Ag promotion: WSGA committee provides update at annual convention
On Dec. 8, during the Wyoming Stock Growers Association’s (WSGA) Winter Roundup and Trade Show, the Agriculture Promotion, Education and Enhancement Committee met to discuss happenings around the state.
College of Agriculture and Natural Resources
First in the lineup of speakers at the meeting was University of Wyoming (UW) Extension Director Kelly Crane, who provided attendees with an update from UW’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
“Like many across the state of Wyoming, the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources is going through some budget reductions, which is currently taking up a lot of our time,” Crane stated. “It is no secret we are going to take some hits, and our programs are going to be impacted by the budget challenges we are going to see over the next few years.”
With this said, Crane noted the college is currently embarking on a review of all of their academic programs.
“We are taking a hard look at things to be more efficient and begin capitalizing on the strengths of our college,” he stated. “We are also focusing on three things to ensure we are staying true to our land grant mission – educating students, Extension and research.”
Crane also noted the college has undergone a few changes as far as faculty goes. In fact, UW Extension recently hired a new beef specialist, a new reproductive physiologist and filled the animal science Rochelle chair.
Additionally, the department is in the process of hiring a new animal science department head.
“The animal science department is new, young and highly talented, and we are very excited about the direction the program is going,” Crane stated.
Wyoming State Fair
Following Crane, Wyoming State Fair Director Courtny Conkle and Wyoming State Fair Assistant General Manager Reba Sundseth took the stage.
“We are here to share some of the good news from 2020, which I know there isn’t a lot of,” Conkle said. “First of all, Wyoming was the only state with a full fair season in 2020. This says so much about the great state we all live in, and it says so much about Wyoming’s agricultural community.”
Conkle pointed out the success seen by county fairs across the state as well as at the state fair was all thanks to hardworking individuals like those in WSGA as well as a few new relationships and partnerships they made this past year.
“We had a fantastic new partnership with the Wyoming Business Council, who came on as our exclusive sponsor for the beef show and the sheep show,” Sundseth noted.
“We would also like to thank the Wyoming Livestock Roundup,” added Conkle. “This was the first year they published the official program for the Wyoming State Fair. I think our partnership with them is very strong, and I am excited for it to continue into the future.”
As far as state fair sponsorships, Sundseth explained 2020 posed a lot of challenges to the oil and gas industries, which is where the bulk of their sponsorships come from. The closure of several of these businesses resulted in $35,000 lost in state fair sponsorships.
“However, we were able to recapture this lost revenue, and despite all of the hardships we faced this past year, we increased our sponsorship numbers 15 percent over 2019,” Sundseth said.
Speaking on sponsorships, Sundseth also noted there are still several sponsorship opportunities available for the grandstand lineup at the 2021 Wyoming State Fair.
“We have the ranch rodeo, two nights of Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) rodeo, the demolition derby and the concert,” Sundseth said. “We also have opportunities within the PRCA rodeo for specific events, and we have a new sponsorship program in the works. Those interested in being a sponsor can access the materials online, and our goal is to have them filled by January or February.”
Following Conkle and Sundseth, Kendall Roberts, region two officer for the Young Producers Assembly, provided updates on WSGA’s Environmental Stewardship Program and the Hansen Memorial Scholarship.
“We spent a lot of time this year on conference calls discussing who our winner would be for the 2021 Environmental Stewardship Award,” she said. “We didn’t feel like we could meet, get together and go on ranch tours, but we were successful, and we have chosen a 2021 winner.”
Roberts noted the committee is also looking forward to their tour with 2020 award winner Double 8 Ranch.
“Additionally, we are planning a 25th anniversary celebration for the WSGA summer convention, where we will highlight the past 25 years of Environmental Stewardship Award winners,” she said.
For the Hansen Memorial Scholarship, Roberts explained the committee awarded two students this past summer, both of which were Wyoming Collegiate Cattle Association members. The scholarship will be available again this year and applications will go online sometime in January or February, according to Roberts.
Hannah Bugas is the managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments of this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.