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More Than Just Horsing Around

An Unlikely Superhero Sheep! Saving the Planet?













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82801 Features


CULTURE: Discover History in Buffalo What does over a century of life look like? The Jim Gatchell Memorial Museum in Buffalo houses one of the most historically significant collections of western history in all of the Rocky Mountain West — 118 years’ worth. Have a look!





LIFE: More Than Just Horsing Around

A nexus of agriculture, tourism, energy production and conservation, on the coattails of a devastating downturn Wyoming looks to innovate new, economy-boosting opportunities — taking risks like our pioneer ancestors.

Equine Assisted Therapy at CHAPS and Sheridan’s Krossfire Counseling and Equine Enterprises helps children, teens, and adults with depression, anxiety, self-harm, addiction, autism, and behavioral issues through engagement with horses and ponies.

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AG: An Unlikely Superhero Are sheep saving the Planet? By decentralizing the supply chain to keep fibers closer to home, sheep producers are positively impacting the environment and local economies (and national retailers are joining in to make some pretty cool beanies, too).

A New Frontier f you’ve had the opportunity to head East, I’m sure you’ve noticed it. I call it “The Shift”. It happens once you cross the Mississippi. For this born and bred Wyoming girl, a cross country move to North Carolina at the tender age of 21 was quite a culture shock, and I found myself having to explain many things to our curious, well-intentioned neighbors to the East. For many of us, our ancestors, against all odds and in search for a better life, took a huge risk, leaving the comforts of civilization behind by crossing the Mississippi into the vast, untamed territory to the west. Spending months travelling in covered wagons across rivers, mountains and deserts to eventually settle here. Building homes with their own two hands, and coming together to create communities and supporting infrastructure. Wyomingites far from home have heard it all, from “Did you ride a horse to school?” to “Do you have running water?” and “Wow, have you even seen another person?”. Alright, perhaps that last one is a bit of a stretch, but it’s no secret that living in the New West is dominated by “Wild West” stereotypes. The image of life on the prairie is of the “lonely cowboy” living an uncivilized life, but the reality is quite different. Although we have a small population, we have built an amazing culture and enviable lifestyle that values family and community as we continue to diversify our economy by braving new frontiers, much like our ancestors. As a nexus of agriculture, tourism, energy production and conservation, the need to further diversify our unique economy became much more apparent with the 2014


downturn in the energy sector. Today, we are on the threshold of exciting new developments, thanks in part to the ENDOW (Economically Needed Diversity Options for Wyoming) initiative. This can be seen in the proposal to nourish Wyoming’s entrepreneurial environment with a dedicated organization, Startup: Wyoming, and the recent blockchain technology legislation that has caught national attention, making Wyoming an attractive and friendly environment for the burgeoning technology. While we have yet to see what will come of the new blockchain laws, it’s so exciting to see our State grab the bull by the horns and get to work with so many unknowns. Much like our ancestors who took the risks to head west to build a better life, we are doing the same by looking to the future and making Wyoming the next best place for technological innovation. If anyone is up to the challenge, it is the people of this great state. Cheers to Wyoming and a new frontier! By: Candice E. Schlautmann Ag Editor & Designer


What does over a century of life look like?


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Discover History in Buffalo

118 Years of History he Jim Gatchell Memorial Museum houses one of the most historically significant collections of Western history in all of the Rocky Mountain West.


THE MAN Theodore James “Jim” Gatchell (1872-1954) was a visionary and a historian, and a pharmacist (in that order), says Johnson County Jim Gatchell Memorial Museum Director Sylvia Bruner. In May of 19oo, Jim opened a drugstore in downtown Buffalo, Wyoming, The Buffalo

Pharmacy. It quickly became a hub for settlers, and a stopping point for cowboys and cattle barons. “A regional landmark for over 80 years,” says the director, “The Buffalo Pharmacy was frequented by lawmen, army scouts, and the region’s Native Americans alike.” A trusted friend to patrons, Jim received many gifts. Among these were countless items and keepsakes: representing a collection that would grow to include items ranging from guns and war bonnets to everyday tools, authentic medicine bags, bows and arrows, jewelry, and articles of clothing, among other things.

