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Laramie – This fall UW will add a Collegiate CattleWomen’s Club to its roster of on-campus organizations. Started by National Beef Ambassador Bekcy Vraspir, the idea is already gaining popularity.
“Fourteen girls already signed up, which I find pretty exciting. We held a meeting about two weeks prior to class letting out this spring and at that point most students aren’t interested in activities for the fall, so to get that amount of interest was great,” comments Vraspir.
The goal for the group is to get college-aged women together who share an interest in the beef industry, explains Vraspir, who hopes students from all aspects of the ag industry will consider joining. The Collegiate CattleWomen will be a unified group in support and promotion of the beef industry.
“Through the group I’m hoping to do some consumer education and promote ag to people of all ages. From elementary schools all the way up to fitness groups and any other organizations that will listen. Being active on campus will provide a lot of opportunities too,” notes Vraspir.
To become an official, recognized group by UW, a petition with a minimum of seven signatures was submitted. The petition explains the purpose of the group, notes where they will meet, names an advisor and includes a constitution and bi-laws.
“We are working on our constitution and bylaws at this time and hope to have everything completed and turned in during the first week of classes this fall. Our advisor is Professor of Animal Science Christy Cammack,” says Vraspir. “One thing that will be mandatory is that each member complete the Masters of Beef Advocacy (MBA) program through the National Beef Cattlemen’s Association (NCBA). I feel that is a very beneficial tool that will help the girls in communicating with consumers and in promoting ag in general.”
Vraspir says the American National CattleWomen have a collegiate membership the UW group would likely join. “Being affiliated with them and attending the cattle industry conferences and seeing what is being done at the national level is something I would like to see happen with this group,” she says.
Colorado State University (CSU) in Fort Collins, Colo. has a very active Collegiate CattleWomen’s group, and Vraspir has been in contact with their advisors. “Maybe in the future we can get together for some promotional things and to meet other Collegiate CattleWomen members,” she comments.
Of her reasons for starting the group, Vraspir says, “I want girls to be aware that there is a state group and a lot of county CattleWomen’s groups that they can be involved in once they’re out of college. Increasing awareness is a great way to get younger members in those groups too. It’s also a great way to promote the beef industry and to meet people with similar interests.
“So far we have a very diverse group with members from around the state and some from out of state and we expect to add more with the incoming freshmen,” says Vraspir.
For more information on the UW Collegiate CattleWomen’s group email Becky Vraspir at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Heather Hamilton 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..

Casper – The 14th Annual Doornbos Agriculture Lecture Series featured Kent Noble, executive director of the Center for Cowboy Ethics and Leadership, at Casper College on April 27.

“Our program, ‘Standing Tall – What Do You Stand For,’ was originally developed for a small group of business leaders here in Wyoming,” stated Noble.

The program has been running for about three years, and thousands of people have attended the “Standing Tall” workshops.


“All we can hope to do is to make the best decisions that we can from this moment going forward. That’s what this program is all about,” Noble explained.

Based on the 10 principles outlined by James P. Owen in his book, “Cowboy Ethics: What Business Leaders Can Learn from the Code of the West,” the “Standing Tall” program encourages individuals to discover their own, personal code to live by.

“It’s about creating a set of personal principles and integrating them into our lives in a meaningful way, so we can lean on them and use them when we face some of those tough decisions that we all face in our lives,” Noble added.

Owen spent many years of his career on Wall Street, wrote several books about the financial sector and owned part of a Wall Street firm.

“He really became disgruntled with the way he saw business being conducted,” Noble commented.

Owen decided to spend the rest of his career striving to raise the bar on ethical standards in the business world.


“When he was a young boy, James Owen used to go to the Saturday matinees and see Gene Autry, Roy Rogers and other iconic cowboy figures on the big screen,” Noble said.

Owen looked to his childhood cowboy heroes as mentors, characters that inspired him to do better and be a better person.

“He wanted to identify the core values of his heroes, so he set out to do that by coming up with 10 principles. He combined them with some great cowboy images and the end result was a book that has become a best-seller,” noted Noble.

With the success of his book, Owen began to travel around the U.S. speaking to groups about ethics in business.

Code of the West

“His message is really simple. His message is, we all need a code or a creed of advice, something that will inspire us to do better and be better,” Noble explained.

Owen’s principles have been adopted by the state of Wyoming as the official state code and include such creeds as “Live each day with courage,” “Take pride in your work” and “Be tough but fair.”

“We want to introduce people to those principles, the Code of the West, and we want to help everyone come up with their own code,” Noble stated.

Personal code

After workshop participants complete the objective, they are encouraged to share their codes with their friends, family and co-workers.

“If I tell people, ‘This is who I am trying to be and this is what is important to me,’ they will notice if I act in ways that are inconsistent with that, so I will try that much harder to live up to it,” he commented.

Noble added his principles to the signature line of his email to share the ethical intentions that he created for himself.

“Let’s identify, ideally, who we want to be and what’s important to us and let’s be bold enough to push it out there and hold ourselves accountable,” he stated.

