Freeman shares longtime ag involvement
Cheyenne – Pam Freeman was born in Rawlins, but grew up in Cheyenne and spent a lot of time in Saratoga on her family’s ranch where they raised 500 Columbia sheep, as well as beef cattle and dairy cows. In her youth, she was very active as a 4-H and FFA member.
Upon graduating high school, Pam pursued her post-secondary education at Laramie County Community College where she received her associate degree in animal science. She continued her education at the University of Wyoming where she received a bachelor’s degree in vocational agriculture education.
Throughout the years, Pam has been involved in many different arenas and has always focused on making a difference in agriculture.
Laramie County Cowbelles
Pam’s involvement with the Laramie County Cowbelles began several years ago when she began helping with the local ag expo.
She shares, “The ag expo is where we have anywhere from 800 to 1,000 kids come from everywhere – mainly fourth graders. The Cowbelles set up different booths, and the students rotate through and learn about agriculture.”
The event takes place every September and is held at the Laramie County Fairgrounds.
“I think the kids actually enjoy the animals, and we definitely have a beef element to the expo,” shares Pam.
In addition to the different agricultural booths, the group also shares presentations on live animals at the ag expo.
“We also bring in live animals so students can learn about the different species of livestock,” Pam explains. “About 60 FFA students come out and participate as guides or speakers with the animals. Working with all those kids and the different elements of the expo is what I enjoy the most.”
Her position as the president of the Laramie County Cowbelles allows her to stay involved with local youth interested in agriculture. She has held the president position for the last three years and has been an active member of the group for seven years.
She jokingly shares, “The Cowbelles won’t let me go.”
Career helping agriculturists
While heavily involved in teaching ag to youth, Pam has also made a career out of helping agriculturists in her position with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
“I’ve been with the USDA for 40 years,” she explains. “I currently work for the Agriculture Research Service (ARS) and am getting ready to retire in November.”
Throughout her career, Pam has experience working in mine reclamation and rangeland management. One of the projects Pam lead at ARS consisted of traveling the state to monitor vegetation and management styles of different ranches.
Pam notes she learned a lot about land management through monitoring and experiences with landowners across the state.
“You learn a lot from talking to ranchers,” she shares. “Not everything is cut and dry, and some things work for some people and some things don’t. You kind of have to feel your way through it.”
Pam credits her team at ARS for their support through her working years.
“Special thanks to the whole crew at the Rangeland Resource Systems Unit,” says Pam.
When Pam is not busy with her career at the USDA and sharing ag with youth, she stays busy with her family’s ranch raising club lambs.
“We have about 70 ewes that we breed, so we just finished the breeding process and we’ll starting having lambs in December,” she shares.
Furthermore, the family also runs a Sullivan Supply business.
“We started the Sullivan business about five years ago, and it has been a way for us to travel, be around the kids, the people we enjoy and agriculture by helping them out and staying in the show area,” shares Pam.
The family travels to different livestock shows and fairs, and Pam is looking forward to continue traveling with her husband, Bryce, after she retires.
Pam takes pride in her children’s involvement in agriculture.
“My oldest daughter, Lindsey, is an assistant professional lecturer at the University of Wyoming,” she shares. “My middle daughter, Kinsey, is a feed nutritionist for Aurora Co-op in Nebraska and my son, Dylan, who is the major driver behind the club lambs, is a lawyer for the public service commission for the state of Wyoming.”
In addition to raising a flock of sheep, Pam stays involved with her local 4-H and FFA programs.
“I’ve also been a 4-H leader for 40 years, so I still run a 4-H club and am very involved in the FFA program in the state,” says Pam.
Pam continues, “I think you have to be involved and get to know the people in the industry and be there to help them. Once we sell a lamb, we teach the kids about feeding and taking care of the animals.”
“We try to help them from the start of a project,” she adds. “One of our goals is to see those kids be successful. Like everything else, the ag world is forever changing.”
Advice for agriculture enthusiasts
Pam offers some advice for the future of ag, noting, “You have to be able to adapt to different situations. Don’t give up. It’s very hard for young people to get into agriculture that don’t have a family ranch.”
Pam encourages those interested to explore available opportunities, sharing, “You never know where you might find them.”
Pam concludes, “It’s really hard for a young person to get started right now with the price of land but, for women, never let someone tell you that you can’t do it, and do the best you can. You can always do it. If you find a way, you can do it.”
Brittany Gunn is the editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to email@example.com.