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Wyoming Stock Growers Association

Cheyenne – The 2013 Winter Roundup, hosted by the Wyoming Stock Growers Association (WSGA), will be held in Casper at the Parkway Plaza on Dec. 2-4. The theme, “Succeeding in an Industry of Opportunity,” leads into and educational and exciting convention. 

WSGA says, “The convention will bring Wyoming livestock producers, industry supporters and elected officials together for policy development, education and camaraderie.”

Dec. 2 will kick off with the Progressive Rancher Forum, where various topics will be presented with speakers from across the state and nation. 

The opening general session of the event will begin at 8 a.m. on Dec. 3 with keynote speaker Gary Sides. Sides’ presentation is sponsored by Zoetis, formerly Pfizer.

The day will continue with a presentation on protecting Wyoming’s livestock, as well as a host of committee meetings. The evening concludes with the WSGA Presidents’ Bar and Auction. 

United States Senator Mike Enzi and Governor Matt Mead will join WSGA briefly for the Dec. 4 closing general session. 

Enzi will speak during the Legislative Breakfast and Mead will present during the WSGA Awards Luncheon and Banquet. The morning session will also feature speakers on the health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, strengthening public lands grazing and landowner tools for working with endangered species.

“We always look forward to getting together at this end of the year conference,” says WSGA Executive Vice President Jim Magagna. “It is a time for Wyoming’s agricultural community to discuss the issues that affect us, and strategize for the future.”

For more information or to pre-register, call 307-638-3942 or visit wysga.org.

Since 1872, the Wyoming Stock Growers Association has served the livestock business and families of Wyoming by protecting their economic, legislative, regulatory, judicial, environmental, custom and cultural interests. They promote the role of the cattle industry in resource stewardship, animal care and the production of high-quality, safe and nutritious beef.

Glendo – 2017 marks 100 years for Cundall Ranch, operated by Larry and Ruthie Cundall, and the milestone is also marked by Wyoming’s highest conservation honor awarded to the couple.

This year, Larry and Ruthie Cundall are the recipients of the 2018 Environmental Stewardship Award (ESA), presented by the Wyoming Stock Growers Association and Wyoming Department of Agriculture.

“We’re so appreciative of the people who have helped us through the years and nominated us for this award,” Larry Cundall comments. “It’s really exciting and humbling to receive this award.”

Looking back

Cundall Ranch was established in 1917 by Harry Cundall and his sons Paul, Ray and Walter.

“The original base of the operation was on the Platte River,” describes Cundall. “They had a lot of irrigated acreage back then, but when Glendo Dam was built, the main ranch buildings were inundated.”

The ranch was split up between the generations, and today, the Cundalls run on the original summer range.

“We’ve still got the nucleus of the original place,” he says.

Ranching near Glendo

Cundall Ranch is a cow/calf operation today, but Cundall explains the family started in the seedstock business.

“In the 1920s, my family started with purebred Herefords,” he says. “When the partnership broke up, the seedstock part went to another branch of the family, and my dad ran a yearling operation.”

Cundall returned to the ranch after serving in the Vietnam War and marrying Ruthie, noting it was at that time he switched to a cow/calf operation.

“When I came home, I wasn’t as keen on yearlings,” Cundall comments. “We went back to the cow/calf operation, and that’s what we’ve done for the last 45 years.”

Cundall’s Angus cattle are run across leased, deeded, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Bureau of Reclamation (BuRec) and state land. Cundall says he has dabbled in crossbreeding through the years, but today, he runs black cattle with a few Hereford bulls, choosing to artificially inseminate the heifers.

“Ranching has always been in my blood, and it was always what I wanted to do,” Cundall says. “I enjoyed ranching when I first started, and I still enjoy it today.”

Conservation focused

From a young age, a conservation ethic was instilled in Cundall.

“When I was young, my dad had a few Great Plains Projects with the Soil Conservation Service, before the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). I could see the improvements on the land when he was working on those projects,” Cundall explains.

As he works day-to-day, Cundall notes he takes note of areas that need to be improve on the ranch, and he’s continued in his father’s stead, working in partnership with NRCS to complete a number of projects.

“We’ve done cross-fencing, water projects, grazing plans and more,” he explains.

Improvements

Among their many projects, Cundall says water projects have been central to their operation.

“When I was 10 years old, we carried sprinkler pipe by hand, and my wife and I carried sprinkler pipe until about eight years ago, when we installed three pivots through the Environmental Quality Improvement Program (EQIP),” Cundall says. “We saved water and increased our production, as well.”

Additionally, the Cundalls have installed solar wells to increase the number of cattle for grazing in short-duration pastures.

