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Supplement to the Powell Tribune â– Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The barley harvest in the Powell Valley is in full swing. This barley field near Heart Mountain, belonging to Ric Rodriguez, was combined late last week. Oats and wheat are among other crops poised for harvest as August continues. Tribune photos by Kevin Kinzley

page 2 • powell tribune tUesday, aUgUst 16, 2011

barley, beans & bales

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lthough pinto beans remain a standby in the Big Horn Basin, growers are trying other varieties, such as black beans. Mike Moore, manager of the University of Wyoming Seed Certification Service, told more than 125 people attending the UW Powell Research and Extension Center field day that university personnel are developing information from several years of dry bean research at the research center. “This trial couldn’t happen without the research center,” Moore said. “It’s not Mike Moore and seed certification alone.” Moore has been testing several varieties of beans, including pinto, navy and black beans. Pinto beans have been a mainstay on the Powell flat. Moore said research continues on emerging varieties, although Othello, a longtime favorite, continues to be a contender. In 2010, Othellos in test plots matured an average of 96 days after planting, which contributes to their popularity with growers who also have to harvest sugar beets and barley, Moore said. In the cool, wet summer of 2009, however, those Othellos took an average of 107 days to mature, which illustrates “what a summer that one was.” Andrew Kniss, meanwhile, is using a separate research plot of about 3 acres to determine best methods of incorporating chemicals in fields. Kniss, an assistant professor in the UW Department of Plant Sciences in Laramie, said he initiated the study to help bean growers determine how to apply

herbicides. He and his assistants added nightshade to the test plots to see how the locally common weed responded to chemical applications. “Oddly enough, not very much of that’s coming up,” Kniss said, considering it’s “the weed that

we’re most interested in.” Other weeds are naturally occurring in the plot, he said. Kniss said in the study’s first year, it looks as if using a disk is most effective, but he hopes to repeat it next year to compile more data.

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Beans grow in a local field. Growers are trying different varieties, such as black beans.

Wyoming ag real estate value edges up The average value of farm and ranch real estate in Wyoming has increased slightly. The average value of farm and ranch land is $540 per acre, up 3.8 percent from $520 per acre a year ago, according to Steven Gunn with the Wyoming field office of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agriculture Statistics Survey. Agricultural real estate values include farm and ranch land and buildings. Farm real estate values in Wyoming have risen 10 percent, or $50 per acre since 2007. Average value per acre was the second lowest in the nation (excluding Alaska and Hawaii) with New Mexico the lowest at $500 per acre. Cropland value increased 6.1 percent, from $1,197 per acre

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in 2010 to $1,270 this year. Irrigated cropland averaged $2,050 per acre and dryland cropland was valued at $750 per acre. The value of pasture land averaged $430 per acre, up 4.9 percent from the previous year. Across the United States, farm real estate value, a measurement of the value of all land and buildings on farms, averaged $2,350 per acre this year, up 6.8 percent from 2010. Regional changes in the average value of farm real estate ranged from a 15.9 percent increase in the Corn Belt region to a 2 percent decline in the Southeast region. The highest farm real estate values remained in the Northeast region at $4,690 per acre. The Mountain region had the lowest farm real estate

value, $923 per acre. The United States cropland value increased by $260 per acre (9.4 percent) to $3,030 per acre. In the Northern Plains and Corn Belt regions, the average cropland value increased 17.2 and 16.0 percent, respectively, from the previous year. However, in the Northeast and Southeast regions, cropland values decreased by 1.3 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively. The United States pasture value increased to $1,100 per acre or 1.9 percent above 2010. The Southeast region had the largest percentage decrease in pasture value, 8.4 percent below 2010. The Northern Plains and Corn Belt regions had the highest percentage increase, both at 6.6 percent above 2010.

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his resignation earlier this year amid conflict with board members about how to run the agency. The Livestock Board is responsible for developing policies to protect cattle, sheep and other livestock in Wyoming from disease and rustling. Schwartz served five years

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Andrew Kniss of the University of Wyoming Department of Plant Sciences in Laramie discusses weed management techniques in dry beans during the field day at the UW Powell Research and Extension Center. tribune photos by Judy Killen

