UW personnel give SAREC and college updates during field day
During the University of Wyoming (UW) open house and field day on Aug. 10 at the James C. Hageman Sustainable Agriculture Research and Extension Center (SAREC) near Lingle, UW College of Agriculture, Life Sciences and Natural Resources Dean Barbara Rasco and UW Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Station (WAES) Director Eric Webster shared with attendees university and SAREC updates.
Effective July 1, UW College of Agriculture and Natural Resources will now be called the College of Agriculture, Life Sciences and Natural Resources, offering several new undergraduate and graduate programs.
“We’ve incorporated into this new college our programs in agriculture and natural resources along now with the programs of zoology, physiology, botony and life sciences undergraduate education programs,” said Rasco. “Faculties from the Arts & Science College wanted to come and join folks in agriculture early – so the good news is, we’re getting roughly 500 more undergraduate students, 100 graduate students and 80 faculty in the college.”
A new budget is not expected to be released until 2023, but integration is going well, she noted.
“I’m really proud of how everyone is working together,” she added. “I think it’s going to be a really good transition and we’re excited about having these programs join us.”
While the college has updated the name, the mission has stayed the same, she added, “Our vision is to serve people through application of the land grant principles of learning, engagement and discovery.”
The mission of the College of Agriculture, Life Sciences and Natural Resources at UW is to be the proactive leader in education and scholarship to cultivate healthy, sustainable systems for Wyoming’s agriculture, environment and natural resources and rural communities,” states the UW webpage.
“We still have our missions – growing people, knowledge and communities,” she noted. “We’re still going to focus on what we’ve always done well at the College of Ag and Natural Resources – which is supporting our rural and agriculture communities.”
In closing, Rasco expressed gratitude towards UW faculty, board of trustees, students, parents, legislative personnel and the community for their support.
Webster, an Alabama native with 24 years at Louisiana State University as a faculty member, has served in his current role for one year and prefers to think of himself as a facilitator, he shared.
“My job is to make sure SAREC and our other centers have what they need to get the job done,” he mentioned.
A challenging part is not having enough faculty or staff. One solution is moving some of the station’s federal money for beneficial use.
“Our accountants have really done a nice job with our federal dollars we get each year,” said Webster. “We have several projects our scientists will do research projects under – these projects are usually listed as Hatch funds, multi-state Hatch funds and McIntire-Stennis funds, which is more forestry and rangeland research projects. We often refer to these funds as capacity dollars.”
He noted most universities, when looking at U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture funds, will generally put those funds towards salaries at almost 100 percent.
“We have taken a close look at the percentage of time our faculty spend on their capacity projects and direct those percentages into salary, allowing us more flexibility to use those funds to update field and laboratory equipment directly used on capacity research projects and hire graduate students whose research is directly related to these capacity projects,” said Webster
Having access to better and updated equipment allows research station staff to work more efficiently.
“Technology in agriculture research stations is typically four years behind and what we’re trying to do is to catch that up – it’s not an easy or cheap process,” he noted.
In the last year, the state legislature provided the Agricultural Experiment Station $8.6 million for upgrades at UW Research and Extension centers. Top priorities for these funds include a new feed mill at the Laramie Research and Extension Center and a new shop in Sheridan. Other priorities will be set once a budget is determined for the feed mill, explained Webster.
Brittany Gunn is the editor for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to email@example.com.