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Farm and Ranch Days: Keynote speakers provide updates during annual event in Fremont County

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Producers and other agricultural stakeholders in and around Fremont County gathered in Riverton Feb. 8-9 for the annual Fremont County Farm and Ranch Days, which hosted University of Wyoming (UW) educators and agriculture leaders from across the state to discuss a variety of topics impacting local agriculture and Wyoming producers. 

The event also welcomed National Weather Service Warning Coordination Meteorologist Lance VandenBoogart for a keynote address on the first day, and U.S. Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) addressed attendees the following day.

Wyoming sees record wet year

The National Weather Service’s (NWS) mission is to provide weather, water and climate data, forecasts, warnings and impact-based decision support services for the protection of life and property and enhancement of the national economy. 

VandenBoogart addressed attendees by answering the question, “How does winter compare to normal?”

“In the Western U.S., from California to Wyoming, weather mapping is showing a large area of record wetness from December through January,” he said. “Through much of the state, we see 300 percent of normal – it’s three times the liquid and it’s quite impressive.” 

As far as temperature, he noted much of the state has seen two to four degrees below normal, but in Fremont County, temperatures have been six to 10 degrees below normal, which has been the 50th coldest December through January on record. 

“Fremont County had two cold spells, one before Christmas and the other at the end of January,” he said. “It’s been quite cold overall, and we’ve received about three and a half inches of liquid equivalent precipitation and 53 inches of snow in Riverton.”  

He continued to share the Shoshoni area has seen a record wet year with record snow accumulation. However, areas in and around Dubois have been less extreme. 

VandenBoogart shared if spring doesn’t bring gradual warmup temperatures, there is a chance for overland flooding issues. 

“Since we have three to four times the snowpack and water in the basins, we will likely deal with these kind of issues,” he said. 

For on-demand weather, he encouraged attendees to visit Here, landowners can search their zip code, street, city or state to bring up current forecasts. 

For a long-term weather forecast this spring, based on the overall climate system, there’s an equal chance for above or below normal temperatures and precipitation. 

VandenBoogart closed by sharing the Wyoming Conditions and Monitoring team hosts a Wyoming Conditions and Outlooks webinar and discuses climate, water and weather. The next webinar is scheduled for Feb. 16 from 1-2 p.m. 

To register, visit or e-mail

Barrasso works to protect ranchers’ rights

“Thank you for including me in the 39th Annual Fremont County Farm and Ranch Days. It’s always a wonderful event,” said Barrasso, kicking off his keynote address on Feb. 9. “We value the work of UW Extension to educate and provide resources for the agriculture community across Wyoming. I always appreciate the opportunity to work with this group on the important issues facing daily operations. Your commitment and hard work is evident in everything you do.” 

Barrasso noted agriculture is the heart of each of Wyoming’s communities. Ranchers often serve as school board members and county commissioners in organizations affecting national policy.  

“Wyomingites have a history of providing fresh, innovative ideas on important issues, and agriculture adapts to new technology and variable markets,” he said. “Working to ensure the strength of Wyoming industries is a cornerstone of my work. There is a variety of important topics impacting farmers and ranchers I’m working on in Washington, D.C.”

He mentioned critical issues which continue to impact public and private lands across Wyoming are forestry and wildfire management. 

“We need to ensure we have policies in place to protect our forests and our rural communities,” mentioned Barrasso. 

In September, he introduced bipartisan legislation titled Promoting Effective Forest Management Act of 2022, to fight against wildfire risks and promote forest rangeland health. 

“We are facing brutal wildfires across the West, which threaten Wyoming’s forests and communities,” said Barrasso. “They are destroying lives and livelihoods, wiping out wildlife and habitat and reducing air quality. Our bipartisan bill will fight back against wildfire risk. It directs the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management to cut red tape and dramatically increase their wildfire mitigation projects.”

He noted during the last Congress he introduced legislation to promote resilient rangelands and effective grazing management through the Resiliency for Ranching and Natural Conservation Health (Ranch) Act. This piece of legislation will promote resilient and healthy rangelands and effective grazing management across the West. 

“The Ranch Act allows temporary use of vacant grazing allotments during extreme events and disasters,” he said. “As we’re starting this 118th Congress, I’m going to continue to support legislation, such as the Ranch Act, to ensure ranchers and farmers across Wyoming have a loud and well-heard voice.” 

Other issues impacting Americans across the country are historic inflation and high energy prices. Barrasso shared he will continue to work on these important topics in Washington, D.C. 

“It’s time for the U.S. to get back to producing, exporting and using American energy,” he stated. “I’m going to continue to work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to protect and expand American dominance.” 

He noted the farm bill will be looking into many aspects of agriculture, including forestry management, grazing and conservation programs. 

“The farm bill needs to provide research funding for animal diseases such as chronic wasting disease and brucellosis,” said Barrasso. “I look forward to working on a farm bill reflecting those who actually grow and produce our food and fiber in rural America.”  

“With a new Congress, there’s work to be done, and we face many difficult challenges in the years ahead, but I truly believe we can find solutions – we must, and it will require people to work together,” he concluded. 

Recordings of the entire event will be available on YouTube at

Brittany Gunn is the editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to

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