Current Edition

current edition

Wyoming AgExpo

Casper – This year marks the sixth annual Roping the Wind Renewable Energy Conference, and Ed Werner of Werner Solutions in Douglas says the upcoming event on Nov. 20 and 21 will have a different twist.
    “We’re going to start out talking about career opportunities on wind farms in Wyoming,” explains Werner. “We’re seeing a real lack of a work force not only for wind farm construction, but also for their maintenance after they’re up and running.”
    He says the conference will offer a unique perspective in that it will speak from the ag perspective. “Those wind farms are going to be out there on the Wyoming plains, and the best people to work on them will be those farm and ranch kids who are already pretty good at fixing things,” he says.
    Laramie County Community College already has a program in place to work in the wind energy industry. “This is an opportunity for people to come out of high school and gain training to work with the wind farms,” says Werner. “It’s a different twist on opportunities for ranch people.”
    He says that, rather than driving into town to work an outside job, ranch people could work next door. “It’s a new topic on which we haven’t touched,” he notes.
The industrial siting process will also be a topic at the meeting. “There is confusion out there on what it is, how it affects wind farms and what the outcomes are,” says Werner. “There are unexpected twists and turns that the Wyoming Legislature and local folks weren’t expecting. We’re going to talk about the whole process and bring some insight about what to expect on both sides.”
    Updates from Transwest Express – a 1,000-turbine proposal in Carbon County – and the Anschutz Wind Farm, another project with 1,000 turbines, will be offered. Werner says these updates will show people what’s being talked about with the big projects.
    Rocky Mountain Power will present an update on their Glenrock and Carbon County projects, those that are both in the works and on the ground.
    The North American Electric Reliability Corporation will discuss wind integration issues. “The Corporation was formed by the government to look at how to make the grid reliable,” says Werner. “That’s counterintuitive to wind energy, so we’ll talk about how wind is integrated into the system, how it operates and the issues around that.”
    Last on the first day’s agenda is an update from landowner associations.
    Werner says the second day of the conference will be a little different, in that if weather permits Rocky Mountain Power will offer a tour of the Glenrock Wind Farm.
    Following the wind farm tour, in conjunction with the Wyoming AgXpo’s trade show, will be a hands-on afternoon focusing on small-scale renewable energy. These mini conferences will feature small wind turbines, solar power, geothermal heat pumps, interconnection equipment and other topics relating to installing, connecting and operating small-scale equipment.
    “Instead of having a large crowd approach, people will be able to get right up to the speakers and the equipment,” says Werner of the afternoon. “Rather than going with the lecture approach we’re going to try to get more into a one-on-one type of thing that will be ongoing Friday afternoon with the rest of the AgXpo.”
    Werner says Thursday is the big wind day and Friday is for small-scale individual of units. “It seems like the big money and interest is in the big wind projects, but we wanted to offer something for the smaller projects as well,” he says.
    Thursday’s conference will be held 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Ag Resource and Learning Center at 2011 Fairgrounds Road in Casper, while Friday afternoon’s events will be found in the Central Wyoming Fairgrounds arena from 1 to 4 p.m. A carpool to tour the Glenrock Wind Farm will leave the fairgrounds at 9 a.m. Friday. Both days are open to the public at no charge.
    The Wyoming Business Council and the U.S. Department of Energy, along with Werner Solutions, will offer the conference. For more information on the Wyoming AgXpo, visit For more information on Roping the Wind, visit or call Ed Werner at 307-358-2007.
    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..
Casper – This year the upcoming Wyoming AgXpo will again feature a series of seminars related to hay and forage production as well as a forage contests for producers and the general public.
    The forage seminars will take place Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 21 through 23, with each day focusing on different production sectors.
    On Nov. 21 at 1 p.m. Don Miller and Tom Miles from Producers Choice seeds will present information related to plant observation and replanting guidelines for alfalfa and grasses. Scott Keith of the Wyoming Business Council says they will also conduct a demonstration. “They’ll have the plants laid out to look at the roots so people can see the plant itself and how to tell when the plant needs to be replaced,” he says.
    On Nov. 22 at 2:30 p.m. Steve McDonnell with Circle West Seeds will share a presentation along with UW Extension Livestock Specialist Scott Lake on small rumen forage requirements, and harvesting forages specifically to meet those requirements.
    On Nov. 23 McDonnell will give another presentation related to horse nutrition.
    The first forage contest relates to production, and Keith says producers from all over the state can enter small bales of hay or samples of larger bales. Samples must be received in Casper by noon on Nov. 20.
    Three classes in the contest will be judged based on forage value. The three classes are alfalfa with less than 20 percent grass, grass hay with less than 20 percent alfalfa and mixed hay with higher than 20 percent but lower than 80 percent alfalfa. Producers can enter as many samples as they would like and the first sample entry is free, but every following sample will cost $15 to cover the forage analysis and shipping.