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tUEsday, aUgUst 16, 2011 powell tribune • pagE 3

barley, beans & bales

Raising goats proves successful, rewarding Moore sisters say they only regret not doing it sooner By ILENE OLSON Tribune News Editor


helby and Megan Moore love having kids around the house and yard. It’s something they look forward to all winter. Right now, they have six of the four-legged variety romping playfully about. The Moore sisters began raising Boer goats nearly five years ago after deciding not to continue breeding miniature horses. “We wanted a change,” Shelby said. “We saw Boer goats at the Frannie Tack Shop’s annual sale and decided to give them a try.” They bought their first three goats — Holly, Clover and Iris — and their new adventure began. Boer goats are considered meat goats, and are entirely different than dainty dairy goats. Their bones are heavier, and they have a stocky build. Adult does grow to about 200 pounds, with bucks reaching about 300 pounds. Goat meat is a popular food in most other countries, particularly in Asia, India and Mexico, Shelby said. “The Untied States is virtually the only country where goats are not eaten,” Shelby said. “In the United States, we’re very much about tradition in what we eat. We’ve always eaten beef and chicken, but it takes a while to get used to something new.” Even so, it’s starting to catch on here as well. A truck in Billings takes goats to a market in Denver, and now and then, you’ll hear about a whole goat roasted in a barbecue pit, she said. Boer goats also are used to help control weeds. While dairy

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goats will eat a mixture of weeds and grass, Boer goats will pass over grass to dine on weeds that, to them, are succulent. Some people lease their Boer goats out to help control weeds in pastures and creek beds or other places where mowing is impractical and spraying herbicide is undesirable. The Moore sisters are working to promote the boer goat industry in the Big Horn Basin, and most of the goats they raise go to 4-H or FFA kids who are starting herds of their own. And that’s just fine with Shelby and Megan, who, while promoting the industry, aren’t anxious to see goats they raise end up in a freezer. Goats they haven’t raised — now, that’s another story. The sisters know each of their goats and their personalties. “Clover, one of the original three does, is the one who loves people more than any other animal,” Megan said. “She’d prefer there were no other goats around.” Poppy can be standoffish; she only wants company when it suits her. Poppy’s mother, Iris, was one of the original three does. “We called Iris the destroyer, but she was one of the sweetest, best personality does on the place,” Megan said. Holly, the third of the original three, assumes the role of guard-dog goat. She is friendly with her owners, but standoffish with others. The goat even challenges Shelby sometimes when she has been away from home for a few days. The sisters’ herd has grown to 16 animals now — five does, one buck, six kids and four weanlings (goats generally are weaned when they’re between 2 and 3 months). Shelby and Megan know each one and can tell you their breeding history, their likes and dislikes and their personality quirks. “We love the goats,” Megan said.

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Megan Moore holds one of six kids in the goat herd owned by her and her sister, Shelby. tribune photo by Ilene Olson

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Shelby Moore holds the two surviving kids that were born at the Park County Fair last month. The kids were born to Poppy, the daughter of one of the original does Shelby and her sister, Megan, bought five years ago when they decided to raise goats. tribune photo by Ilene Olson Along with the fun of watchBoer goat kids weigh approximately 6 to 8 pounds when ing frolicking kids grow to be they are born after a five-month adults with their own persongestation, and they grow rap- alities, the sisters have experiidly. Their weight doubles in a enced heartbreak while raising month, triples in two and by the goats as well. time they’re 6 months old, they Within the past year four or weigh around 70 pounds. five their goats have died. Iris “They grow incredibly fast,” died of a rare brain tumor last Shelby said. winter, and one of The goats get fed the triplets born twice a day, gener- ‘We always joke to Poppy during ally around 6 a.m. July’s Park County that you kind of Fair died a few and 6 p.m. “We have the want them to be days later because rule, the animals he was too small eat before you do, a brick — kind to survive. He apso we feed the of sturdy.’ parently was the animals if we want result of a second, Megan Moore later breeding, and dinner,” Shelby Goat owner was born premasaid. Shelby and Meturely with his gan have worked full-term siblings, hard to build their herd, and Shelby said. Despite taking him that has resulted in success at inside to keep him warm, feedthe Park County Fair. This year, ing him with a syringe (he was Megan was the only sister to too weak to suck from a bottle) show goats at the fair, and she and taking him to the vet, they won reserve grand champion lost the battle to save the tiny goat as well as reserve grand newborn. champion senior and overall “We just have weird stuff doe. happen,” she said. “A goat with “The judge said he was real a brain tumor is unheard of. We happy with the way the kids had a horse die of a blood clot. were looking,” Megan said. It’s not anything we did; it just Megan noted that this year seems to happen to us. And it’s was the first year that there not that they’re not cared for; were two separate goat shows we’re on a first-name basis with at the fair — one for meat goats, the vets, and they could find and one for dairy goats. That’s a their way out here with their good thing, she said, because the eyes closed.” animals are so different. Though losing animals is Putting them together in one something they’ve gotten used show “is like showing an Angus to, that hasn’t stopped the hurt. and Hereford together.” “When one dies, it hurts every In Boer goats, judges look for time,” Shelby said. animals that are broad in the But the good times outweigh chest and stocky — basically, a the hard ones, and both sisters rectangle-shaped body type. say they’ve never been sorry “We always joke that you about their decision to raise kind of want them to be a brick goats. Their only regret is that — kind of sturdy,” she said. they didn’t make it sooner. “Dairy goats are graceful, with “If I had to do it again, I long necks and hip bones stick- definitely would have started ing out. You don’t want a Boer earlier,” Megan said. “If we had goat to look graceful — you want started earlier, we would have a them to be a bulldog.” pretty good sized herd now.”

