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Worland – During the 2015 Ag Appreciation Dinner on Feb. 3, organized by the Big Horn Basin Ag Ambassadors, South Flat Land and Livestock, owned and operated by the Lloyd Lungren family, was recognized for their long-standing support of the agriculture industry in the Basin. 

“Our Ag Family of the Year is an innovative family,” said Jim Miller, president of the Big Horn Basin Ag Ambassadors, as he read the Lungren’s nomination. “They are working toward soil improvement using minimum tillage and crop rotations of sugarbeets, beans, barley, alfalfa seed and grain corn.”

Family based operation

The Lungren family came to Washakie County in the 1920s when Adam Lungren moved to the area and started the farm. Adam’s son Lloyd, the oldest generation on the ranch today, continued his father’s traditions and developed the operation further. 

“Lloyd believes the best fertilizer one can put on a field is a bootprint,” Miller said. “He’s tough, and he’s survived tough times over his ag career in the Basin.”

Lloyd’s son Vance also continued the operation, and today, Vance’s sons Vance, Jr., known as Vanny, and Clint work on the farm and ranch with their families. Four generations live on the farm and ranch today.

Lloyd’s wife Ruth, Vance’s wife Debbie, Vanny’s wife Kim and children Kaden, Tristen and Lily, as well as Clint’s wife Sara and children Owen and Paige, all call South Flat Land and Livestock home.

“Ruth is a spiritual leader and a rock of faith. She has been the rudder of the ship as she guides and passes on many of her longstanding German traditions to the new generations and to the community,” Miller added. “Always finding time to help, her compassion and selflessness are unparalleled.”

Each of the family members has their own specialty and expertise on the operation, making it an overall successful farm and ranch and enabling the family to reach the height of productivity. 

“When needed, everyone works in all aspects of the farm, ranch, pumpkin patch and corn maze,” Miller said.

Diversified operation

At South Flat Land and Livestock, which sits just south of Worland, the Lungrens run a farm and commercial Black Angus cow/calf operation, pumpkin patch and corn maze. Each aspect of their operations benefits the others.

Clint primarily runs the farming operation and has continually worked to improve the efficiency of the operation. 

The farm originally started by producing sugarbeets. 

“Sugarbeets have been a very good crop for us. They have been in our family for a long time, and we have a lot of good history with the sugarbeets,” said Vanny. “We’ve been able to blend the sugarbeets in well with our cattle operation, whether we are talking about feeding the beet pulp coming out of the factory or grazing cattle on beet tops in the winter.” 

Barley, corn, pinto beans and seed alfalfa were strategically added throughout the course of time to capture market value and increase the productivity of the operation. 

“The cows are able to utilize the resources that the farm has,” Vanny added.

Cattle

The Black Angus commercial cows run on the headwaters of No Water Creek, but the cattle are run at the farm closer to town, as well. 

“We start calving the first week of May,” Vance explained. “The calves hit the ground running, and the cows produce a lot of milk.”

During the summer, the cows run out on the range. They are trailed back to the farm for the winter, where they are able to graze grain, beet tops and other crop residue. 

“We have be able to double-crop some of our acres and provide much-needed fall pastures through these times when feed is high-priced,” Vanny added.

Work together

“All of the family members are conscientious producers who are always striving to make the best choices on their operation and are cognizant of the impacts of those decisions on natural resources,” Miller continued. “When it is economically feasible, they implement practices that have a positive impact on those resources.”

“We love the challenge of ranching,” said Lloyd.

Vance noted that his sons compliment each other in their strengths, allowing them to work together well and prosper. 

“It’s amazing how well these entities compliment one another,” Vanny added. “They really go together well in a lot of aspects, and it helps us to be successful.”

On presenting the 2015 Ag Citizen of the Year Award, Miller commented, “Congratulations to an agriculture family who is successful, innovative and a hard act to follow.”

Ag Ambassadors

The Big Horn Basin Ag Ambassadors work each year to serve the producers in the Basin. 

