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College of Agriculture, Life Sciences and Natural Resources gives update

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

By Dr. Barbara Rasco

Students are back – and after 30 or so years in the business it seems to me they get younger every year.  Freshman numbers are up after two years of COVID-19 and we are happy students are on campus again in big numbers – AirPods and all! 

With the start of a new school year – biology, botany, physiology, wildlife and fisheries management and zoology majors are joining the Agriculture and Natural Resource majors in the new the College of Agriculture, Life Sciences and Natural Resources, formed this July, adding about 600 undergraduate students to the college – bringing numbers to about 1,380 overall.  

Abraham Lincoln said, “The best way to predict your future is to create it” and our faculty, staff and students are off to a strong start creating a new future together to grow knowledge, people and communities.

Despite the continuing budget and staffing pressures we face, there are bright spots. Thanks to construction funding from the legislature this past session, long needed improvements to our research and Extension centers are underway beginning with the feed mill at the Laramie Research and Extension Center. Matching funds, also from the legislature, bolster a campaign in excellence in agriculture and in range and ranch management programming has resonated with many generous donors. These funds are going a long way to build programs supporting agriculture in the state.

This summer, faculty from molecular biology, botany, zoology and ecosystems science and management moved into the newly inaugurated Science Initiative Building. The collaborations these researchers develop across the life and physical sciences will help to address complex challenges facing society in agriculture, natural resources, medicine and environmental science.

Agricultural research showcased at Field Days at Powell, Lingle and Sheridan featured new advances in crops and crop varieties adapted to Wyoming, and developments which can improve pest and weed management, increase yield or quality and reduce inputs or water use. Studies on novel approaches to range management and animal husbandry practices target strategies for resiliency in production systems in high altitude and low moisture environments.

Great news for the college and our ability to serve the land grant mission – Family and Consumer Sciences will remain as a unit in the college! We are looking forward to building out separate degree programs in nutrition, design, merchandising and textiles and with our colleagues in the College of Education, human development and family science and early childhood education programs.  

The blanket project is in its second year and was introduced at the Wyoming State Fair. It is made from yarn from the University of Wyoming (UW) flock, now available for sale online through the UW Bookstore and at Ag Day Oct. 1. Also, as part of the Wyoming Wool Initiative, the inaugural Lamb-a-Year program connecting our students with sheep producers and supports sheep research.   

On a final note, our famous team of matched Haflinger draft horses Pistol and Pete are making their rounds on Prexy’s Pasture late mornings each Friday prior to home football game days with wagon rides. If you’re on campus, join us and then stop in for a cup of coffee at the main office and say hi.

Dr. Barbara Rasco is the University of Wyoming College of Agriculture, Life Sciences and Natural Resources dean. She can be reached at 307-766-4133.

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