Culture


We are excited that March will bring the first day of spring along with National Ag Week. Starting March 23rd – 29th National Ag week will be in full swing, but we decided why just start on the 23rd? So our contest is starting March 17th and will end March 28th. We want to gain as much participation as possible from you, your neighbors and friends. Let your friends know!

If you would like to learn more about National Ag Week please follow this link for more information: http://www.agday.org/

Contest Date: March 17th – March 28th (National Ag Week: March 23rd-29th, special recognition to March 25th as National Ag Day!)

Contest Options:

Cutest Kids in Ag

Young cowboy riding miniature bull at the Wyoming State Fair during Star Spangled Banner

Photo by Liz Lauck of Wheatland, Wyo.

  • Do you want to share how cute your kids are? Take photos of your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews or friends out on the ranch or farm
  • Send them into Haley Lockwood (haley@wysga.org) and she will post them to the RealRanchers Facebook page
  • The photo with the most ‘Likes’ at the end of the contest will win an agricultural related children’s book

WYO Calf Watch 2014

Whose got the cutest calf crop this year? We'll let you be the judge!

Whose got the cutest calf crop this year? We’ll let you be the judge!

  • Calving season is in swing and we want to see your calf crop for 2014! Take photos of the new babies while you are out calving, checking, doctoring or just admiring their cute faces.
  • Send photos to Haley Lockwood (haley@wysga.org) and she will post them to the RealRanchers Facebook Page
  • The photo with the most ‘Likes’ at the end of the contest will get a chance to pick from a selection of Wyoming Stock Growers Merchandise

The Rancher and Farmer: How I work in Ag

Rancher Nikki Marincic watches the Price-Sommers cattle during fall gather near Pinedale, Wyo.

Rancher Nikki Marincic watches the Price-Sommers cattle during fall gather near Pinedale, Wyo.

  • For ALL Ranchers and Farmers
  • Submit your agricultural story and tell us how you work in agriculture and why it is important to you!
  • Story may have up to 5 photographs included
  • We ask that stories be no longer than a page in length
  • Story due: March 21st 
  • Submit story, and photos, to Haley Lockwood at haley@wysga.org
  • Story will then be judged by the WSGA staff  and the selected  Rancher and Farmer will win a one year Membership to the Wyoming Stock Growers Association
  • We will then post the winner’s story to the RealRanchers blog during National Ag Week!

Wyoming History Quiz Bowl

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How much do you think you know about Wyoming? 

  • Every other day starting March 18th we will post history questions related to anything Wyoming on the RealRanchers Facebook page! ( March 18, 20, 24, 26, and 28th)
  • First correct answer will win a special prize related to Wyoming

We look forward to your participation in the National Ag Week contests and if you have any questions please contact Haley Lockwood at haley@wysga.org!

It’s about 7 degrees right now, which based on recent temperatures, is downright warm.

I’ve been taking advantage of the frigid temps by staying inside and doing some office work. One of these projects was to organize the files on my computer. As I looked through 2013 photos, I ran across these images highlighting a visit from several Canadian producers.

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Our friends, Brook Brockman with the Wyoming Department of Agriculture and Haley Lockwood from the Wyoming Stock Growers Association guided a tour in October 2013 for Jolene, Andrea and Erika of the Canadian Cattlemens Young Leaders, along with Pamela Rose of the Canadian Consulate in Denver.

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The Wyoming ladies took the Canadian gals on a tour of several SE Wyoming ag operations including our small, family farm where my husband and I raise corn, dry beans and malt barley. We’re anything special, we just can’t say no when people ask us to do stuff.

I gave the gals a general overview of our farming operation. And by general, I mean the very little I actually know about our operation. I’m still a farm wife in training.

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Then I took them down to the field where my Farmer Husband was combining corn. He gave them the real story. It was really cool to compare operations. The gals were from different parts of Canada, so we got some different perspectives of livestock production and farming from our neighbors to the north.

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Pamela gave us some neat goodies that represent the trade partnership between the US and Canada. Included was a handout that gave specific statistics, including the fact that in 2011, $17 million worth of goods were traded between Wyoming and Canada. Visit this website to learn more. I also urge you to visit Erika’s ranch blog! The neat thing about agriculture is, even though our operations vary greatly from state to state and country to country, we all share a lot in common.

From RealFarmer Liz Lauck – Wheatland, Wyo.