The “Stand Tall” program hopes that people will be inspired to take action in making the world around them a better place.

“If people are not already engaged in some meaningful way, making a difference in their community, we hope that they are encouraged to do so,” noted Noble.


Noble also encouraged workshop participants to challenge themselves.

“We shouldn’t just pick things that are easy for us and stick them in our code,” he explained. “Some of the things in my code make me stretch and really make me work, but don’t we all want to be better versions of ourselves?”

Noble’s own work included the intention to always act in a way that would be acceptable in the presence of his children.

He noted that when they are around, “I am absolutely trying to be the best role model that I can possibly be. Shouldn’t I do that all of the time?”

Once his code was complete, he also shared it with his kids.

“No one knows me better than my family, and when we share something that’s so personal, we are going to have some great conversations,” he said.

His friends were also invited to read the personal principles that Noble developed for himself.

“It’s been very rewarding. Many of them have now been through this course and developed their own codes,” Noble added.

Tools for ethical living

The “Standing Tall” workshop strives to give people the tools they need to develop a framework for practicing ethical living.

“We are a reflection of the choices we make. That’s who we are, that’s how people see us and that’s our brand,” Noble stated. “Doesn’t it make sense for us to have a bedrock set of principles that we have really thought about and clearly defined?”

As the workshop progressed, participants discussed integrity, gratitude, attitude, effort and more.

“We wrap up with our impact principle,” commented Noble. “How will people know that we are here? How will we leave our mark? How will we make a difference?”

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..

The agriculture department at Eastern Wyoming College (EWC) is pleased to announce the opportunity for a new certificate and degree program in precision agriculture.

This new certificate and degree programs were designed with the encouragement of the EWC Ag Advisory Committee. This committee had input into the course and program development.

The certificate program is designed to enable students to develop the knowledge and skills needed to successfully incorporate precision agriculture into a business operation. With successful completion of this certificate, students can obtain their own Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) pilot’s license.

Students enrolling in the associate of applied science degree program will gain the skills required for entry-level employment in precision agriculture. This would include jobs in the service industry related to agriculture equipment sales and services, crop scouting, fertilizer and chemical application, variable rate irrigation, soils and remote sensing. Any other employment utilizing this technology, such as Natural Resources Conservation Service projects, range management and land reclamation would benefit from this degree.  

“This is a rapidly growing and quickly changing area of agriculture with great job potential,” shared Monte Stokes, EWC agricultural instructor and division chair.

New courses developed for this certificate and degree include Precision Agriculture II, Precision Hardware and Software, UAV License and Registration, Precision Agriculture III and Precision Agriculture IV.

Students can enroll into this certificate or AAS degree program today. Contact the main campus at 307-532-8200 or stop by 3200 West C Street in Torrington. Financial aid and scholarships are available.

Sheridan – Sheridan County’s agriculture industry is strong, and the area is supported by farmers, ranchers and the supporting agri-businesses. 

To train the next generation of agriculture professionals, Sheridan College’s agriculture department is growing and expanding, and Director of Agriculture Keith Klement says, “We’ve got some great programs here.”

Programs offered

Sheridan College offers a wide array of program options for students – from Associate of Science and Associate of Applied Sciences degrees to integration of a three plus one program in horticulture. 

“We have a basic ag science degree, which gives students a little bit of everything,” Klement says. “We also have an animal science degree, ag business degree, natural resources and ranchland management degree, horticulture degree and a farrier science certificate.”

The natural resources and ranchland management degree requires students to take a practicum, which allows them to work with an agency or private landowner on the project of their choice.

Each of those degrees is designed to prepare students to transfer to a four-year institution. 

The horticulture program is designed to allows students to attend Sheridan College for three years before completing their final year at the University of Wyoming to earn a bachelor’s degree.

“We also have an Associate of Applied Sciences Degree,” Klement explains. “This degree is not intended for transfer. The program gives students a chance to take a lot more core classes. It does not require all of the general education requirements – like math and English.”

The applied sciences program can be tailored to meet the needs of students and target their interests.


Approximately 60 students are enrolled in Sheridan College’s Ag Department. 

“Close to 50 percent of the students in our program come from Wyoming, and the other 50 percent come from Montana and South Dakota,” Klement describes. “Of those, 60 to 70 percent of our graduates will go to UW to finish their bachelor’s degree. Another 15 to 20 percent attend another school, and 15 to 20 percent go back home or right into the workforce.”

Sheridan College’s program is set up to create an easy transition for students to their next step, whatever that may be.

Continued growth

The Sheridan College Ag Department has seen success in terms of growth of students, as well as the improvement in programs. 

Klement says, “We have been growing for several reasons. First, we have a lot of support from the community.”

Funding from the Wyoming Legislature and private donations from the Whitney Benefits Fund and Forrest Mars have boosted Sheridan College to the next level.

“Right now, planning is in place for our new 17,000 to 18,000 square foot building to be open by Fall 2016,” Klement says. “The building will be called the Mars Ag Center.”

