A Century of Support: Wyoming Department of Agriculture celebrates 100 years of service to the state
For 100 years, the Wyoming Department of Agriculture (WDA) has been a driving force in promoting and enhancing the state’s agriculture and natural resources sectors.
On Aug. 2, the department celebrated their milestone event in Cheyenne as Gov. Mark Gordon signed a proclamation recognizing WDA’s century worth of contributions to two of the state’s most important industries.
“Agriculture is the super structure on which everything else works. It’s what’s always been here, it’s what’s always held us together and it’s what knits us,” Gordon told Wyoming News Now during the anniversary event.
“To have this tradition carry on for 100 years through all of the things we have seen is a remarkable achievement,” he added.
In the beginning
In a guest opinion column published in the April 8 edition of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup, WDA Director Doug Miyamoto explained WDA was established in 1923 during the 17th session of the Wyoming Legislature, in which 25 members of the Senate and 60 members of the House passed House Bill 230.
This bill, which was signed into law by Gov. William Bradford Ross on March 3, 1923, created the Board of Agriculture, assigned to oversee WDA activities and to hire the first Commissioner of Agriculture.
It also transferred duties from the Immigration Department and the Dairy, Food and Oil Department to WDA, along with the supervision of Wyoming State Fair.
“This legislation also required the commissioner to hire deputies from the University of Wyoming (UW) for technical scientific training and expert advice, while paying one-half of their salary to serve in these positions. These deputies would continue to act as faculty at UW, while also serving as employees of the State Department of Agriculture,” wrote Miyamoto.
A century of support
Since then, WDA has continued to support and regulate agriculture in Wyoming, which is not always an easy thing to do for an industry continuously under fire.
“Our producers have to be tougher than average just to be able to compete,” Miyamoto told Wyoming News Now. “And, they have been able to do this year after year for centuries now. This is something we’re very proud of, and we’re happy to try and support them in any way we can.”
In his guest opinion, Miyamoto wrote, “Over the past 100 years, there have been 19 commissioners and/or directors of agriculture, including myself, and as time has rolled on, the duties, structure and statutory responsibilities of WDA have shifted and grown with the times and the needs of the ag industry and the state.”
“While there have been changes over the years for WDA, the protection, regulation and enhancement of the agriculture industry in Wyoming has always been the driving force,” he continued.
In order to accomplish this, the department encompasses five divisions – administration, analytical services, technical services, health services and natural resources and policy.
Looking to the future
One hundred years of service is a huge accomplishment and something WDA is incredibly proud of.
However, the department is by no means hung up in the past. With 100 years under their belt, they are simply more excited about what is to come in the future.
“There are a lot of technologies coming down the line that I think can give an advantage to Wyoming producers who haven’t had it before,” stated Miyamoto during the celebration. “There are a lot of precision agriculture technologies coming online now, which I think are going to negate some of the challenges we face.”
“There is research being done at UW for Plenty, Inc., which is going to be able to deliver local produce year-round in a controlled climate,” said Gordon. “All of these things mean Wyoming is at the tip of technology in the future and really seizing the day.”
“It has been a good century here at WDA, and we look forward to the work we do over the next century for the state of Wyoming,” concluded Miyamoto.
Hannah Bugas is the managing editor for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.