Read more from Liz at www.farmpaparazzi.com

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From our WSGA friend and contributor, Roy Barnes 

Denver, Colo. Once again, the Wyoming Stock Growers Association (WSGA) participated in the Wyoming Day Festivities of the National Western Stock Show Saturday, Jan. 25, by taking down a group of Wyomingites from Cheyenne for a day trip so they could enjoy the sights and sounds of the event, the 108th in total that showcases the best of rodeo cowboys, ranchers, plus other livestock and agricultural producers over a 16-day period.

I was invited by the WSGA to cover this trip, but my observations in this article were not vetted by the organization.

Some 40 people took part in the Wyoming Day festivities that the WSGA organized, including those who drove themselves to the stock show, which helped to get the grand total stock show attendance to 640,022, according to a Jan. 26 National Western Stock Show press release

The crowd included Myra Hannah, whose “centennial ranch” (a ranch that’s been in the same family for 100 years-plus) is some 30 miles from Wheatland, Wyo. She has traveled down to the stock show via the bus ride for several years with her daughter, though she does have some fond memories of a time when the trip was made via train from Cheyenne to Denver and back, saying it “was a little slower, but very interesting,” especially when she got to sit in the observation car to take in the sights during the late 1960s/early 1970s. But she keeps coming back because, “I…enjoy it. It’s a handy way to go and interesting to be with the group, for I know some of the people” who take the annual bus trips.

Scott Sims, who has a cattle ranch in Albany County, Wyo., came down with his wife and daughter for the first time by bus. He commented that he doesn’t get a lot of leisure time due to his duties at his ranch, but appreciates the opportunities “to get away form the ranch [to have] a little vacation time, family time.” Furthermore, he like to see the numerous exhibitor booths and stands that feature the latest in farm and ranching equipment “because you learn what the new technologies are, the new exhibits to check out to bring back home to help make changes in the operation.” He was hoping to check out the draft horse show, an event which actually took place in the early afternoon.Picture 028There were plenty of activities going on throughout the day both inside and outside, where the weather was very sunny and mild. One could pay a fee to pose with a Texas Longhorn, while another booth was charging to pose with a bald eagle or an owl, which drew a steady of crowd of onlookers taking pictures with their own cameras. Even longer waits could be found (10-15 minutes) on the second floor of the Exhibition Hall where the petting zoo was located. Here, children and adults got the chance to not only pet, but feed the sheep, lambs, goats, kids, ducks, geese, and pigs (the latter wouldn’t look at anyone, but kept their snouts on the ground to forage for food). One little lamb was laying down by itself along a wall of the petting zoo, not trying to freeload off of the humans like all the other friendly animals were.

The luncheon at the National Western Club featured a buffet which included prime rib, brisket, and Polish sausage, along with potatoes, salads, desserts, etc. Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead, First Lady Carol Mead and their children attended the luncheon.

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After lunch, the participants had time to take in more of the goings-on of the stock show such as a bison auction and the draft horse show. Colorado State University once again displayed a large farm exhibit to educate the stock show goers about the importance of agriculture in the daily lives of everyone. This included demonstrations and talks by beekeepers, and hands-on exhibits where people could look at and handle various kinds of grains, including oats, millet, and barley.

The rodeo was deemed the equivalent of “The AFC and NFC Championship Games,” per the public address announcer, who also spoke of God and His role in the lives of cowboys and cowgirls, much to the approval of the 8,000-plus in attendance, who also heard the announcer espouse the appreciation for the state of Wyoming’s role in agriculture. Gov. Mead and officials of the WSGA took part in the 6-Horse Stage Coach Hitch in the arena between the team roping and saddle bronc riding events. The top finishers of the events such as bull riding, tie down roping, barrel racing, etc., were set to compete in the finals on Sunday.

Before another feast or spare ribs, brisket, baked chicken, and smoked sausage with all the trimmings at Nordy’s BBQ in Loveland, Colo. Cynthia Cloud and Mark Gordon, two high-ranking Wyoming State Government officials, spoke about their tine at the stock show. Cloud, the Wyoming State Auditor, said that the trip was her first to the National Western events, and added, “I enjoyed the draft show. I was amazed how the draft horses were, [that is], how the participants in the competition took such pride in their horses, buggies, and carts. What really surprised me is that there was something for everybody there.”

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And Gordon, the Wyoming State Treasurer, while a past attendee of the stock show many times, was also on his first trip by bus. “I really loved the saddle bronc. I used to calf rope, so I liked it, though it’s called the tie-down now,” he said. Gordon described the Wyoming Day group as one full of “good camaraderie – good folks to go with.”

