Supplement to the Powell Tribune ■ Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Harvesting AUTUMN Yaks: The furry Park County herd
Top: Snickers, a yak raised by Mike and Cathy Swartz, helps pack for Cathy and her friends, Ally McIver of Cody and Lynn Dominick of Sunlight Basin, during trip in Sunlight Basin. Courtesy photo, Mike Swartz Upper right: Wookie, son of Chewbacca, puts his nose close to the fence to check out a stranger. Lower right: Mike Swartz offers treats to several yaks lined up for snack time. Tribune photos by Ilene Olson
COUPLE ENJOYS BUILDING UNUSUAL HERD Yaks in the United States came from stock originally bred in Tibet, Mike said. When the Dali Lama was forced ike and Cathy Swartz are set- out of that country, he later presented tling into the small ranch be- a herd of 50 yaks to Queen Elizabeth tween Powell and Cody they in England. Her favorite was the type purchased earlier this year after hop- with black and white hair, later known ing to move to Park County for more as the royal type. Queen Elizabeth later sent some than 30 years. Their house and fenced yard look out yaks to zoos in Canada, and yaks in over the 45-acre Turkey Hill Ranch, the United States today are descended from those animals, he said. with land ranging Raising yaks wasn’t from green pasture to something the Swartzes hilly brush. Their anioriginally set out to do; it mals graze content- ‘They’re pretty just kind of happened. edly, apparently glad cool, so we got “We were trying to figfor the recent cooler into it big time.’ ure out something besides weather. And that’s no wonMike Swartz cattle,” Mike said. “We thought about bison, then der — the animals are Rancher we saw an article ... about covered with thick Tibetan yaks and how easy hair, some of which nearly brushes the ground. No, they’re they were to raise.” When they moved from Florida to not cattle; they’re yaks. Most are covered in thick black or reddish-brown Nebraska, they bought six head of yak hair, and a few have patches of white to see how well they would do. It wasn’t long before the herd grew to 60. as well. “They’re pretty cool, so we got into it This herd is quite tame. Mike and Cathy tap their hands on buckets of big time,” Mike said. “I ended up on the treats for the yaks, and the animals International Yak Association Board, come running up through the brush on and we go to the Denver International the hillside to stand next to the fence, Stock Show every January. I’m into it lining up for their chance for a scrump- as far as you can go.” They’re smart, curious and entertious mouthful.
BY ILENE OLSON Tribune News Editor
taining, and they’re much faster and more nimble on their feet than cattle. They’re also smaller and less damaging to the environment, the couple said. “If you have tame yaks, which we do, they’re easy to fence. And of course, they do good in the cold weather,” Mike said. The Swartzes sell yak meat, fiber from the animals’ lush coats, yak hides and leather. Yak meat is extremely low in fat — even lower than bison, Mike said. “The flavor is different — it has a little sweet after-kick to it, but it’s not gamey,” he said. The Swartzes recently got a license from the state meat inspector, and they plan to sell yak meat at farmers’ markets next year, he said. Yak fiber, obtained by brushing the animals each spring, is in high demand. White fiber is particularly sought after, Cathy said. Yak fiber is used to make a soft yarn, and yak fur often is used to make furry theatrical costumes, she said. Yaks can serve as pack animals as well. Yaks only eat about one-third as much as cattle do, but they also mature more slowly and don’t grow as large. See Yaks, Page 2
Sugar beet harvest begins this week BY JUDY KILLEN Tribune Staff Writer
ark Bjornestad, senior agriculturalist for Western Sugar in the Lovell factory district, said cold weather in May and June took a toll on the beets, delaying planting for some growers and limiting early crop growth. “We had a very slow start,” he said. “That’s going to reduce our yields.” Samples taken starting in July indicated the crop was running about 2 tons below last year’s average yield, a margin the beets never made up, Bjornestad said. “When you lose two weeks of growing season, at least, in May and June,” it’s hard to compensate, he said,
even when July temperatures were relatively normal. Across Wyoming, the USDA’s statistical study released by the Cheyenne field office is predicting a yield of about 25 tons per acre, or about 6 percent less than last year, but Bjornestad said it will be more like about an 8 percent difference in the Lovell district. “We’re predicting a 24 and a half ton,” Bjornestad said of the average yield per acre. “Last year we had a
26 and a half ton crop.” Local fields look great, he said, with healthy tops. He said Western Sugar officials will know a lot more about the crop once the early harvest begins this week. He expects growers to do well even with reduced yields. See Beets, Page 2
WESTERN SUGAR OFFICIALS PREDICT CROP WILL AVERAGE 24.5 TONS PER ACRE
Growers follow strict sugar beet production guidelines
Because of ongoing litigation over Roundup Ready sugar beets, Western Sugar growers in the Lovell factory district planted beets under strict conditions approved by the USDA. The agreements between growers and Western Sugar Cooperative officials cover “the entire production of the beet root crop” beginning with purchasing seed through planting and delivery of the crop to the factory. The agreements were enforced by officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). Growers were required to do regular surveys of their fields to find and destroy any bolters, irregular
