Camino bolsters sheep industry
As a third-generation sheep producer, Peter John Camino has supported the industry throughout his life, and after the Wyoming Wool Growers Association (WWGA) nominated him for the Wyoming Agriculture Hall of Fame, he will be inducted on Aug. 16.
“Throughout his life, Peter John has served his community with dedication and leadership,” says WWGA. “He never misses the opportunity to support his community, whether through his church, where he serves as a trustee, or to help a start-up business turn their dream into a reality.”
Camino has served as a board member for Johnson County Fire District, as a member of the Knights of Columbus and on the predator boards, as well as formally and informally providing guidance for the University of Wyoming Sheep Program.
Life in ag
Camino was born and raised on his family’s sheep operation outside Buffalo. Camino and Son Ranch raises Rambouillet sheep.
He says, “My grandfather started our ranch. Dad bought it from grandfather, and I bought it from my dad.”
After high school, Camino went to college, then went to the military for two years.
“When I came home, I went back to ranching,” Camino comments. “It’s in my blood. They needed help on the ranch, so I came home.”
As he looks back on his career, Camino says, “The late sixties and early seventies were really fun in the sheep business. There were a lot of people in the business, and it was thriving.”
He remembers trailing sheep to the mountain, getting together with the community in the fall and working with the sheep industry.
Looking at today, he says, “Today, it seems like everyone’s trying to do away with us, but back then, we had a lot of support. It was a fun time to be a sheep man.”
Sheep industry associations
Among his involvement in the state’s agriculture industry, Camino has been an influential and driving force in WWGA.
“WWGA is an organization people look to for information and leadership,” Camino says. “It’s important to have a state leader to guide our industry and tie in with the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) for federal work, too.”
“A lot of our problems – not all of them, but many – come from the federal level, and we need the state and national associations to have influence at that level,” he adds.
Amy Hendrickson, WWGA executive director, says, “During Peter John’s tenure as WWGA president, the association was faced with a difficult situation that threatened its very future. His strong leadership, willingness to listen to members and courage to make tough decisions helped revive the organization.”
“These skills allowed Peter John to retain the confidence of his board members so that, together, they could resolve the issues and chart a pathway forward that would re-establish the association, strengthen its purpose and ensure its continuation,” Hendrickson adds.
Camino has also always been focused on young people and sharing a positive message about agriculture and the sheep industry.
“For many years, Peter John has worked with 4-H in Johnson County and as sheep superintendent for the Johnson County Fair,” WWGA says. “He believes strongly in sharing his knowledge and experience as a sheep producer with youth.”
The Camino family also hosts students at their operation every year to teach about ranching and the history of the sheep industry.
“For more than 30 years, he has invited school children to the ranch,” WWGA comments.
Camino also owned a catering company for many years, which he used as a way to promote American lamb and educate the public on the value of lamb and wool.
Ag Hall of Fame
WWGA emphasizes, “To our knowledge, Peter John has never been formally recognized for his hard work, commitment and leadership that he generously provides to Wyoming’s agriculture industry.”
Camino says, “I was very surprised to win this award. It’s pretty humbling, and I feel honored to be put in with a group of people who have done a lot for agriculture.”
Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.