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October 16, 2016

A
G

Appreciation
a special publication of

Page 2 Laramie Boomerang

Ag Appreciation 2016

Sunday, October 16, 2016

2016 Ag Appreciation Whats inside?


Opportunities in agriculture for youth...........................................................................3

PAGES 4-5

PAGE 3

UW research transforming Wyoming agriculture................................................4-5


PAGES 8-9

Albany County beef markets.................................................................................6-7


Organizations honor historic family ranch.............................................................8-9

Area farm operation promotes grass-fed beef..........................................10-11

PAGES 10-11

PAGES 6-7

Albany County
Farm Bureau

2016
Top Hand
Award
CONGRATULATIONS TO THIS YEARS TOP HAND WINNER

Tim Cooper
A GREAT BIG

THANK YOU
The Boardwalk
First Interstate Bank
C & A Pet and Livestock
Albany County Farm Bureau
Laramie Jubilee Days
Martindales Western Store
Farm Bureau Financial
Services- Zach Jacobsen,
Matt Sigel and Mark Pajak

For sponsoring this award!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Ag Appreciation 2016

Laramie Boomerang Page 3

Starting early
Learning opportunities for youth with 4-H, FFA
By NURIA MATHOG

nuriam@laramieboomerang.com

For young people considering


a career in agriculture or
even just interested in the
subject there is no shortage
of local organizations where
they can hone their knowledge
and skills.
Young people 8-18 years old
can join a 4-H club, a chapter
of a national organization
Alanna Biermin, 8, left, and Bode Anderson, 10, are judged Aug. 4 during
designed to help participants
the 4-H Cat Show at the Albany County Fair.
develop new skills and form
SHANNON BRODERICK/Boomerang photographer
friendships.
We still battle the
Mary Louise Wood, 4-H and
misconception that its all
youth development educator
agriculture, cause the majority
for the University of Wyoming
We still
of our kids live in town and can
Extensions Albany County
participate,
she
said.
Its
lots
office, said students can enroll
battle the
more than just animals.
in the program online. In
misconception
There are many benefits for
Albany County alone,
young
people
there are 17 clubs
that its all
who join the
to choose from.
agriculture, cause
organization, she
How
I suggest the
said.
best way is either
the majority of
to get
The kids will
if you already
our kids live in
tell you that one,
involved:
know somebody in
its fun, but that
4-H or you select
town and can
4-H: Go to www.4-h.
they also learn
a club that fits
org/find to search for a
life skills like
participate. Its
into your family
local club
responsibility,
schedule, she
lots more than
time
said. The 4-H
Snowy Range FFA:
management,
just animals.
year begins Oct. 1
Open to Laramie High
financial skills,
and goes through
School students
MARY LOUISE WOOD
she said.
Sept. 30 theres
Wood stressed
University of Wyoming
64 different
while the 4-H
projects that they can choose
Extension Albany County
program is one of the worlds
from, so pretty much if you like
4-H and youth development
largest youth educational
to do it, you can do it.
educator
organizations,
adult
volunteers
Clubs typically meet once
also play a major role.
a month, though a handful
If it wasnt for our
meet every other month, she
volunteers, there wouldnt be a
said. More than 8,000 youth
of future Farmers of America,
4-H program because theyre
and 3,000 adults in the state
where they study agricultural
the ones that truly do all the
participate in 4-H; in Albany
topics and practice skills such
interaction
with
the
youth,
County, about 375 youth and
as public speaking. The club
she said. Theyre the ones that
100 adults are involved with
has two staff advisors.
the organization. Some of the
share their knowledge. And
In past years, student teams
most popular 4-H activities
its not that they have to be a
have competed at both the
are shooting sports which
subject area expert they just
national and state level. In
include archery, rifle, pistol,
have to like kids.
2010, the Snowy Range FFA
shotgun and muzzleloading
Older students can also sign
as well as horse and market
horse team took first place at
up for Laramie High Schools
projects, Wood said.
Snowy Range FFA, a chapter
the National FFA Convention.