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DuCt tape By JUDy KILLEN Tribune Staff Writer


armers and ranchers concerned about arthritis can take steps to limit their chances of developing the condition, according to a University of Wyoming extension agent. Randy Weigel, program director of Wyoming AgraBililty, told more than 125 people attending the annual field day at the University of Wyoming Powell Research and Extension Center that osteoarthritis is a common condition limiting the activities of people who work on farms and ranches. “The bad news is, you can’t cure arthritis,” he said, “but

you can manage it. If you’re younger, you can prevent it.” Weigel mentioned several assistive technologies that farmers can make or buy. The first is already familiar to anyone working in agriculture, he said — duct tape. Invented during World War II to cover and protect ammunition boxes, the ubiquitous tape can be used to cover the handle of a hammer — “It gives you some ease. It gives you some protection.” Even an Ace bandage will work, he said. It helps soften the blow from the repetitive motion. Hammers with magnets help if trying to hold a nail causes trouble, Weigel said.

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Younger farmers, in their 20s or 30s, can limit their chances of developing arthritis by finding ways to ease the risk factors that are part and parcel of baling hay, building and repairing fences and using vibrating machinery, Weigel said. And for youngsters, it might be as simple as abandoning the 5-gallon bucket. That doesn’t mean an end to farm chores, Weigel said — but they could use two smaller buckets, one in each hand. The heavier, single 5-gallon bucket “creates tear and pressure on the shoulder,” where using two smaller buckets equalizes the weight across both shoulders.

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture invites farmers to apply for Value-Added Producer Grants (VAPG). Total funding of $37 million available for new value-added projects. Project proposals are due by Aug. 29. “We have fought hard for VAPG and are delighted the notice of funding availability is out and the program is once again open for business,” said Ferd Hoefner, policy director of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. “Valueadded grants are an important opportunity for entrepreneurially inclined small and midsized family farms to expand markets and increase farm income. The resulting projects also help meet consumer demand for quality food products and increase rural jobs.” VAPG is a competitive program that awards grants to producers to help them develop farm-related businesses that add value to basic agricultural products through branding, processing, product differentiation, labeling and certification and marketing. VAPG includes projects that market inherently value-added production, such as organic crops, grass-fed livestock, and locally produced and marketed food products. VAPG also funds regional food supply networks that benefit

the small and mid-sized farms by incorporating the producer into the larger farm-to-plate value chains. “Congress made a good choice in targeting VAPG funds to small and medium sized family farms as well as to beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers,” noted Hoefner. “Projects involving these target groups receive extra ranking points during the grant evaluation process. In addition, 10 percent of program funding is reserved for local and regional food supply networks that link farmers with other processors and distributors that market value-added products in a manner that improves small and medium-sized farm profitability. Ten percent is also reserved for projects primarily benefitting beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.” The VAPG program was initiated by Congress as part of the Agricultural Risk Protection Act of 2000 and extended and revised as part of the 2002 and 2008 Farm Bill. Grants may be used to develop business plans and feasibility studies (including marketing plans) needed to establish viable marketing opportunities for value-added products or

for working capital to operate a value-added business venture or alliance. “One of the stumbling blocks of late to farmers and groups of farmers seeking VAPG funding is the one-for-one matching grant requirement,” said Hoefner. “In a major win for farmers that NSAC fought for, farmers may now provide up to half the match requirement through ‘sweat equity’ — the farmers’ time in developing or implementing the project. This is an important new development that should make it easier for farmers to apply for program funding.” The agency estimates it will make about 250 awards, which will be announced by the end of November. Applicants may submit a planning grant (up to $100,000 each) or a working capital proposal (up to $300,000 each). The agency is estimating, based on previous experience, the average size grant award will be $116,000. Applicants may propose any time frame for the project provided it does not exceed three years. The complete application package will be available from the USDA Rural Development site at http://www.rurdev.usda. gov/BCP_VAPG_Grants.html.

