Week five quickly came around the corner for the WSGA Rangeland Intern, Josiah. At the beginning of the week he got the chance to shadow John, one the working hands on the ranch. They did a wide variety of jobs like monitoring areas along the Sweet Water River, doing some plant identification and fence planning.

At the end of the week Josiah also got the opportunity to enjoy an old fashioned cattle drive through beautiful mountains. The drive was all on horseback which gave Josiah lots of time to learn more about riding horses and with the other riders helpful tips Josiah became a more confident rider.

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As the week wrapped up Josiah had got real excited that his family is coming to visit. Josiah explains that it, “makes him happy to see family” and that he looked forward to their visit all week.

Have a good weekend with your family Josiah, we look forward to hearing from you again next week!

Waking up in week three with “a million dollar view” right outside Josiah’s window reminds him daily of the wonderful opportunity to be interning at the Red Canyon Ranch. Josiah was excited to report that he finished the very long fencing project this week and what a rewarding feeling to have accomplished such a big task. Working on the ranch has given Josiah a new prospective on agriculture and he realizes that working on a ranch takes a lot of dedication. Josiah also expresses his appreciation for the ranching lifestyle by stating, “Farmers and Ranchers are to be respected above anybody for the level of dedication they show every day”. Between the large and little projects, hard work and finished tasks are the most satisfying feeling at the end of the day for Josiah.

As week three wrapped up it is a good thing Josiah finished his fencing project because in week four he went to help mentor young adults at FFA camp. Even though FFA camp is not part of his summer internship, Josiah has been attending the camp for the last six years. FFA camp “promotes agriculture and instills a passion in young adults for agriculture” he explained. Have been a counselor for the last two years, Josiah has had the opportunity to help teach leadership workshops, public speaking workshops and activities that promote ways to become an outstanding individual. FFA camp can make a major impact on those who go and he claims that FFA camp “is simply life changing and is making huge impacts on the future of agriculture”.

Way to go Josiah! We are proud of your hard work and dedication to the agriculture industry!

Keep an eye Josiah’s weekly updates, to read about his next adventure this summer.

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In April of 2015 Dr. William Larson, previous Research Economist at the Bureau of Economic Analysis finished research on, “New Estimates of Value of Land of the United States”. He began describing how “land is an important and valuable natural resource, serving both as a store of wealth and as an input in production”. Dr. Larson’s research describes the estimated value of all the land in the United States with an estimated value of 1.89 billion acres worth around 23 trillion-dollars in 2009. Even more interesting, he analyzes the total value of the lower 48 states.

As Wyomingites and proud residents of this beautiful cow country, we place a high value on our land. Despite our individual thoughts, Dr. Larson’s paper explains otherwise. Of the 1.89 billion acres of U.S. land, agricultural land contributes 47 percent; federal government lands reach 24 and at the lowest developed or urbanized land are at 6 percent. Nearly half of the U.S. soil is occupied by agriculture, yet of the 23 trillion-dollar value of the U.S. land, only eight percent of the assets are contributed by agriculture.

On the other hand, developed and urbanized land totals 51 percent of the 23 trillion-dollar estimate. Six percent of the urbanized U.S. land, values at around 12 trillion-dollars. How should agriculturalist make sense of land values and its use based on this research?

Using many sources listed in his published paper, Dr. Larson’s total estimate describes that developed land is worth on average 106 thousand dollars per acre, while agriculture land is only worth on average two thousand dollars per acre. So where does Wyoming fall on the value list? Unfortunately this places Wyoming last on the list. The Cowboy State only contributes 62 million acres of land worth only 90 billion dollars, the lowest out of all the states. The reason for this calculation is that Wyoming has large amounts of agriculture land and federally owned land, which according to Dr. Larson’s paper are the two lowest valued lands of all the uses. The research argues that low development contributes to Wyoming’s placement in the research. Only one percent of Wyoming is developed, as a result Wyoming suffers for their lack of little urbanization on the scale of land value. According to Dr. Larson’s research, developed areas increase the value of the land by almost 100 thousand-dollars.