plants that could produce seeds. Beets generally do not produce seed in their first summer of growth. Any bolters found were required to be reported to APHIS within 24 hours. During the harvest, any beets spilled from trucks must be cleaned up and the incident reported to Western Sugar agriculturalists, according to the agreement. Mark Bjornestad, senior agriculturalist for Western Sugar, said growers have done well with the new regulations. The process has “really created a document trail,” Bjornestad said, but has not created any problems. Glen Reed, president of the Big
Sugar beets fall into a waiting truck in this file photo. The early harvest in Western Sugar’s Lovell factory district is scheduled to begin this week. Tribune file photo by Ilene Olson
See Guidelines, Page 2
PAGE 2 • POWELL TRIBUNE TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2011
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Performance Products Available! Just a few days old, the newest member of the Swartzes’ yak herd stays close to his mother. One of the steers stands on the left in the foreground. Tribune photo by Ilene Olson
Yaks: Sturdy animals prized for fiber, meat
“Sugar prices are still very strong,” Bjornestad said, “real similar to last year.” Beet grower Glen Reed said the cold spring was a big factor. “In May and June it was so cold it really slowed them up some,” Reed said. “It was really cold this spring and that’s what did a lot of it.” Reed believes crops are in line with the 24.5 ton estimate. “It’s a little bit off what they probably were the last year or two,” he said. Lovell factory district growers were expected to participate in the early dig, which was scheduled to begin Monday. The Lovell factory receiving station is set to be open Monday through Friday. The West Powell station was scheduled to be open Monday through Thursday, while the Starr station was scheduled to receive
Horn Basin Beet Growers Association, said the regulations required more paperwork but haven’t changed common farming practices. “Obviously, we have more paperwork to do,” he said. “We’ve never been concerned with bolters before. Even if they do bolt there’s no way for them to produce seed,” since the cold win-
Chewbacca, the Swartzes’ herd bull, weighs about 1,600 pounds and sports a long fur “skirt” that hangs almost to the ground. Yaks grow their skirts at about age 2. Courtesy photo/Mike Swartz said. “They like their owners, they know their owners, that’s for sure. But that’s not to say they don’t need an attitude adjustment. We’ve had a couple that ended up as hamburger.” Snickers, one of the yaks the Swartzes sold when they came to Wyoming, was tame enough to use as a pack animal. “Snickers was raised with a Labrador retriever,” Cathy
said. “For the first eight to nine months of his life, he didn’t know he wasn’t a dog. He’d go watch the herd and come back for his bottle. He also rode in the car with us ... Then he grew up and got to be who he was supposed to be.” Each yak has its own personality, and that’s part of what makes raising yaks so fun, Cathy said.
beets Monday and Tuesday. The Emblem station was set to receive beets on Thursday and Friday. Bjornestad said the receiving stations should be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day for the early dig. The regular dig begins Sunday, Oct. 2, with all receiving stations set to open at 6 a.m. Bjornestad said the stations would close at 6 p.m. daily. Receiving station hours depend on weather and they may open late or close early if it’s too hot or cold, he said. According to Steve Gunn with the Wyoming Field Office of NASS, Wyoming sugar beet producers intend to harvest 31,000 acres, up 600 acres from last year. The average yield is expected to be 25 tons per acre, down 1.0 ton from the Aug. 1 forecast and 2.0 tons less than the 2010 yield. Total production is expected to be 775,000
tons, 6 percent below 2010. Across the United States, production of sugar beets for the 2011 crop year is forecast at 29.2 million tons, down 9 percent from last year. Producers expect to harvest 1.21 million acres, down 1 percent from the previous forecast. Expected yield is forecast at 24.2 tons per acre, a decrease of 3.4 tons from last year. The NASS reports that much of the growing region has experienced less than ideal growing conditions. Wet weather coupled with reports of disease and hail damage resulted in reduced yields from the previous forecast in half of the reporting states. Minnesota, which accounts for 32 percent of the total U.S. production, is forecasting 891 thousand tons less than the previous forecast, which if realized will be a 19 percent drop from last year’s final production.
ter temperatures would kill any beets or seed left in the ground. After Roundup Ready beets are harvested, “we’ll have to monitor the field for another two years” to corral any bolters or volunteer beets, but with Wyoming’s climate, “we’re not going to have a problem with that.” And growers will pick up any beets spilled from trucks, since they are so valuable, Reed said.
Adhering to the new regulations is important, he said. “That’s what they require, so that’s what we’ll do,” Reed said. “Until we get sugar beets deregulated, that’s what we’ll do.” Growers will produce beets under the same regulations at least through 2012, he said. “It’s all going to hinge on whether they can get Roundup Ready beets deregulated again,” Reed said.
Sheep shearing school set near Emblem Sharpening shearing skills and harvesting wool to provide the most value to producers is the focus of a three-day sheep shearing school near Emblem. The school is 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday-Friday, Oct. 12- 14, at the 7K Ranch northeast of Emblem. Registration deadline is Monday, Oct 3. The $125 fee pays for instructor costs, maintenance of shearing machines and course materials.