“The Big Horn Basin Ag Ambassadors was formed to help promote ag and education in our citizens about ag,” says Tori Dietz, Washakie County Conservation District manager. “Our group includes the Washakie County Conservation District, Washakie County Cooperative Extension Service, local ranchers and farmers, USDA Farm Service Agency, Allied Seed Company, Security State Bank, ANB Bank, Pinnacle Bank, Worland Ten Sleep Chamber of Commerce and some local businessmen.”

The Ambassadors strive to provide information and education to farm and ranch families to help them achieve their business goals. They are also proactively involved in the social and economic issues affecting the farm and ranch community and work to educate the general public about the impacts that agriculture has on the economy, ecology and society as a whole.

Ag Citizen of the Year

Since 1998, the Big Horn Basin Ag Ambassadors have recognized an outstanding member of the ag community for their time and effort toward improving the area. 

Previous award winners include Phil Huber, Terrill Gibbons, Bill Glanz, Gary Rice, Ray Lowe, Kathy Bush, Dave Asay, Jim Gill, Elmer Nelson, Sam and Phyllis Hampton, the Brewster family, the Harold Miller family, Sharon Kelly, Propp Farms and Dick McKamey.

Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Cheyenne – With stiff competition from around the state from ranches focused on conservation, this year, King Ranch of Cheyenne was selected as the 2014 Leopold Conservation Award winner.

King Ranch, owned by Mark Eisele and his family, has embraced their location bordering the growing city of Cheyenne and utilized it to positively represent agriculture in Wyoming. 

Eisele operates the ranch with his wife Trudy, daughters Kendall Roberts and Kaycee Scadden and son Colton.

“We have a lot of things going on, and it is labor intensive,” Eisele explains. “The whole family loves the ranch and is a part of it.”

Getting started

Eisele began working on King Ranch for Ann and Jerry King nearly 40 years ago as a teenager. 

“I started buying into the ranch in the early 1990s and was a full partner by 1997,” he says. “Ann passed away in January 2011.”

After working for 10 years on an estate plan, the ranch seamlessly transferred to the Eiseles on Ann’s passing. 

“Mrs. King made a real effort to bring me into the ranch,” Eisele comments. “The Kings made it possible for me, as a young producer, to buy into the ranch.”

Conservation focused

During his years on the ranch, Eisele notes that conservation has been important for many reasons. 

“The Kings were great stewards and would spend lots of time looking at the grass and the ranch,” he explains. “I owe most of my grassland education to them, and I have always been committed to what they started.”

Conservation on the operation has always been important because “we can’t starve a profit out of a cow,” Eisele says.

“During the drought, we were one of the few places that didn’t have to cut our cow numbers because we had grass,” he explains, adding that a well-managed operation is essential to surviving drought years. 

Finally, Eisele was inspired to embrace a variety of conservation efforts after seeing other ranches through the Environmental Stewardship Award program. 

“When I first became active in the Wyoming Stock Growers Association, I had the chance to see all kinds of great ranches and some wonderful examples of stewardship,” Eisele says. “We have emulated a lot of the practices that we have seen because they have worked so well.”

Strategies to improve

King Ranch has undertaken a variety of conservation strategies to continually improve their operation and maintain the viability of the ranch moving into the next generation. 

“We’ve done a lot of little things,” Eisele says, mentioning cross fencing, weed management, monitoring, grazing management and others.

“Water is our single biggest challenge,” he comments. “We have great grass that is really well managed, but water is our challenge.” 

Solar pumps and construction of water wells and pipelines has improved distribution of cattle across the landscape, and they have worked to make sure at least two water sources are present in each pasture. 

The Eiseles have also installed rubber tire tanks and laid underground pipelines to improve water on the ranch. 

Another improvement involves adapting submersible pumps on windmills to ensure several days of water availability, even if windmills aren’t turning.

Urban interface

King Ranch’s location has also provided interesting challenges for the operation.