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tUEsday, aUgUst 16, 2011 powell tribune • pagE 5

barley, beans & bales

Harvest under way for gluten-free oats BY TESSA SCHWEIGERT Tribune Managing Editor


homegrown business providing gluten-free oats is preparing for a bountiful harvest this year as it continues to serve an international market. This year’s crop “looks really good,” said Seaton Smith, owner of Gluten Free Oats. “It was just the perfect year. Everything was planted in time, and the cool weather and moisture really helped us.” Thousands of pounds of oats harvested from local fields will be processed in a brand-new Gluten Free Oats facility currently under construction in Powell. From there, the oats will be shipped across the United States and to the United Kingdom, Australia and other international markets. Gluten Free Oats provides another healthy food option for people with celiac disease, who are unable to eat grains such as wheat, rye and barley. What makes oats gluten free? While oats do not contain gluten naturally, they are often contaminated by wheat, barley or rye in the process of harvesting, transporting or milling. Painstaking care is taken to avoid cross-contamination in all stages — from growing, harvesting and transporting to processing and packaging. Even the ground to be planted has to meet quality assurances. Fields must not have grown gluten products for a defined period of time, and fields around a gluten-free oat crop cannot contain gluten products. When Gluten Free Oats first started contracting acreage in 2005, only seven acres of glutenfree oats were grown in the Powell Valley. The next year, it increased to 61. The 2011 harvest is expected to yield more than 300 acres of oats. As the gluten-free market grows, the Smith family has strived to keep the business operations rooted in Powell, where it began in 2004 as an FFA project by Smith’s son, Forrest. A new 2,880-square-foot building will allow the business to clean, roll and package glutenfree oats in east Powell. It will be the only oat mill in the United States using the steamed, stabilized process for gluten-free oats. There are only four mills of its kind in the world, Smith said. Three grain bins at the site will be able to hold 35,000 bushels of oats for storage. While the grain bins will be filling with gluten-free oats as the harvest continues, the processing facility won’t be up and running until later this year. “We’re a little behind, but

FDA takes new look at what ‘gluten free’ means The Food and Drug Administration is taking a new look at how to label foods “gluten free.” The agency proposed standards in 2007 for labeling foods that don’t have the cereal protein but they were never finalized. Gluten is found in wheat, rye and barley and can inflame the small intestine in people who have celiac disease. The FDA ruling said there had to be less than 20 parts per million of foreign seed for food to be considered gluten free. A Powell company is doing better than that standard with its locally-grown oats, which are certified gluten free. Seaton Smith, owner of Gluten Free Oats, said the company’s goal is for less than 10 parts per million of foreign seed. Typically, they meet their fewer than 10 parts per million goal, he said. For gluten to be completely non detectable, food would have fewer than 3 parts per million of gluten. To visualize that quanity, Smith said to imagine a mile-high stack of pennies. There would be fewer than three dimes in the mile-high stack of pennies for it to be 3 parts per million. The FDA said earlier this month that it will seek new comments on its gluten-free standards, which set a minimum amount of gluten that a product can contain to be labeled “gluten free.” Amounts of gluten in “gluten free” food items now on store shelves can vary widely. FDA estimates about 1 percent of the U.S. population has celiac disease. Deputy commissioner for foods Michael Taylor said the agency wants updated input on the standards from consumers. (The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

we’re OK. The weather did affect (construction),” Smith said. Funding recommended by the Wyoming Business Council and approved by the State Loans and Investment Board helped Gluten Free Oats build the new facility, and the business will pay back the entire sum of grant money — up to $758,701. With revenue recaptured from Gluten Free Oats’ payments, the city of Powell will place 75 percent in a revolving loan fund and 25 percent for special community projects, such as necessary infrastructure, park development and projects identified by community interest groups. “It’s all staying here. It will just keep multiplying then,” Smith said. “The city will end up with a nice nest egg to help someone else out in the future.” The city will lease the processing facility to Gluten Free Oats at $1,988 per month for the first five years and $1,994 per month for the next 30 years. “It’s going back to the community. We’ve worked really hard to put everything we can back into the city,” Smith said. Smith also noted that local contractors were involved in the building process. Local companies used include: Jim’s Building Service (general contractor), Heart Mountain Construction (grain bins), Reiter Construction (dirt), Steve’s Electric (electricity), Production Machine (welding), Inberg-Miller Engineers (civil engineering) and First Bank of Wyoming (financing). Once the new facility is up and running, the whole process will take place in Powell. “It will go in as raw seed and come out as oatmeal on the other side,” Smith said.

Construction progressing on new processing facility

Construction is continuing on a processing facility for Gluten Free Oats in Powell. Three grain bins are ready to store the certified gluten-free oats, which are grown in local fields. The mill is slated to be completed by the end of this year. Through paying back state grants to the city of Powell, Gluten Free Oats will provide up to $750,000 for future economic development projects. tribune photo by tessa schweigert

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page 6 • powell tribune Tuesday, augusT 16, 2011

barley, beans & bales

High tunnel project aims at lengthening growing season

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proper watering. Ultimately, the information provided by the UW center is designed to help growers who are interested in extending the growing season, giving them an opportunity to grow a greater variety of crops and produce vegetables from early spring until late in the fall. Prchal said some producers in Goshen County picked tomatoes into November and December last year using the tunnels.