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Continued from Page 1 Heifers generally grow to about 800 pounds, with a large bull weighing twice as much, Cathy said. The couple also sells breeding stock. The ideal age for heifers to begin breeding is about 2 1/2, though they can breed as early as 2 years, Cathy said. Gestation time for a yak is about eight and a half months. It takes about 30 months for a yak to grow large enough for processing. “We probably have, without a doubt, the best herd bull in the country,” Cathy said, referring to Chewbacca, a large bull with long hair hanging over his eyes and a smooth, gray nose. “He’s an awesome animal, and he’s relatively docile and easy to handle for a 1,600-pound male. He’s got a nice disposition.” Cathy said the costume for the Star Wars Chewbacca reportedly was made partly from yak fur. Cathy said they work with their yaks to keep them tame and easy to handle. “Some people never do anything with them,” she said, and that makes them wilder and hard to handle. “Ours, generally you can trust them at all times,” she
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The school is for beginners looking to get into the business as well as experienced shearers who want more instruction, said Dallen Smith, University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service (UW CES) educator based in Big Horn County. “If the students have an interest in shearing just a few head or if they want to start up their own businesses and shear
500 head a day, the instructors will give them the resources to do so,” he said. The class is designed to teach how to shear sheep while maintaining wool quality. Instructors will also show how to care and maintain the hand piece and how to sharpen combs and cutters. The school is sponsored by UW CES. For more information, contact Smith at 307-765-2868.
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TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2011 POWELL TRIBUNE • PAGE 3
Local farmer uses high tunnels in a cooperative food effort BY DON AMEND Tribune Staff Writer
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hile an experiment in using inexpensive structures called high tunnels to extend the growing season for local gardeners is continuing at the University of Wyoming Research-Extension Center in Powell, at least one Park County grower has put several tunnels to use as part of a movement to produce more food locally. Scott Richards of Cody is using seven of the structures to grow a variety of vegetable crops for a group of customers participating in Community Supported Agriculture. He also sells his produce at local farmers’ markets and supplies a few smaller restaurants with fresh produce in season. Three of the Richard’s seven high tunnels are in Cody. The other four are on a plot of land just off U.S. 14-A about halfway between Powell and Cody. Inside the tunnels grow a variety of vegetables, such as beets, spinach, eggplant, several varieties of peppers, cucumbers and tomatillos, as well as cilantro and other herbs. Richards, who also has a outdoor plot growing several varieties of squash, pumpkins, potatoes, carrots and artichokes as well as more beets and cucumbers, said the tunnels have been helpful to growing vegetables in poor conditions such as last spring’s extended cool weather. “They really helped through the cool spring,” Richards said. “I was able to plant earlier and harvest earlier.” One result was that Richards was selling fresh tomatoes early at farmers’ markets, when no one else had tomatoes to sell. Richards said he believes the tunnels were an advantage even during the warmer summer months. “If nothing else, they provided a little protection from the sun,” he said. By September some of the tunnels were growing their second crop of the summer, and one was on its third crop. Unless an extreme cold snap of temperatures well below freezing occurs, Richards said he hopes to be harvesting crops into November. Not everything has gone well with the tunnels. Those in Cody have had “nothing but success,” Richards said, but he has had some crop failures at the rural site. He believes most of those problems are nutritional due to soil conditions at the site. He hopes to improve the soil while growing the crops “as organically as possible.” Despite the problems, though, Richards has been supplying those in his Community Supported Agriculture group with fresh vegetables for several weeks. He started with a group of six people two years ago, and this year group
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From bow season to late elk season, Scott Richards harvests tomatillos in one of the four high tunnels he utilizes to grow a variety of vegetables on his small farm between Powell and Cody. Richards also grows crops in three high tunnels in Cody, and distributes them to members of a Community Supported Agriculture group and sells them through farmers’ markets. Tribune photos by Don Amend
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A hitch when you need it... A level bed when you don’t! John Osgood (left) and Scott Richards pause for a drink while harvesting vegetables in the high tunnels seen in the background at Richards’ farm south of Powell. Osgood, an advocate of Community Supported Agriculture, is a member of the group that shares in the food produced by Richards. membership has grown to 25. Members of the group share the risks of growing the crops, investing a set amount of money up front in the spring. Once the harvest begins, they come to the farm one day a week to collect a share of the produce. John Osgood said Community Supported Agriculture is a movement aimed at support-
ing local farmers and keeping food dollars in the community, as well as replacing industrial grown food with fresher food grown more organically, which, Osgood said, is more healthy. “We participate because we’re concerned about the quality of the food and the distance it has to travel to get to us,” Osgood said.
Both Osgood and Richards, who has always liked growing things and has been doing so since childhood, said there are other Community Supported Agriculture efforts in the area, and they expect the concept to grow. With that in mind, Richards said, he is considering adding an eighth high tunnel to his operation in the future.