“We are next to Cheyenne, which gives us development-type pressures,” Eisele explains. “We have subdivisions, a chemical plant and the city landfill has an inholding on us. Interstate 80 cuts our ranch literally in half.”

“We have to work with a number of different entities to make sure our operation is viable,” he continues.

At the same time, their location means that they are very visible to the public. 

Eisele says, “We know the image we cast for the public is important and reflects on others in agriculture.”

 “We have highways on the north and south and the interstate runs though the middle,” Eisele says. “We also have a highly visible Forest Service allotment.”

Forest Service

King Ranch runs cattle in the Pole Mountain Forest Service allotment, which is one of the most highly recreated allotments in the West.

Eisele says, “We have a tremendous amount of recreation on our allotment.”

“We have done some offsite water improvements on the Forest,” he mentions, adding that on their Forest Service allotment, cross fencing has allowed for improvements.

He further notes that after they were challenged on water quality in the allotment, they worked with the 11 other permittees, Laramie County Conservation District, the Laramie Rivers Conservation District, Wyoming Stock Growers Association and Forest Service to save the permits. 

“We worked with all of those entities to save those permits and keep 12 families and 12 operations in the forest,” Eisele says. “That has a long-term effect on these ranches and properties.”

Cattle management

King Ranch has also partnered with High Plains  Grasslands Research Station in a wide variety of research efforts with their cattle herds.

“We have three separate herds that we manage,” Eisele explains. “My father and mother have a herd that is a minimum input, economical and profitable bunch of cows.”

The minimum input herd is the subject of research at the High Plains Grasslands Research Station west of Cheyenne. 

Every year, a number of papers are published based on the data collected at the station, including herd dispersion, breeding data, research on grass quality and management and climate change, among other topics. 

Legacy herd

The second herd of cattle is the King Ranch legacy herd.

“This herd was started by the Kings, and they are our high-end cows,” Eisele explains. “They are a Charolais-Simmental cross, and they get the best of everything.”

He continues that the herd raises enormous calves but historically has not been the most profitable, so the family has actively taken steps to bring the cattle more in line with the rest on the ranch. 

“Kendall is our herdsman, and she has been working to downsize the cattle,” Eisele comments. “They are all Red and Black Angus now, and in three to five years, they will be in line with the rest of our cows.”

Main herd

The third herd, which Eisele identifies as their main herd, is a solid bunch of high elevation, rangeland cattle. 

“We have good calving percentages, good breed-back and great weaning percentages,” he continues. “They are a really great batch of cows.”

Finally, a bunch of yearlings is also supplied to High Plains Grasslands Research Station each year for grazing studies, where intensity and grazing term are analyzed. 

“There are 27 pastures that cattle in that study rotate through for short-term, medium-term and long-term grazing in light, medium and heavy stocking rates,” Eisele explains. “All the results are publically available.”

Award win

“We are impressed with the way Mark has met the challenges that come with having a ranch near a growing metropolis,” says Wyoming Stock Growers Association Executive Vice President Jim Magagna. “The way he has been able to work with multiple parties to accommodate multiple uses that complements rather than hinders his ranching operation is very key.”

Eisele mentions, “We are humbled and honored to be among the people who have won the Environmental Stewardship Award in the past.”

Wildlife focused

“My predecessors were great, and Mrs. King was a true wildlife lover,” Mark Eisele of King Ranch comments. “They were great cattlemen, but Mrs. King also had a huge love for birds and wildlife.”

Ongoing work has taken place on the ranch to facilitate bird survival, including development of bluebird houses, flagging of duck nests and other efforts.

Happy Jack Wind Farm also sits in the midst of their cattle operation.

“A good piece of our ranch is a wind farm,” Eisele says. “The relationship with livestock and wildlife has been important.”

Almost no raptor kills were documented as a result of the wind farm, and Eisele says, “That is a big deal.”

“We also have a couple of endangered plants on the ranch,” says Eisele. “We have a long-term monitoring project with Fish and Wildlife Service, and we are proving that grazing and crop haying keep the Colorado Butterfly Plant alive and thriving.”