I left Cheyenne early last Saturday morning to drive to Buffalo, Wyo. for the Johnson County Cattlewomen’s Rancher Relief Benefit. I first heard of the event over social media, specifically Facebook, and knew that I wanted to help. Little did I know that it would also not only help the CattleWomen, but also create lasting ties to a great group of ladies and the community of Buffalo.

Several weeks before the event was to be held, I called up my closest girlfriends, who are also closely tied to the agricultural industry, to help me. They, of course, were more than happy to help for the cause. We met that Saturday afternoon to start setting up in one of the coolest buildings I’ve seen in a long time. An old feed mill was our stage for the night and we had a great time decorating and creating an inviting atmosphere to the locals of Buffalo.

A wide array of silent and live auction items were donated and proudly displayed for all to see. Anything from home décor, stallion services, and hunting trips were available to a willing bidder, and there were many willing bidders. Many of the live auction items went for over one thousand dollars adding to the funds accumulated over the course of the night.

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The Wyoming Stock Growers Agricultural Resources Center Basket – Donated by: Wyoming Stock Growers Association, Wyoming Beef Council and Wyoming Stock Growers Agricultural Land Trust

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Community members look over silent auction items donated by individuals near and far.

After Blizzard Atlas hit, many producers and those with ties to the agricultural industry were in shock. The aftermath left around 20,000 cattle dead, fences down, and hearts broken. It’s a loss that no one can fathom, but some had to face this reality. Pictures on local news stations and newspapers depicted the sight of strange black dots strewn along faraway fences, draws, and the landscape. It was hard to imagine all of these far-off “dots” were dead cattle and the reminisce of one producers livelihood. Any business who suffers a 50 percent loss is going to have a hard time coming back, and what happens to those who had a loss of 70 percent or more? Absolutely devastating.

Rapid City Journal Photo

Photo by: Rapid City Journal

Funds were immediately put into place to counter act the destruction that was left behind. It was amazing to see the outpour of help over the course of several weeks, but there was more to combat here than just the destruction. There were misconceptions and scrutiny from the American public, who are several generations removed from agriculture. I remember reading a post online asking, “Why do you care about these people. You don’t even know them?” My first reaction was shock. After any other natural disaster, a flood of help and ways to donate nationally are plastered at gas stations, online, at the grocery store and on the news. What’s the difference?

As far as I’m concerned, it’s synonymous. We take care of our own and understand loss on a deeper level. It’s not just a monetary loss, but one that digs to your core. These are animals you care for on a daily basis and you rely on them as much as they do you. Seen from generation to generation, we help our neighbors in any way possible. Whether it be the ranch wives coming together to plan supper for the branding crew or saddling up to move yearlings that escaped; we are always there for each other. Working toward a common goal and livelihood that we hold dear. This camaraderie left many of us wanting to do more for these producers and we did just that.

Live Auction Items

Several of the live auction items went for over $1,000 easily.

That night of November 16th the Johnson County CattleWomen raised $26,000 for the Rancher Relief Fund. My girlfriends and I were amazed, but not surprised that this community came together so willingly to help those in need. I’ve come to realize that we need more selfless giving in America and in the world. The girls and I didn’t get paid to help, we were paid in new friendships and a delicious beef dinner; much like the brandings every year.

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The old feed mill near downtown Buffalo, Wyo. was filled to capacity during the benefit dinner and auction.

As we welcome in the Thanksgiving Holiday, I can honestly say that I am thankful for a lot more things than before and I already have a lengthy list. I have faith that our close-knit agricultural community will thrive in years to come and that not even Mother Nature can stop us. Disasters like this may hinder us, but if nothing else, make us fight harder for our livelihoods and each other.

 

Gleason Ranch

Risking Everything

… is a documentary film in-the-making that tells the story of two sisters struggling to hold onto their 5th-generation family ranch after the sudden death of their parents. It’s a labor of love that’s been unfolding for over four years, and the work to finish this film continues to this day.

I first began filming on Gleason Ranch after I met Nancy Prebilich while working on another project several years ago. I was inspired by her story and within a few weeks I made my way up to Bodega to meet her folks (her parents, her sister Cindy, and her niece and nephews) and begin documenting their lives working the land. It was a particularly important time for me because I was looking for a way to connect with my own family’s history of farming. You see, my mom, grandmother, and great-grandparents grew up on a 3rd-generation family farm in Badger, Iowa, but, as my mother passed away in 2002, there was no way for me to ask her all the questions about her childhood that had surfaced in the past decade or so. What was it like growing up on a farm? What did it take for a family to take care of the land and the animals over the span of generations? What did it mean for them to be so closely in touch with our nation’s agricultural production? What did that feel and look like? Spending time on Gleason Ranch provided for me an opportunity to better understand my ancestry, roots, and heritage, and get a true sense of what it was like for my own family living on a ranch.