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PAGE 4 • POWELL TRIBUNE TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2011
Rowdy’s Hope in Motion FOUNDATION HELPS FAMILIES DEALING WITH FARM/RANCH ACCIDENTS
Fertilizer Plant • 661 E. North St. • Powell
BY TESSA SCHWEIGERT Tribune Managing Editor
year ago this autumn, young Rowdy Smallwood died after a tragic accident. “Within a blink of an eye and at only 9 years old, our beautiful son was struck by a 900-pound hay bale on that Sunday afternoon, Sept. 5, 2010. This became one of the hardest days of our life,” wrote his parents, Jason and Stacey Smallwood, on the “Cowboy Rowdy” Facebook page. Rowdy suffered a severe brain injury and several broken bones, and continued fighting for his life in a Colorado children’s hospital for several weeks. Since Rowdy’s death on Oct. 3, 2010, his legacy has lived on through Rowdy’s Hope in Motion Foundation. The Smallwoods created the nonprofit organization to provide help, hope and financial support for other families struggling after farm/ ranch accidents. The foundation helps families with insurance deductibles, rent, groceries and other costs they incur. Earlier this year, the foundation helped purchase a handicap-accessible van for a steer wrestler who was injured, said Ashley Smallwood of Powell, Rowdy’s aunt. Through various fundraisers throughout the region, they have raised thousands of dollars over the
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Farm Bureau crop insurance is tailor-made for your needs. Rowdy Smallwood past year, she added. “We’ve had a lot of great people helping us from around the state,” Smallwood said. “The money’s in place and ready to help other families.” Currently, the foundation is selling raffle tickets for a Corvette belonging to Floyd Smallwood of Cody, Rowdy’s grandpa. Tickets are available at Webster Motors in Cody or by contacting Ashley Smallwood at 307-899-7713. The raffle will close when 5,000 tickets are sold.
All donations to the foundation are tax deductible and are used to directly aid children and their families. Donations to Rowdy’s Hope in Motion Foundation can be sent to: First Interstate Bank, c/o Bonnie Miller, 221 Ivinson, Laramie, WY 82070. For more information, email email@example.com or call 307-721-4600. The foundation is launching a new website that will be available at www.rowdyshopeinmotion.org.
TAKE A BREAK FROM THE FARM!
Staying safe on the farm/ranch Take a look around any farm. How many different pieces of equipment do you see? And how many are bigger than you are? These machines may look pretty cool, but the bottom line is that kids should not operate farm machinery. Pickup trucks, tractors, threshers, lawn mowers, and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are powerful machines. But these machines and all other types of farm equipment are not safe for kids to ride on (even with an adult present), play on or even be around, no matter whether they are in use or not. It’s really easy to get thrown from a tractor, thresher or riding mower. Here are some more tips to remember around equipment: • Never ride in the back of a pickup truck or on the fender of a tractor. • Never get on a tractor as an extra rider. • Stay out of the path of moving equipment. • Don’t use electric power tools without adult supervision and always use protective equipment like gloves and goggles.
movements, and always approach them from the front so they can see what you are doing. Don’t scream or run around them because it will upset them. Here’s some more advice to follow when you’re around animals: • A mother with her young will be protective and she may attack anyone who comes close. • Always wear a helmet and other protective gear when riding a horse. • If you want to approach an animal, ask someone who knows the animal to approach it with you. The animal will be less nervous and less likely to become upset. • After you’ve been around farm animals, be sure to wash your hands with warm water and soap. Animals can carry germs that cause infections.
SAFETY AROUND FERTILIZERS AND CHEMICALS Kids shouldn’t be in contact with poisons, chemicals, or fertilizers. But how do you know if something is dangerous to touch or smell? The label may say “caution,” “poison” or “danger.” Some of these chemicals are SAFETY AROUND ANIMALS toxic or poisonous. One of the greatest things Stay away from areas where about farms is how many dif- these dangerous substances ferent kinds of animals are are stored and never open the there — like pigs, cows, horses, containers. If you have younger sheep and chickens. But these brothers and sisters, be sure they animals are different from dogs,DiSPoSal don’t touch these items either. If oFeSSioNal WaSte cats or other house pets. Farm they have easy access to them, animals are often bigger (horses you might want to ask your parand cows, for instance). And ents to store them somewhere whether they are big or small, else, where little hands can’t they may not be friendly to peo- reach them. ple. All farm animals need to be treated with respect and care. SAFETY AROUND STORAGE When you are around farm AREAS animals, be calm, move slowly, In addition to all the temptaavoid making sudden jerks or tions of equipment and animals,
farms may have a barn or storage areas separate from the house. They may seem like great places to explore — but you need to be careful there, too. It’s easy to fall from ladders and lofts in barns and storage areas. Storage areas should be locked to keep out kids and other people who shouldn’t be there. Never ride on a grain wagon or enter a silo or grain bin. It’s easy to be trapped by flowing grain, and the closed storage areas can fill in seconds and lead to suffocation.
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WHAT TO DO IN AN EMERGENCY Sometimes, even if you follow all the rules, there can be an accident. Knowing what to do in an emergency can save someone’s life. Ask your parent about learning CPR. If someone gets hurt while using equipment: • Turn off the equipment right away (if it is safe to do so) and call for help. • Call 911 or your local emergency number to get assistance. • Don’t move the person by yourself unless he or she is in danger and you won’t get hurt doing so. The person might have a head or neck injury, and moving him or her can make these injuries worse. • If someone is hurt while around an animal, don’t approach the angry animal. Call out for help right away. (This information was pro-
by KidsHealth®, one of the E BIG HORN BASIN SINCE 1982vided largest resources online for medically reviewed health information written for parents, kids and teens. For more articles or information, visit KidsHealth.org or TeensHealth.org. The Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth®.)