King Ranch also manages all the hunting on their property. 

“We pretty much open our ranch up to the public, but I also hold back a piece of the ranch for youth and disabled hunters,” Eisele comments. “We also do some different things for bow hunters, and we have a couple of ponds that we stock with fish.”

The family has also worked with a group called Healing Waters, which allows veterans to come to the ranch to fish. 

Cropping

On top of their cattle, the Eisele family also raises hay. 

“The ranch is at 6,500 feet, so cropping ability is limited by short summers and cool days,” Mark Eisele says. “Most of the time we can raise more than enough hay for the cows.”

They work with the city of Cheyenne in an arrangement to hay their ranch south of Interstate 80. 

They have also converted from high-pressure to low-pressure pivots, Eisele says, which has resulted in electricity and water savings.

Look for more information about the Environmental Stewardship Tour to King Ranch in July.

Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Douglas – On Nov. 14, at a Converse County School Board (CCSB) meeting, multiple donors and businesses were honored for donating cattle and pigs to the Converse County School District (CCSD), for their Farm to School program.

Monty Gilbreath, CCSD food service director, took to the podium to recognize the donors and explain how Converse County schools have benefited from the Farm to School program, which uses donated animal meat for school lunches.

Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow also spoke, thanking donors, businesses, CCSB and Gilbreath for all of their hard work.

“Converse County is leading the state with their Farm to School program, and they should be very proud,” said Balow.

Farm to school

In 2013, Gilbreath, Sen. Brian Boner and Brook Brockman, Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) training and grants coordinator, held a meeting to discuss how to introduce Wyoming’s largest commodity into the statewide lunch program.

“Sen. Boner helped get this pilot program off the ground by introducing Senate File 123 (SF123), titled School Nutrition Pilot Project,” said Gilbreath.

SF123 allows WDE to spend $25,000 on meat processing fees for pilot programs to increase the amount of Wyoming poultry, lamb, pork, beef and bison used in school lunch programs.

After the bill passed and was signed into law by Gov. Matt Mead, Balow and her staff offered the School Nutrition Pilot Grant Program to all Wyoming school districts.

The grant program helps school districts recover some costs for processing state certified, donated animals that are raised in Wyoming, according to Gilbreath.

“CCSD Number One received $2,046 from the School Nutrition Pilot Grant Program, which is in its second year of operation,” said Gilbreath, noting there was a seven percent increase in September and a 12 percent increase in October for lunch participation at the high school level.

“With 50 percent of the student body eating hot lunch, a rate that hasn’t been so high in many years, the Farm to School program is showing results and making a difference,” he stated.

Local support

Gilbreath thanked local producers and business who donated animals to the program, noting CCSD has received 23 head of cattle and four pigs since January 2017.

He also thanked CCSB and CCSD Superintendent Paige Fenton Hughes for their commitment to providing health meals at an affordable price for students.

“Jay Butler, CCSB member, coordinated the pick-up and delivery of donated animals for our Farm to School and we can’t thank him enough,” added Gilbreath.

He then thanked CCSD kitchen and nutrition staff for creating great recipes, using donated products and for their hard work.

Wooden plaques engraved with donor brands and logos were created by high school woodshop teacher Jeff Barnett and four woodshop students.

“These plaques will be on display in the lobby of the Douglas Recreation Center as a reminder of the local support for the Farm to School Program,” Gilbreath stated.

Heather Loraas is assistant editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Alta –
Heritage is important to the Wilson family. Lorin Wilson’s great grandfather, Thomas R. Wilson, was one of the first settlers in Alta. 

“He was a true pioneer in Teton County even before it was called Teton County,” Lorin explains. “He traveled here from Midway, Utah in 1888, did some exploring and decided it was a good place to live. He brought his family here in 1889. He was very involved in the community and served four terms in the state legislature starting in 1904.”

Ag involvement

The ranch still has some of the original buildings, which are a great reminder of the heritage of one of the oldest families in the area. 

The place has always been used for agriculture.

