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Wyoming

Laramie – The new Rural Law Center at the University of Wyoming has embarked this school year on its mission to provide support for legal challenges unique to rural areas in Wyoming.
    Center Director Alan Romero, UW Professor of Law, says the center’s mission is threefold, including providing services to lawyers who practice law in rural areas, preparing students for practicing and serving in rural areas and encouraging and facilitating scholarly research concerning rural legal issues.
    “Our goals correspond to the general mission of most law schools, but with a rural interest,” notes Romero.
    The Rural Law Center discussion began a couple years ago, says Romero, as a part of the five-year academic plan running from 2009 through 2014. “It was included in the university’s plan last year, and we took the first step by formally establishing the Center at the end of last school year,” he explains.
    The Rural Law Center concept grew out of the recognition that UW is uniquely situated for rural law work. “The distinctive issues rural places face haven’t drawn a lot of focused attention in the legal world,” says Romero. “Unlike other academic disciplines where there are recognized specialties and focus on rural matters.”
    “One of the few areas where there has been substantial scholarly attention is the provision of legal services and available lawyers to represent clients in rural places,” says Romero. “I think health care is a big rural issue that has not really drawn a lot of attention about the related legal issues, although law and medicine is a growing area of interdisciplinary study.”
    Romero says he also thinks the energy industry is important in rural law, “Because so much of energy development and surface owners are in rural areas.”
    For the near future the Center will use existing resources to coordinate things within faculty and across campus that are connected through a common rural focus. “We want to create connections that otherwise might not have been made,” comments Romero. “We want to connect those subjects that have rural issues as a common denominator.”
    Romero says the Center’s plan is to sponsor some kind of a conference this year, as well as a speaker. “Some events may be more outreach to the public and lawyers, while others may be more scholarly in nature. I’d like to see one of each every year. Considering the nature of Rural Law Center, I think there will be a lot of opportunities for conferences co-sponsored with other colleges and departments.”
    On the long-term agenda are classes and courses developed in the law school with a rural focus. For now, Romero says, “We’re small faculty with a small student body so adding courses is tricky and we already have a good selection of courses that meet that need.”
    “One of our plans is to provide some kind of service function to rural lawyers that can be educational for students,” says Romero of an internship/externship idea. “It would connect students with rural practitioners so they could experience that kind of practice and provide a service to people practicing in those areas.”
    The Center’s website will also host content on issues of particular concern in rural areas and to rural people. “We’re working on a legislative research service that would involve students soliciting projects from counties, public interest organizations, etc. and researching and drafting legislation or other things connected with policy issues in rural places,” notes Romero, giving the severance of wind rights from surface ownership as an example.
    “One possibility for the Center’s future is an actual clinical service where we could represent people,” says Romero, noting it’s not even in the works right now.
    “Our plan is primarily to serve a function to the public as a clearinghouse, where our site will point people in the appropriate directions. It will contain short guides for laypeople about different kinds of legal issues they may encounter, and point them to resources,” he says.
    Of the semester ahead, Romero says the immediate tasks are to get the Center’s website running, co-sponsor a conference in November themed “The State of the Dominant Estate” at the Law School in Laramie and get a good start on the legislative research program.
    “I think this is a unique undertaking, there have been law schools in the past that have tried something like this, but it’s uncharted,” says Romero. “This will be an evolving work in progress. There are so many different activities we could engage in and areas of substantive interest, like criminal issues, health care, business and entrepreneurial issues, as well as agriculture, environment and energy.”
    Romero says he hopes the Center will be shaped from the outside by feedback. “We want to get a sense of what kinds of things are needed by the people we aim to serve,” he says. “The more people are aware of it and the more feedback we get about beneficial topics, the better.”
    When the Rural Law Center’s website is available in the near future it will be accessible through the UW College of Law website. The Nov. 6 “State of the Dominant Estate” conference is open to the public. For more information on the conference or Rural Law Center contact Alan Romero at 307-766-2395. Christy Hemken 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..

Shoshoni – The Wyoming Beef Cattle Improvement Association (WBCIA) Bull Test Sale will once again be held at Pingetzer’s Bull and Heifer Development Center in Shoshoni. 

After feeding the set of bulls since mid-October 2013, Bob Pingetzer says, “Gain has been down in the Test this year, but the health of the cattle has been much better than normal.”

Pingetzer is owner of Pingetzer’s Bull and Heifer Development Center, where the WBCIA Bull Test and Sale are held.

Making changes

This year at the WBCIA Bull Test, Pingetzer comments that their changed cattle ration improved animal health.

