UW Extension offers online GMO information course

Jeremiah Vardiman

Issues surrounding genetically modified organisms (GMO) will be examined during a six-week online course through University of Wyoming Extension.

The weekly sessions beginning Monday, May 22, are meant to divide fact from fiction about biotechnology, said Jeremiah Vardiman, UW Extension educator who is leading the course.

“This online course focuses on educating professionals in the health and nutrition fields and any other inquisitive mind on the main topics that are discussed or brought up about GMOs,” he said. “Participants will gain practical knowledge on the GMO topic, which will aid in education and conversations with clientele.”

Registration and more information is at bit.ly/gmocourse. Those taking the classes can access the course starting May 11, with materials available to participants until June 30.

Vardiman said he hears from community members and extension educators that GMOs are a common conversation topic and say they don’t always have the right answers or information.

“I also hear from local agricultural producers they want the public to be more educated in the topic,” he said.

Continue reading UW Extension offers online GMO information course

Wyoming-Utah Ag Days include livestock, resource management sessions

Bridger Feuz, UW Extension livestock marketing specialist

Two days of workshops ranging from livestock and land resource management to worker protection standards are Wednesday and Thursday, Jan. 25-26, in Evanston.

University of Wyoming Extension and Utah State University Extension are collaborating for Wyoming/Utah Ag Days at the historic Evanston Roundhouse, said Bridger Feuz, UW Extension educator based in Uinta County.

“It’s a great program for producers in western Wyoming and northern Utah,” he said.

Wednesday sessions include Wyoming ranch tools, managing beef cows, improved irrigated pastures, soil health, grazing as a fuel reduction tool, sagebrush treatments for livestock and sage-grouse and a cattle market outlook by Feuz during lunch. Feuz specializes in livestock marketing.

Thursday’s additional sessions include worker protection standards, ranch horse care, evaluating farm/ranch financial health, biosecurity at horse shows, veterinary feed directive and a lunchtime sheep market outlook by Feuz.

The event, including lunch, is free. For more information or to RSVP for lunch, call the Uinta County extension office at 307-783-0570.

Irrigation specialist joins Powell Research and Extension Center

Vivek Sharma
Vivek Sharma

Vivek Sharma began April 4 as the University of Wyoming Extension irrigation specialist based at the Powell Research and Extension Center.

Sharma is an assistant professor in the Department of Plant Sciences at UW.

 “Water is the life support of irrigated agriculture in Wyoming, as the state’s 1.5 million acres of irrigated lands are vital to the economy,” said Sharma. “I welcome input on issues and concerns, especially those related to agricultural water management at different locations throughout the state.”

Sharma’s areas of focus are maximizing the benefits of irrigated crop production through efficiently designed agriculture water management, as well as monitoring of soil moisture and crop water use. He cites special interest in techniques such as remote sensing and geographical information systems (GIS) to enhance decision making in agricultural sustainability and water resources.

Sharma earned a bachelor of technology degree in agricultural engineering from Punjab Agricultural University in India and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in biological systems engineering from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Continue reading Irrigation specialist joins Powell Research and Extension Center

UW Extension range specialist’s blog translates complex research into plain English

Derek Scasta
Derek Scasta

A southwestern Wyoming producer baffled trying to understand new range cattle production research prompted a blog translating complex scientific literature into language for the general public.

University of Wyoming Extension range specialist Derek Scasta started the blog after visiting with the rancher.

“Scientists speak their own language and have to explain methods and statistics in great detail, making research very tedious to read and difficult for the general public to read,” said Scasta, an assistant professor in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

The blog “Rangelands4U” is at http://bit.ly/rangelands4u.

“I regularly read research that deals with topics ranging from cattle to conservation,” said Scasta. “As an extension specialist, it is my job to make the information accessible and easy to understand.”

Research can be hard to access because not all scientific journals are openly accessible for free. Many research articles are behind paywalls.

“Many scientific journals rely on subscriptions by large libraries, or individuals have to purchase individual articles,” Scasta said. “This makes it nearly impossible for the average citizen to get information that has been vetted by the scientific community.”

Scasta said the typically one paragraph posts summarize key findings of the most recent research relevant to Wyoming rangelands.

Readers can subscribe with an email address to receive notifications of new posts.

New extension educator based in Powell, serves northwest area

Jeremiah Vardiman
Jeremiah Vardiman

Jeremiah Vardiman will join the Park County University of Wyoming Extension office in Powell Jan. 5 as the northwest area educator for agriculture.

Vardiman has worked for UW at the Sheridan Research and Extension Center since 2012 and for the past year served as assistant farm manager.

He received a bachelor’s degree in biology with an emphasis in environmental studies and a master’s degree in education, both from Chadron State College in Nebraska.

His new position will emphasize crop science. He will serve Big Horn, Fremont, Hot Springs, Park and Washakie counties and the Wind River Indian Reservation. In addition to agricultural producers, this position provides educational programming to small-acreage landowners and supports the area’s Master Gardener programs.