Young Producer: Meredith Halweg pursues a future in ag
Those who know Meredith Halweg, know she has a driving passion for life and is fiercely dedicated to the ag industry.
“The agricultural industry is something everyone should be a part of at least once in their life. Whether it’s someone gardening and selling at a local farmers’ market or being involved at a large production level,” Meredith stated.
Meredith is the daughter of Larry and Susannah Halweg and a senior at the University of Wyoming (UW), majoring in agricultural business, with a focus on farm and ranch management and a minor in economics.
“I want to provide research for the bison industry, teach seminars on harvesting bison, proper rotational grazing and start my own bison ranch for production and hunting,” she noted. “After graduation, I plan to continue my education at South Dakota State University, focusing on bison studies.”
Meredith explained her love for the bison industry grew during her freshman year at UW, and over the past eight months, she has been interning with the National Bison Association (NBA), where her learning is focused on the economic impact of the bison industry and start-up costs for getting into the bison industry.
Interning for the NBA has allowed Meredith to participate in various legislative activities and utilize social media to share information about the bison industry.
“Meredith has a solid collegiate resume. She is the president of the Wyoming Collegiate Cattle Association (WCCA), put together the first Agriculture Career Fair and works as a business calculus teaching assistant, all while being a Cowboy Coach at UW,” noted NBA Program Manager Lydia Whitman.
“While interning for the NBA, she created an economic evaluation of the bison industry, the cost to enter the bison industry, the cost for a cattle producer to transition into bison, drone footage for ranch shows and helped manage our social media,” Whitman added.
Whitman further mentioned, “She is going to do great things for the agricultural industry and puts her enthusiasm and mind to task exploring how to help ranchers and farmers strive in the ag industry.”
Fighting for ag
It was while growing up in Thornton, Colo. that Meredith’s agricultural dreams began, but these dreams grew during her sophomore year at Mountain Range High School.
“I didn’t grow up on a farm, but I went out and created connections within the agriculture community,” she noted. “My high school saw agriculture as a dying industry and dissolved the FFA chapter at the school.”
Meredith did not let this stop her, and she began advocating for her right to study agriculture and be a part of an FFA chapter.
“After battling with administration, I was allowed to attend St. Vrain High School in Longmont, Colo.,” she added. “It was a 40-minute commute to school and attending two schools was challenging but definitely worth it.”
This experience helped her create a great relationship with the Highland cattle community, and during her senior year in high school, Meredith became heavily involved in a local 4-H and FFA community.
During her final year of high school, she held various titles, showed dairy cattle, beef cattle, poultry and swine and won multiple awards.
The momentum continues
On top of being WCCA president, Meredith is an ambassador-at-large for UW’s College of Agriculture, Life Sciences and Natural Resources, and she helped create the Ranch Management and Agricultural Leadership program.
When she’s not in the classroom, Meredith can be found presenting at state and national conventions, traveling the country to advocate for the ag industry and following her passion for the bison industry.
“In recent months, I have presented at the Wyoming Stock Growers Association and the National Western Stock Show, and I have presented research data at the Dakota Territory Bison Association, Bison Center of Excellence and the Northern Bison Regional Conference,” she said.
“I have presented bison research at the Amarillo Farm and Ranch Show; the Washington, D.C. Safari Club International and also at Washington, D.C. NBA and UW’s Transfer Panel,” she added.
Meredith further noted the industry is growing, but the amount of land owned is slowly shrinking. However, she feels there are a lot of positives in the industry, such as new technology which benefits producers.
Meredith stated, “A couple of the challenges I see are large companies trying to replace a farmer and their practices with man-made meat or removing soil-based farming. I think the government will continue to try and push agriculture practices out, but farmers and ranchers need support at the local and government levels, now more than ever.”
“It has been a great year so far, and with so many milestones in the future, I am thrilled to purchase my first bison in the next few months,” she concluded.
Melissa Anderson is the editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to email@example.com.