tunnels at the UW center were built in three different sizes and designs to test the differences among them. During a field day at the research center in July, local residents heard several presentations about the tunnels being demonstrated. Violett spoke about maintaining the soil and the use of compost and manure, and irrigation specialist Axel Garcia discussed the differences among the three tunnels in the project as well as about


studied. The three high tunnels, sometimes called hoop houses, are passive solar structures that require no electricity, heat or mechanical ventilation, although those at the center were provided with constant drip irrigation. The plastic covering protects plants from wind and frost and provides evenly diffused sunlight throughout the structure. The plastic resists deterioration by the sun, and should last five to six years. The

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Master Gardeners look over squash plants filling a high tunnel during a July field day at the UW ResearchExtension Center in Powell. The high tunnels are being studied as a way gardeners can extend the growing season to produce more crops. Tribune photo by don amend


n experiment in extending the growing season for gardeners is in its second summer at the University of Wyoming Powell Research and Extension Center, and researchers at the center are hopeful they can be harvesting well into the fall months. Squash, tomatoes, cucumbers and other hot-weather crops are growing in three high tunnels constructed during a workshop at the research center in March 2010. The crops were planted after an early crop of leafy plants such as lettuce, spinach and Swiss chard were harvested. When the current plants are finished sometime in September, they will be replaced by cool-weather crops, broccoli, beets and other root crops. So far the high tunnels, low-cost alternatives to greenhouses built on frames of wood and PVC pipe and covered with a special plastic sheeting are performing well. “We’ve had quite a bit of vegetative growth and quite a bit of production,” said Bob Prchal of the Park County Master Gardeners. The growing season was slow to start last spring due to cool wet weather that kept the soil cool, according to Prchal. “Our planned cool season crops were delayed,” Prchal said. “Even with the tunnels, the soil temperatures stayed low, and the little plants just sat there, but when the soil warmed to 40 degrees and up, they started to grow.” Still, the late start delayed the schedule, and the planting of the mid-season crops was about 10 days later than planned. The crops for the hot summer months were planted both indoors and outdoors to see which would produce the most fruit, and Randy Violett, research assistant at the UW center, said they are still collecting data for that experiment. “Right now, it looks like the outside is probably a little bit further along,” Violett said, “but the inside plants will be catching up, especially the tomatoes. There are a lot of tomatoes.” He doesn’t know why the outside plants are ahead, but it might be because they are more readily pollinated in the outdoors. Violett said data on the early season planting are still being



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tUEsday, aUgUst 16, 2011 powell tribune • pagE 7

barley, beans & bales

Blooming in the sun

Sunflowers are in bloom across the Powell Flat, with harvest expected later in the fall. Local growers have produced high-quality seeds destined mostly for Europe, where consumers eat them one by one and favor the larger, longer seeds produced here. Seeds that don’t meet company standards for snacks in the shell can be used hulled for salad bars or in bird seed, according to a Dahlgren and Co. representative who visited Powell earlier this year. tribune photo by Judy Killen

We cannot afford to compromise agriculture peanut and sugar industries to July 4, 1776 is celebrated operate together. We cannot because it is the day when the leave any commodities behind. Continental Congress adopted American farmers and ranchthe final draft of the Declaration ers depend on each other. We of Independence. We celebrate need the existing sugar prothe Fourth of July to remember gram, which is operating at no our freedom. cost to taxpayers. Lawmakers Long ago, many of our anare focusing on the sugar procestors and their families fled gram, and they should know their homelands to come to this the goal of reducing the budget land to fulfill their dreams, betdeficit does not justify changes ter their lives and assure their to the sugar program. freedom. senate and House bills Upon their arrival, they found Current bills addressing fertile land. America’s founding sugar policy are: fathers were mainly S. 25 by Sens. farmers and ranchShaheen (N.H.) and ers, and they were Kirk (Ill.) introduced well aware of this Jan. 25, “Stop Uncountry’s national fair Giveaways and treasures. I believe Restrictions Act of fertile land is a re2011.” Co-sponsors newable treasure Paul (Ky.) and that assures national Durbin (Ill.) security. S. 685 by Lugar The history of agri(Ind.) introduced culture goes back to March 30, “Free the birth of America. Klodette Sugar Act of 2011.” George WashingstroH ton, the father of our guest columnist Co-sponsors Paul (Ky.) and McCain nation, suggested to (Ariz.) Congress the estabHR 1385 by Pitts (Pa.) and lishment of a National Board of Davis (Ill.) introduced April 6, Agriculture in 1799. According “Free Market Sugar Act,” no coto the United States Department sponsors. of Agriculture (USDA), tobacco HR 17399 by Dold (Ill.) and export was 44 percent of the Blumenauer (Ore.) introduced total exports, which in 1790 amounted to $4,355,176. In 1800, May 5, “Free Sugar Act of 2011,” co-sponsor Moran (Va.) the annual value of agricultural America’s sugar is produced exports was $23 million, or 75 in 17 states so we don’t have to percent of total exports. depend on unreliable foreign When President Abraham countries for this vital ingrediLincoln took office, the value ent. Our sugar farmers, procesof agricultural exports and sors and refiners create 146,000 economic benefit to American jobs and generate nearly $10 was $182 million, or 75 percent billion a year for the U.S. econof total exports. Farming was omy. It is not smart to slaughter the primary occupation of 90 percent of the American people. a cash cow. The U.S. farm net income is Lincoln founded the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1862, predicted to reach $94.7 billion in 2011. According to the and he called it the “people’s USDA’s economic research department.” In 1870, the Deservice, this is more than a partment of Agriculture was 20-percent increase over 2010. raised to Cabinet status. American agriculture is helping Our present Congress and lead the economic recovery. many lawmakers give very There is no possible way that little value to United States we as citizens of this country agriculture. We are carrying record-breaking budget deficits. can let America’s agriculture diminish. If we truly love our Congress is looking to cut, reorcountry and want to preserve ganize or revamp any programs it for future generations, we not operating at ultimate efhave to support our farmers and ficiency. As the 2012 Farm Bill ranchers. Without farming and draws near, farm programs will also fall under Congress’ budget ranching, who are we going to rely on for our food and commicroscope. modity supply? As a farmer, I strongly (Klodette Stroh of Powell is recommend our lawmakers national sugar chairwoman for support U.S. farmers in the upWoman Involved in Farm Ecocoming Farm Bill. We need our nomics, WIFE.) wheat, barley, dry bean, cotton,

