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Agriculture - page 9

Smith: Botanic Garden a success despite climate, altitude

in Community/Agriculture
1417

Cheyenne’s Botanic Garden thrives despite the city’s lousy growing climate, its low population and its elevation, according to the man who directed the facility’s operations for 40 years.

Shane Smith, who retired as director of the Botanic Gardens in 2018, said the city-owned facility has succeeded thanks to the undying optimism of its volunteers and staff members.

“There were a lot of frustrating times where money was tight and things would be going wrong and vandals would come and destroy things and we just couldn’t get things repaired,” he told Cowboy State Daily. “But we were optimistic and had just great volunteer support.”

Smith, who is considered the founder of the Botanic Gardens, said it is rare for a community the size of Cheyenne to have such a facility.

“You would never put a botanic garden in a city this size,” he said. “Usually, you need a half a million people to support a botanic garden that has a professional staff and a grounds and a conservatory.

In addition, Cheyenne has a growing climate that is less than ideal, said Smith, who now volunteers as executive director of the “Friends of the Botanic Garden.”

“Cheyenne has one of the worst garden climates in the lower 48,” he said. “We’re number one in the nation for hail, number four for wind, 6,000-foot elevation, we have a lot of days of winter without snow cover. So I always say you’d have to be kind of an idiot to put a botanic garden in a town this size with a climate this way and I’m that useful idiot.”

In recognition of his hard work with the Botanic Garden, the Cheyenne City Council recently named the facility’s grand conservatory the “Shane Smith Grand Conservatory.”

Wyoming’s own takes the reins at the PRCA

in News/Agriculture
1415

The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) is gaining new leadership from the Cowboy State. Cheyenne’s Tom Glause is now on board as Chief Operating Officer and Director of Rodeo Administration for the PRCA, which is based in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Until his appointed at the PRCA, Glause served as State Insurance Commissioner under Governor Mead and Governor Gordon. 

Glause knows a thing or two about what it takes to be a PRCA contestant. He rodeoed in college (at Casper College and the University of Wyoming) and became a card-carrying PRCA cowboy, riding bucking horses and team roping. And his son, Seth, is a four-time National Finals Rodeo qualifier as a bull rider.

More than 1,500 students in Cheyenne for “Agriculture in the Classroom” event

in News/wildlife/Education/Agriculture
1398

More than 1,500 grade school students from around Wyoming gathered in Cheyenne on Friday to learn more about the state’s agriculture industry.

The students were in Cheyenne for the Wyoming Agriculture in the Classroom program’s 25th annual “Bookmark and Beyond” celebration, where student showed off their designs for agriculture-themed bookmarks and learned about different aspects of the industry.

Among the activities for students was a hands-on session with a mapping system that allows users to locate a pasture and count and track the cows in it.

Ala Telck, president of Sheridan’s AgTerra Technologies, said his company donated the money for the software used at the celebration because of the growing importance of technology in agriculture.

“Technology is not going to go away, it’s only going to become more important,” he said. “We want to help our youth embrace and become very good at this technology.”

Many of the students attending the event live on farms and ranches in Wyoming and Doug Miyamoto, the director of the state Department of Agriculture, said such a background instills those children with a sense of responsibility.

“Those kids start working at a very early age and there’s a lot expected and demanded of them and I think they understand that,” he said. “A lot of the kids that come from agricultural backgrounds know what their expectations are and they perform to that level.”

Matt Micheli, an Agriculture in the Classroom board member who grew up on a ranch near Fort Bridger, agreed.

“I think it creates a real work ethic, but also an understanding of responsibility, that when something’s entrusted to you, that you have to follow through,” he said.

The winning bookmark design unveiled during the event came from Dawson George of Cody, whose illustration showed cows, pheasants and oil wells.

FFA State Convention offers students skills training, competition

in Community/Agriculture
1246

By Cowboy State Daily

You’d recognize those blue corduroy jackets with their gold medallions embroidered on the back anywhere. And the number of young people sporting the handsome garb is on the rise in Cheyenne this week as the Wyoming FFA Association State Convention comes to town.