Gleason Ranch

Throughout filming, I began to gain a deeper appreciation for small farmers all across the world. It’s been difficult watching these sisters, Nancy and Cindy, struggle to earn a living, pay the bills, and maintain their own sanity amidst such intense circumstances. There is this incredible balance that the Gleason family has had to strike between sacrificing everything to hold onto their land, while at the same time maintaining positive relationships with each other.

Anything I could say regarding the real, down-and-dirty, in-the-mud work it takes to run a small family farm these days would be an understatement. It’s unfathomable how difficult and taxing this job is. And imagine trying to balance all of this right after the death of both parents. This is the reality that Nancy and Cindy had to deal with. This is the reality that this film delves into. And this is the beginning of a heart-moving story that I’d love to bring to you.

Protecting our environment–our land–is such an incredibly vital act, and it’s not easy in the least bit. In making this film, we hope to raise awareness of family farmers and their communities everywhere. What they do for our society is so significant to our health, sustainability, and wellbeing. Gleason Ranch has been giving back to its community for 5 generations. Our food security as a nation depends on families just like them.

These last four years documenting life on Gleason Ranch have truly been a tremendous journey. It’s been an intense and fulfilling experience, and I’m hoping to be able to share it with you.

For more information and to see how you can support our effort to finish the documentary please see our page here:

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/gleason-ranch-risking-everything/

Thank you so much.

Morgan Schmidt Feng
Edited by Nicholas Carter

To learn more: http://gleasonranchfilm.com/

Governor Matt Mead met with several key leaders from industry and government during his trade mission to South Korea and Taiwan. Governor Mead has just returned from those visits. Both South Korea and Taiwan have potential to expand benefits to Wyoming’s top three industries, energy, tourism and agriculture. Governor Mead focused on those three areas during stops in both countries.

“South Korea and Taiwan will increase imports of coal, natural gas and uranium in the coming years. As a leading producer of those energy sources, Wyoming must continue to develop relationships with both these countries and others as well. Countries that need our energy are valuable partners in any effort to export coal, natural gas or uranium,” Governor Mead said.

The Governor met with executives from utilities, power producing companies, trade groups, a large bank, Taiwan’s largest importer of American beef and government officials during the trade mission. In South Korea, Governor Mead also spoke at the World Energy Congress, which takes place every three years.

“I was well received because Wyoming has a global reputation for its abundant resources and for developing these resources responsibly.”

Governor and President Ma Ying-jeou

Governor Mead with President Ma Ying-jeou

Governor Mead met with the President of Taiwan, Ma Ying-jeou. President Ma noted that Wyoming is a significant trading partner for his country. “In 2012 Wyoming had one of the highest rates of growth in exports. My visit with the President of Taiwan reinforced to me that growing our economy is not an effort that comes from a single trip. This needs to be a widespread push and long-term commitment. I appreciate that the Legislature supports expanding exports,” Governor Mead said.

In Taiwan, Governor Mead also attended the country’s largest travel trade show. The United States now allows Taiwanese tourists and business men and women to visit the country without a visa.

“Wyoming contains world-famous destinations and by promoting them we increase visitation and lengthen the time tourists spend in our state. I believe we will see more tourists from Asia coming to the U.S. and now to Wyoming. Additionally, having taken the time and made the effort to visit, it will be easier for us to do business with South Korean and Taiwanese companies. I am excited about the possibilities that may result from this trade mission,” Governor Mead said

Note: This article is written by Haley Lockwood, Communication & Publications Director. Take a look through her eyes as she moves cattle on a 117 year old cattle drive.

The historic Green River Drift started in 1896 with over a century of heritage and legacy packed into the almost 70 mile cattle drive where ranchers, much like my Great Grand Father, Grandpa, neighbors and our family, have used the Drift to move cattle from range allotments. Starting in southern Sublette County by Yellow Point and the Jonah Gas Fields up to the Bridger-Teton National Forest in the Upper Green. A vast change of scenery comprises this drive, and it is one whose history is deeply rooted into Sublette County.

