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Wyoming

Evanston – “It’s been wonderful hosting this convention here in our home town on the last year that I will be president,” said Shaun Sims, Wyoming Association of Conservation Districts (WACD) president, on Nov. 15, opening WACD’s annual meeting. 

Sims started as president of the association in 2010. 

“Over the past eight years, I have had the honor and privilege to represent some of what I have come to realize are the most progressive conservation districts in the United States,” he said. “The most dedicated and engaged board members come from the state of Wyoming, as do the best congressional staff and the best Department of Ag and Natural Resources Conservation Service partners.” 

Transparency

In the state, Sims noted increasing attention has been focused on transparency in government, and districts across the state have begun to see pressure as a result.

“Transparency in government is something I think we all support and believe in,” he explained. “When we’re responsible for managing the public’s money, we all owe it to the public to take the best care of those finances and spend those monies appropriately.” 

Sims commended districts for stepping up and responding to records requests they have been receiving. 

As the Joint Corporations Committee of the Wyoming Legislature considers changes to the Public Records Act, Sims said potential changes could require organizations to respond in a set amount of time, with the possibility of legal activity for failure to respond.

“There are several groups supporting this effort, including the environmental community, Open the Books, Liberty Groups and others,” he said. “Governor-elect Gordon and Auditor-elect Kristi Racines have appointed a Transparency Working Group to address this.” 

Looking forward, Sims encouraged conservation districts to work toward efficient and responsive ways to be transparent while also realizing that the entities have natural resource work to get done. 

“At the WACD Board meeting, action was taken to create a task force to explore a type of platform to host records and make it more accessible for the interested public to access,” Sims said. “I see this issue as one of the highest priorities in the coming year as the legislature is going to grapple with the Public Records Act again.”

Serving WACD

Recognizing the address would be his last opening WACD address as president, Sims said, “It has been a wild ride.”

“I’ve had the opportunity to meet many amazing people, starting here in Wyoming, across the nation, across the western range and nationally. These are people I now call friends,” he said.

He has learned about the differences and similarities between Wyoming and other states.

“I have to admit, I never thought when I stood here eight years ago at this very convention I would end up not only having the opportunity to serve you but would advocate for Wyoming’s issues and to serve on the national association as their board member and ultimately to serve as the western region executive board member,” he said. 

Sims noted he has testified in front of Congress in a congressional hearing, as well.

“WACD has been an honor to represent,” he said. “This organization is strong because of its members’ ability to listen and hear each other’s concerns, work through disagreements, come together and act as a solid front when needed.” 

He commented, “These attributes will enable Wyoming to work forward as a progressive leader in conservation.” 

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..

Douglas – On Aug. 15, over 200 people gathered at Riverside Park in Douglas to recognize Hight Proffit, Dave True and Havely Holt for their contributions to the agriculture industry. 

Proffit and True were both inducted into the Wyoming Agriculture Hall of Fame, and Holt was recognized as Wyoming Agriculture in the Classroom’s Exemplary Educator of the Year. 

While Sens. John Barrasso and Mike Enzi (both R-Wyo.) were unable to attend the event, both submitted statements on the floor of the Senate, which were entered into the Aug. 1 Congressional Record. 

In the Congressional Record entry, read by Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), Sen. John Barrasso wrote, “This year marks the 150th anniversary of Wyoming’s status as a U.S. Territory and the 106th annual Wyoming State Fair. Although the Wyoming Agriculture Hall of Fame began only in 1992, Wyoming has a longstanding tradition of recognizing those who are integral to the success of our state’s agriculture industry.” 

Barrasso continued that induction into the Hall of Fame is a tremendous honor.

“The members of this elite club grow crops and raise livestock while building a strong foundation for the next generation of successful producers,” he commented. “Together, they will make the next 150 years of Wyoming’s history as rich as the last.”

Proffit

Enzi recognized Proffit’s life-long contributions to agriculture, noting his public service, as well as his commitment to his state, county, neighbors and friends. 

“Hight moved to Wyoming at a young age during the middle of the Great Depression when it wasn’t easy to make a living, let alone to be a rancher,” said Enzi. “Much like he would show throughout his life, Hight showed what you can accomplish through hard work and resolve and learned to make the best out of everything.”

Further, Enzi noted Proffit’s innovation led him to improve his ranch and the community around him.

“Hight excelled in improving agriculture and left his mark on the long, proud history of Wyoming agriculture,” he added.

Enzi also touted Proffit’s dedication to his family, recognizing his 60-plus-year marriage to Dorothy and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. 

“Although it has now been 16 years since Hight has passed, his memory lives on and his example continues to inspire others,” Enzi said. “Hight truly lived the Code of the West.”

True

Barrasso  acknowledged True for his long-standing commitment to the agriculture industry and his community. 

While True’s father moved to Casper as part-owner of a drilling company, Barrasso said, “Dave worked with his  father and brothers to expand the company’s focus.”

