University of Wyoming Extension News

Food and Nutrition Service head keynotes UW Consumer Issues Conference

Audrey Rowe

Audrey Rowe

The University of Wyoming announced Audrey Rowe, USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) administrator, is a keynote speaker at the “Food: Perceptions, Practices, and Policies” Consumer Issues Conference Oct. 8-10 in Laramie.

Rowe directs the arm of the USDA responsible for delivering federal nutrition assistance programs including WIC, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and school meals. FNS programs are aimed at reducing hunger and obesity in the United States. NFS has budget authority for 75 percent of USDA’s $199 billion budget.

“We’re thrilled that Audrey Rowe will be attending this year’s conference. This will be the first visit to Wyoming in 10 years from a USDA official in Rowe’s position,” said Virginia Vincenti, a professor in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences and one of the conference organizers.

A graduate of Federal City College and a former fellow at the John F. KennedySchool of Government Institute of Politics at Harvard University, Rowe has served as senior vice president and managing director for the Children and Family Services Division and senior vice president for Public Affairs for Affiliated Computer Service, formerly Lockheed Martin IMS. Rowe will give an overview of FNS’s nutrition programs and will also take part in a panel discussion on school nutrition issues.

The conference will highlight food issues citizens, researchers, and governments at all levels are concerned about and have been working on, says Vincenti. “We hope to bring a diverse audience together to network and engage with each other.”

Details of the conference are at Professional credits are available. Registration costs vary, but all students are free.

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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High Plains Ranch Practicum takes applications for classes in Laramie, Riverton, Kimball

Examining pasture forage.

Examining pasture forage.

A national award-winning livestock extension program is again being offered for 2014-2015 beginning in June and ending in January.

The High Plains Ranch Practicum School is an in-depth, ranch management school hosted jointly by University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension and University of Wyoming Extension.

Classes are in Laramie, Riverton and Kimball, Neb.

“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 UW Extension educator Dallas Mount, an instructor in the program. “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.”

Enrollment is limited to 35. Participants must submit an application by May 5.

For additional information or to obtain an application, contact Mount at 307-322-3667 or, or visit the website at

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Powell panel nutrition discussion this June

Information about diabetes, gluten-free foods, planning nutritional menus and what children eat in Park County School District No. 1 are topics for a nutrition panel sponsored by University of Wyoming Extension.

The panel is 11:30 a.m.-12:50 p.m. Thursday, June 6, at the Homesteader Museum in Powell.

“You are welcome to bring your lunch and enjoy it while listening,” said Sandra Frost, extension educator.

Those leading discussions include: Katy Asay, a registered dietician and certified diabetes educator from Powell Valley Healthcare, who will discuss nutrition and diabetes; Jill Smith, owner of Gluten Free Oats, who will discuss nutrition and allergies; Phyllis Lewis, extension nutrition and food safety educator, who will describe how to design nutritious meals; and Deb Eckhardt, food service director at Park County School District No. 1, who will discuss the latest in school food policy and selection.

The event is part of programming that revolves around a Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibit called Key Ingredients: America by Food, which will be on display at the Homesteader Museum Aug. 24 through Oct. 25.

“The exhibit examines food in American life and its relationship with our history and culture,” said Frost.

To find out more about Key Ingredients events and programming, visit

For more information, contact Frost at 307-754-8836 or

Carbon County extension offering free cooking classes for youths

Diane Saenz

Free cooking classes are being offered for youths this winter through the CarbonCounty office of the University of Wyoming Extension.

Kids in the Kitchen provides hands-on instruction that will help kids develop a love of cooking and start building skills to make healthier food choices,” said Diane Saenz, extension nutrition and food safety educator.

Classes are Tuesdays Jan. 15 and Jan. 22, and Feb. 5, Feb. 12, and Feb. 19 at the UW Extension office, third floor of the Carbon Building, 215 W. Buffalo, Rawlins.        

Enrollment is limited due to size of the kitchen facility. For more information, contact Saenz at 307-328-2642.