We moved cow/calf pairs, some yearlings and bulls on a beautiful July day.

We moved cow/calf pairs, some yearlings and bulls on a beautiful July day.

Cattle drives are usually only thought of when you think of movies like “Lonesome Dove”, right? Well, we are still driving our cattle, maybe with less action than the movies, but our impact is still huge. Families from the northern part of the Drift located in the Pinedale/Cora area clear down to Big Piney gather to help neighboring ranches as they move to summer allotments. These people are committed to heritage, their livelihood, agriculture and their neighbor where, at any point, someone will come to lend a helping hand.

We let the cows rest a bit to get the calves back with the cows before we pushed on.

We let the cows rest a bit to get the calves back with the cows before we pushed on.

I wanted to share with you a section of an online article written several years ago and photos from this summer as we moved our cattle to summer allotments.

Find the complete article here: http://www.pinedaleonline.com/news/2012/02/GreenRiverDriftnomin.htm

“Twice a year, in the spring and the fall, cattle move to and from area ranches to range allotments on the Bridger-Teton National Forest in the Upper Green.  Portions of the Drift through private property are fenced along leased right of way corridors and other areas on federal land are open range. In the spring, ranchers push the cattle up to the forest allotments. In the fall, the cooling change in the weather and snow cause the cattle to move down out of the mountains on their own and follow the fence line down to the sorting grounds by Trappers Point. Years ago, as many as 22 ranches were involved in the cattle association and participated in the Drift. Although still in use today, the tightening regulations and economics of ranching has reduced the number of participating ranches to ten. Some of the ranchers have dropped out because of increasing loss of cattle on the forest allotments by bears and wolf depredations.”

We start very early in the morning and here, we were almost halfway done and the sun is still trying to peak out over the aspens.

We start very early in the morning and here, we were almost halfway done and the sun is still trying to peak out over the aspens.

“Local rancher/teacher/historian, Jonita Sommers, has been instrumental in pursuing the nomination for the Drift for the past several years. Her family has been involved with the Drift since its beginning. Sommers wrote a book, “The Green River Drift,” about this unique part of ranching in the Upper Green River Valley. The book, now out of print, is only available on the used market and sells for hundreds of dollars. Sommers said that the Drift existed long before the BLM and Forest Service federal agencies that now permit and regulate the grazing process on federal public land. Through the 100+ year history of the Drift, the cattle association has worked with all the various managing agencies that have come along and adjusted their operations to be in compliance with the new regulations that have been put in place affecting their operations.  The Drift is also a tourist attraction as local dude ranches for years have brought their guests along to help ride along on the cattle drives. Some guests come out year after year, from as far away as Germany, for a chance to participate in the two-week cattle drives, brandings, and get the experience of life on a real Wyoming working cattle ranch.” – Green River Drift nomination to the National Register moves forward by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online!

Neighbors from near and far came to our aid after the loss of my Uncle Marty who ran our family ranch.

Neighbors from near and far came to our aid after the loss of my Uncle Marty who ran our family ranch.

This year we had a large turnout for help as my Uncle had passed away halfway through taking the cattle to the mountains. It was a humbling experience to realize the importance first hand of ranch succession planning and being in a “bind” not knowing exactly what to do. Luckily, neighbors from near and far came to our aid. While my parents and sister planned the funeral, I took the chance to saddle up and ride. Cathartic and necessary.

Looking through the pairs for "sickies" (cattle that need doctoring) and enjoying a ride.

Looking through the pairs for “sickies” (cattle that need doctoring) and enjoying a ride.

This cattle drive, “The Drift”, isn’t just historical, but necessary to our existence as ranchers and advocates for agriculture. We are traditional in a world of expanding technology, but luckily for us, technology cannot take this over. It can advocate for it though, which is why I shared with you my heritage, my love, my passion, and Sublette Counties historic “Green River Drift.”

Right before this photo was taken, I bailed off my uncle's palomino "Andy" to grab a calf by the back leg before he crawled through the fence. Mack McCormick came to my aid as I scrambled with the calf.

Right before this photo was taken, I bailed off my uncle’s palomino “Andy” to grab a calf by the back leg before he crawled through the fence. Mack McCormick came to my aid as I scrambled with the calf and we shared a good laugh at my reaction.

Sprout Wardell, and his family, has been our neighbor for many years and has been more than willing to lend a helping hand to us.

Sprout Wardell, and his family, has been our neighbor for many years and has been more than willing to lend a helping hand to us.

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