Above, Aurora Starks, 11, milks Fairytale, a LaMancha


goat, in July at the Albany County Fair.
Below, Morgan VanWinkle walks his steer through
the arena in July during the Albany County Fairs
livestock sale.
SHANNON BRODERICK/Boomerang photographer

Page 4 Laramie Boomerang

Ag Appreciation 2016

Sunday, October 16, 2016


By JOEL FUNK

joelf@laramieboomerang.com

TRANSFORMING
WYOMING
AGRICULTURE
UW research
collaborates
with ag producers
A sheep peeks out of a triangular slot Sept. 28 at the Laramie Research and Extension Center. The sheep are part of a feed efficiency study. SHANNON BRODERICK/Boomerang photographer

When it comes to the University


of Wyoming and agricultural
producers in Albany County and
throughout the state, researchers
believe the best outcomes are
yielded by working together.
Its a landmark year for UWs
Agricultural Experiment Station as
it celebrates its 125th anniversary.
Associate Dean and Director Bret
Hess said the tradition of working
with agricultural producers goes
back to a motto.
Agricultural research transforms
life thats our motto, Hess said.
Weve had that tied to producers
for more than 125 years.
From fundamental to applied
research, UW helps agricultural
producers on ranches and farms
figure out how to make life better
around the state, Hess said.
In the last 5-6 years, Hess said
his program started a process to
gather input from producers so
researchers can answer lingering
questions about agricultural
operations.
The research priorities
referred to as Wyoming Production
Agriculture Research Priorities

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Sunday, October 16, 2016

Ag Appreciation 2016

Laramie Boomerang Page 5

Its critically important to address producer needs,


because the eventual return on investment is very big.

Wyoming
farm facts

BRET HESS
University of Wyoming Agriculture Experimental Station associate dean and director

continually gathers input from


hundreds of agricultural producers
around the state. Producers, Hess
said, have indicated they would
like some research conducted to
answer questions that arise in their
operations.
Over the last six years, each
research project conducted that
is supported by the Agricultural
Experiment Station or extension
addresses three of those agriculture
research priorities, Hess said.
Whether the questions address
production systems, irrigation, soil
fertility or livestock, the Agricultural
Experiment Station is demonstrating
how they meet objectives that
improve farm and ranch operations
in Albany County and Wyoming.
We had a researcher in applied
agro-economics that found for every
dollar we spend on agricultural
research, it will have a return of
$30 that benefits the agricultural
economy, Hess said. Its critically

important to address producer needs,


because the eventual return on
investment is very big.
As technology advances, Hess said
the pace of help research performed
at UW and extension offices
throughout Wyoming should only
accelerate.
It comes with technology and
advances weve made, just in the
course of my career, continue to
excel, Hess said. I cant predict
what new discoveries will be made,
but thats the beauty of science:
discoveries are made on a regular
basis.
Hess said the same study that
measured the research investmenteconomic benefit yield also found
discoveries can happen so rapidly
that they might not have application
for 20-25 years to come. Additionally,
many of the same problems
researchers were exploring more
than a century ago remain.
Weve been exploring production

11,600: Number of farm


operations

and profitability since the beginning


of the Agricultural Experiment
Station, Hess said. Some of the
early bulletins on rangeland talked
about invasive weed species we
still have a very-active invasive
species program and some of
the weeds that were mentioned as
nuisance in those early publications
are still weeds that were trying to
control today.
The methods might have changed
and the pace of advancement
accelerated, but Hess said there
are ultimately more questions
yielded from every one answered.
Ultimately, he said the mission of the
Agricultural Experiment Station and
its extension offices remains constant
more than 100 years later.
At the end of the day, it all comes
back to the same thing weve
been doing all along, and that is
determining through research
practical solutions for producer
problems, Hess said.