Whether or not Jim had the foresight to understand that the gifts he was accumulating would go on to become cultural representations of Wild West life in the 1900s, is anyone’s guess. What’s known, however, is that he took great pride in receiving and displaying these items. Soon, local residents were also donating mementos of Johnson County’s most historic people, families, places, and events. Following Jim’s passing in 1954, his family donated his vast collection to the people of Johnson County, with a single provision: that a museum be built to house it. JUNE / JULY 2018



Jim Gatchell Memorial Museum 100 Fort St., Buffalo, WY 82834 (307) 684-9331 |

Three years later, the museum was established, and in 2002 the museum achieved national accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums. Last month, it celebrated AAM reaccreditation. Currently, it is one of only six museums to be accredited in Wyoming. Among them, the Wyoming State Museum in Cheyenne, and the University of Wyoming Art and Geological Museums in Laramie. Located in Northcentral Wyoming at the Junction of Interstates 25 and 90, Buffalo’s Johnson County Jim Gatchell Memorial Museum shines—a beacon, rich with history that speaks to early life in the American Midwest. From its grassroots beginnings as a oncebustling drugstore, today, the Johnson County Jim Gatchell Memorial Museum houses one of the most historically significant collections of Western history in all of the Rocky Mountain West. The museum’s permanent exhibits feature stories about Our Big Bad Wolf, natural history, Native Americans, the area’s Basque culture, the Bozeman Trail, and early Frontier Military including the Johnson County Cattle War. There’s also a collection of wagons and buggies in the museum’s Carriage House. Museum staff, board, and volunteers say they are dedicated to sustaining the late Jim Gatchell’s vision of preserving the history of Johnson County, Wyoming, through the collection and conservation of related art and artifacts acquired throughout his lifetime. While countless museum collections from across the globe come from far and wide, the specimens, related art, and artifacts on display at the Jim Gatchell Memorial Museum tell a unique and highly-specific story about the man himself. Each exhibited item, a token of Gatchell’s personal and lifelong collection, directly correlates to the historical events and people that helped to shape modern-day Johnson County.

TELLING STORIES There’s something innate and fundamental about our human desire to gather, sort, and display things. And, not just to use objects in their most functional and practical of rights, but to use them to tell our


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stories about ourselves, as people, to those (who care to listen) in the present and the future. Parents and educators, I employ you: enable exploration. As a tool which can provide a meaningful and tangible link between our lives and the lives of those who came before us, historical objects and collections are, at their core essence, an invitation to learn and explore. Not only at the Jim Gatchell, either (although it is nationally-accredited, and a great place to start). Museums can include art, history, and specialty museums, as well as science centers, zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens, arboretums, and nature centers, not to mention historic sites and landmarks, national monuments, or other similar institutions.

A MUSEUM’S ROLE Consider this: If the primary function of a museum is to engage and educate the public and community, or communities, for which they serve; than its secondary function is arguably, to inspire interest in a particular area of study: a time period, a culture or people, a school of thought, or an idea. As such, I pose the following questions to you, our readers: What story will your children/today’s children tell? What if your kids—the youth and future of society—spent less time Keeping Up with the Kardashians and watching Tide pod videos, and more time exploring such preserved collections and interpretations of history as are readily available not only at the Jim Gatchell, but also at countless other museums within reach? Then, might the children of today learn not only to JUNE / JULY 2018


acquire, but to perpetuate a grander appreciation for the community whence they came? Ultimately, it’s my belief that in asking these questions of ourselves we may be compelled to find a greater value in making the time to foster an interest in the past within our children—one capable of establishing and/or strengthening community ties so much so as to promote the kind of vested and ongoing civic commitment akin to that which is regularly dismissed as being only... a thing of the past.