After reading the recently published research by Dr. Larson, I question the consequences, both good and bad that may follow as a result. Although the paper was not biased and was factually based, this document may create more awareness of for land values per state. If urbanized lands are considered to hold a higher value and “store more wealth as an input in production” individual states may push for urbanization throughout their borders.

Wyoming residents enjoy the wide open spaces and the culture that is provided with large agriculture production. So as agriculturalist how can we strive to increase the value of our lands? In the research certain factors determine the value of land which include; the land type, ecosystems currently existing on the land, importance of the area and urbanization. Urbanization includes transportation costs and potential development.

Well one thing is for sure, agriculturalists understand the importance of their land. Agriculture land sustains life providing food for humans and other species. With the global population rapidly growing, agriculture land use is becoming extremely important. The demand is growing for agriculture production and the land supply is limited in result the value agricultural land should only increase.

Agricultural land provides many more benefits than livestock or crop production, ag land provides a diversity of ecosystem services that are not available from developed land. Wildlife rely on agriculture land to reproduce and sustain life, including varieties of species from rodents, to birds and large elk and deer. Not only does agricultural land support animal species but it provides various habitats for plant and insect species that are vital to the production of crops and vegetation. By being good stewards of the land and becoming more sophisticated in the marketing of these ecosystem services, there is potential to increase the value of agricultural land.

There are ways for agriculturalists to increase the value of their lands including, making their lands more accessible, placing conservation easements, or otherwise marketing the conservation services that they provide. If you are interested in further information Dr. William Larson’s recent study is linked below, you might be surprised what there is to learn.

http://www.bea.gov/papers/pdf/new-estimates-of-value-of-land-of-the-united-states-larson.pdf

Written by: Kadi Davis, WSGA Summer Intern

The WSGA has many opportunities for young adults to embrace agriculture, one which is through the Rangeland Internship Program.

Josiah, a University of Wyoming student has entered the internship program and is working on the Nature Conservancy Red Canyon Ranch for the summer. Hoping to gain more experience with rangeland management, natural resources and learn about stewardship, Josiah has taken the reins since day one.

The WSGA has asked Josiah to submit a weekly report of what he is learning and is accomplishing. Josiah sent his two week update and we are excited to hear what he has to say!

Week one was full of many adventures and lessons. Josiah learned how to build electric fence, kept up with some yard work and experienced the battle of long rains. After being drenched building fence, watching a bull get stuck in the culvert and irrigating the land every morning, Josiah has personally lived with the impacts of the large rains Wyoming has received.  Josiah also made a new friend on the ranch “on day 2 I met Daisy, the pregnant milk cow”. Now he might argue differently about the suborn cow but after saving her life from the creek she could not get out of, there has to be some sort of fondness between the two.

As week one ended and week two began the rains must have slowed down because the ranch did some branding, and sprayed leafy spurge. Josiah was also assigned to a very long chore of building fence. As stated in his journal “My arms hurt from the constant stretching I have to do on the wire, but I’m getting it done”. A young hard working man who is willing to get the work done, this is why the Rangeland Internship program is so wonderful. Ranchers get the help they need and students learn many life lessons, like hard work.

If you are interested in hearing more about Josiah’s summer adventure keep an eye out for the weekly updates.

As the 2015 Wyoming Cattle Industry Convention and Trade Show is sneaking around the corner, WSGA members and their families are making plans for the week. Despite the hustle and the bustle of the convention make sure to take some family time and enjoy the beautiful Big Horn area.
Prior to the convention the Big Horn Equestrian Center is having a practice polo game the afternoon of Wednesday the 3rd.
Polo became popular in the United States in the 1900’s. By 1989 there was 208 active polo clubs and 25 competitive polo colleges and universities according to the Polo Museum.

