I also wanted to share about our mountain trip that we had a couple of weeks ago. The week was a little busy as we started to prepare for the trip up the mountain. That week I did a lot of different tasks such as sewing a few more oiler flaps together. I then took one of the face flaps that I had just fixed to the dry cow pasture and swapped it with the face flap that was on that oiler. I also checked to see if the flea beetles were out because they are pretty temperamental when it comes to the weather. It was kind of windy, and very cloudy that week, both of which the bugs don’t like. I was surprised to find some beetles were out. Terri had received a notification from the water storage tank that the water level was dropping at a rapid pace. The Kane’s have this really cool monitor in their storage tanks they use to track the levels of water throughout the ranch. Therefore, I was sent on a mission to find where the leak was coming from. Of course, the last place I checked was where the leak was. The collar that connected the heavy duty plastic (HDP) and PVC pipe together had broken, and this happened to be buried more than 5 feet underground. Once David and Terri got back, we went out to the leak and fixed it, this time with a coupler instead of a collar.
The rest of that week we gathered the cows that were going to head up the mountain and gave them Ivermectin. While gathering them, we pushed them through what we call the gun barrel, which is this giant culvert that you can ride a horse through and it goes under the interstate. After spraying the flies off, we sorted the calves off and vaccinated the calves. While the rest of the team went up the mountain to summer the cows, I collected and released flea beetles and checked the water tanks. Overall, the prep and mountain trip was a success and we will move the cows back down in October!
David, Jake, and Nate are about to enter the gun barrel.
It has been a while since my last post, but I wanted to jump back and touch on the Environmental Stewardship Day that was held in Elk Mountain at the Johnson Ranch. I really enjoyed touring the Johnson Ranch, and getting a little insight into how they operate their ranch. In my last post, I talked about the Leafy Spurge Beetles I collect and distribute in order to control the invasive species, so to learn of other ranches stewardship practices was intriguing.
One phrase I heard a lot at convention was “We need to tell our stories.” I think it is important to hear the stories of fellow ranchers. Every family has a unique story as to how they got started in the agriculture industry. Environmental Stewardship Day is a great way to share that story and express the large efforts ranchers put towards conservation and stewardship of our resources to the public. Every ranch operates differently. Each ranch adopts their own practices to preserve and improve the land. Farmers and ranchers have to be very cognizant of how they are managing their land. Such as soil health, grazing rotations, grazing intensity, and water utilization are very important to farming and ranching operations. Not paying attention to these aspects can negatively impact the production of a farm or ranch. Nutrient levels in the soil are important to pay attention to allow your crops and native vegetation to thrive. Over grazed pastures aren’t nearly as productive in future years. Installing pipelines and water tanks on the tops of ridges around pastures can improve the grazing utilization of that pasture as the water will draw cows up to places they wouldn’t normally graze. This is something the Kane’s have done, and it has worked quite well for them, allowing them to better utilize their land. I have really enjoyed learning about David’s usage of pipelines to draw his cows to different parts of his pastures. Having the opportunity to learn and compare within this tour was a great educational experience and honored a key factor ranchers put lots of effort into. I want to urge anyone that knows of an applicant for this award to nominate them!
This past week seemed kind of laid back which was a nice change of pace. Monday was kind of stormy so we unloaded the backhoe to use the trailer it was on to get the loaner tractor. We then gathered the cows in the Fred Cook pasture and moved them down to the end of the county road. One of our tractors is in the shop, so we ran to town to get the loaner tractor from C&K Equipment that afternoon. David, Terri, Jake, and I all ran to town in the afternoon. Terri had to return some unused vaccines to the vet, get the semi so we could haul cows out to Nate’s the next day, and pick up the truck that was in the shop. Terri and I then drove the pickup that was in the shop out to Nate’s. Tuesday, we got our horses and a couple of trailers and headed up to the end of the county road where we left the cows the day before, we then sorted and loaded them. While David, Jake, and Patrick hauled the cows and calves to Nate’s, I weed ate around the pastures.
I started my day off Wednesday by spraying curly dock in the horse pasture. Once I was done with that, I helped connect the bailer to the tractor. That afternoon, I learned how to collect leafy spurge flea beetles, which the Kane’s use to control their leafy spurge. Once my flea beetle collection training was done, I went and collected flea beetles and started releasing the beetles in patches of spurge that didn’t have any bugs in them.
Thursday, we put the retriever’s arm on the retriever. After we were done with that, I went and collected more flea beetles and continued to release them up the creek. That night, we fixed a water tank in the O-A pasture.
Friday morning, I went up to check that water tank we fixed the night before. When I got to the water tank, I found the float had been broken off at the cement at the bottom of the tank. We ended up having to chip some of the cement out to fix the float. Once that was fixed, we took the bailer off the tractor and put it on the Agco tractor. In the afternoon, I went and checked our cement patch, which luckily held. Then I swept the shop floor. Finally, Saturday I sewed the rips on some of the face flaps that hang from the oilers and that was my week!
