Hendrickson set to retire
Casper – Amy Hendrickson recently announced her resignation as executive director, effective March 31, with the Wyoming Wool Growers Association (WWGA). Hendrickson, a former Sheridan and Big Horn native is looking forward to retirement.
Prior WWGA career accomplishments
Prior to her position with WWGA, for nearly 20 years Hendrickson worked for the American Horse Council in Washington, D.C. She then decided to go back to college for her Master’s Degree in Biomedical Science Policy and Advocacy.
After obtaining her master’s, she went to work for the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, where she worked alongside commissioners, secretaries and directors of agriculture departments in all 50 states.
“This was a job I really loved,” she shares. “But all of my family was in Wyoming, and my daughter was in college at the University of Wyoming. She said to me one day, ‘If you ever want to see me again mama, you’re going to have to come back to Wyoming.’”
Hendrickson’s dad, family and husband were all residing in Wyoming while she worked from Washington, D.C. So, she decided it was time for her to go home after learning of the position with WWGA.
Once the position was offered, she shares, “It was such an honor for them to have confidence in me, and it’s been really quite a journey from that point to now. It’s a great organization with wonderful people. It’s on a great foundation now, and I’m sure they will find someone really wonderful to replace me.”
Executive director role
Since 2013, Hendrickson has worked to represent Wyoming sheep producers in policy advocacy, education and lamb and wool product promotion. The state ranks fourth in total sheep and lamb numbers and third in breeding sheep inventories. Overall, the state ranks first in total value of wool production in the U.S.
In addition to being the administrator for the organization, Hendrickson worked on several policies throughout her time with WWGA. She also was a part of, managing and participating, in several predator control projects and meetings with the American Sheep Industry Association, Wyoming Stock Growers Association, University of Wyoming and Wyoming Animal Damage Management Board. She stayed very busy, she shares.
She learned a lot about airplanes, predator control and federal contracts, she continues.
“I love everything I do; I just don’t like doing it all at the same time,” she says. “Ag policy is an area I was involved in my whole career, so this was an interesting part to me, as well as the opportunity to work with our state legislature.”
“I feel very fortunate to have been able to lobby for the sheep industry. When I first started attending ag committee meetings during legislative session, they took place in tiny rooms at the Capitol. We all sat close together next to each other with our knees up against the legislators’ chairs working on policy change,” she shares. “With today’s technology, many meetings take place via Zoom, and the committees now meet in large open rooms. It’s a lot different, but I appreciated the opportunities I’ve had through WWGA.”
When asked what her favorite part about working for WWGA, she says “My interaction with producers, providing information and trying to address their needs.”
Hendrickson gives special thanks to Peter John Camino, former WWGA president, and member of the initial board who took a risk and offered her the opportunity to serve the association.
“There have been people who have been very supportive and helped me along the way – providing me with information when I needed it and support,” she adds. “All the way up to our current board – just really good people in our industry.”
Future advice and plans
When asked about advice to give a future candidate, she says, “First off, it’s a bigger position than it appears. There is a lot to do, and you just have to take one day at a time and set boundaries. You’re not going to be able to do everything every day, just do the best you can and don’t be afraid to ask for help.”
“Know you’re not going to win them all, which can be really hard,” she adds. “Regardless of politics in the last administration, from a public lands, ranching and policy perspective, overall, we saw immense gains – things I had been working on for years and started to see really positive movement.”
Having worked in ag policy for 39 years, Hendrickson mentions the most frustrating thing was feeling as if all of her hard work in ag policy was rolling back down the hill, she explains.
“When you are in this position, you can’t really take one side or the other, because you have to work with all of them,” she says.
Hendrickson looks forward to continuing her work with the American Sheep Industry Association and giving back to her community and the people of Wyoming.
“What I want most is to set my own schedule and not feel like I have to do something all the time,” Hendrickson concludes. “In addition, I’m looking forward to relaxing, reading, doing nothing and taking a few trips with my family.”
She jokes, saying, “I imagine me saying in three months, I’m so bored and finding something new to do, but I’m looking forward to knowing what doing nothing feels like.”
The Wyoming Livestock Roundup wishes Hendrickson the best of luck in her future endeavors.
For more information on the executive director position, visit wyowool.com or contact WWGA President Regan Smith at 307-899-6130.
Brittany Gunn is the editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.