“Instead of grinding hay, we moved to a cutter baler, allowing us to mix the hay more like a vertical mixer cuts it,” he explains. “The nutritionists have said that gain will be off, but it will improve our health.”

They saw positive results, with improved cattle health. 

“Gain has been off a bit, but we also did not feed quite as hot a ration this year,” Pingetzer says. “We fed for 3.1 pounds of gain instead of 3.25 pounds.”

EPDs

In looking at the requirements to qualify for the sale, Pingetzer says they have changed the calving ease criteria.

“We use less than 85 pound birth weights, and we use the top 40 percent of the breed for calving ease on their birth weight EPD,” he explains. “For instance, the Black Angus have to have a 1.5 birth weight EPD or less.”

They have also introduced the use of Calving Ease Direct EPD.

“Calving Ease Direct is a newer EPD, but people are starting to look at it more and more,” he says. “The bulls have to have a seven or greater Calving Ease Direct EPD.”

As new EPDs emerge and technology becomes available, Pingetzer notes they may continue to add criteria based on the latest information.

“There is a lot more opportunity to do DNA work now,” he comments. “We don’t require DNA yet, but I think in the future, we are going to see DNA replacing some of these other criteria we have now.”

With improvements in accuracy and the technology, Pingetzer says results will continue to improve.

“They are working on being more accurate with the 50K DNA test,” Pingetzer notes. “When they get there, I think there may be some other things eliminated.”

Continued improvements

The WBCIA Board also continues to discuss how to further improve the test even more, utilizing a variety of technologies.

“We are discussing doing more with the University of Wyoming and possibly sending a portion of the bulls to a GrowSafe system,” says Pingetzer. “We aren’t sure if it would work or if it is feasible.”

“GrowSafe systems are more and more popular,” he notes. 

However, Pingetzer also sees that GrowSafe systems aren’t perfect, either.

“I think the GrowSafe system favors a certain type of cattle,” Pingetzer says. “Not all of the best-efficiency cattle come out because of competition at the feed bunk.”

The more timid, less dominant bulls tend to be out-competed at the feed bunk, meaning they can be missed in efficiency rankings.

“When we are looking at cattle from small producers who only own a small number of cattle, the bulls aren’t as aggressive in the feed bunks, so they don’t perform as well,” Pingetzer says. “GrowSafe misses those efficient, but timid, cattle.”

Test results

In WBCIA’s Bull Test, cattle from Six Iron Ranch in Shoshoni took the top spots in both Red and Black Angus cattle. 

Pingetzer comments that they have great cattle involved in the sale from a variety of consigners, and top quality bulls can be seen throughout the sale.

“When I look at the numbers, if a calf has one bad day, he can shift four or five places in the standings,” Pingetzer explains. “However, calves can’t have a bad day and sit in the top place. There are calves that may be 10th in the Test that are still good calves that had one bad day.”

Benefits to producers

Testing bulls at a test facility is beneficial to producers, adds Pingetzer.

“The biggest benefit to testing is that it lets a producer know how their cattle compare to other cattle in the same situation,” he says. “Producers know what their calves perform like in their environment, but they don’t know how they perform compared to other people.”

With differences in environmental conditions, Pingetzer says bull tests allow producers to pit their animals against one another on a level playing field.

“If producers think they have performance, this is one way of finding out if they really do,” he comments. 

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..


SIDEBAR:
Sale information

The Wyoming Beef Cattle Improvement Association Bull Test Sale will be held on April 5 at 1 p.m. at Pingetzer’s Bull and Heifer Development Center in Shoshoni. 

The auction will sell 105 bulls, including 75 Black Angus and 30 Red Angus.

In addition to the live auction, DVAuction will hold an online auction at dvauction.com. Visit their website for more information and to register to bid.

 