UW magazines recognized by agriculture association LARAMIE (AP) — The research magazine of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Wyoming has been recognized by an agriculture trade association. The Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences represents staff and academic personnel in the nation’s land-grant universities and other organizations related to agriculture.

It awarded UW’s Reflections magazine a bronze award for technical publications. Reflections magazine highlights research in the college and is a publication of the Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Station. Another UW magazine, Barnyards & Backyards, also was recognized with bronze awards by the association. The magazine seeks to help small-acreage owners with land resource issues.

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Jan Sapp cleans wool at the Park County Fair last month while Machiado (left) and Fandango check out the carnival. The Sapps have been raising alpacas since 2006. Tribune photo by gib Mathers


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ild-mannered alpacas do well in Wyoming because the climate is similar to the Andes, and producers might do well raising them. A healthy alpaca costs about $75 per year to board, eating about one ton of grass annually, but an ounce of alpaca fleece fetches $6, said Jan Sapp, of Arrowhead Alpacas Inc., of Powell. “We call it ‘fleece,’” Jan said, to differentiate the product from sheep’s wool. The Sapps have been raising alpacas southeast of Powell since 2006, and Jan said she can recall requiring the veterinarian only twice. One was a mother having a difficult birth and the other occurred when some of their animals needed treatment for diarrhea following a Denver show. Machiado is one of the 110 alpacas that Ed and Jan Sapp of As of last year, the tax Arrowhead Alpacas, Inc., of Powell raise for fleece. exemption was $250,000 for Tribune photo by gib Mathers raising alpacas. Depending on an individual’s income, using ed States has more stringent is an untapped gem for the tax exemptions is a good way standards than fleece from alpaca world,” Jan said. The Sapps raise the animals to get into the alpaca business South America, Ed said. A healthy pregnant female for fleece and breeding. In because the initial investment costs between $3,000 and South America, the animals can be low, said Ed Sapp. “Uncle Sam helps you big $8,000. Machiado, a stud with are also raised for fleece and a downy coat of a dusky black, meat, Jan said. time,” Ed said. Alpaca is lean and similar Sheep’s wool is cheaper, is listed at $2,500, but he’s a fleece ribbon win- to venison without the gamey but alpaca wool, taste, Jan said. ner, Jan said. per ounce, is five Machiado and the other They started in times warmer than ‘They’re just 2005 with seven stud at the Park County Fair, sheep’s wool. So pregnant females Fandango, hum to communiin the long run al- sweet-natured and a stud share cate. Despite a few kids and paca wool would be creatures.’ from Oregon. Now adults stopping by to check cheaper, because less of it is needed Jan Sapp the Sapps have 110 out the alpacas in their pen, the animals seem to be faring alpacas, Jan said. to knit a cozier garAlpaca owner The alpacas do OK. ment, Ed said. “They’re so sweet,” Jan said well in Wyoming, Sheep’s wool has lanolin, to which some are al- possibly because it is similar of her fuzzy friends. One alpaca, Ivy, is deaf. So lergic, and wool also has the to the South American climate the animals come from. Para- Jan uses sign language to talk “itch factor,” Jan said. Indeed, the fleece on dis- sites and diseases that plague with her and it works. Now the play is soft and smooth as vel- alpacas do not appear to be an other alpacas know a few hand signals too, Jan said. issue here, Jan said. vet to the touch. The gestation period is 11 “Wyoming, in our opinion, Alpaca fleece from the Unit-