INTERACT WITH HISTORY, NOW A visit to the Jim Gatchell Memorial Museum is just one way to interact with the history of Johnson County. Shop local vendors, authors, and artists, as well as Wyoming-made products at the museum store, and connect online. Or, make plans to attend one of the museum’s special programs this year, including: Living History Day,


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a community event at the museum with free admission and interactive activities for the whole family on June 23, 2018. Then, consider taking in a demonstration of Calvary tactics and a Wild West show by the Buffalo Soldiers of the American West will take place at the Johnson County Fairgrounds just a day later, on June 24, 2018. For more information about the museum, including hours of operation and the cost of admission (always under $5), or for details on the museum’s exhibits, programs, or events, visit or call (307) 684-9331. By: Stephanie L. Scarcliff for 82801

SOURCES Information for this article has been provided for by Johnson County Jim Gatchell Memorial Museum Director Sylvia A. Bruner. Photos courtesy of Johnson County Jim Gatchell Memorial Museum. Jim Gatchell Memorial Museum | 100 Fort St., Buffalo, WY 82834 | (307) 684-9331 |

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ON THE COVER Hey, ewe! Want to find out which Wyoming sheep producers aren’t sheepish about making a positive impact on our environment and our local economies? Mob to page 19. Photo by © N-sky.


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Equine Assisted Therapy: More Than Just Horsing Around

n 1920, 25 million horses lived and worked in the U.S. as the nation’s primary form of non-pedestrian transportation. 10 years later, Americans owned more cars than horses per capita, and the horse population has declined ever since to approximately 4 million in 2015. In Wyoming, we take our relationships with horses for granted. A not-so-urban legend holds that a Wyoming governor’s first qualification is photographic evidence of themselves riding horseback at a young age. Of course, we’ve never had to test that, as all of our governors can easily supply such photos. Many people from Wyoming can. Yes, there are still people here who ride a horse to get somewhere; but no, we don’t generally ride horses to school. The reason we still ride horses in Wyoming has nothing to do with transportation. Internal combustion can pull a load or take you places fast, but it cannot replace the soul of the horse. “Domestication” doesn’t quite cover the ancient bond between humans and horses. At some point, these large, powerful animals agreed to let us climb on their backs. Yes, the American West has a shameful history of “breaking” horses but, fortunately, modern horse training has evolved. Epitomized by local Buck Brannaman, the “new“ school of thought seeks to build a union between human and horse based on trust. “Horses are incredibly forgiving,” Brannaman told the New York Times in 1998 for an article


about therapeutic riding. “They fill in places we're not capable of filling ourselves. They've given people a new hope, a new lease on life. A horse really wants to please you, to get along.'' Although the ancient Greeks prescribed horseback riding for various ailments, therapeutic horseback riding wasn’t introduced to the United States until the mid 20th century. Furthermore, “equine assisted psychotherapy” has existed in the United States for less than 50 years. There are currently two main certification organizations in the United States: The Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.), and the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA). Also, an independent organization, the Certification Board for Equine Interaction Professionals (CBEIP) promotes professional credibility in the field. The fact remains that there is still a large amount of disorganization in the field and no agreed upon set of standards. Consequently, there is a lot of confusion and controversy surrounding the subject and its role in the mental health world. A peer reviewed article published in the European Journal of Psychotherapy & Counselling in 2015, stated: “Although there is public consensus that horses can have psychological benefits, it is an underresearched area and conclusions are largely based on anecdotal data. The little empirical evidence that is available about the efficacy of equine-assisted interventions on psychological outcomes tends to

be mixed and is often difficult to interpret due to the lack of rigorous research designs. “ Research continues to be undertaken to remedy the situation but, in many cases, front-line therapy practitioners adopt and integrate the most effective tools quickly and organically, without worrying about proving the concept to academia.

