University of Wyoming Extension News

UW Extension bulletin explores new farm bill, importance to Wyoming producers

Nicole Ballenger

Nicole Ballenger

An overview of the new farm bill and the importance to Wyoming is explored in a new bulletin from the University of Wyoming Extension.

The U.S. Farm Bill: Overview, and Program Participation and Importance in Wyoming” (B-1261) describes the origins of America’s farm and food programs, explains how these programs affect agricultural producers and food consumers and highlights the most important policy changes in the 2014 farm bill, said the author, Nicole Ballenger, a professor in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics.

The Agricultural Act of 2014 encompasses price and revenue safety nets for growers, conservation of cropland, food assistance for low-income households, rural development programs, support for research and extension at land-grant colleges of agriculture and more.

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UW sophomore joins National Beef Ambassador Team


Rachel Purdy

Rachel Purdy

A sophomore agricultural business student at the University of Wyoming is one of five selected to the 2015 National Beef Ambassador Team.

Rachel Purdy, who is also a UW Ag Ambassador, said growing up on her family’s farm near Pine Bluffs spurred her passion for the beef and agricultural industries and motivated her to become an advocate.

“I really do enjoy consumer events,” Purdy said. “I think it’s a really good way to reach consumers because there’s no such thing as a stupid question, and it’s a good way to educate them and have a good conversation about why we eat beef and how it gets to the consumer’s plate.”

Other team members are Will Pohlman, Arkansas, Alicia Smith, Texas, Kalyn McKibben, Oklahoma, and Demi Snider, Ohio.

Purdy, a student in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, first competed in the junior level in 2011, where she not only made it to third place, but was inspired – and determined – to make the national team for ages 17-21.

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Food insecurity, hunger, local food movements among topics at UW consumer issues conference

Professor Virginia Vincenti, left, visits with a presenter during last year's consumer issues conference.

Professor Virginia Vincenti visits with a presenter during last year’s consumer issues conference.

Hunger, food deserts – not desserts, deceptive food product claims, local foods movements and a congressman who tries to live on food stamps should provide food for thought at the 14th Consumer Issues Conference in Laramie.

“Food: Perceptions, Practices and Policies” is Oct. 8-10 at the Wyoming Union on the University of Wyoming campus.

There are three tracks: “Local Food,” “Legal and EthicalFood Policy Issues,” and “Global/National Food Markets,” said Dee Pridgen, one of the organizers, a presenter and the Carl M. Williams Professor in the UWCollege of Law.

National efforts to combat childhood and adult obesity, and an awareness of excessive food waste that has spurred food recovery programs are part of the program.

“We wanted to shine a light on these efforts and show how this idea could be applied locally and regionally,” said Pridgen.

USDA school nutrition guidelines that try to get children to eat more nutritious foods are another recent controversy, she said. Audrey Rowe, administrator of the USDA Food and Nutrition Service, will participate with local representatives to discuss the issues.

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Annual ag day barbecue Sept. 20 at UW

Ag organization students serve during last year's barbecue.

Ag organization students serve during last year’s barbecue.

The 32nd annual Ag Appreciation Day Barbecue at the University of Wyoming is 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 20, prior to thestart of the University of Wyoming-Florida Atlantic University football game at 2 p.m.

The barbecue will be in the southwest corner of Fan Fest inside the Wyoming Indoor Practice Facility. Tickets are $12 for adults, $5 for children ages 6-12 and children ages 5 and under eat free.

The event, part of Ag Appreciation Weekend, raises money for College of Agriculture and Natural Resources student scholarships and organizations.

Event sponsors include the college, local businesses, agricultural groups and individual donors. Wyoming beef, pork and lamb sandwiches are prepared and served by members of the college’s student organizations.

Discounted football tickets are also available for Ag Appreciation Weekend. Tickets are $35 for adults and $15 for youths ages 3-18. Public prices are $40 and $20. Use the promo code AGWEEKEND and go to and follow the prompts.

University of Wyoming fills plant sciences department head position

Professor Jim Heitholt

Professor Jim Heitholt

A plant scientist with years of experience teaching students and conducting studies at research and extension centers is the new head of the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Wyoming.

Jim Heitholt will leave his crop physiology position with Texas A&M University – Commerce and join the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Aug. 18. He is scheduled to attend the Powell Research and Extension Center field day Thursday, July 17, near Powell.

“The appointment is a very exciting time for me personally,” said Heitholt, a professor in the Department of Agricultural Sciences with Texas A&M University – Commerce, who also has a joint appointment in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences at College Station.

 “I am extremely grateful for this opportunity and intend to serve the students, faculty, staff, and college leadership and stakeholders as wisely and enthusiastically as I possibly can,” he said.

Bret Hess, associate dean of research in the college, served as one of two interim department heads during the search to fill theposition.

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