1/2 months. Babies, or crias, weigh 15 to 18 pounds, Jan said. Sturdy fencing is needed, not to keep alpacas in, but predators out. Their alpacas are so gentle, they keep two llamas as guard dogs. “We’ve never had an intrusion,” Ed said. Water, grass and protection from the wind and rain if the alpacas choose to use it are needed. “A three-sided shelter with a porch is lovely,” Jan said. The Sapps sell saddle blankets, boot insoles, yarn, gloves, hats, headbands and other alpaca fleece products. This is the second year the Sapps have employed youthful summer help. During the interview, while at the Park County Fair, a boy stops by, checking out the alpacas with the experienced eye of a stockgrower. He asks if the Sapps rent alpaca for show. A lot of growers will rent their alpacas for 4-H projects, Jan said. The Sapps said they were judging 4-H alpacas at the Washakie County Fair in August. “I’m thrilled,” Jan said, but that is the only alpaca 4-H judging she knows of. The Sapps would enjoy participating in local alpaca-4-H. “We’d be tickled to death to get involved in 4-H,” Jan said. It is a warm day, but an awning over the alpacas’ pen keeps the animals cool as they nibble the grass or a bale of hay. They hum from time to time and their ears prickle, tuning in the sounds of the fair. There is a growing market for alpaca fleece. “It’s getting better and better,” Jan said. Jan likes her herd. “They’re just sweet-natured creatures,” she said.


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Tuesday, augusT 16, 2011 powell tribune • page 9

barley, beans & bales

Sweet corn study

An abundance of water = plentiful growth

Axel Garcia y Garcia discusses using watering techniques on sweet corn during the University of Wyoming Powell Research and Extension Center’s field day in July. Garcia’s research includes using soil monitors to measure moisture in an attempt to tailor irrigation to the crop’s water needs. Tribune photo by Judy Killen

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Food prices could level off; surplus of 940 million bushels estimated ST. LOUIS (AP) — Food prices could level off at the end of the year because farmers are seeing less demand for corn and are expecting a big crop. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said last week that farmers expect 940 million bushels to be left over when the harvest begins this fall. That’s up from last month’s estimate of 880 million bushels. Record-high corn prices forced many ranchers to seek cheaper alternatives for feeding their livestock, such as wheat. The drop in demand, combined with the big corn crop, is likely to force prices down. Corn is used in everything from beef to cereal to soft drinks. It typically takes six

months for a change in corn prices to affect products on supermarket shelves. For all of 2011, the USDA predicts food prices will rise 3 percent to 4 percent. Worries over the size of the corn surplus pushed corn prices sharply higher this year. They reached a record price of $7.99 a bushel in early June. Hoping to capitalize on that high price, farmers planted the second-largest corn crop since World War II. But less demand and a huge harvest in August could lead to greater corn surpluses, which would ultimately slow food inflation. The key factor that drove corn prices higher was a historically low surplus level. Global demand for corn, soybeans and

wheat has outstripped production for the last 10 years, drawing down surplus levels that are key to a stable food supply. Earlier this year, the USDA estimated that there would be fewer than 700 million bushels of corn left over at the end of this year. That is less than enough to satisfy demand for 20 days. A 30-day supply is the level considered healthy by most investors. A surplus of 940 million bushels is enough to satisfy demand for 27 days. While not ideal, that level should calm worries of an imminent global food shortage. When surpluses get as low as they are now, even relatively small supply shocks can send crop prices sharply higher on

global commodities markets. Traders have been nervously watching every USDA crop report this summer, looking for any sign that the crop harvested this fall will be smaller than expected. Those worries have been stoked by a hot summer. Overnight temperatures in key corn states like Iowa and Illinois were stubbornly high through July. That can stunt corn plants at a crucial phase — when they pollinate and set their kernels. But it appears that high production will overcome demand this year. The latest USDA estimate didn’t forecast that the hot weather will significantly cut the size of this year’s harvest, which was projected to be 12.45 billion bushels.