At the three day convention junior high and high school students from across Wyoming enjoy opportunities to sharpen their skills in everything from judging livestock and horses to developing business, sales and marketing plans to competing in parliamentary procedure and public speaking.

Students and coaches say the convention builds camaraderie among FFA students and cements marketable skills that students can use in their careers, whether they stay in agriculture or pursue a different field altogether.

“They become very confident because they learn how to speak well in front of people,” Laramie County Community College Equine Studies Instructor and Equestrian Team Coach Lanae Koons McDonald explained. “The students learn how to defend what they see.”

Cowboy State Daily videographer Mike McCrimmon caught up with FFA students – including Evanston High School FFA President Bailey Barker – to learn more about the competition as well as the personal and professional development FFA provides.

Barker told Cowboy State Daily, “We have a cattle ranch back home. You learn even more [at state convention] than you do there. You just continue your learning and your progress and your growth.”

The convention runs through Friday at various sites around Cheyenne.

Words Matter: Manipulative Messaging

in Energy/Cat Urbigkit/Column/Range Writing/Agriculture
1220

By Cat Urbigkit, Range Writing columnist for Cowboy State Daily

U.S. Congressional members DeFazio and Gaetz hosted a “briefing” session in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, aimed at educating their colleagues of the need for policy reform for USDA’s Wildlife Services, the federal agency charged with animal damage control. Invited to give presentations to educate congressional members were a family from Idaho whose dog was killed by a M-44 device, and representatives from the following organizations: Predator Defense, International Fund for Animal Welfare, and Western Watersheds Project. The goal of the session was to gain support of a bill that would ban lethal poison devices.

DeFazio and Gaetz call M-44s “cyanide bombs.” But M-44s are not bombs. Rather, they are spring-activated ejector devices that are staked to the ground and deliver a dose of cyanide powder (an EPA restricted-use pesticide) from the capsule holder when the holder cover is triggered by the bite-and-pull motion of a canid. In contrast, a bomb is a device designed to explode on impact, or when detonated by a time mechanism, remote control, or lit fuse.

The renaming of this predator control device as a “cyanide bomb” originated with animal activists, but some members of the media have adopted the term, and members of congress are using the same messaging framework. It’s one in a recent cascade of “reframing” examples I’ve noticed, as marketing tactics have expanded from products to influencing general public opinion in the last few decades, and media organizations become willing participants.

See Image 1: Both Wyoming Public Media and WyoFile use the term “cyanide bombs” in reporting.

Maya Khemlani David, a professor of language and linguistics, has studied the use of rhetoric to maintain political influence, and wrote: “By way of an indirect manipulation of language, skillful speakers have traditionally been able to influence the preconceptions, views, ambitions and fears of the public, to the extent of causing people to accept false statements as true postulates, or even to support policies conflicting with their interests.”

We see manipulative messaging examples every day. In food production it ranges from the use of terms such as factory-farmed animals or organic products, to the clean meat and meatless burgers (which are neither meat nor burger, and by the same token, just as milk comes from an animal with mammary glands, not nuts or beans).

Another recent example comes from people opposed to the winter feeding of elk in western Wyoming. Elk are fed pelleted or loose hay at the National Elk Refuge in Jackson, as well as 22 elk feedgrounds operated by the Wyoming Game & Fish Department. Originally established to keep wintering elk from starving to death, and to keep the elk out of ranchers’ stored hay, the state elk feedgrounds were started after the creation of the elk refuge in 1912. Wildlife advocates concerned about disease transmission from congregating elk have called for the closure of the state’s elk feedgrounds, but have taken to calling them “feedlots” in an explicit attempt to cast the feedgrounds on par with livestock feedlots. While feedlots are confined animal feeding operations, elk feedgrounds are not feedlots – the elk come and go at their own desire, and consume native vegetation in addition to the supplemental food provided by wildlife managers.