Mars Ag Center will be a two-story building with new classrooms, up-to-date laboratories and a state-of-the-art commodities classroom. 

“Our commodities classroom will feature Wall Street-style ticker tape with markets and current events within the classroom setting,” he adds.

Internal support

On top of community support and donations, Klement marks support from the Sheridan College Administration for agriculture as being essential. 

“Someone who has really helped is our President Dr. Paul Young,” he says. “Dr. Young has been a strong advocate for agriculture.”

That support has translated into the creation of new positions. 

“I was brought in 4.5 years ago as a director of agriculture,” Klement comments. “We also recently hired Brett Burke as our ranch business management, ag communications and ag education instructor.”

“We haven’t had an ag communications program here before, and he will help to add a lot to the ag business program, including hedging, marketing and microeconomics in agriculture,” he continues. “We are adding a lot of new pieces and a new dynamic to what Ag Business Instructor Chuck Holloway has been doing here for the last 20 years.”

Klement says that Holloway’s program has been strong over the last 20 years, and they will only continue to develop and improve into the future.

Continued growth

As they move into the future, Klement notes that Sheridan College’s Ag Department aims to increase its enrollment over the next several years. 

“I think our new building and facilities will be attractive for students,” he says. “It’s not just the building itself, but the quality of instruction we have, including new hires, has been key to providing quality education.”

The school’s advisory boards, composed of local business owners, are meaningful to Sheridan College’s ability to provide useful education.

“Our advisory boards help keep our programs in tune with the current job placement market,” Klement explains. 

Coming to Sheridan

Klement also mentions that Sheridan provides a great atmosphere for a college, and he sees promise for the future. 

“This campus is so great because of the beauty of Sheridan and the community,” he says. “We have a small enough community that students can enjoy town, but we are 20 minutes from the top of the Bighorn Mountains.”

In the ag and natural resources programs, Klement mentions that it is possible for students to receive a quality, hands-on education because of proximity to agriculture operations and public lands in the area. 

“We also have a great scholarship program,” he adds. “Students shouldn’t have to pay much for a really good education.”

“There is plenty going on here,” Klement says, “and we are continuing to develop.”

Additional programs

In conjunction with their education efforts, Sheridan College also works to provide outreach opportunities for high school students and community members. 

Beginning at the high school level, Sheridan College hosts the FFA Border Wars every year during the first week of March. 

“This is the 13th year we have hosted the FFA Border Wars,” says Sheridan College Director of Agriculture Keith Klement. “The Border War is for ag students from Wyoming, Montana and South Dakota to compete in various competitions and serves as a training before they go to their regional or state contests.”

Nearly 100 students gather for the event each year from the three-state area.

For community members, Sheridan College also hosts the Ranch Sustainable Forum and a natural resources lecture series, which are widely attended. 

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..

Laramie – A letter sent in late October from UW College of Agriculture Dean Frank Galey states the internal reorganization of operations at the Laramie Research and Extension Center is being completed to streamline operations, improve transparency and faculty access and provide for more efficient planning.
“The farm will remain in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and there is no intention to change the status of the farm. Not changing the status of the farm has the full support of the college administration, as well as the entire Wyoming agriculture industry,” comments Galey.
“From an internal administration standpoint, this streamlines everything and increases efficiency,” adds UW Agricultural Experiment Station (AES) Director Bret Hess. “The ultimate authority will be AES, instead of the greenhouse complex, lab animal facilities and the stock farm each being administered by a different department.”
Formerly the UW greenhouse complex was supervised by the Plant Sciences department, the lab animal facilities were supervised the by the Veterinary Sciences department and the stock farm was managed by the Animal Science department.
“The change will make one body, a director, who will serve as supervisor for all three units, and that will include fiscal and physical responsibilities,” explains Hess.
Hess adds that at present the greenhouse complex and lab animal facilities have already shifted their management to the AES office, while the stock farm is still in a transitional state.    
“There is some concern within the Animal Science department, but both departments that have already switched are very happy with how it works,” notes Galey. “The faculty still drive the strategic issues, but they don’t have to deal with the day to day management.”
Galey adds faculty will still be the voice determining what happens at the experiment stations. “Funding will not change, and the projects will still be faculty driven. But, instead of the funds being filtered through three different departments, they will go directly to the station with a single stop for reporting and auditing,” explains Galey.
“We are currently in the process of hiring a director, who will coordinate with staff and help UW faculty conduct their research and educational activities at the Laramie R&E Center,” notes Hess.
“We hope to have a person hired by Feb. 15, because one week later all the center directors and some managers from different centers come to Laramie. That’s the time when everyone interacts and develops a plan for the upcoming year,” says Hess.
“It will be a state of transition for a while. Right now we’ve asked Animal Science Department Head Doug Hixon to mentor the incoming director on aspects relevant to the stock farm,” explains Hess.
“I think people are fearful of change, even a little internal change. But I would like to reassure everyone that I’m probably the most external oriented dean we’ve had in a long time, and I’m very committed to making this work, as are college administrators,” adds Galey.
Heather Hamilton 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..