Fremont County’s cure for cabin fever

Lander - The town of Lander was bustling this past week with the 42nd Wyoming State Winter Fair and Trade Show.  The Fair, which first began in the old Safeway building now housing Lander City Hall, has grown to encompass several venues.
    The Fair kicked off in January with a queen pageant and began this year with the livestock show on March 7 at the Lander Old Timers’ Rodeo Arena. Winter Fair Royalty included young ladies from Lander, Rock Springs and Riverton.
    “We tried a little different format this year,” says Winter Fair President John Schumacher.  “We moved all livestock events to one weekend, at the request of traveling participants, and scheduled the trade show and live performances for the following week.”
    The livestock show had approximately 120 entries from Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Montana and Nebraska. Contestants showed market hogs, lambs, goats and feeder steers and heifers.
    “The livestock show is an Open Junior Show for participants 21 years of age and younger,” Schumacher continues. “It is a great way to get a head start on your showing skills for the upcoming summer season.”
    Morgan Sanchez of Evanston traveled with her family to show lambs and goats.
    “I really enjoy showing lambs and goats,” said the nine-year-old Sanchez, who has showen lambs for three years and goats for two.
    “There are a lot of shows around Evanston and it’s fun,” Sanchez says. “My current lamb is named Cindy Lou. My goat was named Spot when I got him, but I changed it to Dominic.”
    The weekend’s fair weather drew a record number to the livestock show. The increased entries for the livestock sale Saturday evening totaled $6,400 in funds.
    The horse show took place March 8 with halter, performance and speed events. The show managers increased their focus on safety this year, working to minimize the number of horses standing within the Lander Old Timers’ Rodeo Arena.
    “I’ve been participating in the Winter Fair for 25 years now,” says Claudia Pearson of Lander. “It’s a great opportunity to get out into the community and put mileage on a young horse. At $7 a class, it’s a play date.”
    Pearson showed her seven-year-old Appaloosa gelding Rico in halter, as well as English pleasure and equitation classes.
    Echo Youngbarrow of Riverton, showed with Pearson in the Senior Any Other Breed Gelding class. Youngbarrow’s naturally elegant Friesen gelding Napolean managed to edge Pearson out for first place.
    “That’s the beauty of the Winter Fair, you can come with any type of horse,” Pearson says.  The show participants varied from experienced riders with green horses to young riders on seasoned mounts.
    The Winter Fair continued with the trade show and entertainment events from March 12-14. The trade show filled the Bob Carey Fieldhouse with 60 local and state vendors.
    “We certainly couldn’t have done it without all of the volunteers,” Schumacher says.  “The help provided by the FFA and the Sheriff’s office work release prisoners cut set-up and take-down by 50 percent.”
    Marlene Young of Lander says this year marks her 40th anniversary volunteering at the Winter Fair. The first year of the Fair, Young, along with Andy Palmer and the Western Band, were the first entertainers to perform.
    Since then Young has held pretty much every volunteer position at the Fair. Young currently works to minimize her involvement in future Fairs and transition to more of an advisor role. Young has put out a call for younger people to volunteer and continue the Winter Fair tradition.
    The Winter Fair was begun to provide Fremont County residents with a much-needed break from winter boredom and relieve the cabin fever effect. The Winter Fair is now a 42-year-old tradition that has grown into an upbeat, entertainment-packed event that incorporates the feel of an old-time country fair.
    Melissa Hemken is a correspondent for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Marbleton – Cheatgrass has attained “star” status in the world of invasive plants, with numerous speakers at the Green River Valley Cattlemen’s Association (GRVCA) annual meeting talking about how to combat its spread in western Wyoming.

On March 2-3 at the Marbleton Town Hall, GRVCA hosted speakers from county, state and federal agencies whose missions in Sublette County, Bridger-Teton National Forest, University of Wyoming and the Bureau of Land Management include ways and means of battling cheatgrass.

University of Wyoming Extension Range Specialist Glenn Owings, who is based in Pinedale and covers five western counties as a range specialist, explained how each county has a plot where cheatgrass seeds’ viability is being researched. An April 3 workshop is planned at the Sublette County Weed and Pest Office to further explore research projects in depth.

Rangeland Specialist Karen Clause, addressed the group on behalf of the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). She used photos to illustrate how quickly invasive plants can take over a healthy pasture with “before and after” examples of leafy spurge’s bright yellow blossoms spreading over mountainsides.

“That’s why we need to act now,” Clause said of the current focus on cheatgrass. “In the 1960s, there was one spot of leafy spurge, and now, we’re just trying to hold on. It takes everything over.”

Along southern edges of the Wind River Range’s west flank in what they are calling the “Boulder Front,” county weed and pest and conservation district offices, NRCS, Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyoming Game and Fish, private landowners and other agencies are joining forces to map cheatgrass-infested areas.

Clause pointed out that cheatgrass is being found along big-game migration corridors, including the Red Desert to Hoback mule deer migration route. She and NRCS Manager Jennifer Hayward can help landowners with particular problems along the route, she added.

They are also involved in supporting an upcoming Bridger-Teton National Forest invasive weeds environmental impact statement (EIS).

“There’s some pretty impressive work going on here,” Clause said.

The Bridger-Teton National Forest’s Big Piney Ranger District is putting this momentum into action with Chad Hayward, natural resources manager, taking the lead on the invasive weeds EIS.