KROSSFIRE “I see the difference every day,” said Krystal Raley, owner of Krossfire Counseling and Equine Enterprises in Sheridan. In Raley’s opinion, horses make better counselors than humans. She said that someone can only “act” for so long around horses, referring to them as “lie-detectors.” She explained that people who have been through a lot of therapy have been asked the same questions a million times, causing them to develop robotic answers. Working with the authenticity of horses can cause unexpected and revealing responses in people. Taylor Lippincott, who grew up riding horses, started as an intern with Krossfire and has become their Equine Specialist. Lippincott is studying animal science in college, and her current position is valuable on the job learning. Raley said she has found Lippincott to be insightful and has encouraged her to study counseling in the future. Lippincott mentioned that the Wyoming Honor Farm utilizes horses to work with juveniles and noted that first time offenders who work with horses don’t tend to come back. JUNE / JULY 2018


Raley started Krossfire six years ago. She said she jumped in “whole-heartedly” because of what horses did in her life as a teenager. There were lots of “no’s” and red-tape getting the business started, but she made it happen on her own. Raley has a master’s in sports psychology and originally planned on working with athletes. Business is picking up enough that she is going to add another counselor to her practice this summer. Krossfire’s specialties include children, teens, and adults with depression, anxiety, self-harm, addiction, autism and behavioral issues. Raley is certified by EAGALA and is trained in trauma focused therapy and “natural lifemanship.” One of their guiding philosophies is that the movement of a horse teaches the brain and body to regulate fight-or-flight response. “The arena is the place to find out what’s not working in our lives and let the horses help us problem solve how to work on that.” The horses at Krossfire work in a herd. They are not tethered or haltered and are allowed to come and go as they please. Raley thinks of the horses as co-counselors. They interact with and react to clients, and it is up to the clients to determine the meaning behind the horses’ actions. “I might see it one way, but the client is going to see it in their own way. We ask the client what it means. The counselor gets out of the way of the counseling process.” Raley says that when people say they are stuck during therapy, her reply is, “Show us.” She has clients use physical props to model their problems. One woman showed her depression as an obstacle course. When the horses touched part of it, she tried to stop them at first. Catching herself, the woman exclaimed, “Oh my gosh, I’m keeping myself there.” Another client came in and the horses kept snorting and running from him, Raley asked him what was wrong and he said he wasn’t really having problems. The horses kept reacting to him, and after a while he really opened up. It turned out that he was dealing with some very significant issues and the horses’ reactions had helped him to admit it. Raley said that each horse has a distinct personality, noting that one pony has a very large space bubble, trusting some people more than others. The pony still runs from Lippincott, who works with the horses regularly. Another horse, a paint, is particularly good for riding.


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The horses have a job to do when they are at Krossfire. Recognizing this, Raley rotates the horses out, sending them on vacation to a ranch when they are not working. When they are on the job, Raley does not give out their names to clients, but encourages them to use various symbolic names such as “past, present, and future” to help address their therapeutic goals. Raley noted that equine therapy can work for people who really don’t like to be told what to do (aka everybody). “I love that it’s not about what I think is happening. It’s the client initiating a meaning and finding out what to do about it.” She explained that she doesn’t teach horsemanship, but rather problem solving through interactions with horses. To facilitate that process, it is necessary to teach some basic horse safety. “I want the horses to have a response but be safe. I won’t put clients in a position to get hurt, but I let them learn as much as possible through natural consequences.”

CHAPS Children, Horses and Adults in PartnerShip (CHAPS) Equine Assisted Therapy, originally established as a therapeutic riding program for children and adults with special needs, was founded in 2003. Chaps is accredited with the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH). Clientele include Veterans from the Sheridan

VA Medical Center and at-Risk youth from Sheridan School District #2. CHAPS also provides community service opportunities for non-violent offenders from the Sheridan County Justice System. CHAPS uses horses therapeutically to treat a wide variety of diagnoses, including PTSD, muscular dystrophy, ADD/ADHD, multiple sclerosis, visual impairment, down syndrome, mental/emotional issues, spinal cord injuries, learning disabilities, autism, cerebral palsy and developmental delays. In November of 2017, CHAPS received a Department of Veteran’s Affairs Adaptive Sports grant in the amount of $73,000. The grant has allowed them to increase the number of veterans they work with. The previous director had secured a grant with the VA to treat PTSD, treating 60 to 70 veterans, but that grant expired last year. Prior to receiving the new grant, CHAPS actually had to cut some services. By September of this year, the additional funding will have allowed them to work with 165 veterans. CHAPS Executive Director, Kristen Marcus, explained that vets from all over the country can choose which hospital they check into and that different hospitals excel in different areas. For example, many people choose Walter Reed for surgical needs, but Sheridan is known for its excellent mental health care. CHAPS works with the VA’s mental