30,400,000: Acres operated


Farms by sales value

3,466:
Less than $1,000
834:
$1,000-$2,499
799:
$2,500-$4,999
915:
$5,000-$9,999
850: $10,000-$19,999
311: $20,000-$24,999
592:
$25,000-$39,999
283:
$40,000-$49,999
923:
$50,000-$99,999
1,307:
$100,000-$249,999
808:
$250,000-$499,999
648:
$500,000 or more
Source: 2015 USDA State
Agriculture Overview
www.nass.usda.gov/Quick_Stats/
Ag_Overview/stateOverview.
php?state=WYOMING

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Page 6 Laramie Boomerang

Ag Appreciation 2016

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Cattle gather behind a gate in July at the Laramie Jubilee Days Rodeo. SHANNON BRODERICK/Boomerang photographer

HIGH-ELEVATION QUALITY
Albany County cattle still in
demand despite local market slump
By JOEL FUNK

joelf@laramieboomerang.com

While employees and students of


higher education institutions are the
largest supporter of the economy
in Laramie and Albany County, its
longstanding tradition of agriculture
continues to be an integral part of
the local way of life.
Jeff Ward is a sales representative
for Torrington Livestock Markets
and Cattle Country Videos. For the
last 12 years, Ward has spent his
time working with producers in
Albany County and other areas in
southeastern Wyoming to market

cattle. His work in the cattle market


has informed Ward about the role it
plays in the local economy.
The more money our
(agricultural) producers make, the
more they spend in town buying
new pickups, buying clothes,
groceries, feed at the local feed
stores theres a huge trickle-down
effect here, Ward said.
For cattle producers in Albany
County, 2013-2015 were good years,
Ward said. Today, he said various
factors are leading to what appears
to be a decline in beef markets.
(Cow-calf and yearling

few years behind. In 2012, Albany


operations) arent worth as much
County recorded just fewer than
as they have been in the
450 farms with a market
last three years, he
value of products sold
said. The fat-cattle
registering at just less
market has declined
At a
than $93.5 million up
to where the feed
more than 160 percent
lots arent making
glance:
from 2007. Of that $93.5
as much money, so
Despite growth
million in agriculture
theyre not willing to
in the past three
market value, just less
reinvest that money
years,
the
cattle
than $84.4 million of
theyre not able
market in Albany
that is in cattle. In 2012,
to give more for our
County is showing
that made the value of
cattle.
some signs of decline.
sales of cattle in Albany
John Ritten,
However, a local
County the fourth largest
assistant professor
sales
representative
in the state.
of agricultural and
is staying optimistic
Global markets, Ward
applied economics
about
the
future.
said,
affect the bottom
at the University of
line of every facet of the
Wyoming, said the
cattle industry, from
way hard numbers
packers to feedlots. In
for local agriculture performance
those circumstances, Ward said
are reported means they are a

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Ag Appreciation 2016

This region is
very fortunate
and well-known
about the cattle
we produce. We
send cattle all
over the country.
They like the highmountain cattle
from the region.
High-elevation cattle
is very popular
because it performs
well in feed lots.
JEFF WARD
Torrington Livestock Markets
and Cattle Country Videos
sales representative

producers are forced to take less for


their cattle.
Though its hard to speculate,
Ward said he hopes beef markets
are in a holding pattern or leaning
toward an uptrend.
I hope that it goes up here in
the future for everybody involved,
from the merchants of Laramie and
the producers in Albany County,
he said. It would just be better if
the producers had more money to
spend.
Albany County has an upper hand
on competing markets because of
the high demand for its beef, Ward
said.
This region is very fortunate and
well-known about the cattle we
produce, he said. We send cattle
all over the country. They like
the high-mountain cattle from the
region. High-elevation cattle is very
popular because it performs well in
feed lots.
Another aspect of Albany
Countys market he appreciates
is the younger age groups among
producers, Ward said. Whether
working with their families
businesses or owning their cattle,
he said people in their mid- to
late-teens are making their mark
locally. Those young entrepreneurs
are helping ensure a legacy of
agricultural excellence for the
future in Albany County, Ward said.
The young people (in Albany
County) are doing a lot of great
Sage Ward stands with livestock she raised. Photo courtesy of Lindsay Ward
work, he said.