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Cassie Newkirk of Outlaw Cattle Co. of Powell showed the grand champion Angus female in the 2011 Wyoming State Fair Angus Show in Douglas. Newkirk showed the Angus yearling heifer, called CCA Queen Peggy 0192. Courtesy photo/American Angus Association
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Local Angus breeders recognized for proven bulls Larry D. Earhart of Powell owns three bulls and LTJ Farm of Powell owns one bull listed in the 2011 Fall Sire Evaluation Report published by the American Angus Association in Saint Joseph, Mo. Issued in both the spring and fall, the new report features the latest performance information available on 5,921 sires, and is currently accessible at www.angussiresearch. com. “This report provides both Angus breeders and com-
mercial cattle producers using Angus genetics with accurate, predictable selection tools for improving their herd,” says Sally Northcutt, genetic research director. Expected progeny differences (EPDs) are generated from the performance database of the American Angus Association, which includes information submitted by nearly 9,000 Angus breeders this past year through the Association’s Beef Improvement Records (BIR)
program. The fall 2011 evaluation includes recent additions of heifer pregnancy EPDs and genomic-enhanced calving ease EPDs. The calving ease genomic update joins a list of genomic-enhanced EPDs for growth, carcass, residual average daily gain, and docility. Decisionmaking tools also include a suite of bio-economic indexes designed to assist commercial producers in simplifying the genetic selection process.
The semi-annual analysis for the Sire Evaluation Report utilizes more than 20 million measures to generate nearly 59 million EPDs for the Angus breed. The American Angus Association, with headquarters in Saint Joseph, Mo., provides programs and services for nearly 30,000 members nationwide and thousands of commercial producers who use Angus genetics. Go to www.angus.org for more information.
Frannie native tops in collegiate judging competition BY DON AMEND Tribune Staff Writer
Frannie man is heading into his final season of Collegiate Livestock Judging as the top-ranked individual in national competition. Caleb Boardman’s performance has helped his Texas A&M University team into a tie for first place with Texas Tech University during the spring season, and he is looking forward to fall competition culminating with the National Championship meet in November. As part of a six-member team, Boardman played a role in two first-place finishes in competition at the National Western Stock Show in Denver and the San Antonio Contest, and secondplace finishes in the Fort Worth Stock Show and the Houston Stock Show. Texas Tech won the Fort Worth and Houston competitions. Individually, Boardman earned his top ranking with consistent high finishes in the various phases of judging competition. During a competition, each contestant judges four ani-
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mals in each of four classes: cattle, swine, sheep and goats, and submits a scorecard for each as well as orally presenting eight sets of reasons for their placement of the animals. Each contestant’s scores are compared to formal judges’ scores and points are awarded based on the similarity of the contestants’ scores to the formal judges’ scores. A contestant’s score is the total of his 12 placement scores and eight oral reasons scores. In Denver, Boardman won the reserve championship overall. He was the high overall individual in San Antonio and was third at both the Fort Worth and Houston competitions, and his scores in the individual categories were consistently in the top 10. Boardman, who transferred to Texas A&M after competing at Coffeyville Community College and will be competing collegiately for the last time this fall, said he has enjoyed his career in livestock judging. “It’s been a great experience,” Boardman said. “I’ve been at a great university and met a lot of people. I have a lot of contacts
ing team during the summer. because of judging.” “It’s really a Park County The requirement to present oral reasons has been a special team, but most of the members benefit, according to Board- are from the Bitter Creek club,” man, helping develop the ability Boardman said. Judging competition in 4-H to explain himself and answer questions effectively. “Public is “going pretty strong” in Wyoming, Boardman speaking is a big said, especially at the part of it,” he said. senior level, and he “It helps you delikes helping young velop great interview people get started skills, and it’s great in activity that has to have on your rébrought him success. sumé.” “I started out in With his collegiate 4-H and it taught me judging career coma lot,” Boardman said. ing to an end, Board“It’s taken me a long man will concentrate way, and I want to on finishing his degive (kids) the same gree, and expects to opportunity I have graduate in DecemCALEB had in judging.” ber 2012. After that, BOARDMAN Boardman isn’t the he hopes to attain a only Big Horn Basin master’s degree from Texas A&M, although he is open native on the Texas A&M team. to going to some other school, Marty Gifford of Cowley is also and possibly coaching at A&M part of team’s success, and has twice finished in the top 10 overafter that. He’s also thinking of taking all during the spring meets. She his talents and education into a will also be competing this fall, career in industry. Boardman said. He already has some coaching “We’re both excited to go into experience at home, working the fall tied for first,” Boardman with the Bitter Creek 4-H judg- said.