Northern Rockies Ranch Practicum Registration deadline extended Aug. 19 The Northern Rockies Ranch Practicum School based at Northwest College is gearing up for its first class. The program is modeled after the highly successful High Plains Ranch Practicum in southeast Wyoming, said Barton Stam, University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service educator based in Hot Springs County. The practicum is an in-depth ranch management school hosted jointly by Northwest College and the University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service. The curriculum has been adapt-

ed for ranches with a public lands component. The application deadline was extended to Friday, Aug. 19, said Stam. For more about the Northern Rockies Ranch Practicum topics and structure, see The eight-day, four-session practicum begins in August and concludes in December. Sessions are primarily at the Northwest College campus, said Stam. The hands-on educational program is designed to give participants the skills and application of management tools needed to be successful in to-

day’s complex ranching industry, said Dallas Mount, UW CES educator, an instructor in the program. The course will focus on providing ranchers tools to understand and integrate four areas of ranch management: range and forage resources, integrating nutrition and reproduction, cost of production analysis and family working relationships. “Ranchers able to integrate these four areas into decision making will find they can use a systems approach to improve the sustainability of the ranch operation,” said Aaron Berger, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension educator and also one

of the instructors. The practicum is limited to 25. A $600 fee for an individual or $900 for a pair covers materials, instructor costs and meals. Producer participants who complete course requirements will receive a 50-percent tuition scholarship reducing the cost of the class by half. The course is a borrower training course approved by the Farm Service Agency and can be taken for credit through Northwest College. For more information or to obtain an application, contact Stam or Vicki Nichols in the Hot Springs County extension office at 307-864-3421.

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ith declining population and higher costs, this was a good year for local growers to nurture leaf cutter bees. Kim Decker, a Wyoming Department of Agriculture inspector who spends the winter using X-ray technology to check leaf cutter bees for diseases and other problems, said quite a few leaf cutter bees were sold to Idaho in 2009. By 2010, it was a “totally different story” as growers encountered shortages of the bees used to pollinate crops such as alfalfa. Part of the shortage was high demand in Canada, where farmers planted more acres of hybrid canola, which also depends on leaf cutter bees for pollination. “There’s probably another year, maybe more, of a shortage of bees coming into Wyoming from Canada,” Decker said. With supply too short for demand, “prices for bees this spring were extremely high,” said Decker, surpassing $100 per gallon. Because of that, local growers “are taking better care of bees.” Many local growers incubate their bee larvae over the winter and produce a new crop of bees in the spring.

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UW publishes guide to locally produced food and farmers’ markets The University of Wyoming Wyoming. Food safety tips for Cooperative Extension Service both in-home use and at farmhas produced a guide for con- ers’ markets include preparasumers looking for local food tion and storage techniques. producers, farmers’ markets One section educates users and food preservation and han- about herbs. The authors advocate supdling tips. “Wyoming Local Foods: The porting local growers and proGuide” was published in June ducers because such foods are and was written by UW Co- often whole foods, unprocessed operative Extension Service or with little added fat sugar or salt. nutrition and “This projfood safety edFree print versions ect was deucators Kentz veloped in Willis of Sheri- of the bulletin are response to a dan County and need for reJen Jacobsen of available at county search-based Teton County information and Suzanne extension offices. and education Pelican, a rerelated to local tired UW campus nutrition and food safety foods,” said Kentz Willis, extenspecialist in Laramie. Jacobsen sion nutrition and food safety and Pelican are both registered (NFS) educator in Sheridan County. “The guides will not dietitians. The guide is part of UW’s Eat only help residents find wholeWyoming program and uses some local food producers but funding from the Wyoming De- also show how to safely prepare partment of Agriculture’s Wyo- or preserve those foods.” The Wyoming Local Foods ming Specialty Crop Program, the School of Energy Resources Guide website is available by and the UW Cooperative Exten- going to and sion Service. The authors note clicking on the Eat Wyoming that more information about link on the right-hand side of value-added farm production in the page. Users can search by Wyoming is available from the county for local producers, community gardens, farmers Wyoming Business Council. Sections in the 78-page guide markets, out-of-state producers, include lists of local food pro- local foods groups and more. ducers and food events includ- Links include food preservaing farmers’ markets across tion and storage, food safety,

recipes, regional resources and contact information. “The website has a great searchable database and some really useful features, like a map view of the producer location,” said Willis. “A comprehensive glossary will help users better evaluate many of the claims — organic, natural, grass-fed, for example — made about foods.” Free print versions of the bulletin are available at county extension offices. The guide is also available online by going to, clicking on Publications on the left-hand side of the page, then clicking Search Bulletins and entering B-1224 into the Publication Number field. The project is funded by UW extension, the Wyoming Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Program and the UW School of Energy Resources. Buying local food could strengthen the state’s economy, they argue: “If each household in Wyoming spent just $10 more per week on Wyomingproduced food, more than $100 million would be redirected annually to the state’s food producers.” The guide is available at UW Cooperative Extension offices across the state. In Powell, those offices are at the Park County Fairgrounds.

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Keeper ‘Wyoming Local Foods: The Guide,’ produced by the University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service, includes tips for consumers looking for local farmers’ markets, food producers and food preservation and handling tips. The Powell Farmers’ Market meets Mondays at the south edge of Washington Park. Tribune photo by Judy Killen

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