“Together with his wife Melanie, Dave works to make sure the family business endures for the next generation,” Barrasso commented. “Dave manages the agriculture holdings and actively seeks out opportunities to serve the larger agricultural community.” 

Further, Barrasso cited True’s community involvement, including to the Wyoming 4-H Foundation, Casper Rotary Club, Farm Bureau and University of Wyoming, among others. 

“The scope of Dave’s leadership is not limited to the borders of Wyoming,” he said, “and Dave is an outstanding resource for the next generation of producers.”

Educator

Annually, Wyoming Agriculture in the Classroom (WAIC) recognizes their Exemplary Educator of the Year, this year honoring Havely Holt of Douglas for her dedication to WAIC and the Wyoming Stewardship Project. 

In honoring Holt, Cheney said,  “This is all about the future of ag and making sure that our kids understand how important the industry is and how important it is we continue these traditions.”

Holt was awarded a cash prize of $5,000 through WAIC, funded by Anadarko Petroleum Corporation. Wyoming Livestock Roundup and Mantha Phillips also support the program. 

“Anadarko Petroleum is proud to honor Havely and to participate with WAIC in this program,” said Anadarko’s Susan Aldridge. “We appreciate what you do for our students and the community, and we’re very glad to have the opportunity to recognize you for your work.”

Wyoming Livestock Roundup Publisher Dennis Sun commented, “Congratulations to all of tonight’s award winners.”

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..

Casper – As the holidays are approaching, the Natrona County 4-H Foundation has been working hard again this year to put on their Town and Country Party.
    The event raises funds for the foundations’ activities, including scholarships, grants to committees, youth clinics, educational materials, leader training and recruitment.
    Carol Whitney, Natrona County 4-H Foundation secretary, says, “The Natrona County 4-H Foundation is thrilled to continue this tradition in our community. The ‘Town and Country Party’ is a time of celebration for all members of our community.”
    The Town and Country Party will be held this year on Dec. 15 at the Central Wyoming Fairgrounds. The event provides fun for everyone in the family, including a silent auction, craft and trade show and selection of games.
    Another feature of the Town and Country Party is the Community Spirit Award. The award focuses on honoring those business and individuals in the Casper area who actively support the endeavors of the community. This year’s winner is the Mountain View Hospital and Clinic.
    “The list of things they support and do for the community is astonishing,” read the nomination.
    Mountain View Hospital and Clinic participates and supports the 4-H Livestock Sale, sponsors the 4-H goat show, the Boys and GirlsClub, Jason’s Friends Foundation, Wyoming Cavalry, Casper Amateur Youth Hockey, the Science Zone, Casper Ghosts, the Jefferson Awards, Beartrap Summer Festival, National Historic Trails Center, Casper Children’s Theater, the Nicolaysen Art Museaum and the Make-A-Wish Foundation, among others.
    “Everywhere you look, you see the Mountain View Hospital and Clinic participating,” added the nomination.
    Mountain View Hospital and Clinic will be receiving a plaque recognizing their efforts, as well as eight complimentary tickets to the event.
    In hosting the event, a number of sponsors have come forward, donating time, advertising and money to make the event a success.
    “We would like to thank Greenline Equipment for being the Exclusive Sponsor of the Second Annual Town and Country Party,” Whitney comments. “We would also like to thank event sponsors Wyoming Machinery, Greiner, Fremont Motors, Wells Fargo Bank, Murdoch’s, Wyoming Livestock Roundup and Hilltop National Bank.”
    On Dec. 15, doors will open at 5 p.m. Dinner by Arrowhead Catering will be served from 6-7:30 p.m.
    One of the major draws for this year’s event is entertainment by Chancey Williams and the Younger Brothers Band, who will play from 8-11 p.m. Chancey Williams and the Younger Brothers are a Wyoming group that has gained national attention for their music and promise to provide a fun-filled night, adds Whitney.
    Admission is $15 per person, and tickets are available at the Natrona County 4-H Office, the Wyoming Livestock Roundup, Murdoch’s and Greenline Equipment. At the door, admission increases to $20, or a dance only ticket is available beginning at 8 p.m. for $10.
    For more information or to purchase tickets, call 307-235-9400 or 307-259-2689.
    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..
Casper – This year the Natrona County 4-H Foundation will host the Inaugural Town and Country Party on Dec. 10 at the Central Wyoming Fairgrounds in Casper.
    “For over 50 years, the Ag Chamber Committee, through the Chamber of Commerce, has hosted the Ranch City Party. In recent years, the Natrona County 4-H Council has been their event partner and raised money for the 4-H program through the silent auction,” says the Foundation. “In February, the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors made the decision not to host the 2011 Ranch City Party.”
    Foundation secretary Carol Whitney says, “We didn’t want to see the event go away.”
    In response, the group decided to host the Town and Country Party to raise money for 4-Hers in Natrona County.
    All revenue from the event will be distributed between the 4-H council and the 4-H Foundation to fund scholarships, grants to committees, youth clinics, educational materials, leader training and recruitment efforts.
    The mission of the Natrona County 4-H Foundation is to develop youth and adult potential by securing new resources and expanding existing resource investments in 4-H. Members of the Foundation include Foundation President Terry Stretesky, Treasurer Rick Griffith, Secretary Carol Whitney, Donna Cuin, Dusty Porter, Cathy Sears, Brandi Forgey, Tom Valdez, Jo Keith, Saige Albert and Natrona County 4-H Extension Educator Colleen Campbell.
    The exclusive sponsor of the event is Greenline Equipment, with major sponsorship by the Casper Star Tribune, Honnen Equipment, Leland Foundation and the Wyoming Livestock Roundup.
    Other contributing sponsors include Farm Credit Services, First Interstate Bank, Hilltop National Bank, Jonah Bank, Mountain States Litho, Murdoch’s and Wyoming Machinery.
    The event will feature dinner by Arrowhead Catering, as well as a silent auction, a craft and trade show and games. Following dinner, the Dakota Country Band will provide music.
    Dinner will be served from 4:30 to 7:30 with dancing from 8 to midnight. Tickets are available in advance at the 4-H office or Murdoch’s for $10 per person or at the door for $15. Children seven and younger get admission for free.
    For those interested in participating in the craft and trade show, spaces are still available.
    “We are reserving booth space on a first come, first pay basis for only $100,” says the Foundation. “The price of booth rental also includes two tickets for dinner.”
    “There are expectations of a big crowd for the 2011 Inaugural Town and Country Party, as this community has always been a huge supporter of 4-H, and who doesn’t like a great celebration,” continues the 4-H Foundation.
    The event will also honor the first Community Spirit Award winner. Nominees are those citizens who foster community development and serve the Casper area. The winners will receive a plaque, recognition at the event and eight complimentary tickets, as well as their name displayed in the ARLC building.
    Whitney says, “Where else can you get dinner, dancing and fun for only $10?”
    For tickets or more information, call 307-235-9400. Saige Albert is 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..