See Image 2: Wyoming Public Media adopts the use of the term feedlot in reporting.

The introduction of new words or phrases into the public lexicon is nothing new. Linguist George Lakoff writes in the journal Environmental Communications: “Introducing new language is not always possible. The new language must make sense in terms of the existing system of frames. It must work emotionally. And it must be introduced in a communication system that allows for sufficient spread over the population, sufficient repetition, and sufficient trust in the messengers.”

Recently retired from wolf watching for Yellowstone National Park, Rick McIntyre wrote a piece for Outside Online last month that describes the history of a wolf pack. But he cleverly interchanged the word pack with “family”: “He died from the wounds they inflicted, but he had saved his family,” “Her family is carrying on,” and “I did it for her family.”

Cognitive science and psychology are used to develop effective messaging that is used in political, cultural, and economic contexts. Messaging attempts to influence not just what brand of product you may buy, but how you feel about an object, person, or industry, with the goal of prompting you to take action.

For example, we don’t hear much about “global warming” anymore – it’s been reframed as “climate change.” A group called ecoAmerica is at the forefront of climate-change messaging, identifying our moral foundations, the emotions and virtues associated with those morals, and suggesting messages that apply to each audience.

See Image 3: From Connecting on Climate: A Guide to Effective Climate Change Communication

Robert Brulle is a professor of sociology and environmental science who warns against such widespread messaging efforts to manipulate the public. Brulle writes: “To mobilize broad-based support for social change, citizens cannot be treated as objects for manipulation. Rather, they should be treated as citizens involved in a mutual dialog.”

Instead, we hear anti-fossil fuel advocates calling permits to drill natural gas wells “fracking permits,” oil and gas leases have become “fracking leases,” and drilling rigs are “fracking rigs”– whether hydraulic fracturing technology is used or not.

See Image 4: Environment News Service has renamed gas drilling as fracking.

Language can be used to manipulate, but it can also just be a reflection of personal experience. I’m involved in agriculture, so when you hear me refer to bull markets, and diversified stock, it’s within a completely different context than someone on Wall Street using the same words. Same words, different meaning – but no manipulation.

Cat Urbigkit is an author and rancher who lives on the range in Sublette County, Wyoming. Her column, Range Writing, appears weekly in Cowboy State Daily.

King Ranch’s Eisele ‘proud and lucky’ to be involved in calving season

in News/Agriculture
1188

By Becky Orr, Cowboy State Daily

Mark Eisele smiled as he watched the calves gather close to their mothers.

Although the newborns in the open pen were just one or two days old, they already had formed a bond with their mothers and their mothers with them.  Some contented calves nursed, others napped and a few explored the pen on wobbly, unsteady legs. Their mothers kept their eyes on them, nudged them lovingly or licked their offspring’s shiny coats.

“They recognize their babies by sound and smell,” he said. “They can pick them out of a herd with a cry.”

It’s calving season at King Ranch, Eisele’s family-owned cattle operation five miles west of Cheyenne. The annual season of birth that unfolds here is happening or soon will occur at ranches across Wyoming. 

“I’m proud and lucky I get to do this,” Eisele, 62, said of his lifelong career.

He helped out at his first calving when he was 14 and has been integrally involved for more than 40 years. And yet, he never tires of it. 

“The miracle of life and how that has developed through nature is a spectacle that people should witness and appreciate,” he said. “The frailty of life is so in your face. It is very powerful. When that calf shakes his head and looks up at you and he’s breathing, it’s a wonderful feeling. Every one of them is special to me.”

Eisele and his family own the historic ranch, which was started in 1904 as a sheep operation and became a cattle ranch in 1968. Eisele’s immediate family includes his wife Trudy, daughters Kendall Roberts (who basically is second in command) and Kaycee Eisele; son, Colton Eisele; Kendall’s husband James and Colton’s wife Miranda. All help out with the calving duties.