“Windmills worked great in the 20s and 30s, but a windmill won’t water 150 cows on our ranch,” Cundall says. “The water development has helped us to develop better grazing plans.”

They further distribute water using nine miles of waterlines and over 10,000 gallons of underground storage tanks.

More than 10 miles of cross-fences have also been added to improve distribution of cattle across the landscape.

“Grazing and water development not only improve the grass but can improve water quality as a result of good cover in extreme weather events,” Cundall comments.

Research focus

At the same time, he has implemented conservation projects on the ranch, Cundall has focused on advancing agriculture research, as well.

“As I began working to implement different conservation practices, I ended up being on the University of Wyoming’s James C. Hageman Sustainable Agriculture Research and Extension Center (SAREC) Advisory Board in Lingle,” he says. “For the past 20-some years, I’ve had an interest in research, which is also part of conservation, in my mind.”

Additionally, Cundall is the chair of the Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education board, which focuses on providing grants and education in 17 western states and the Pacific Islands.

“I get to see a lot of research, and I see how these practices are used on the ranch,” Cundall explains. “It’s exciting. Research is interesting. Sustainable ag is interesting. Conservation is fun.”

He further adds, “Many of these things can also be profitable. It’s natural instinct for me to want to improve our property and improve our livestock. It’s something I do.”

Research for sustainability

For Cundall, research on grazing, water, genetics and more is necessary to continue to advance and sustain the agriculture industry.

“It’s exciting to see research projects done, and the organizations I work with do it from a grassroots level. It’s not top-down,” he says. “Farmers and ranchers come up with ideas to try to improve the ranch. NRCS has been willing to listen and try ideas for different projects, as well.”

Cundall comments, “To me, research, conservation and agriculture go hand-in-hand, and they all three have to happen to be sustainable.”

Opportunities ahead

While Larry is involved in research, Ruthie also actively participates on the Farm Service Agency county committee, and before that, the Farmer's Home Administration Farm Loan Board. Ruthie's involvement allowed her to stay engaged in the ag community, as well.

As Cundall looks towards the future, he sees some uncertainties, along with a number of opportunities.

“Over the years, we’ve never been lucky enough to have children, so we’ve brought other kids to the ranch,” he says. “We’ve mentored dozens of kids over the years.”

“We’ve doing thing differently now,” Cundall comments. “We’re slowing down, but there are still a lot of exciting things on the horizon for the ag industry.”

This summer, Larry and Ruthie Cundall will host a tour of their ranch in summer 2018. Look for more information on the Environmental Stewardship Tour in upcoming editions of the Roundup. Learn more about the Cundall’s operation following the tour.

Saige Albert is managing editor of 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..

The Wyoming Stock Growers Land Trust (WSGLT) announced Kermit Brown will be the recipient of the 2018 Kurt Bucholz Conservation Award. Brown is being recognized for his exceptional support of agricultural land conservation, property rights and water rights.

  Brown has been an ardent supporter of conservation and agriculture in Wyoming throughout his career as an attorney in Laramie and as a former Republican member of the Wyoming House of Representatives where he served as the House Majority Leader and Speaker of the House. Brown’s passion for agriculture began in his youth, working on ranches in the Saratoga area. He obtained first-hand experience of the important work that is done by Wyoming’s farmers and ranchers and came to understand the pivotal relationship between agriculture and conservation.

  Brown was one of the three co-sponsors of the Wyoming Uniform Conservation Easement Act and played a part in the creation of the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust, which helps fund conservation and habitat restoration projects throughout the state. These accomplishments are among many which have qualified Brown to receive the award.

  Kermit Brown will be presented with a bronze statue sculpted by the talented Wyoming artist Jerry Palen at the Wyoming Stock Growers Land Trust’s 17th Annual Barbeque at the Sommers Ranch outside of Pinedale, Wyoming on Aug. 25th. Tickets can be purchased by calling 307-772-8751.

Casper – The Wyoming Stock Growers Association (WSGA) committee for agricultural promotion, education and enhancement met at this year’s Winter Roundup in Casper, held Nov. 30-Dec. 1, to share updates concerning scholarship and award opportunities, the University of Wyoming (UW) and the formation of the WSGA young producers assembly.

Scholarships and awards

Haley Lockwood, WSGA communication, publication and program director, noted the 2015 Environmental Stewardship Program winner will be announced in the Wyoming Livestock Roundup in January, and additional information will be distributed in the spring for the next round of applicants.

“Also, in April, I will be submitting the King Ranch 2016 nomination for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) environmental stewardship award,” she noted. “I always hope that our producers will be selected for the regional award through NCBA. They have great operations that are chosen every year, and I always hope that Wyoming will be represented.”