“We used to do farming and ranching, primarily sheep, but for the last 15 years I’ve just farmed,” says Lorin. “This place has always had farming, but we used to run about 1,000 head of sheep. We were like most of the places, at the time. We had farming and ran some cattle and sheep.

He continues, “However, when the dollar was so high that Australia and New Zealand dumped lamb and wool on the market cheaper than we could raise it, it didn’t make economic sense to keep ranching, so we sold most of the sheep. Now all we do is farm.”

Farming

Barley is the principal crop at Wilson’s, as the short growing season is not conducive to raising wheat. 

“We sit at 6,500 feet. However, since last winter was so mild, we could get in the fields early, so I thought I’d try planting spring wheat. We hadn’t planted wheat here since the set aside days when we planted winter wheat,” Lorin says. “Barley works well here as it has a short growing season.”

“We usually harvest our barley around the middle of September through the end of October. However, with this year being so warm, we were able to plant in April and harvest the barley by mid-September,” he notes. “We truck our grain crops about 50 miles to an Idaho elevator where it is used for malting. The barley that isn’t high enough quality is used in animal feed for the dairies and feedlots.”

The Wilsons also grow hay for the horse market in Jackson. 

“We’ve got straight alfalfa, straight grass and an alfalfa mix,” explains Lorin. “We bale both small and big squares. The big squares are easy to ship. I have someone in Jackson who handles hay delivery. We also have people who like to come out to our hay sheds and pick up their own hay.”

Every farm around the area used to grow seed potatoes, as well, but that has declined, and now there are very few places that do, Lorin says. 

“It’s a good area to grow them, but it’s a very capital intensive crop, so farmers either get big or get out,” he comments.

The joys of ag

Lorin enjoys the entire process of working the ground and seeing plants start to germinate. 

“It’s like raising livestock and seeing a new calf or lamb grow. When one farms, they plant those seeds and see new growth,” he explains. “We get to watch the whole creative process from start to finish, and we can see the fruits of our labor on an annual basis.”

He agrees one of the challenges of farm marketing is getting the best price they can. 

“Farmers have had some amazing crop prices the last few years, but that’s not going to continue. It’s coming down. The challenge is not to get over extended in those good times, because it swings around just like everything else,” Lorin says. “Another challenge is learning to use the new technology in farm equipment.”

“From a farming perspective, I look at my dad who is 90. When he grew up here they used horses for everything. He is amazed what one person can do today compared to what one person could do when he was a boy. I look at what he’s seen, transitioning from horses to modern farming technology, and it’s quite a leap. He often reminds me how efficient we are able to be today. He drives around the place every day and observes what’s going on,” Lorin says with a smile.

Legacy of the land

It’s that legacy and caring for the land that keep the Wilsons farming. 

“A lot of people know that the land in a recreational area is very valuable, and people ask why we don’t sell out. Our roots are deep here. My son is in college studying agribusiness and he’s interested in carrying on the family farm,” Lorin says. “We hope future generations preserve our heritage. We love Wyoming.”