Laramie – On Oct. 13 USDA Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager took time to visit Laramie’s Big Hollow Food Co-op in celebration of National Cooperatives Month and joined participants for the 2011 AgriFuture Conference.

Big Hollow Food Co-op marked Tonsager’s first stop in Laramie, where manager Marla Peterson explained that the store offers only local or organic produce.

Peterson said the co-op in in its fifth year and features products such as locally produced milk, sold in glass bottles, local beef and buffalo, as well as a wide variety of produce. The store also has health and beauty products, pet foods and household supplies, as well as a variety of snacks.

“We offer lots of local foods and produce,” emphasized Peterson.

At Big Hollow Food Co-op, Tonsager spent time exploring the aisles and chatting with Peterson, saying, “Co-ops with small consumers and local foods are really growing. It’s a neat model that will continue to grow, I think.”

Tonsager also joined participants at the AgriFuture Conference for lunch. During his address, Tonsager highlighted that agriculture provides many opportunities for those who are willing to explore them.

“Rural America is shrinking, and that is not good,” said Tonsager. “We need to have a thriving population that is always looking forward.”

“Agriculture is doing great, and production is doing great, with the exception of a few places experiencing drought and other issues,” noted Tonsager. “We just sold $140 billion worth of agriculture products, and we are seeing remarkable prices. Crops are generally looking pretty good, and we have a great exchange rate.”

“Agriculture is huge, but it the coming decades, it can grow,” said Tonsager. “We have great scientific evidence that says American agriculture has more than the capacity to grow.”

“For us to have a future, I advocate for growing the agriculture economy so that it becomes dominant – where I believe it should be,” said Tonsager.
Tonsager referenced the Rural Electric Association’s success, saying, “It is a great rural institution with 45 million customers. In 70 years they built an electric system that keeps the power on in rural America. With a long-term commitment from all parties, they built a national system that is second to none. It was because of their commitment.”

Tonsager posed the idea that the farm credit system and supply co-ops should be the next to take the step, make a long-term commitment and continue to develop.

Beyond the successes that have been seen in rural America, Tonsager mentioned to students the importance of taking an active role in agriculture.

“I spend my time going out and advocating for ag. I think that’s my part,” noted Tonsager.

“Be part of the fray. Get in the game. Be involved with the organizations in your community,” continued Tonsager, motivating students to play an active role in the industry. “Any number of circumstances can happen. The argument I am making today is that we really need to be challenging ourselves here. How many of us have had to take on the extreme challenges that our grandparents did?”

Tonsager added that the challenges facing agriculture are still there, and they offer young people in the industry the opportunity to be very successful.

Saige Albert 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..