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So you moved to the country. Now what? BY CJ BAKER Tribune Staff Writer
hen people talk about conservation and land stewardship, it tends to conjure up images of sprawling ranches, farms and public lands. But in today’s growing and increasingly subdivided West, the need for sound stewardship is falling more and more to small acreage property owners — including many who are new to country living. “Those big ranches and those larger agricultural producers are now those small acreage parcels,” says Mary McKinney, assistant supervisor at Park County Weed and Pest. A 2002 study by the American Farmland Trust found Park County’s potential for rural residential development was among the top 25 counties in the Rocky Mountain region and most of the county’s riparian areas — spots along water that are critical to wildlife — are in private ownership. “Stewardship on a small acreage is a challenge,” says Sandra Frost of the University of Wyoming’s Cooperative Extension Service, noting that new rural residents need time to basically learn agricultural science and understand their property’s natural systems. Being a good steward of the land is complicated, Frost said, from managing weeds and irrigation ditches, to growing successful plants, to avoiding overgrazing. “In the beginning, it’s hard, and in the end, it’s an art that you learned,” Frost said. Many first-time rural property owners expect their new residence will be “clean living, good schools, less traffic, friendly neighbors, a high level of services, and little interference with lifestyle decision,”
‘Stewardship means living with the land, living with the land you’re in, not trying to recreate Connecticut, New Hampshire or New Jersey here in Wyoming.’ Sandra Frost
UW Cooperative Extension Service
says the opening lesson from Living on the Land: Stewardship for Small Acreages, crafted by Western cooperative extension educators. But the lesson says the reality — with legal and property issues — can be more challenging. “They find that property management absorbs much more time than they’d anticipated, and early euphoria gives way to discouragement,” it says. At the same time, the cumulative effect of small-acreage landowners’ inexperience can significantly impact the condition of soil, water, plants and other natural resources. McKinney makes no promises that controlling weeds and pests is easy. “There are no easy fixes. There just aren’t,” she said, urging lot owners to develop an integrated management plan. “It’s constant maintenance.” But McKinney says good care is a whole lot easier than rehabilitation, and weeds are relatively easy to take care of on a small acre lot when compared to all the places they can spread. “What happens when they (noxious weeds) get into our millions of acres of public lands? Who’s going to weed the garden?” she asked, noting the “huge” costs such weed removal would bring. The good news for landowners in need of guidance is that there is help available (see related story). Some of the most pressing concerns are intended to be
Help is available In addition to the University of Wyoming’s Cooperative Extension Service — which can provide landowners with information and suggestions — and Park County Weed and Pest — which can help inventory weeds and craft management plans — the Natural Resources Conservation Service and local conservation districts are also among the agencies that can provide help to small acreage area
landowners. Fire districts can provide information about making your property defensible from wildfire and irrigation districts or your Homeowners Association can provide information about water usage. The Cody Conservation District plans to host its periodic “Living on a Few Acres” seminar in February, covering the basics of stewardship.
dealt with before anyone moves in — when the proposed subdivision comes up for review with Park County and its Planning and Zoning Department. “We try to, in our review, inform people of things they need to be paying attention to, because they might not otherwise,” said planner Linda Gillett. Some of those things include making sure the property has road access and adequate water. The county also requires developers to discuss their plans with the appropriate irrigation district, fire district and the weed and pest district. Typical conditions on subdivision plats remind people they can’t build in irrigation district rights-of-way, must manage for noxious weeds and can’t use flood irrigation within 50 feet of a septic system. “But that doesn’t really help somebody that’s just moving here and buys a lot in the subdivision, unless they look at the plat or read the resolution (establishing the development) — which I suspect most people don’t,” said Gillett. The county has no building codes and while the planning and zoning commission has discussed adding grazing requirements for maintaining vegetation coverage, Gillett said that was met with an outcry that it’s none of the county’s business. So ensuring the land is left in the same or better condition for future generations generally falls on the willingness of the property owner. “I guess it all depends on what people know and what people care about,” Gillett said. “We are dependent on the goodwill of the people,” McKinney agrees. “And good stewardship is a long-term commitment.” One of the first steps recommended by Cooperative Extension is to inventory your property, its plants and soils, and come up with a plan of what you want it to look like. “I guess people need to ask themselves, why are they buying the property? What do they
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want to do with it? What’s my goal?” said McKinney. The vision should be realistic, and must be shaped by the dirt and water you have. Much of the private land in Park County is desert that gets less than 10 inches of precipitation annually and the soil tends to be alkaline. Choose plants accordingly. “Stewardship means living with the land, living with the land you’re in, not trying to recreate Connecticut, New Hampshire or New Jersey here in Wyoming,” Frost said. It also means stopping foreign and familiar water-hogging weeds from taking up residence. “Just because it’s green and growing doesn’t mean it’s good,” said McKinney. In addition to creating more productive land and stopping the spread of unwanted plants to your neighbors, a low-weed property is also a higher-valued property. The same goes for taking care of your irrigation ditches and systems. Keeping healthy vegetation also demands management of your animals and fields. For example, if you graze four horses on three acres with no irrigation, “yes, you’re going to have a dirt pile,” said Gillett. Such overgrazing will destroy your property, McKinney said. One horse can need more than 40 acres of native forage, and usually, they’ll need supplemental feed, too, says a cooperative extension handout about the resources available to Park County landowners. For a small acre landowner, the handout recommends using pastures to exercise horses — not to feed them — and to rotate portions of the pasture with fenced-off areas. “If there’s too many animals, generally all the things you see there are weeds,” McKinney said, “Because they eat all the yummy stuff.” If you don’t want other livestock grazing on your property, remember that in Wyoming it’s your responsibility to fence them out. After all the effort, the end result of stewardship is obvious: better water quality, more robust pastures, fewer invasive weeds, healthier animals, higher property values and improved land for the next generation. Learning how to be a good steward of your property takes years to learn, said Frost. But, she says, “the people who are determined will work it out.”
