dallin Brady of Kimberly, Idaho, led the UW team finishing 6th in sheep and goats and was 17th overall. Juan Gavette of Everson, Wash., was 8th in swine and Tyler Shaw of Kimball, Neb., tied for 10th.

This marks the second consecutive year UW finished in the top 10 at the International following a 30-plus year drought.

“The team was hoping to finish the year with consecutive top five finishes after being fourth at the American Royal, but I am extremely proud of all of their hard work and accomplishments through the year,” said coach Caleb Boardman.

The team finished in the top eight at eight of the season’s 11 contests, including being in the top five four times.

The team also set numerous contest records for the UW program, Boardman said, including the top-three team all-time reasons scores. Two UW team members were named high overall at contests, with Logan Henry of Joes, Colo., winning at San Antonio, and Laurel Rigby of Ronan, Mont., winning the American Royal.

“We strive to get better every year,” said Boardman. He said recruiting plays a big part in improving and added he recruits from across the U.S. This year’s team is his third, and he said students from 10 different states have competed for UW.

The season runs with the calendar year, and a new team of 12 members will have its first competition New Year’s Eve at the Arizona National Livestock Show in Phoenix, followed by the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo in Denver Jan. 17-18.

The team starts practice Dec. 28 and will have 20-plus days or more than 200 hours of practice before classes start at UW Jan. 28.

He said most students say being part of a judging team is the most meaningful experience of their college careers.

“The time commitment is very similar to an athletic team, but most of our practices happen after 5 p.m. and on the weekends,” said Boardman. “The students are putting in an average of 20 to 30 hours of practice each week during our travel season. This includes winter break.”

UW meat judging team cracks top 10 in national contest

Photograph of several people with award ribbons and plaques.
Members of the University of Wyoming meats judging team are, from from left, Haley Cole, Zach Davis, Ericka Eckhardt, Cedar Radosevich Anderson, Katie Hazlewood, coach Sierra Jepsen and Kelcey Christensen, manager of the UW Meat Laboratory.

The University of Wyoming’s meat judging team corralled its first top 10 finish of its first season by placing seventh at the 2018 American Meat Science Association International Meat Judging Contest in Dakota City, Neb.

Nineteen teams and 105 students competed Nov. 11.

“The International is the Super Bowl of meat judging,” said coach Sierra Jepsen. “It was their best performance of the year. We have not had a team since 2015 and for them to come back and be in the top 10 is amazing.”

The meat team competed at four contests in the spring and five in the fall. The International was the last for this team.

“They’ve been finishing right at 11th in the fall contests,” said Jepsen. “To finally crack that at the International, I’m really excited for them for all their hard work. It’s exciting for them to end on a high note.”

Four of the five members are on the scoring team at competitions with one alternate. Haley Cole of Cheyenne had the top score for the team at the International, finishing 13th overall, second in beef and total placings and third in total beef.

Katie Hazlewood of Riverton placed 13th in beef judging. Cedar Anderson of Manila, Utah, finished 19th overall and eighth in beef grading. Zach Davis of Sebastopol, Calif., finished 15th in specifications and 10th in placings.

Jepsen said Davis scored a perfect 100 on his specifications. Seventeen students earned perfect scores, and ties were broken based on a student’s reasons scores. Only 17 out of the 72 students eligible to be on a scoring team received perfect scores.

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UW Extension offers respirator fit testing at pesticide recertification program

Respirator fit testing will be available through the University of Wyoming Extension at the pesticide application recertification program Tuesday, Jan. 22, at the Ramkota Hotel and Conference Center in Casper.

Federal law requires all commercial and private producers using a respirator as personal protective equipment during pesticide application or handling to receive annual respirator fit testing and training.

“An increasing number of pesticides are being labeled requiring the use of a respirator as a component of the personal protective equipment,” said Jeff Edwards, UW Extension pesticide training coordinator.

Registration is at https://wyorecert.eventbrite.com. Proof of doctor clearance (medical evaluation) to Consolidated Manufacturing Enterprises, Inc. (CME), your own respirator, and a fee of $55 per test payable to CME are required test day. CME will issue a certificate of clearance onsite and mail the official fit test card to the applicator.

Contact the University of Wyoming Extension pesticide safety education office at 307-837-2956 or visit http://bit.ly/wy-pesticide-training for more information regarding fit testing and training opportunities.