The Big Horn Polo Club offers a polo school, taught by a USPA certified instructor. Contact club President Perk Connell for information... 307-674-4928.

The Big Horn Polo Club offers a polo school, taught by a USPA certified instructor.
Contact club President Perk Connell for information…
307-674-4928.

The site where the game will be held was established in 1985 on the Burns Ranch in the Big Horn area. The Big Horn Equestrian Center is a large part of the Big Horn history and culture. The Equestrian Center was created to honor and present “everything a horse can do”.

FlyingHPoloClubIf you’re looking for an activity to pass time and would like to witness a hundred year old sport, with beautiful horses the practice game would be a great opportunity for the family.
Directions to the Big Horn Equestrian Center from Sheridan:
Go south on Coffeen (Highway 335) 6 miles toward the town of Big Horn, turn left onto Bird Farm Rd., (CR 28). Go 1.8 miles, turn right to stay on Bird Farm Rd. for 1.5 miles. BHEC is on your right at 352 Bird Farm Rd.

You can also visit their website at: http://www.thebhec.org/polo.htm

Post by: WSGA Intern, Kadi Davis

Every year RealRanchers.com and the Wyoming Stock Growers Association have the privilege to have an intern for the summer months at our office. This year we are happy to have Kadi Davis join us! Please look for posts from her in the future on our Facebook page and on our blog – www.realranchers.com!
Hello there everyone!
My name is Kadi Davis and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to intern for the Wyoming Stock Growers Association this summer. I grew up in Cheyenne and currently live in Laramie attending the University of Wyoming, where I am pursuing a degree in Agriculture Communication and Environment and Natural Resources.
I am excited to meet many more Wyoming residents and communicate information about one of my largest passions, agriculture. As my college years are soon coming to an end, I am proud to announce that I am learning everyday underneath the wisdom of many great people at the WSGA office.

The first week of February I had the opportunity to travel to Texas and attend the 2015 Cattle Industry Convention and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Trade Show as a member of the 2015 National Beef Ambassador Team. This was my first time attending this event, and I cannot wait to go back! It is so exciting to interact with over 8,100 attendees that share the same passion for the beef community.

ag providesOne of the big highlights for me was the Cattlemen’s College. I was able to attend sessions that interested me and were along the lines of what I want to do. I am fascinated with international agriculture trade, so I attended workshops on beef exports. The biggest take away from this was that we truly are feeding a global consumer. Several items, such as the liver, tongue, and variety meats will most likely end up on the other side of the world thanks to international trade.
In one of the meetings we attended for the American National Cattlewomen, we had the opportunity to hear from Nina Teicholz, author of The Big Fat Surprise. I was really surprised to learn more about how the dietary guidelines for our country actually are created. The process is filled with biases. I thought it was very ironic that the rate of obesity increased so drastically after the first dietary guidelines were released for Americans. Fat plays a crucial role in a healthy diet, as many vitamins are fat soluble, meaning you need fat in your system to absorb them effectively.

Obesity_USAdultsWe also had the opportunity to hear from Chef Erickson, the mind behind the upcoming documentary True Beef. Most consumers do not know where their food comes from, so this documentary will help close the gap from gate to plate. When Chef Erickson started this project at the high school he teaches at, ten of the eleven students had never even visited a farm before. To me that number is just staggering. There is a huge disconnect between producers and consumers that it is crucial to keep in mind that what is normal to you might be fascinating to a consumer. People want to know why we do the things we do to keep our animals healthy.

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My favorite part of this event was the opportunity to interact with cattle producers from all over the United States and the world. The hard-working men and women that produce such a safe and wholesome product are what motivate me to promote beef.

Rachel Purdy, University of Wyoming Student and National Beef Ambassador team member, has been involved in agriculture since she was a child on her family’s operation in eastern Wyoming. Please follow the links below to follow the national team!
To keep up with what our team is doing, please visit: http://beefambassador.com/
Or like us on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/beefambassador

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