Laramie Boomerang Page 7

Page 8 Laramie Boomerang

Ag Appreciation 2016

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Bell-Otte Ranch recognized by Wyoming Centennial Farm and Ranch


By CELIA CORSON and
SHAWNA OTTE

Special to the Laramie Boomerang

Back row from left, Rep. Cynthia Lummis, Jack Corson, Hadley Bell, John Bell, Shawna
Otte, Barbara Zankie, Peter Zankie, Laura Lee Bell, Lisa Bell, Darryl Bell, Todd
Wilkinson, Celia Corson, Gov. Matt Mead and Sen. Mike Enzi, and front row from left, J.D.
Corson and Addie Corson gather after Bell-Otte Ranch, Inc. was recognized as a Centennial Ranch at the 2016 Wyoming State Fair. Courtesy photo

PROUD SUPPORTER OF WYOMING AGRICULTURE

At the 2016 Wyoming State


Fair, the Bell-Otte Ranch, Inc.
was recognized through the
Wyoming Centennial Farm and
Ranch program for being owned
and operated by the same family
for more than 100 years.
Among the other ranches
also recognized, Bell-Otte
Ranch received a framed
certificate and metal sign
designating it as a Wyoming
Centennial Ranch. Speeches
recognizing and honoring
the incredible longevity of
Wyoming Centennial Ranch
recipients were given by Gov.
Matt Mead, Sen. Mike Enzi,
Sen. John Barasso and Rep.
Cynthia Lummis. They also
mentioned the overwhelming
odds from both Mother Nature
and governmental policies those
in agriculture face. In addition,

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they mentioned the great need


of farms and ranches to support
and sustain not only our state
but Wyomings very culture.
The Bell-Otte Ranch is located
in the North Laramie Mountain
Range, 50 miles north of Rock
River and 50 miles south of
Douglas. The ranch has been in
existence for 114 years as Albert
(Bert) Bell homesteaded it
in 1902. Currently, the ranch is
owned and operated by Bells
fourth and fifth generations of
descendants. Four things have
been common themes from
the time Bell homesteaded
through current day operations:
hard work, sacrifice, longterm vision and riding for the
brand. No ranch can remain
in business so long without
being excellent stewards of the
land. Unless you have tied your
horse to the same corral posts,
irrigated the same meadows
and ridden the same mountains
as your grandfather and great-

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Ag Appreciation 2016

Laramie Boomerang Page 9

grandfather, it is impossible to
understand the familial bond to the
land. Ancestors and heritage are a
source of inspiration, and they are
remembered with gratitude and
reverence daily.
The Bell-Otte Ranch urges all
farms and ranches that have been
in the same family for at least 100
years to apply for this tribute. The
application is easy to fill out, and
the award is honorary and does
not place any requirements or
expectations on the family. As of
2016, more than 200 families have
been honored through the program.
Call Erica Duvic at the Wyoming
Historic Preservation office at 307777-3418 or go to www.wyoshpo.
state.wy.us/CFR/Index.aspx for an
application or more information.
The Wyoming Centennial Farm
and Ranch program partners
are the Wyoming State Historic
Preservation Office, Wyoming Stock
Growers Association, Wyoming
Department of Agriculture,
Wyoming Rural Electric
Association, Wyoming Business
Council, Wyoming Wool Growers
Association and Wyoming Livestock
Bell-Otte Ranch, Inc. has been owned and operated by the same family for 114 years. Courtesy photo
Roundup.

Proud Supporter of
the Albany County
Agricultural Community.
Serving Laramie for Over 39 Years!

Real Estate 1
Jerry Walsh & Co. LLC
www.RealEstate1WYO.com
157 N. 5th, Laramie, WY 82070 307-742-7048

269 N. 2nd St. 745-3223

Page 10 Laramie Boomerang

Ag Appreciation 2016

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Black Market Farm to


expand with winter CSA

At a glance:
Black Market Farm
offered a new CSA in the
spring including beef, pork,
chicken and eggs. The farm
is planning to offer a winter CSA
in response to customer demand,
which will include beef and pork.

By EVE NEWMAN

even@laramieboomerang.com

On a 2,400-acre chunk of land


on the western flank of Sheep
Mountain overlooking the
Centennial Valley, the Sigel family
is dreaming big.
The family operation on Hecht
Creek Ranch got its start raising
grass-fed beef, but the Sigels
have recently expanded into pigs,
chickens and eggs, with the goal
of producing pasture-raised, local
food free of antibiotics.
Operating under a new name,

Black Market Farm, Laramies


newest CSA or communitysupported agriculture opened
for business in the spring.
Black Market Farm sold CSA
memberships for packages that
included beef, pork, chickens and
eggs.