The calving season at King Ranch starts around Feb. 20 and lasts for 75 days. It is the most intense time for ranchers who must keep in close and constant watch on their cows and calves. There are many sleepless nights for ranchers with 2 a.m. checks and around-the-clock monitoring.

“I literally live at the barn for two months,” he said, adding the barn is about 400 yards from the main house. “I have a trailer down there and eat and sleep down there. You get tired; you get a little worn out. But when you have a calf hit the ground and he’s alive and you saved him, you get the support to hit the ground running and go save another one.” 

When calving season rolls around, everything else in a rancher’s life – from birthday parties to family commitments – are put on hold. 

“The calves come first. And everybody understands that,” he said.

Eisele and his immediate family raise about 400 black Angus and red Angus cows on the main ranch and another 600 to 800 yearlings and pasture cattle at the west ranch. His parents raise 150 cows on their ranch nearby.

So far, about 350 calves have been born this season at the ranch with about 50 cows still to give birth.

“Things are winding down,” Eisele said.

Across Wyoming, up to 900,000 calves will be born during the calving season at the state’s 2,500 to 3,000 commercial cow operations, according to Jim Magagna, executive vice president of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association.

At King Ranch, most calves are born in the barn where they are tagged and numbered and get a shot to protect them. They spend at least 12 hours bonding with their mothers in the pen. Cow and calf then move to an open pen, which has a wood side for protection from the elements, fresh hay and an automatic heated water supply.  After a few days, they move to the main pasture.  The calves in the pasture are full of energy and jump across the land. Eisele keeps a small notebook in his shirt pocket that contains hand-written records of all the calves. 

“As the calves are born, we write down the cow’s number, the calf’s number, the date, the sex, the weight, how easy the birth was and if they nursed,” he said.

They then transfer the information to their cell phones and create electronic records.

A circle drawn beside the number of a calf in the book means the calf died. Typically, calves are born without problems, but about 2 percent to 3 percent die despite the best efforts of Eisele and his family.

“We will struggle to keep everything alive,” he said, adding that “it’s heartbreaking for me” when a calf dies.

Some calves die after being accidentally stepped on by other cows. The animals also can contract pneumonia. 

“Cattle are really an interesting critter. They are tougher than all get out,” Eisele said. “They can survive so many things. But a simple thing like the change between day and night and the temperature swings will trigger pneumonia – respiratory distress – and it will kill them.”

Cows also are quite social. For example, they frequently take turns babysitting several calves so their mothers can graze, he said.

Ranchers wear many hats and the job of calving means they need to wear almost every one at the same time. They need to be medics, business men, weather men, and bit of a psychologist to better read and understand the cows, he said.

Eisele and his family help in the birthing process, including pulling a calf’s legs to get it through the birth canal. He tries to be at every birth he can, but can’t make all of them. 

“I need to see if the cow had problems or if the calf was sluggish,” he said.

He said he also needs to know if the cow can give birth or if the calf is so large that a veterinarian is needed to perform a Caesarean section.

“There is a lot of animal husbandry that goes on. We use stethoscopes, thermometers and we do a lot of stuff to analyze these calves,” he said.

The knowledge doesn’t happen overnight. 

“It’s an acquired education,” he said, one where he said he is still learning every day.

Eisele is at ease with his herd and loves to watch the cows go after the cow cakes made from grains that he dumps from back of his truck.

He recognizes cows in the pasture and pets many as he chats with them. He too, has formed a bond.

“One of the saddest things I have to do is put calves on a truck and ship them away to the feeders knowing that is the last I’ll see of them. That is hard to do. I understand that is the way things work, but I revel in the births,” he said.

Pine Bluffs distillery a destination for adventurous whiskey fans

in Travel/Community/Tourism/Agriculture
Pine Bluffs Distilling local community gathering place
1171

By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

Out on the high plains near Pine Bluffs, one can spot what looks like a barn off in the distance north of the Union Pacific rail line.