Lockwood also mentioned that information for the next Hansen Memorial Scholarship will be released in February 2016, and the winning recipient will be invited to the WSGA summer convention in Laramie June 1-4.

“Last year, we had a lot of student applications  to go through, and it was extremely tough to decide. We had to create a committee to decide who would receive the scholarship,” she said.

Range interns

This year, the application deadline for the WSGA rangeland internship program is set for Jan. 16.

“We are trying to target people who would get agency-level jobs out of school who also have no ranching experience,” she explained.

Interns will work with mentors to gain hands-on experience, connecting concepts from the classroom with real-world applications to bridge the gap between agencies and the realities that ranchers face.

“There are mentor opportunities for producers who are interested and use rangeland initiatives. Producers and students can contact me for information, or visit the WSGA website,” she added.

UW cattle update

Updates from the Wyoming Collegiate Cattle Association (WCCA) were also shared at the meeting, as WSGA scholarship recipients and WCCA club members BJ Bender and Micayla Crimmins described WCCA promotional events at UW.

“Our first event was the UW family farm day. We had a lot of families and students come to see what our ag facilities are like,” noted Crimmins.

The club also held their first annual beef box raffle, ordered promotional items such as t-shirts and roping gloves and promoted themselves on campus with booths set up at various student events.

“A few of us went to the Range Beef Cow Symposium in Loveland, Colo., and that was really good opportunity. We got to network, listen to industry professionals and go through the tradeshow to see new technologies and products,” added Bender.

In the spring, WCCA will also be hosting Curt Pate, a producer from Montana who emphasizes low-stress cattle handling techniques. Both UW students and the general public will be invited to attend the event.

College of Ag

Bret Hess, director of the UW Agricultural Experiment Station, and Pepper Jo Six, UW Foundation major gift officer paired with the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, spoke at the meeting as well.

Hess noted that both UW Extension Director Glen Whipple and Dean Frank Galey have been reappointed for new terms in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and the search is underway for the new university president.

Although a hiring freeze is in effect at UW, Hess also noted that efforts are being made to ensure that critical faculty are retained and hired, working on a case-by-case basis with an emphasis on serving both the university and the state.

He also mentioned that College of Ag building renovations are being reviewed, Extension listening sessions will continue in the state, and 2016 will celebrate 125 years of Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Stations.

Six encouraged producers to share their passion for agriculture, highlighting activities in the college of agriculture and natural resources, including continued work at the ACRES student farm, plans for an improved equine program and improved equine facilities on campus, efforts toward building a young producer program and the benefits of the sales of the Riverbend and Y Cross ranches.

Upcoming opportunities

“The sale of Y Cross  Ranch has been really beneficial. We now will have $400,000 annually to use for scholarships and student support in the College of Agriculture. That is a lot of scholarship aid for our students to take advantage of,” Six explained.

There has also been an endowment established recently for the support of sheep-specific research at UW.

“This is a good era for the College of Agriculture, especially with the sheep industry, as producers have stepped forward and want to make a difference and be more viable,” she said.

The committee meeting also welcomed Kendall Roberts, who discussed plans to create a Young Producers Assembly within WSGA.

“Hopefully, this will be a tool to build and recruit for more young producers to become members of WSGA and for having a say in policy, leadership, education and activities that take place within WSGA,” she explained.

The meeting adjourned with support for the Young Producers Assembly. No other resolutions were considered.