This week was a long busy week. We started the week off by gathering all the bulls in the bull pasture and trailing them to the main house. We put them in one section of the corrals and the other half in the alleyway to eventually run them all through the chute to give them a booster vaccine and spray them with an insecticide to keep the flies off. Once they were run through, we sorted them up into two different pens depending on what pasture David wanted them in. From there, we loaded the bulls into trailers and drove them to the pastures. We then scattered them a little by trailing a few of them to different areas where cows were. We also got the 13 bulls out of the heifers and put them back in the bull pasture. It never fails, also had to fix a section of fence in that pasture. While putting those bulls in I checked on the two bulls we had put in the bull pasture earlier, and moved them into a different pasture. One bull that we had put out the day before was lame, so a replacement bull was put in. Tuesday was a bit of a long day. We gathered 78 pairs and four bulls that were in the Zimmerman and trailed them up to the end of the road. Patrick and I held the cows there while Nate, Jake, David, John, and Aiden went and gathered the School Section. Once all the cows were gathered, we held them at the end of the road to pair up while we ate lunch. After lunch, we trailed them to the Doyle Horse Pasture where they will graze for the next few weeks. Wednesday and Thursday were spent fixing the fence. The pasture we were fixing fence in was once part of a sheep ranch. The bottom portion of the fence is rusted sheep wire that was kind of a pain to fix. Friday I spent the day spraying Whitetop again. I was able to finish spraying along the creek and whatever David hadn’t sprayed while Jake and I were fencing the days prior. Saturday was spent doing some shop work in preparation for haying. David and I moved the two bail feeder and pasture drag trailers. We then pulled the retriever out and took the feeder off of it. Overall, it was a busy week of work.
Monday was a rainy day, so we did a lot of work in the shop. The oil needed to be changed in one of the tractors, so I got to learn how to do it. While we were waiting for the oil to drain, we took the fenders off the steer axle as well. We tried to beat the rain because there were a few things that had to get done outside, like bringing a cow-calf pair in. The cow needed her feet to be trimmed due to an abscess that blew out and her toes began to cross from overgrowth. Of course, it didn’t start pouring until we got out to the pair. After we got her feet trimmed, we took the tractor to the water house to wash it. When we got back, I was tasked with cleaning the windows, both inside and out. Tuesday was also kind of rainy in the morning. When I got to the main house, Terri showed Jake, the ranch hand, and me how to use AgriWebb. AgriWebb is software the Kane’s use for ranch management. Then David took Jake and me around the two pastures that we were going to fence. When we got back to the house, I changed the oil in one of the pickups and learned how to change the power take-off (PTO) shaft from 1000 to 540 on the tractor. The rest of the week we fenced and worked around E-U and overall has been a great week of learning.
It’s been a busy couple of weeks after attending the Stock Growers 150th Summer Convention in Cheyenne where I had a lot of fun meeting members and sitting in on meetings. On Monday, I learned how to use a tire machine because the 4-wheeler needed new tires, so we mounted the new ones on the rims before mounting them on the vehicle. It was pretty rainy on Monday, so we stayed inside and accomplished tasks such as changing tires.
On Tuesday, we gathered and branded the new bulls and the last group of calves that needed to be done. We then moved that group of cows and calves to the place on Wolf Creek at the E-U Ranch. Thursday through Saturday I sprayed Whitetop, which is an invasive weed. As we drove around the E-U earlier in the week, David pointed out most of the patches that we could see from the road so I had a general idea of where to spray. I found a lot more than we initially thought there was. Some of the patches I found hadn’t bloomed out yet, so I was happy to spray that before they could bloom and potentially seed out. I am still not done spraying so I will hopefully get that finished up at the end of the week.
Due to these cool temperatures, the Whitetop has stayed in bloom for longer than it did last year, and we do not want that for the pastures and cattle. It is very satisfying to drive past patches I sprayed on and see the plants wilting and starting to die. It was nice to spray for a few days and to find a new weed I love to hate. It changed from leafy spurge after learning about the control success David has had with the flea beetles. Overall it has been a productive week of learning and removing invasive species!
Last week was my first week at the ranch. It was a pretty busy week, but overall a great week of work. I worked about 60 hours last week, but it sure didn’t seem like it. Time flies when you’re having fun! We did a little bit of everything; hauled and moved some cattle, branded, cleaned stalls, fixed fence, placed irrigation systems, and fixed a few valves covers for the water tanks. Besides a few things, everything was a first for me to do and I enjoyed learning how, especially being a part of my first rope and drag branding.
I’ve already learned a lot in my first week. Such as why you don’t haul cows and calves together. If you do, the cows will trample and kill the calves. I also learned how to mug calve, properly administer a vaccine, and not coil your lead rope up.