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Heart Mountain farmer John Grover points to tubes in a leaf-cutter bee block where bees have packed their leaf-encapsulated eggs. Tribune file photo by Ilene Olson
Bees difficult to get
Local farmers are taking greater care with their bees to ensure enough to pollinate next year’s alfalfa seed crop BY ILENE OLSON Tribune News Editor
ocal farmers raise leafcutter bees to pollinate their alfalfa seed crops. Until recently, many have relied on buying cutter bees from Canada every few years to help invigorate their bees and increase their bee return for the next year. But this year, Canadian bees are expensive and hard to get, so growers are trying to keep their own bees healthier. Honey bees aren’t reliable for pollinating alfalfa because the stamen in the alfalfa flower, once disturbed, pops up and hits the bees in the head. Honey bees try to collect pollen and nectar from the flowers without tripping the stamen. If they’re successful, that leaves the flowers unpollinated. But leaf-cutter bees are hardier and less picky. They have a thicker part on the front of their heads and aren’t as sensitive to being hit by the alfalfa flower’s stamen when they’re collecting pollen and nectar. Consequently, pollination rates are four times better when leaf-cutter bees do the job compared to honey bees. To ensure that their crops are well pollinated, growers raise the cutter bees needed to pollinate their crops, thereby increasing their seed yield. They place bee houses at the edge of alfalfa fields, complete with blocks of tubes in which adult bees pack their leaf-enclosed eggs. Those encapsulated eggs later turn into larva, which are stored over the winter, then incubated to hatch in time to pollinate the next year’s crop. Heart Mountain area farmer John Grover said he sometimes gets enough bee larva back that he can sell some the following year. However, adverse weather or other conditions sometimes result in a smaller bee return. In the past, he has replenished his bees with new bees from Canada.
This year, however, bees from “I’m managing them more Canada “are awfully expensive carefully,” Hopkin said. “When or hard to get — likely both,” he it’s time to extract them from the said. bee blocks, I will have a better That’s due to a couple of rea- eye on that so we will minimize damage to the cells. I’ll scrutisons, he said. “A lot of growers up in Canada nize it more carefully, manage have gone out of business,” he better every step along the way. said, and cutter bees are in great“I’m taking greater care to er demand in Canada to pollinate manage parasites so they don’t canola and blueberry crops. do as much damage to the larva... “That’s taking more bees,” by watching the things we do to leaving fewer to sell, he said. sanitize our boards, sanitize our Fred Hopkin, bees and the way who farms in the you handle bees in Penrose area, said the incubator.” another reason is ‘Now, a lot are Growers will that bees pollinat- being used to have to make other ing canola fields adjustments, too, pollinate hybrid are less producGrover said. tive than those canola.’ “The policy we pollinating alfalfa usually use on Fred Hopkin this farm is to fields. Grower trade bees out ev“In Canada, if they are used for ery three or four alfalfa seed, the farmers get years,” he said. “Then we usually about 200 to 300 percent return,” get back a third to half more than Hopkin said. “If they put out two we put out, and we end up selling gallons of bees, they get four some.” to six gallons in return. In that But, after a few years, the process, they are able to supply return on the bees generally dethemselves and other growers. clines, he said. “Now, a lot are being used to “I don’t know if it’s kind of like pollinate hybrid canola. Canola getting tired of living in the same only blooms for two to three place or what,” he said. weeks, so they’re on the fields for Hopkin said he also sees that a shorter period of time, and they trend. just don’t reproduce as much. “I get just as good a seed crop The bee return is only about using my own bees as I do bees 50 percent. They (the growers) from Canada,” he said. “Howdon’t even get their bees back. ever, I have found a difference But canola is a high-value crop, in the bee return in bees out of and they can afford to pay top Canada. They seem to get a betdollar to get bees.” ter return.” But that makes it difficult for Now, with Canadian bees in growers here to obtain Canadian short supply, growers will have bees, and if they do, they will pay to rely more on the bees they a premium price. raise themselves. “I know some growers who “By managing them more took out fields of alfalfa — they carefully and taking better care plowed them under — because of them, hopefully we will have they couldn’t get bees to polli- a better return on them,” Hopkin nate them,” Hopkin said. said. The shortage of Canadian “Now that bees are harder to bees has prompted local growers get,” Grover said, “we’re going like Grover and Hopkin to work to have to learn to take care of harder to care for the ones they our own, to get an increase back have. every year.”
LIFE CYCLE OF CUTTER BEES Unlike honey bees, leaf-cutter bees have no queen. Each female lays about one egg every day. She forms a small cell out of cut leaves, then lays her egg in it. She then puts pollen and nectar in with the egg to feed the larva as it grows, and seals the cell with more cut leaves. The next day — or sometimes for a second time on the same day — she begins the process all over again. To make sure the bees stay in the same area as the alfalfa seed crop, farmers provide homes for the bees — some made of blue plastic in the shape of igloos, and
others made of wood in a rectangular shape. Inside the bee houses, the farmers provide trays with hundreds of pencil-shaped tubes in them. Those tubes provide ideal places for female leaf-cutter bees to form their egg-incubation cells. And, with the alfalfa crop right there, they have plenty of pollen and nectar on hand to provide for their developing offspring. After the crop is pollenated, farmers use machines to remove the cells encasing the larva. The cells are joined together in 3- or 4-inch tubes about the size of
pencils. Then the bee larva cells are put into storage, with the temperature gradually lowered until it is below 50 degrees — with the preferred temperature being about 40 degrees. That puts the developing larva into a dormant state, where they remain until the following summer. Then, when the alfalfa plants are just starting to bud, the larva are taken out of storage and put into incubation trays. They are gradually warmed to about 80 degrees, and after about three weeks, they emerge as adult bees. The adult bees then are given homes at the edge of alfalfa fields, and the cycle starts all over again.