Natasha Wheeler is editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Laramie – “This is the fourth straight year the world has produced less and less beef, and we’ve got to double beef production by 2050. We’re going in the wrong direction,” said Brett Stewart of CattleFax at the Wyoming Cattle Industry 2011 Convention and Trade Show in Laramie on June 3.
Stewart said that, in data tracing back to 1960, never before have there been four consecutive years of declining beef production.
“In two years the global beef price went up 50 percent,” said Stewart of the Global Meat Price Index. “This isn’t over – there are more increases ahead, and not just for beef, but also for pork and poultry.”
Stewart said he and his colleagues have had many discussions as to whether the cattle cycle is dead, and if it’s a waste of time to try to understand it.
“Generally, no. I don’t think it’s dead. If we get the right price incentive, we’ll do this again and overproduce based on what our market will bear, but I don’t think the price is there yet. I think it will take higher prices to stimulate production to the levels that will drive a cattle cycle.”
Stewart said a few factors that drive herd size are weather, cow slaughter, margins, heifer placements and land use.
“One in five cows lives in Texas, and one in four cows if you include Oklahoma, so one-quarter of our cowherd is in tough shape right now,” he said of the drought in the southern U.S.
Of cow slaughter, Stewart said the trend is increasing.
“Not because markets are bad, but because prices are so high. Cull cow prices are in the $70 and $80 range, and at this rate meat bulls will be worth more than breeding bulls,” he stated.
Stewart also noted that one of the reasons why is that 90 percent lean beef – which is used for hamburgers and fast food grinding meat – is cheap, and the U.S. is still in a recession. Also, he noted that Australia is the biggest supplier of imported lean grinding beef, but, with the Australian dollar’s current record high levels, the U.S. can’t afford to buy it.
“The next alternative is to chase cull cows to keep fast food hamburger going,” he said. “That’s driving that cull cow price, which is driving our cowherd.”
Of the utility and slaughter cow price, Stewart said. “We’ve spent time above $80. It used to be we’d get 30 cents per pound, and sometimes 25, and now we’re seeing them up over 80 cents. That’s unfathomable to me – it’s incredible to me that we’ve been able to do what we’ve done on the back of lean grinding meat. Our middle meats are still pretty weak, and restaurant cuts are having a tough time, but it’s amazing how much water we’ve carried through higher hamburger demand and higher exports.”
To gauge whether the industry is expanding or contracting, CattleFax collects on-feed data from 60 to 70 percent of cattle on feed, tracking what percentage of cattle placed on feed are heifers.
“When the heifer placement number gets above 35 to 37 percent, we’re contracting the cowherd and placing more of those heifers on feed, and when we get down below 33 percent we’re typically in an expansion phase. The last four years we’ve marched higher and higher, and this year, at 35 percent, is an improvement,” said Stewart. “We haven’t said we’ll build the cowherd, but we’re not killing them as fast we we’ve killed them in the past. We’re still a long way from expanding the cowherd.”
As of Jan. 1, 2011, Stewart said the cowherd was down half a million head, and by Jan. 1, 2012 he expects numbers to be down another 300,000, or another percent.
Although the total cattle inventory – including cows, calves, dairy cows, etc. – has consistently declined, peaking at 130 billion in the 1970s before dropping to today’s 92 billion, beef production numbers show the industry has done a good job at increasing efficiency.
“One of the greatest untold stories in the U.S. today is the incredible efficiency gains of U.S. agriculture,” said Stewart. “Yet, we get beat up in the press over methane, carbon emissions and overgrazing.”
Of imports and exports, Stewart said in 2004 the U.S. imported almost four billion pounds of beef while exporting half a billion pounds.
“Today we’re exporting more beef than we’re importing, and back to 1980 we’ve never exported more beef than we’ve imported,” stated Stewart. “That number will grow to 2012 and beyond – we may go to a point where we’re never a net importer again, if we can get the right access, because of the growing global demand for beef.”
Stewart said the U.S. is looking at exports up 14 percent this year, while imports decline four percent, based on the Australian dollar year-to-date.
As a gauge of what exports are adding to the industry, Stewart said to look at beef export dollars per steer or heifer slaughtered.
“If we take the total dollars exported in beef, including offal and variety meats, and take that dollar monthly divided by the steers/heifers slaughtered, we’re up over $200 per head,” he said. “We’re exporting 10 percent of our production and getting 20 percent back through that trade. That’s an indicator of how strong the global demand is.”
Stewart said all the components – production, supply, import, export, carcass weight – are all included in per capita net beef supply, or production plus imports, minus exports, divided by the population of the U.S.
“This is the beef that will be on the plate of American consumers. For 20 years Americans ate about 65 pounds of beef per year, but in the last five years they’ve taken almost 10 pounds off the plate, and that’s a big shift,” said Stewart, adding that much of that is due to trade, tighter imports and larger exports.
“Exports are critical,” he said. “We talk about growing global demand, and say that the whole world is out of beef, but it’s a lot more complicated than that because of political barriers. We have to get much better at access to countries.”
Stewart said the U.S. is not good at consumer marketing overseas.
“When traceability was a buzzword in the late ‘90s, how long did it take Australia and New Zealand to become traceable? They voluntarily did it almost instantly, as well as Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. Pretty much every major beef exporter on the planet has traceability, and has had it for 10 years – not because they had to, but because the international market said they’d like it,” explained Stewart, adding that the two who don’t are the U.S. and India, which is the fifth-largest beef exporter.
Stewart calls it a 90/10 problem, where only 10 percent of U.S. production is destined for overseas, so the country doesn’t spend a lot of time thinking about how to best market. Australia and New Zealand export 70 to 80 percent of their beef, so they spend a lot of time thinking about international demands.
“That’s what we need to think about if we truly want to participate in the global community,” said Stewart.
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..