Youth Involvement: WCCA works to strengthen bonds and become more involved in ag industry
The Wyoming Collegiate Cattle Association (WCCA) is a group of college students who have many different experiences in the cattle industry at the University of Wyoming (UW). The organization has members who have grown up on large-scale operations and other members who have never seen a cow until they joined the club.
The main goal of WCCA is to help students grow their ranch at home, through learning about different practices on different ranches, in which each student can take something valuable from the club back home or use it to start their own operation.
This year, WCCA is making an effort to strengthen their bonds with industry organizations throughout the state of Wyoming and work to become more involved in the industry as a whole.
Strengthening bonds, attending events
According to WWCA President Meredith Halweg, a UW senior majoring in agriculture business and farm and ranch management with a minor in economics, the association is working on strengthening their bond with the Wyoming Stock Growers Association so members have closer ties to strong mentors and to gain life experiences they wouldn’t otherwise get in a classroom.
WWCA’s female members will be attending the Wyoming Women in Agriculture Symposium Nov. 9-10, where they will have the opportunity to hear from Keynote Speaker Brandi Buzzard and participate in a workshop with her, attend a trade show, go on two diversity tours and complete Question, Persuade and Refer (QPR) training.
“This event will be very valuable to our members so they can grow their relationships across Wyoming with other women in agriculture, as well as gain experience on how these ranches are run by women,” Halweg says.
“An exclusive event provided by this symposium is the QPR training, which is a suicide prevention training for participants to be able to recognize the warning signs of suicide. In this training, they are able to question, persuade and refer people at risk for suicide to further help,” she continues. “Our members learning about QPR is very important for the agricultural industry because of how high suicide rates are for farmers and ranchers. This allows our members to help other students on campus, people in the community and farms and ranches across the nation.”
Additionally, WWCA is hoping to send members and officers to CattleCon in Orlando, Fla. at the end of January, and members chosen to attend hope to have a fully paid trip from generous donors and funds acquired through the association’s fundraising activities.
“Our club does a meat raffle box, and it is the responsibility of each member to sell a minimum of 10 tickets,” Halweg explains. “Other fundraising efforts to raise money for members to go to CattleCon and for our gala is through Giving Day, which is held Oct. 25-26 from noon to noon.”
Those interested in donating to the club on Giving Day can visit give.uwyo.edu/giving-day-2023/?a=1. To donate, click on the Campaign tab and choose WWCA.
“Members attending CattleCon would have the opportunity to network with industry stakeholders, speak with National Cattlemen’s Beef Association members at the national level, learn more about agricultural policies affecting the cattle industry, gain valuable experience from the different presenters and learn from producers in the industry,” Halweg notes.
Volunteer work and
In addition to strengthening their statewide bonds, WWCA has also been dedicated to becoming more involved in their local community.
“This year, our members are learning very valuable lessons through volunteering around the Laramie community and Albany County,” Halweg says.
She notes some of WWCA’s volunteer goals include reading books to local elementary students and teaching them more about agriculture outside of the classroom, as well as volunteering at the Annual Ag Day Barbecue, held Oct. 7 to help feed UW supporters before they attended a home football game.
WWCA also participated in the homecoming parade and the Tribute to Steamboat Rodeo during homecoming week, in which team members won the calf scramble event.
“We are also partnering with the Wyoming Hunger Initiative, and we are looking at ways in which we can better help Wyoming as a whole,” says Halweg. “Our club is also trick or treating for canned goods, and is making agriculture-themed tie blankets for local Laramie residents.”
“In April 2024, we are hosting our first gala at UW and would love fellow ranchers and other individuals who want to learn about the cattle industry to attend,” she continues. “We are currently looking for sponsors to help us get the event started.”
WWCA is dedicated to continuing its involvement in local communities, promoting the beef industry and helping youth continue or get started in the agricultural industry. WWCA meets each semester and welcomes anyone who is ready to grow and learn about the cattle industry. Individuals interested in sponsoring or joining WWCA should contact Meredith Halweg at email@example.com.