hurt anyone, but he “gets in their bubble” and once health programs, including Cognitive Processing that veteran is calm, he leaves them alone. Therapy, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD and Co-occurring Disorders Marcus related a success (PCOD), Mental Health story that sticks with her. “I Intensive Care Management, had one woman, in a group Substance Use Disorders, where most had military and Community Therapy sexual trauma. She labeled Programming. this blue cone with “rape.” The veteran sessions Her horse, Lynx, stopped, are ground based – meaning and she got angry, she kicked the participants never get the cone, and the horse on the horses, and most of didn’t do anything. Lynx just the time the horses are loose stood there and let her work without halters or bridles. Ped is a professional. through it. They did the alley The techniques focus on three times until they could walk straight through, the subconscious mind and the use of metaphor. and two times after. She told me later, ‘I can now One of the staff ’s favorites is called “trigger say the word rape and not have an anxiety attack.'” alley.” Balls, tires, cones, and all kinds of other In the end, Marcus said, the goal is to obstacles are available in the arena. They build improve coping and relationship skills, and to an alley and the group is asked to fill it up with transfer those skills to family, friends, and to the objects, labeling each with a trigger (for example, entire community. “gunshots”). Next each veteran group labels their CHAPS staff include Lynn Gordon, a horses with resources, i.e. counselor, family, licensed professional counselor in the field, and asking for help, etc. Christina Pescatore. Pescatore is a Professional Each person leads their horse through, Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) sometimes attached by a piece of yarn. “What’s International equine specialist in mental health and really interesting,” Marcus said, “and we haven’t learning. Pescatore serves as figured it out yet, whether an instructor for CHAPS. it’s pheromones or a reflex Pescatore has been working reaction, but it’s amazing. with Dustin Sorenson on The horses always stop at that a weight-loss program. veteran’s particular triggers.” Sorenson did well with So, if the veteran therapeutic driving, but triggers on “gunshots” the the driving instructor has horse stops at that object and to make a 4-hour drive and Gordon goes over to help won’t be coming up this the individual work through summer. Dustin now works and release the emotions with the same horse, Sureen, that they are feeling. Marcus Lynx doing his job. on a simple cardiovascular take pictures so she can workout, following Pescatore’s instructions on show people afterward to remind them what they where in the arena to guide her. As he leads the accomplished. The human/horse hybrid goes horse, Pescatore gives him verbal reminders to step through the alley a second time, and a third, and so high, get his knees up, keep moving, etc. In addition on until the horse doesn’t stop and walks right past to verbal reminders, she uses sign language when all of the obstacles. working with Dustin since he is largely nonverbal. Marcus said that horses offer a reflection of Because he tires quickly, lessons are kept short. At what we’re feeling. She described one particular the end of a lesson, Pescatore asked Dustin if he was horse, Ped (pronounced peed) who is particularly tired. He indicated that he was. “Good,” she told intuitive about human emotions. She said that if a him playfully. person is worked up or aggressive, Ped would never

Color coding of tack.