But instead of livestock and equipment, if you step inside this barn, you’ll find whiskey, vodka and a building full of people who love to experiment with spirits.

“Why not (experiment)?” asked Pine Bluffs Distilling co-owner Chad Brown. “We’ve got all these different barrels. Why can’t we release 10 products a year?”

Brown and his co-owners in the distillery, aunt Kathy Brown and cousin Gene Purdy, launched Pine Bluffs Distilling in 2017 with the idea of using different corn and grains from around the area to produce different spirits.

“We can grow any small cereal seed,” Brown said. “The traditional distilleries, they make one product. Why can’t we do what breweries do and make 20 different whiskeys?”

Welcome to Pine Bluffs Distilling in Pine Bluffs Wyoming
(Photo credit: Mary Angell)

Brown is a California native who lived in Nevada before his cousin Gene, a grain farmer near Pine Bluffs, convinced him to move to Wyoming in 2014. Brown, an avid home beer brewer, and his cousin shared an interest in how to add value to locally raised grains and how using those grains differently might result in different flavored spirits.

While Brown worked with Purdy on his farm, the family drew up plans for two businesses, Wyoming Malting and Pine Bluffs Distilling.

“We kind of came up with the plan for Wyoming Malting Co. and after doing some number crunching … we needed more revenue,” Brown said. “We were either going to go brewery or distillery. There’s a lot of breweries in the country. In 2014, there weren’t nearly as many distilleries.”

Wyoming Malting creates the malt from grains used in the brewing of beer and in distilling spirits. The malting operation, headed up by Mike Davidson and Glenn Sisson, processes about 660,000 pounds of barley, rye, oats and other grain every year.

Much of the malt is sent to area breweries, such as the Open Barrel Brewing Co. in Torrington, the Accomplice Beer Co. in Cheyenne and Square State Brewing in Rock Springs.

About 220,000 pounds of grain and corn is used by Pine Bluffs Distilling, where distillers Jon Unruh and Aaron Mayer create the company’s best-known spirits, Rock Ranch Vodka, Lodgepole Creek Bourbon and Muddy Creek Bourbon, a blend of bourbon and rye.

Lodgepole Creek and Muddy Creek both recently won bronze medals in a competition by the American Distilling Institute. Earlier this year, Rock Ranch Vodka received a bronze medal from the American Craft Spirits Association. 

But the distillers aren’t stopping with these spirits. They’ve already created a white whiskey, a corn whiskey and a limited release rye, just to name a few.

Still more spirits are in barrels aging, including an oat whiskey and several single malt whiskeys. In addition, the distillers are preparing seasonal spirits such as a peppermint whiskey for winter and a hibiscus-honey whiskey for spring.

“We’re going to show the same grain malted or treated differently, how different the final product can be,” Brown said. “And then our distillers, once again to change things up, they came and said ‘Hey, we’d like to do seasonal whiskeys.’”

The distillery itself and attached tasting room opened in November of 2017. Since then, more than 500 gallons of Pine Bluffs Distilling’s spirits has been released, but thousands more gallons are in barrels to be aged for a few years.

In the meantime, the tasting room has become a community gathering spot of sorts for the people of Pine Bluffs. The distillery regularly hosts events such as painting parties, board game nights and yoga.

The concept is similar to what is seen in breweries, Brown said.

“They hang out,” he said. “It’s a community gathering.”

And through it all, Pine Bluffs Distilling remains committed to its local grain producers.

“If we can lift up everybody at the same time, it just benefits the whole town,” Brown said.

The distillery and tasting room are open from noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays.

Visitors can sample the distillery’s various spirits, take part in special events or even tour the distilling operation itself.

Pine Bluffs Distilling is on 322 N. Beech St. in Pine Bluffs, just north of the Frenchman Valley Coop.

For more information, visit the distillery’s website at PineBluffsDistilling.com.

Blizzard impact on ranches varies

in News/weather/Agriculture
Wyoming ranchers prepared for storm
1116

By Becky Orr, Cowboy State Daily

The Blizzard of 2019 that shut down the state government and area schools had varying impacts on area ranchers.