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Sunday, October 16, 2016

The farm also sells meat


by the whole or half animal.
Orders were placed at the start
of the season and products were
delivered during the next few
months.
Matt Sigel said the CSA offers
consumers the chance to
develop a direct relationship
with the person producing
their food, who will also be the
person making deliveries.
Its a twist on the old-school
milk man, he said.
The CSA was more popular
in its first year than the Sigels
expected, and they surpassed
their membership goal.
I didnt expect it to take off
the way it did for us, Sigel
said. The Laramie people are
really welcoming to it.
A larger-than-expected
response brought growing
pains with it, as Sigel found
himself stretched thin in the
summer managing the farm and
making deliveries. He said hes
hoping to hire a few interns or
employees in summer 2017.
Matt Sigel said hes also
planning to offer a winter
CSA, in response to customer
demand, which will be a
slimmed-down version of the
summer one, minus chickens
and eggs.
People dont want to buy 50
pounds (of meat) at a time,
he said. The CSA was really
welcomed in that regard
because people didnt need a
big freezer.
The Sigel family, including
father Arthur and brothers
Matt and Ed, left careers in

Ag Appreciation 2016

Laramie Boomerang Page 11

People dont want to buy 50 pounds (of meat)


at a time. The CSA was really welcomed in that
regard because people didnt need a big freezer.
MATT SIGEL
Black Market Farm owner

Black
Market
Farm
owner Matt
Sigel looks
out across
his
2,400-acre
farm in 2015.
Boomerang
file photo

Chickens take shelter inside a


coop in 2015 at Black
Market Farm.
Boomerang file photo

Colorado and Chicago to buy


the ranch 10 years ago. Years
of annual vacations in Wyoming
and Montana convinced them
they were ready for the lifestyle
change.
We loved to come out West,
Matt Sigel said.
They started with cattle,
learning as they went about
raising animals at 8,000 feet
and opting out of fertilizer,
pesticides and herbicides. They
fenced more than 40 plots of 40
acres each, through which they
rotate the cows each day.
Its amazing after that 40th
day when we come back to
that paddock, Matt Sigel
said. (The grass) is lush and
high, and there are no manure
patties. Nature gets to do its
deal.
They started butchering their
grass-fed beef for friends and
family, then selling beef at the

Laramie Farmers Market and


Big Hollow Food Co-op.
Theyre currently building a
herd of heritage Galloway and
highland breeds, which Matt
said are smaller animals that
are good at foraging and thrive
at high elevations.
They do well in this climate,
he said.
Ed Sigel will continue
managing the cows, while
Matt Sigel took charge of the
chickens and pigs.
He refurbished an outbuilding into a shelter with
pens for the chickens and pigs,
as well as a storage room for
their organic feed. Theyre free
to forage during the day but
come inside at night for safety
from mountain lions and other
predators.
Matt Sigel envisions

populating the ranch in the


future with everything from
ducks and geese to goats and
turkeys, with a big vegetable
garden on the side.
Laramie children have visited
the ranch for field trips and a
fall festival featuring food from
the ranch and beer from local
brewers is in the works, Matt
Sigel said.
Its all about family and fun,
he said.
MattSigel said the name
Black Market Farm represents
the word-of-mouth nature of
building a community around
sustainable agriculture.
His wife Gina Sigel said the
name reflects her husbands
personality as well.
If you know Matt (Sigel) at
all, hes kind of rebellious, she
said.

2835 E. Grand Ave. Laramie, WY 307-745-4726

www.acpefcu.com

Proud supporter of the Albany County agricultural community


Kathy Guffey
1465 N 4th Street, Suite 115
Laramie, WY 82072
307-745-0400

The place
YOU want
to be!

Thank you to all 4-H and FFA participants for your hard work in
feeding the community. In 2016, ACPE was able to share
beef and pork from the livestock auction with our members
at our annual barbeque! We also shared with local charities,
This would not be possible without all of you! We appreciate you!

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