Rebecca Colnar is a correspondent for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Jeffrey City – “It used to be the cheapest place in the country to raise cattle. I don’t know that it’s that cheap anymore, but the grass is good,” says Jack Corbett of the area around Jeffrey City in which he and his family raise calves and feed yearlings.
“I wasn’t born here, but it was about 1951 the first time I showed up,” says Jack, noting he was raised in the Lander area. “I worked up and down the river on just about all these ranches, and finally went to work for Albert Meyers. He started letting me run a few cows, and pretty soon we leased a place, then bought it and leased other places. All that took about 50 years.”
Jack says his parents had a ranch, but also a big family. “My dad worked for the state for quite a while, and my mom cooked at a restaurant in Hudson,” he explains.
Today the Corbetts’ home place sits west of Jeffrey City about 14 miles, and they also lease pastures east of Jeffrey City. “We keep our cows and calves on this place, and run the yearlings on the home place and some here, too,” he says from the pastures east of Jeffrey City. “We keep our own yearlings over, and we spay some heifers and run steers, too.”
“We can put a 300-pound gain on the cattle in the summertime, but I guess I came here because of the people. They’re the kind of people I want to be associated with,” says Jack of his move to the area.
“We started out with Herefords, like everyone else, and we left the horns on so they could fight off the coyotes,” he remarks. “But we could see the market would demand black cattle, so ours are probably 95 percent black now, and there’s some Red Angus in them, too.”
Jack’s daughter Stacy and her husband live north of Jeffrey City on the family’s JJ Ranch, while his son Troy and his family have a farm at Pavillion, which works in conjunction with the ranch.
“He didn’t make a farm out of it, it’s more like a ranch,” says Jack. “He had to get his kids to school, so he bought the place north of Pavillion and he winters the yearlings over there and calves the two-year-olds, bringing them here in the summertime. And, we always thought if you had a ranch on the Sweetwater you ought to have a farm at Pavillion.”
The Corbetts’ cows are wintered on the river, which Jack says stays open most of the time. “We have to feed hay starting around the first of March, but we winter on cake and grass, mostly,” he says.
“When we first leased this place 30 years ago, there were 5,000 to 6,000 people living in Jeffrey City, now there might be 20,” says Jack of the changes to the town. “At one time there were 600 kids in that school, and I think there are three or four now. The school only goes to sixth grade, and that’s why Troy moved, because his kids were getting older, and it would be a 120-mile bus ride every day going to Lander, and in the wintertime going over Beaver Rim is not much fun.”
In addition to ranch work, Jack serves on the Popo Agie Conservation District board, and has for 10 years, and is a part-time brand inspector for his neighbors.
“The conservation district works on a lot of things, but mostly irrigation projects,” he says. “In that flood they had around Lander, there were a lot of headgates washed out, and we’re trying to get money to put them back in. The director, Jeri Trebelcock, is really good at securing money. If somebody has a big ditch that washes out, we can get money to fix it.”
Jack, who’s now part-time, has been a brand inspector in the area since 1971. “My neighbor, Lee Whitlock, was a brand inspector, and he made me do it,” jokes Jack. “He said, ‘You’re going to be the new brand inspector, and here are the books.’ So that’s what we did.”
Jack says today he looks after the local producers, so they don’t have to call an inspector out of Rawlins, Riverton or Lander. Of inspecting livestock through the years, Jack says he liked the chance to see other people’s cattle and what they were doing.
This year the Corbetts marketed their yearlings with the Madden brothers’ new Cattle Country Video. “It went pretty good – we sold early, at their first sale,” says Jack. “We might be off two or three dollars right now, but when the dust settles it won’t make much of a difference. We were happy with it, and when we deliver them we’ll know more about it.”
“We’ve sold one other time on the video, but mostly we’ve sold to contract buyers, who are getting fewer and fewer, and I think the video is a coming thing,” he says.
The Corbetts have freeze branded their calves for the last three years, and Jack says it’s worked pretty well.
“In the spring, when we freeze brand these calves, it doesn’t hurt them anywhere near what a hot iron brand does,” he says. “On a hot iron-branded calf, you can’t take off and trail him for three or four days, and then for three weeks he’s dead-haired. When we freeze brand, we can take off and trail them 20 miles the next day, and they’re not hurt, so consequently we get a little more gain on them.”
He says they can brand just as fast as a hot iron. “We have brass irons and an AI tank for liquid nitrogen, and we pour it out into a cooler we’ve insulated a little better to keep the irons cold, and it works fine and we’ve not had any problem at all,” he says. “We also brand our horses that way, and we’re pretty happy with it.”
“Ranching is what I always wanted to do,” says Jack. “It’s nothing fancy. We’re just in it to make a living, and we do what we can.”
With seven grandsons, ages 14 on down, Jack says he keeps busy getting horses gentle enough for the little ones to ride. “I don’t know if I’ll win or the horses will,” he comments.
Christy Martinez is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..