Jay Berry, the owner of a Berry’s Herefords near Cheyenne, said because his ranch had time to prepare for the storm’s arrival, he was able to get his cattle to shelter behind structures and trees.

“There wasn’t anything that had to stand outside in the last 30 hours that didn’t suffer,” he said. “But basically, getting out of the wind is your No. 1 priority. So we pulled everything in to where they had a hope of getting behind something.”

He also made a point of giving the cattle extra feed in the hours leading up to the storm.

“We tried to feed everything double going into the storm because you just knew how many calories they were going to burn and there was no way you were going to get back to them,” he said. “We were quite lucky, the weatherman gave us plenty of warning.”

The timing of the storm also helped, Berry said, because his heifers had not started calving yet.

“If we had been calving, I don’t know how we could have helped them,” he said. “It could have gone either way for us. If it had been seven days later, it would have been much harder.”

The storm did cause some problems for Jon Kirkbride’s ranches in Chugwater and Meriden.

Although Kirkbride’s heifers are not calving, he said his yearlings got extremely wet and chilled, which made them more prone to pneumonia.

The wet snow that marked the storm is harder on livestock than drier snow seen with storms in January, he said.

In addition, high snowdrifts piled up along fence corners allowed cattle to cross fences and get into other rangeland. Kirkbride said he will be searching for those cattle on Friday.

The family-run King Ranch in Laramie County is well into the calving season, owner Mark Eisele said. While the blizzard made calving duties more difficult and required more work for the ranch operators, it did not affect actual operations.

No newborn calves died as a result of the blizzard, he said, which he attributes to careful planning, advances in technology and learning from past lessons.

“It always means extra work and extra worry” when a blizzard occurs, Eisele said. “I actually plan for this sort of thing (the blizzard) year-round.”

King Ranch makes sure that plenty of hay is available and that the ranch has enough windbreaks, barns and outbuildings to shelter the cattle, he said.

The ranch doesn’t have a lot of natural shelters for cattle, so operators came up with a plan to get all stock sheltered within a two-hour period. It worked well this time as all animals were housed before the storm arrived.

Although King Ranch emerged OK after the storm, Eisele has doubts about some other ranches. 

“I think some people who are just starting to calve and don’t have outbuildings have had a tough last few days,” he said.  “A storm like this can really hurt people pretty bad.”

Advances in technology have reduced the impact of dealing with the blizzard. King Ranch uses round bale feeders that are mounted on trucks and four-wheel drive tractors to reach the cattle.  

“We can put feed out in a hurry and without a lot of physical labor,” Eisele said.

Not everything about the storm was bad.

Scott Sims owns a ranch near McFadden in the Rock Creek Valley.  

“We got close to 15 inches of snow,” but didn’t have the high winds that occurred in Laramie County, he said. “The storm will help with soil moisture.”

Some 30 inches of snow fell at the head of the Rock Creek drainage area. The area is now at 110 percent of normal snowpack. 

“This really is a positive,” he said. 

The storm had very little impact on his ranch, especially since calving there doesn’t begin until April.

Sims said his cattle had no trouble getting fed, given the fact he uses large four-wheel drive tractors to deliver feed. That’s a vast difference from 30 years ago when bulldozers had to plow snow ahead of the feed tractors.

What’s next for hemp in Wyoming?

in News/Agriculture
Wyoming approves hemp production sale of CBD oil
1071

 By Becky Orr, Cowboy State Daily

When Gov. Mark Gordon signed HB 171 into law Wednesday, he made it legal to for farmers to grow industrial hemp and sell hemp-based products like CBD oil in Wyoming.

But it likely will be a while before farmers will harvest the first hemp crop from the Cowboy State’s soil, given all that’s required to start the regulatory process.