    Keith says collection sites will be set up around the state, where entry forms will be available and producers can drop off their samples to be delivered to Casper by deadline. “If a forage producer is interested in entering they need to connect with their county extension agent, call me or check the website for the locations where hay can be dropped off,” says Keith.
    The second forage contest is the AgXpo Forage Quality Contest, consisting of several bales of hay available for evaluation. “This is the opportunity for the general public to participate,” says Keith. “People will have the opportunity to estimate crude protein, total digestible nutrients and the relative feed value of each.”
    Hay industry representatives will be present to give parameters so people can make an educated guess, says Keith. There will be awards for the closest estimate on each of the different forages, and an overall award on who’s closest on all of them collectively.
    The Forage Quality Contest will run from noon on Nov. 21 until Nov. 23 at 4 p.m. Results from the Forage Production Contest will be announced Nov. 21 at 3 p.m. following the first forage presentation.
    In addition to the seminars and contests there will be vendors in the trade show from the hay, seed and fertilizer industries.
    “For hay producers this is a great place to make some contacts with potential customers because of the people in the cattle, sheep and horse industries who will be there for the rest of the trade show,” says Keith.
    Contact Scott Keith at 307-237-4696. Visit the Wyoming AgXpo website at 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..
Casper – This year the Wyoming AgXpo will feature an entirely new aspect of Wyoming’s agriculture community – the horse industry.
    Wyoming Horse Council President Bill Gentle says when the Council was formed a year ago an expo was on their “to-do” list, but they didn’t have enough personnel to pull one off. When the Wyoming Business Council invited them to join in the AgXpo, Gentle says they were glad to participate.
    “Every rancher has a horse, and everybody that would like to be a rancher has a horse,” says Scott Keith of the Wyoming Business Council. “This is a great opportunity for exposure in the equine industry, and we’re looking at doing this from the standpoint of livestock and breeding, as well as those who enjoy showing horses or riding or training. We’re trying to hit all aspects through the program on Sunday.”
    Gentle says there are four sections to the equine activities – a trade show, stallion review, clinics and educational seminars.
    “I think this is going to be an extremely good opportunity for some people within the horse industry to gain exposure,” says Gentle of the trade show, in which he expects 30 to 40 exhibitors.
    The featured stallions, which will be presented twice on Sunday, will include 10 horses from across the state and from across disciplines, says Gentle. “We’re going to sift the entries to ensure variety, and then they’re going to be chosen randomly,” he says, noting that this year’s review is under space limitations but if all goes well he expects it to expand in the future.
    Sunday’s program will also feature three Wyoming clinicians – Bill Smith of Thermopolis, Peter Campbell of Wheatland and Bruce Laird of Torrington.
    While Bruce Laird will focus on the stages of getting a horse used to handling a rope, Peter Campbell will speak about horse handling safety. Bill Smith will demonstrate starting colts with horses in different stages of training.
    Regarding the cost of the day’s presentations, Gentle says the three clinicians will be a good buy for attendees. “In addition, we’ll have two educational seminars – one on nutrition and one directed toward horse judging.”
    Of the horse judging seminar, UW Extension Educator Milt Green, who serves as an advisor to the Wyoming Horse Council, says, “We wanted to provide some general information and education about how a judge evaluates a horse, and hopefully that will be a real drawing card for the young people.” He says he hopes it’ll give those participating in horse shows a better understanding of what the judge is really looking for in both conformation and performance.
    “I think including horses in this year’s AgXpo is exciting, and I hope we can get a good draw,” says Gentle.  
“We want to expose our horse owners to some possibilities and some things that are available within the state,” says Green. “We’ve got a lot of good clinicians right here in Wyoming who are extremely talented and can offer a lot of training guidance.”
    Green says that, down the road, he has no idea how big the horse expo could get. “The equine industry in Wyoming is so large and complex that we could have all kinds of demonstrations and seminars. We hope this will plant the seed to do that.”
    “The horse aspect of the AgXpo is an opportunity for exhibitors to go across different species, and for them to be exposed to more of the industry than just the cow/calf or sheep sectors,” says Keith. “It also opens up more opportunities for those who are involved with recreational or arena horses.”
    The equine activities will begin at 9 a.m. Nov. 23 in the arena at the Natrona County Fairgrounds and continue throughout the afternoon. The stallion review will begin first thing in the morning, after which the group will be split for the second presentations between clinics. Entry costs $15 for a single person and $25 for a couple. Kids 18 and under are free, and existing Wyoming Horse Council Members may enter for $10 for single and $20 for a couple.
    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..