CWC provides project updates at annual meeting
Published on Feb. 1, 2020
During the Fremont County Cattlemen’s Annual Business Meeting on Jan. 25 in Riverton, Central Wyoming College (CWC) President Brad Tyndall provided an update on the college’s recent happenings.
Rocky Mountain Complex
The first thing Tyndall discussed was the college’s new facility – the Rocky Mountain Complex for Agriculture and Equine Sciences.
“I like to point out we are calling it a complex because it is not just a building,” Tyndall noted. “We also have 127 acres up in Sinks Canyon, and we have a lot of other things going on with this project.”
Tyndall explained within the project, they commissioned an agriculture sector study in the area, hosted a number of forums and analyzed the data.
“From the results, we found Fremont County imports $81 million in ag goods and services in categories we do some production in,” Tyndall said. “Let’s say we capture 25 percent of that $81 million. That is nearly $20 million more to the ag sector in Fremont County alone, every year.”
He continued, “Therefore, we as a college, are exploring what we can do to help people incubate new businesses, accelerate existing businesses and provide people with information and training to become more successful.”
Beefing up Main Street
Tyndall explained the second initiative CWC is focusing on is what he likes to call “Beefing up Main Street.”
“Fremont County is located in a major tourism corridor where hundreds of thousands of people drive through every year,” Tyndall said. “The problem is, they are mostly just blowing past us.”
Tyndall encouraged attendees to think about food trends.
“I remember 25 years ago we had black coffee and cream. Now there is craft coffee and everyone has a snobby taste in coffee,” he laughed. “And what happened to beer? We were all drinking Miller’s, Coors and Budweiser, but now it is more popular to drink at a local brew pub.”
With this in mind, Tyndall explained the newest trend is “craft beef.”
“We really need to start hitting the newest trend hard, which is craft beef,” he said. “We need more local food and local beef in restaurants. We need to create cute towns where people want to stay for a few days instead of just blowing by.”
To do this, Tyndall reiterated how important it is to “Beef up Main Street” with more local products including local beef.
He goes on to note an example is Kroger’s, who pushes local food in their stores.
“When walking into Kroger’s, there are signs and maps of the county showing where the food is from,” he explained. “So we contacted Kroger’s and let them know Wyoming wants to participate, and this is something we are currently working on.”
Mobile meat processing
On top of offering more local foods in local stores, Tyndall noted another important project the college is working on is developing an instructional site for local meat processing.
“In addition to receiving $3 million from the Economic Development Administration for the Rocky Mountain Complex, we also received about $800,000 through Wyoming Works to hire a meat specialist, buy equipment and a nice smoker and build a mobile meat science lab,” Tyndall said.
Tyndall explained the mobile meat science lab is 28 feet long and has three rooms.
“It has one small room for processing, only big enough for a few people and a few head. The next room is for cooling but there is only enough space for a few carcasses. This is not a giant factory. The rest of the space is for mechanical stuff,” he said.
Tyndall continued, “We have had a lot of people worry that we are going to compete with nearby businesses. However, I want to stress this is not going to be a production facility. It will be strictly used for instructional and educational purposes.”
A step forward
Although many of CWC’s projects are still in progress, Tyndall noted they have already received interest from across the country.
“I was recently on the Wyoming Radio, which somehow got picked up by the National Public Radio,” explained Tyndall. “I got a call from New York from some people who are choosing to remain unnamed at this time, and asked if we could get 600 head of Wyoming beef processed for them.”
“It was really a fascinating call because they are looking for a source of range-finished beef that doesn’t come from the big plants, and they are really interested in Wyoming beef,” he added. “In the grand scheme of things 600 head is nothing, but this is actually a huge step forward in the exact direction we have been hoping to go.”
Hannah Bugas is the assistant editor for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.