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Annual Agriculture Hall of Fame picnic celebrates Wyoming’s finest

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Douglas – A large turnout of individuals from across the state of Wyoming gathered at Riverside Park in Douglas on Aug. 14 to celebrate the induction of Dick Hiser and Jim Wilson into the Wyoming Agriculture Hall of Fame and to recognize Ashlee Seidel as the Wyoming Ag in the Classroom Educator of the Year at the 2019 Wyoming Agriculture Hall of Fame Picnic hosted by Farm Credit Services of America, Clark and Associates Land Brokers LLC and the Wyoming Livestock Roundup.

Gov. Mark Gordon, Rep. Liz Cheney, University of Wyoming (UW) Acting President Neil Theobald and the new Dean of UW’s College of Ag Barbara Rasco were in attendance and took turns addressing the crowd.

“There is not an hour in any day that goes by that I’m not proud to represent Wyoming,” said Cheney. “As many know, there is a lot of nonsense going on in Washington D.C. There is nothing more inspiring and invigorating than getting to come home and take the common sense and reality that people in Wyoming live everyday back to Washington. I want to thank you for what you do, what you believe in, what you stand for and the values you live because it is an inspiration. I could not be more proud to represent any group of people anywhere in the world.”

2019 Ag Hall of Fame inductees

Sens. John Barrasso (R-WY) and Mike Enzi (R-WY) took to the stage to present 2019 Wyoming Agriculture Hall of Fame inductees with their awards.

“It is always such an honor to be here at the Wyoming Ag Hall of Fame picnic and we are honored to induct two more members into the Ag Hall of Fame,” said Enzi.

The first inductee to receive his award was Saratoga native, Dick Hiser.

              “I am going to read from the Congressional Record, a speech given on the floor of the United States Senate,” said Enzi. “Dick Hiser is remembered by many in Wyoming who participated in the 4-H program for always being willing to share his knowledge with the younger generation so they could be successful in their own journeys in the agriculture industry and beyond. Fortunately for Wyoming, Mr. Hiser’s contributions not only include his unwavering commitment to the youth programs but Wyoming’s ranching community as well.”

              “Many know Dick Hiser for his work to sustainable and high quality cattle and remaining true to his three goals – ensuring cattle are functional in their environment, structurally sound to compete in the market place and would grade well for final sale,” Enzi continued. “His values, dedication and work ethic exemplify the Wyoming way of life and the cowboy code of ethics.”

              Hiser expressed his gratitude upon receiving the prestigious honor, “I really don’t know how to express myself because the previous inductees are a list of terrific people. I can’t express how grateful I am for this and to everyone who has come here tonight. Thank you all very much.” 

              Jim Wilson, owner of the V Ranch in Thermopolis, was the second 2019 Ag Hall of Fame inductee.

              “Let me share the words in the Congressional Record to express our appreciation for all Jim has accomplished,” said Barrasso. “Many people know Jim as a rancher. With his wife and family, Jim raises high quality beef in Hot Springs County. Jim says he works to grow better grass to grow better beef. Like his mother and father before him, Jim and his wife have built a thriving operation that sets the bar high for other Wyoming producers.”

              “Most people know Jim wears many other hats as well. After developing a strong herd of Saler crossbred cattle, Jim went on to lead the national breed association. Jim has spent his life improving water, soil, forage and genetics for the future,” Barrasso added. “For many years Jim has supported and mentored many young people across the state to learn, live and grow in their agriculture pursuits. He has inspired many and watched them achieve great success.”

              Barrasso continued, “Working in agriculture is not simply a job, it is a vocation, a way of life and a calling. Jim, his wife and family are incredibly effective ambassadors. They share their struggles and their victories. They look for creative solutions and inspire others to act purposefully. They know there is a better future ahead as long as good people are willing to put in the work to make it happen and there is no question Jim has put in the work.”

              Wilson addressed the crowd, “Well that was very nice, and as I receive this award, I look out at this crowd and think there are many more deserving of this award than I am. It is a unique honor and I appreciate it very much.”

2019 Wyoming Ag in the Classroom Educator of the Year

“It has been said knowledge is power, and with that said education is vital,” said Mark McNamee of Clark and Associates Land Brokers LLC who proceeded to welcome President of Wyoming Ag in the Classroom (WAIC) Garrett Horton to the  stage.

Horton discussed WAIC’s main work this year, a curriculum known as the Wyoming Stewardship Program that teaches second through fifth grade students about agriculture, mineral and energy and outdoor recreation and tourism.

“WAIC is making major strides in the education system and we really appreciate the opportunity to share everything we are working on right now,” Horton said. “By September, the lessons will be complete and we will start implementing them into the classroom. This is a day we have dreamed of for years and to say we are excited is an understatement.”

Cheney then presented Ashlee Seidel, fifth grade teacher at Big Horn Elementary, the 2019 Wyoming Ag in the Classroom Educator of the Year Award.

“Participating in the Wyoming Stewardship Program has been a rewarding experience that has given me a greater appreciation for all of the resources Wyoming has and how they are managed,” Seidel said. “I feel this curriculum is an excellent resource for teachers to supplement their instruction. It has been a pleasure the last three years to work with top-notch teachers from around the state to develop this curriculum. Seeing the process through from start to finish has been a highlight of my teaching career.”

Cheney added, “Ashlee will be working with WAIC again this summer as a facilitator for regional educator workshops. She is also going to be involved with the final set of revisions to the units. WAIC is tremendously grateful for Ashlee’s continued enthusiasm and work. When we look at the future and we look to where we are going as a state and as a country there is nothing more important than what we teach our youth in our classrooms.”

Hannah Bugas is the assistant editor for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to

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