The Goodness of Wyoming
In the past years, people in Wyoming have really had their ups and downs economically, but a positive out there is the creditability of agriculture, energy and tourism in our communities. In recent times, this creditability has proven itself.
This is proven by the success of three different entities in their fundraising efforts lately. The Wyoming Agriculture in the Classroom (WAIC), Wyoming Stock Growers Association (WSGA) and the University of Wyoming College of Agriculture and Natural Resources all have grown dramatically in recent years and more importantly, their creditability and reputations have grown with them.
WAIC initiated a Wyoming’s Students Wyoming’s Future Campaign around three years ago to raise funds for a long-used program to assist teachers and their classes. The Wyoming Stewardship Program is about Wyoming students learning and understanding Wyoming’s core industries using critical thinking skills and the internalization of stewardship.
The program started years ago, but is now an accredited curriculum teaching not only about agriculture, but minerals and energy, outdoor recreation and tourism. It is user friendly for the teachers to use.
Basically, students learn their food doesn’t come just from the grocery store, their electricity doesn’t come from a powerline and gasoline doesn’t just come from the quick stop. The program also highlights the people involved in these industries and how they accomplish their jobs.
Close to $5 million was raised from 427 donors who realized the need for a program to tell the true story of Wyoming’s industries and the people working in them.
If you raise cattle in Wyoming, WSGA has helped you at some point, you just may have not realized it. Through its lobbying, educational events and long-standing creditability working with other national and state natural resource agencies, Congressional and state legislative members, you have benefited from their assistance. As you are busy at home, the WSGA is attending meetings, hearings and other events on your behalf.
WSGA has just exceeded their goal of a $1.5 million capital campaign during their 150th Anniversary Celebration to ensure a long-standing future for the association.
While the University of Wyoming is in the process of reorganizing in the next year or so, the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources continues to develop new programs to better serve the changing needs of Wyoming students and community members. A while back they received a private gift and a match appropriation from the Wyoming Legislature totaling around $4 million directed towards agriculture education and ag production programs.
From this match and private funds, a new program, Ranch Management and Agricultural Leadership, has been developed to educate students in ranch management, wildlife, livestock health and recreation. A $500,000 gift from a Wyoming foundation, which would total $1 million with the state matched funding, will support the Institute for Managing Annual Grasses Invading Natural Ecosystems. This program is to fight the establishment and proliferation of invasive grasses degrading Wyoming lands and to restore rangelands.
Lately, the college learned of another match of $2.5 million specifically to benefit range and ranch management programs.
What I’m getting at is, we are fortunate to live in such a giving community and state. We see it time and time again.
It wasn’t just people from agriculture helping fund these entities, they came from across the state recognizing the value of agriculture, energy and tourism to our state. We thank all for their support and trust in these programs.
It is the Wyoming way.