The horses do a lot for people, but in return they also have to be cared for. Moxey Schreiber, a local vet, has worked with CHAPS horses since 2006. One horse this past winter, “Collicked so much that we thought we were going to have to dig a hole in 25° below zero. But she (Schrieber) pulled him out of it. And she understands that we’re a nonprofit,” Said Marcus. In addition to veterinary care, the horses also need to rest from their work in the pasture. CHAPS employs a “barn manager” who is also an equine masseuse, and also utilizes a vet who does equine acupuncture. These kinds of services are necessary for the horses, as therapy can be hard on their bodies. “Imagine playing horsey with your kids, except they’re adults and they’re bouncing and slumping, sometimes they have balance issues,” said Marcus, “We try hard to take care of them, and they take care of the clients.” The horses will rarely be kept in the barn unless they are injured, or it’s show day. The horses used to spend more time in the barn, but there were problems with behaviors and injuries. “Three years ago, when I came on, I turned them out,” said Marcus, “They were in the barn eight hours a day and a lot of them had arthritis and ulcers. The behavior problems were mostly because of the ulcers.” Since the horses were turned out, those problems have gone way down. All of the horses in the CHAPS program were donated. Many of them are older and some of the them require special care. One horse, Dennis, is diabetic and cannot eat grass. He has been diabetic for almost ten years and looks pregnant to the casual observer. The size of his stomach is actually indicative of his condition. Recently CHAPS staff have put forth a lot of effort training ponies to go on field trips – to visit locations such as the Vet’s Home of JUNE / JULY 2018


CHAPS has a few upcoming events you should know about: Marcus with dog Kenai

Wyoming, the Child Development Center, and Mountain View. Marcus said it is exciting for everyone when a pony comes “right into their activity center.” Children work with ponies to enhance their memory, recall and social skills. They take ponies heart rates, and memorize the names of pony body parts and breeds among other a ctivities. Ponies are great for this work because they need something to do, according to Marcus, who refers to them as rock stars. “Their minds are always going.” Because CHAPS is a non-profit, they are always looking for people and organizations



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to sponsor their horses. Sponsorship helps to meet the needs of hoof care, medications, food, etc. Additionally, CHAPS is always interested in grass-hay donations. For anyone thinking about getting involved, July is a great month to donate, as any donations made that month are matched by Give65. Right now, the goal in working with Give65 is specifically to raise money for equine assisted learning and memory/recall for people with dementia, especially those who have a past with horses. For more information go to By: Kevin M. Knapp for 82801

June 9-10 - Equine Chiropractic Seminar - Dr. Bill Hampton of EquineSpine. com will be teaching students anatomy, technique and chiropractic applications for horses. This seminar is two days of handson learning. Not a certification program. To register go to Limited to 20 people. July 28 - Tournament of Knights -

Sponsored by Bank of the West - CHAPS presents the Knights of Mayhem, starring Charlie Andrews, the World Champion Jouster in light & heavy armor. Enjoy 90 minutes of thrilling medieval games including jousting! Be a part of the show by participating in our costume contest. Kids can enjoy face painting and crafts, while parents can enjoy a tasty turkey leg and beverages. Get your photo taken with the Knights after the show. Live music to follow! Gates open at 5 and the show starts at 7. Kids 12 & under are FREE. Tickets and information can be found on the CHAPS Facebook page.

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An Unlikely Superhero Sheep! Saving the Planet? id you know that with a properly managed rotational grazing practice, infertile land can actually be regenerated by livestock that seemingly destroy it? And, that producers are working with scientists to create carbon farming


plans with the goal of producing climate beneficial wool with carbon positive sheep? Let’s take a look at how some producers, manufacturers, artisans and retailers are shining the spotlight on an unlikely champion for our planet, the sheep.

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Carbon is the main component of biological compounds. Along with the nitrogen cycle  and the water cycle, the carbon cycle comprises a sequence of events that are key to making Earth capable of sustaining life. It is constantly on the move, cycling through the atmosphere, soil, ocean, and all plants and animals, like sheep. To break it down simply: Plants take in the carbon that exists in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. Through the process of photosynthesis, it is then converted to organic carbon. Plants and soil store the organic carbon, and grazing sheep (and other animals) obtain the energy in organic carbon compounds by consuming the plants. When the sheep nibbles on the plant, it triggers the plant to release carbon compounds (sugars) in the root zone. The soil can then sustain smaller creatures such as worms, dung beetles, fungi, and millions of different microorganisms as it grows richer. The majority of the organic carbon that sheep consume is returned rapidly to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide as the animal breathes, and as decay when it dies. A very small amount (roughly 10 percent) is converted into methane gas as part of the sheep’s digestive process. The atmosphere gradually breaks down methane into carbon dioxide, making it available once again to be taken in by plants during photosynthesis, completing the cycle between the soil and the atmosphere. Additionally, as livestock move across the landscape, they return organic material to the Earth when they defecate, urinate, and crush the foliage under their feet, even further enriching the soil with the matter they leave behind. At nearly 60 percent carbon, it’s what makes land fertile, and is called “soil organic matter”

