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University of Wyoming CALSNR Continues to Serve State’s Agriculture Industry

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

By Kelly Crane

I am honored and humbled by the opportunity to address the members and supporters of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association (WSGA) as the newly appointed acting dean of the University of Wyoming (UW) College of Agriculture, Life Sciences and Natural Resources (CALSNR). 

Since 1992, WSGA has been an important part of my professional life, and members of this organization are some of my dearest friends and most influential mentors. 

Engaging in the ag industry 

As I consider how UW and CALSNR “engages in your industry,” the following quote by Liberty Hyde Bailey comes to mind, “The university belongs to the people of the state. It will justify its existence only as it serves the people.” 

This quote occupies a prominent place on my office wall to remind me of the university and CALSNR’s dedication to serving the people of Wyoming by inspiring, training and supporting today’s industry leaders. 

We also play a crucial role in preparing future generations of industry leaders through our academic degree programs and through addressing the industry’s most pressing challenges with innovative research. 

We are proud of our students, faculty and Extension partners for their profound contributions to Wyoming’s industries related to agriculture and natural resources. The recent incorporation of the departments of Botany, Life Sciences and Zoology and Physiology into CALSNR creates unparalleled opportunities for us to collaborate and support the industry.  

Our hope is parents, employers and prospective students recognize the unique value we offer. 

No other college or university is better positioned to prepare the next generation of industry leaders for Wyoming. A few examples illustrating our commitment to this goal exist within our programs.  

Providing diverse programs

We have and continue to excel in supporting ranching, farming and other agricultural sectors through our academic and Extension programs in agricultural business, animal and veterinary science, plant production and protection, rangeland ecology, watershed management, ranch management and agricultural leadership. 

We are extraordinary in our commitment to provide experiential learning opportunities to our students. 

The annual Ram Test and High Altitude Bull Test and Sale are a prime illustration of our commitment to hands-on learning. These innovative programs provide ranchers with valuable performance data and offer students invaluable practical experience. 

Students learn firsthand about development, selection, management, marketing and more.

Consignors receive breeding soundness exam results, high altitude fitness evaluations, feed efficiency metrics and other relevant data. 

“It’s not a normal class,” says Chase Markel, PhD student from Wheatland who helped design the program. “You can get your baseline classes at any institution in the country, but the lessons in this class are priceless.” 

While many of our agricultural programs focus on growing food and production, our Family Consumer Sciences Department investigates how food and nutrition affect the overall well-being of individuals. 

Our family and consumer sciences students enrolled in nutrition courses work closely with industry practitioners on the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) connected with the Dietetics program. 

In Wyoming, natural resource and wildlife management is intimately linked with agriculture. We also prepare the next generation of natural resource and wildlife managers through our academic programs. 

Botany, ecology, rangeland ecology and watershed management (REWM) and the wildlife and fisheries biology management programs provide outstanding career opportunities for our students. 

For example, 90 percent of REWM graduates successfully secured jobs in their field of choice last year.  These accomplished alumni often find employment with federal and state agencies such as the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and Wyoming Game and Fish Department. 

One-third of graduate students in the zoology and physiology department engage in research within the Cooperative Research Unit, which is a collaboration effort with USFS. Their research spans a wide range of topics, from mule deer migration to native fish conservation and everything in between. 

“Our mission is graduate education and meeting the research needs of our state and federal partners,” says Matt Kauffman, unit leader. “One of the strengths of our program is graduate students get instruction and guidance from their graduate committee here on campus, but they also get real on-the-ground training and perspectives from the wildlife managers they work with.” 

Making invaluable contributions

The diverse programs in our college allow us to serve Wyoming industries in many ways. We take pride in producing exceptional professionals with practical and relevant knowledge and experience. 

Our academic and research programs in biology, life sciences, microbiology, molecular biology, physiology and veterinary sciences also prepare the next generation of veterinarians, physicians, scientists and healthcare professionals which will make invaluable contributions to Wyoming. 

We are genuinely grateful for the support our college and the university receives from Wyoming industries. It is imperative  we remain relevant and responsive to the needs of Wyoming. 

To learn more about our research, teaching and Extension efforts, visit or call 307-766-4133. 

Kelly Crane is the acting dean of UW CALSNR and can be reached at or 307-766-3563. This oped was originally published in WSGA’s Cow Country magazine.

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