“We’re going to analyze aerial application of herbicides,” Hayward told GRVCA members. “We’ve been doing little, if any, cheatgrass work because we have very few tools.”

Hayward said although the draft EIS “is in the infancy stage right now,” he expects a “pretty quick turnaround with a draft by late fall, a winter decision and potential startup in the fall of 2019.

“It’s a pretty aggressive schedule, but it has been done with other forests already,” Hayward explained.

Pinedale District Ranger Rob Hoelscher confirmed the BTNF’s desire to fight cheatgrass with aerial spraying, adding that using existing EISs in other Wyoming forests will make this environmental analysis process move ahead much more quickly.

Joy Ufford is a correspondent for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and a reporter at the Sublette Examiner and Pinedale Roundup. Send comments on this article to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Sheridan — In early November the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation (WyFB) gathered in Sheridan for their 89th annual meeting, which included education, elections and policy decisions.
    “It is a real privilege to serve agriculture and Wyoming Farm Bureau members,” said WyFB President Perry Livingston, who was reelected to a fourth term, in his address to the members. “The changes that will occur in January are significant and radical to most of our minds. Conservatism as we in agriculture know it will come under great scrutiny in the next four years. Lack of experience and moving too fast will cause some heartburn and may be very expensive.”
    He said the situation reminds him of being horseback five miles from home with an approaching thunderstorm. “You know you can’t get there, and you don’t quite know what’s going to happen,” he said.
    “In Wyoming we are continuing to face issues with the wolf, sage grouse and forest plans, to name a few,” he continued. “There is no shortage of items on our plate and that is what makes this job interesting and challenging.”
    “We are one year from meeting for nine decades, and that speaks well of the commitment of the WyFB members,” said WyFB Executive Vice President Ken Hamilton in his report.
    “One of the things that’s happened recently – that I didn’t think would ever happen in this country – is we started to have a discussion on the importance of food and whether we’re going to have adequate amounts,” said Hamilton. “The conversation took a different turn when they started talking about food versus fuel, and that debate still goes on today.”
    He said the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) looked into the issue and found that, while there is some impact when food is produced and used for fuel, the majority of the impacts come from the use of fuel to produce food. “That spells out an important thing for this nation,” explained Hamilton. “We have to recognize we need both fuel and food, and we have to have some coherent policy to ensure we have long-term energy for this country. We have to do it in a fashion that is economical.”
    Hamilton also add-ressed the issue of mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL). “Voting delegates at the AFBF annual meeting changed the policy of the AFBF from voluntary COOL to mandatory COOL,” he said. “That’s an example of how votes that start out in this room and in your counties help influence policy for agriculture in the U.S.”
    However, he said the job isn’t done with COOL. “We have to recognize the same producer here in Wyoming that spends a lot of time and care raising an animal will have the same label on their meat as the person that uses the cow as a hobby. The American consumer will not be able to differentiate between the beef raised by ag producers and the food raised as a hobby. We’re going to have to work to make sure the American public is aware that a product produced in the U.S. is a very good product.”
    Voting delegates at the meeting reelected Jim Hefenieder of Worland to his fourth term as WyFB Vice President. “Farm Bureau is the voice for agriculture and we have a lot of hard work ahead of us. I’m looking forward to continuing to serve our members and implementing the policy developed from the grassroots,” said Hefenieder, who farms and feeds cattle with his wife Beth and his family.
    Glen Reed of Park County, who farms with his brother Dennis, was elected to the position of Director-At-Large. Reed and Dennis operate a 900-acre flood irrigated farm, primarily raising sugar beets and malt barley.
    “I’ll continue doing what I have at the county level and will take that work to the state level to affect a broader scope of people,” said Reed. “I look forward to working closely on the issues facing Farm Bureau and helping the Wyoming Farm Bureau work to accomplish our goals on the issues at hand.”
    The Young Farmer & Rancher Committee elected Chalsey Kortes to serve a third term as the state committee chair. This position occupies a seat on the WyFB Board of Directors. Kortes and her parents run a cow/calf operation near Hanna.
    Voting delegates at the meeting passed resolutions relating to brucellosis, wolves and energy, among others. “The brucellosis issue was one high in our members’ concerns,” said Hamilton. “We support the establishment of a management area and would like to see changes in the compensation program. We’re also very supportive of increasing funding to address the issues of brucellosis vaccination.”
    Hamilton said members feel strongly that Wyoming needs to adhere to the law passed in 2003 relating to the trophy game and predator status of the wolf. “There was also some discussion on getting the federal government to enhance energy and conduct some natural resource exploration,” he said.
    Christy Hemken 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..