or SOM. The more SOM there is in the ground, the healthier and more robust the plant life; healthier plants pull more carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, and drive more carbon into the soil. When the soil absorbs more carbon than it loses, ecologists and policy makers call it “carbon sequestration.”


Farmers and ranchers worldwide play a key role in influencing the amount of carbon stored in soils and plants. By properly managing their livestock, they can make a positive contribution to mitigating climate change by increasing the carbon stored in agricultural soils by utilizing rotational or deferred grazing, which is one of the five tenets of carbon sequestration. According to Jessica A. Williamson, Ph.D., extension forage specialist with the Penn State Extension from her article titled “The Benefits of Managed Grazing Systems”, this involves: “…moving animals through a series of three or more pastures, in an effort to match the forage availability to the animals' production needs. “The rotation schedule will depend on herd size, paddock size, and paddock number. Managers can rotate livestock through a series of paddocks as forage availability allows, moving them from an area where the animals have completely utilized the available forages and have achieved a desirable residue height the amount of forage left that has not been grazed. The desirable residue height for each paddock depends on the fertility of the pasture along with the species of forage within each area. For example, generally cool-season perennial legumes can be grazed to a lower height than cool-season perennial grasses; however, if they are in a

paddock mixed together, the residue height should be maintained to suit the least competitive forage species in the grazing area. Warm-season annuals will likely have the greatest residue height in a managed grazing system. “One of the major advantages of a deferred grazing system is the allowance of the land and forages to rest and accumulate growth after they have been defoliated through grazing, without the risk of animals coming back and grazing them again before they have had the opportunity to regrow and replenish nutrient stores. Because animals are in a smaller area of concentration than in a continuously grazed system, manure is distributed more evenly across the grazing Diagram adapted from U.S. DOE, Biological and Environmental

area and carrying capacity is increased as the animals are forced to utilize more of the available forage in a paddock and waste less. As carrying capacity increases, so does productivity per unit land area.”


Climate Beneficial illustration by Andrew Plotsky, courtesy of Fibershed.


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A growing movement exists to promote wool as a fashionable, durable, and eco-friendly alternative to petroleum-based synthetics such as polyester. The Wool Carbon Alliance (WCA) out of Australia, a collective of woolgrowers, scientists, and carbon specialists has reviewed the latest research on wool's

role in the natural carbon cycle, from wool growing properties to homes around the globe. Independent Agricultural Scientist Stephen Wiedemann stated, “Advanced methods of on-farm carbon accounting have shown how woolgrowers can play an important role in the carbon cycle. Preliminary results suggest where soil carbon sequestration can be achieved, wool production can be carbon neutral."   Advances in methodology in this area have led to considerably lower carbon footprint estimates for wool (by 60 percent to 80 percent). “We are finding that the wool fiber production systems, based on renewable grass and natural vegetation,

complement current demands to reduce carbon emissions,” announced Martin Oppenheimer, chairman of the WCA. “Wool is part of the natural cycle of water and carbon that can impact climate in a positive way.”