My favorite part of the week was branding! Although I would say fencing wasn’t as bad. The only part that made the day-long was the heat. I had never used a fence stretcher and it made the job a lot easier, especially with T-posts. I think we all have had the struggle of hammering a staple into a wood post and its splitting.
So far, this internship has been everything I expected and more! I’ve already learned a lot, and I can’t wait to learn more. This has already been an awesome start and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the summer has in store for me.
Hi y’all my name is Hannah Alto and I am the WSGA Public Relations and Communications Intern this summer! I’m currently a junior at Texas Tech University where I am double majoring in Agricultural Communications and Agricultural Education. I was born and raised in a small town in Northern California named McKinleyville; where I am a fifth generation seed-stock cattle rancher. And before you think, what is a girl raised in California living in Texas wanting to intern in Wyoming for? Truly, the beef industry is a deep passion and livelihood for not only my family and I, but for many of us. I live by that fact everyone can always learn and grow more, and I want to do just that while I am here. I want to learn about the amazing lifestyles and people behind the production of Wyoming and our country’s beef and continue to advocate for them through communicating their stories in innovate ways.
I look forward to serving and learning from you all this summer!
My name is Hallie Jette. I am a super senior at the University of Wyoming, and the Invasive Species Intern for the Wyoming Stock Growers Association for the summer. I am majoring in Environment and Natural Resources with a concurrent in Energy, Land, and Water Management, and minors in Agroecology, and Rangeland Ecology and Watershed Management. This is my fourth major, and I plan for it to be my last major. I am finally studying something I love. I have two to three more years left on my undergrad. If I had just listened to my mom four years ago when she suggested I major in ENR, I would have graduated by now. Moms are always right. I am from Buffalo, WY, and have a German Shorthair puppy named Kona who shares the same birthday as me. She’ll be 2 years in August. 2 years isn’t really puppy age anymore, but she still has a lot of puppy energy. I first found my passion for learning about invasive weeds when I started working for Johnson County Weed and Pest in the summer of 2018. I knew next to nothing about invasive weeds when I started. Since then, I have found a love and a passion for invasive weeds, leafy spurge being my favorite invasive weed to learn about. Once I graduate, I hope to work with invasive species. This summer I hope to learn more about everyday ranch operations. I’m in a bit of the same predicament as I was in 2018. I don’t know much about ranching, but I am willing and excited to learn. Admittedly, I know a little bit more about ranching than I did about invasive weeds when I started at Weed and Pest. I am excited about this internship and to see what’s in store for me this summer. I know it’s going to be a very busy but fulfilling summer.
As we celebrate Ag Day 2022 in Wyoming, there are certain words that are key to understanding Wyoming agriculture—past, present and future: “resilience”, “stability”, “longevity”. Each of these can be used to describe the history of Wyoming agriculture, the current state of Wyoming agriculture, and our vision for the future of Wyoming agriculture.
Agriculture in Wyoming, as we know it today, began in the 1850’s with the trailing of cattle into the state to take advantage of the abundant grass and water. In projecting the future of this nascent industry , the Cheyenne Leader stated in 1868, “That a future of the greatest importance is in store for the western plain, no one who has traveled over and lived upon them for any considerable length of time can doubt.” Four years later the Wyoming Stock Growers Association was formed by these cattle “barons”. In 2022 this organization is celebrating its 150th Anniversary. Wyoming Stock Growers together with the many Wyoming farms and ranches that are honored each year by the Centennial Farm and Ranch Program stand as testimony to the resilience, stability, and longevity of the state’s agriculture.
Wyoming agriculture has faced and overcome many challenges throughout its history. Most recently this has included the concurrent impacts of the COVID pandemic, drought, federal regulatory uncertainty, and litigation. Throughout the darkest days of the pandemic our farmers and ranchers tended their crops and livestock on a daily basis. While they faced the challenges of shortages of supplies and labor, ingenuity and commitment compensated. When our schools were closed to in-person learning, many agricultural families welcomed having their kids at home to help with the daily chores. While consumers felt the impact of empty shelves in the grocery store, these were due to processing and transportation delays, not to any declines in production at the farm or ranch level. Many consumers found relief in buying directly from the farm or ranch. Once again Wyoming agriculture demonstrated its resilience, stability, and longevity.
Today “sustainability” has become the key word driving discussions about agricultural production. These discussions far too often ignore the proven resilience, stability, and longevity record of Wyoming agriculture. Wyoming agriculture remains vibrant today because our agricultural produces embrace each day with a commitment to ensuring economic, environmental, and animal care sustainability. We can be confident that this commitment will continue in future generations of our agricultural producers. 2022 Ag day is an opportunity for every citizen to show our appreciation to Wyoming agriculture.