Derek Grant, public information officer for the Wyoming Department of Agriculture, said Friday that he would not speculate on when the program would begin. It might be this fall, but perhaps later, he said. “We’re going to move as quickly as we can,” Grant said.  “We’re moving with a sense of urgency with a good dose of caution.”

Approval of HB171 comes after changes occurred in the 2018 USDA farm bill to remove hemp from the Controlled Substances Act. The latest farm bill considers the plant as a regulated agriculture crop.

Hemp is a plant that can be used to make paper, clothing, textiles, food, shoes, building materials and thousands of other products.  The plant is part of the cannabis family but contains only trace amounts of THC – a psychoactive chemical – compared to marijuana.

HB 171 requires farmers to apply to the Agriculture Department for a license to grow hemp. The department is working to develop the required forms. It’s also completing a plan detailing the operation of regulatory program. The plan must be sent to the U.S. Department of Agriculture within 30 days after the bill’s signing.

The law provides $315,000 to the state Agriculture Department to buy equipment that will test the concentration of THC in hemp to make sure it stays below 0.3 percent.  A higher THC content means the hemp will be categorized as marijuana. The bill also provides $120,000 to hire and train people to get the program going.

Rep. Bucky Loucks, R-Casper, sponsored the bill, which won strong approval in both the Senate and House this legislative session. Supporters say it will help Wyoming’s farmers develop a cash crop and diversify the state’s economy.

“I think anytime we can have more opportunity to diversify and find more products in Wyoming is a good thing,” Grant said. “We just want to make sure we do it right.” 

He urges farmers to check the department’s web page for more information.

Ron Rabou and his family operate an organic wheat farm near Albin in Laramie County. Rabou, a long-time supporter of growing industrial hemp,  said he is excited about the new law. 

“The big positive here is that we have a bill now that will provide massive opportunities for Wyoming ag producers,” he said.

But he cautions that farmers must make sure there are markets to buy the crop. Farmers who produce hemp must become experts regarding market demands, he said. 

“This is not going to be where all of a sudden, we can start growing hemp and it will make immediate profitability,” he said.  “In my opinion, it will take years for those markets to develop.”

“I think it’s great to be excited. But just because this bill got passed, doesn’t  mean (there will be) an immediate effect on the ag economy,” Rabou continued. “Be careful about jumping in with both feet at this point. Unless you have a market where you can sell your crop, having all the product in the world will not make a difference.”

For more information on the Wyoming Department of Agriculture’s hemp program, visit the department’s website at: https://wyoagric.state.wy.us/

For more information on Rabou Farms, visit its website at: http://www.raboufarms.com/

Health Department urges care in handling baby poultry

in News/Health care/Agriculture
springtime Easter baby chicks
1044

By Cowboy State Daily

With springtime and Easter just around the corner, Wyoming’s Department of Health is warning people who buy baby poultry to use care in handling the birds to avoid the illness Salmonella.

Tiffany Greenlee, surveillance epidemiologist with the department, said in a news release that Wyoming regularly sees cases of Salmonella as a result of the improper handling of poultry.

“Because poultry chicks are soft and cute, many people want to touch, hold or even snuggle them, but this behavior can be risky because the birds can have germs on their body and in their droppings,” Greenlee said.

Salmonella can cause diarrhea, fever, stomach cramps and other symptoms, which can be especially severe in young children, the elderly, pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems.Infections generally occur after someone puts their hands in or near their mouth after handling birds or touching areas where they live, Greenlee said.

Tips for the safe handling live birds include:

  • Children younger than 5 years of age, elderly persons or people with weak immune systems shouldn’t handle or touch chicks or other live poultry.
  • After touching live poultry or anything in the area where they are found, wash hands thoroughly with soap and water. If soap and water aren’t available, use hand sanitizer.
  • Don’t eat or drink around live poultry, touch with the mouth or hold closely to the face.
  • Don’t let live poultry inside the house, in bathrooms or in areas where food or drink is prepared, served or stored.
  • Clean equipment or materials used in caring for live poultry outside the house, such as cages or feed or water containers.
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