Ranch stated “I like to think of the carbon farming and the climate beneficial work that we’re doing now as a change of thought, so instead of doing things normally– obviously, we’re raising sheep the same way that it’s been done for hundreds of years–we also think about the soil and the land when we’re making decisions.” Recently, popular outdoor clothing and gear brand, The North Face, caught wind of Fibershed’s work and saw a huge opportunity for them to sell climate friendly garments, a key component of the company’s core values. They learned from life-cycle analyses that most of the environmental impact of its products happens in production and manufacturing, working with the wool was an obvious choice. In September 2017, they produced a “climate friendly” beanie touting the use of “climate beneficial wool” sourced from the Bare Ranch. Not surprisingly, it quickly became its top selling beanie. They describe their Cali Wool Beanie on their website as follows: “Warm your dome (not the globe) with our Climate Beneficial wool beanie that was proudly made in the USA. The premium wool was sourced in partnership with Fibershed from Bare Ranch, which raises sheep using carbon farming practices that not only sequester more carbon dioxide than the ranch emits but also improve soil health. Bare Ranch’s carbon farming practices are expected to sequester 4,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year. This amount of sequestered carbon dioxide is equivalent to offsetting the emissions from about 850 passenger vehicles a year. We believe that a hyper-local, climate conscious approach to sheep ranching can reshape our relationship with our land.” Now, Fibershed gets frequent requests from other producers who are interested in a creating a carbon farming plan for their operations. “They’re saying if we can do this… if we can become more productive while drawing down carbon and [being] more connected to direct markets, it’s three wins for them,” says Rebecca Burgess, executive director of Fibershed. This is just one amazing example on a national level that shows how sheep producers can have a positive impact on our environment as well as their local economies as we decentralize the textile supply chain and keep our fibers closer to home rather than sending them to China.



Research Information System. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Fibershed, an organization that promotes growing and processing fibers near where they can be manufactured into clothing and eventually sold, helps producers develop a “carbon farming” plan. In a recent article by Adele Peters for Fast Company titled This “Climate Beneficial” Wool Hat Comes From Carbon-Positive Sheep, Fibershed client and rancher Lani Estill of the Bare

In 2007, Karen Hostetler and her business partner opened the doors of Mountain Meadow Wool, the largest spinning mill in the west, located at the base of the Bighorn Mountains in Buffalo, Wyoming. Dedicated to supporting local ranchers and raising awareness about ranching culture in the American West. Mountain Meadow is committed to

Photos by Paige Green, courtesy of Fibershed.

revitalizing the American wool industry through ecofriendly operations and fair prices for ranchers. Mountain Meadow is 100 percent natural, using bio-degradable soaps and non-petroleum spinning oil and they also recycle 50 percent of the water we use through the scouring process. Mountain Meadow uses environmentally friendly cleaners and vegetable based spinning oil to maintain the natural beauty of the fiber. Eco-friendly manufacturing practices help the wool retain its natural lanolin, resulting in luxurious yarns that have a soft and natural connection to the land. Most importantly, they are currently working with 16 local ranching families for environmental agricultural sustainability and economic opportunity. We encourage you to check out their website at, or even visit them for a Mill tour! Tours are Monday through Friday beginning at 1 p.m. The next time you’re on the road in our beautiful state and pass by a field filled with happy, grazing sheep, remember that they have the potential to be the Clark Kent of the agricultural world. Saving the planet, one skein of wool at a time.


The USDA offers a tool called COMET-Farm that estimates a farm's carbon footprint. Farmers can evaluate various land management scenarios to learn which is the best fit. Check it out at By: Candice E. Schlautmann for 82801 SOURCES Carbon cycle. [In Wikipedia] (2018, May 28). Chua, J. M. (2012, January 19). Wool's Carbon Footprint Up to 80% Smaller Than Previously Thought. Peters, A. (2017, November 13). This "Climate Beneficial" Wool Hat Comes from Carbon-Positive Sheep. Schwartz, J. D. (2018, March 21). Hidden Powers of a Sheep - How Wool can help saving the Environment. Williamson, J. A., PH.D. (n.d.). The Benefits of Managed Grazing Systems. Wool research makes carbon headway - - Australian Wool Innovation. [Press Release] (2012, January 12).

JUNE / JULY 2018


82801 June/July 2018  

More 82801 online at Though 82801 Magazine may only be published once a month, don’t forget to go online to to k...

82801 June/July 2018  

More 82801 online at Though 82801 Magazine may only be published once a month, don’t forget to go online to to k...