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page 8 • Harvesting autumn tuesday, september 27, 2011
Passover kosher oats
Rabbi Moshe Feldman recently certified a field of gluten-free oats as Passover kosher for use in cooking for the Jewish holy celebration. At top left, a combine in a Road 18 field harvests oats. At top right, Henry Davidowitz, left, owner of Lakewood Matzoh Bakery of Lakewood, N.J., talks with Rabbi Feldman about assisting him in the process. Davidowitz, below, seals a bag of certified oats. At bottom left, Seaton Smith of Gluten Free Oats (left) and grower Mike Forman watch as a bag fills with oats draining from a combine. \
tribune photos by Kevin Kinzley
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Brucellosis confirmed in montana’s Park county BILLINGS (AP) — Results of disease tests received last week for a southern Park County, Mont., cattle herd have confirmed that some of the animals were infected with brucellosis. The tests were done on milk samples collected from six cows in the 150-head herd, Montana livestock officials said. Those animals were slaughtered Thursday after previous blood tests indicated the animals might be infected. Brucellosis can cause pregnant animals to prematurely abort and has been largely eradicated nationwide but persists in wildlife in parts of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming around Yellowstone National Park. The remainder of the unidentified herd has been quarantined. The infection marks the region’s 15th cattle or domestic bison since 2004. Until recently, infections brought harsh sanctions on states where outbreaks occurred. But stricter testing and requirements over the past several years prompted federal agriculture officials to adopt a more lenient response to occasional infections. The government also no longer requires that entire herds be slaughtered when infections are found in just a few animals. The infected cattle from Park County had all been vaccinated. Because five were still pregnant, veterinarians believe the vaccine was working, said Steve Merritt with the Montana Department of Livestock. “Normally with unvaccinated cows that had been exposed, they would have lost those calves,” he said. But they still could have potentially spread the disease to other cows, necessitating their removal from the herd. Merritt said cattle on surrounding ranches also would be tested for brucellosis to ensure they were not exposed. Although the source of the infection has not yet been determined, state officials suspect it may have come from elk. Despite efforts to contain the disease, it has proven so far impossible to eliminate it from wildlife. Thousands of Yellowstone bison have been captured and sent to slaughter over the past decade to prevent transmissions to cattle when the bison attempt to migrate in winter to lower elevations in Montana. That has
not stopped transmissions from tens of thousands of elk that roam freely across the Yellowstone region. Montana ranchers are not likely to face new sanctions on cattle exports following the brucellosis infections, signaling an effective truce in the long-running debate over the animal disease. Past infections among cattle prompted costly sanctions against the region’s lucrative livestock industries. But the federal government and other states have softened their stance after more aggressive testing and vaccine programs were recently enacted. South Dakota veterinarian Dustin Oedekoven said the fact that Montana livestock officials caught the latest infections before the disease could spread outside the Yellowstone region showed the new programs were working. “We expected that as long as brucellosis exists in Yellowstone Park, we’re going to see cattle herds found with infections,” he said. “But we’re not seeing herdto-herd infections (in cattle). And so long as we don’t see that, those are positive indicators.” In North Dakota, deputy state veterinarian Beth Carlson said animal health authorities in her state were watching the latest infections closely, but were not surprised they occurred. Wyoming state veterinarian Jim Logan said expansion of the Wyoming’s two designated hot zones for brucellosis control, known formally as Designated Surveillance Areas, or DSA’s, were an attempt to stay ahead of the disease and to keep other states remain comfortable with measures taken to contain it. “But if we find it outside of the DSA, all bets are off,” he said. A quarantine on the ranch where the brucellosis was found is likely to remain in place for up to a year while more testing is done to make sure the disease does not recur. While that could be hard on the affected rancher, it’s a much different scenario than unfolded the last time an infection was found in Park County, Mont., in 2008. That case led to the revocation of the state’s brucellosis-free status by the federal government, a move that triggered costly export restrictions and likely damaged Montana’s reputation within the cattle industry.
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A peacock belonging to Johanna Cubbage is silhouetted against a field of sunflowers on a recent weekend afternoon in rural Powell. Tribune photo by CJ Baker
Sunflowers — then and now AFTER 30 YEARS, SUNFLOWERS RETURN TO CUBBAGE’S FARM GROUND BY JUDY KILLEN Tribune Staff Writer
unflowers were an innovation for Johanna and the late Warren Cubbage, a hedge against possible withdrawal of sugar beets as a crop. That was 1979, when the Cubbages planted 50 acres of sunflowers on their irrigated 275-acre farm. They were one of four farm families trying the new crop that year. “We figure that this area will eventually lose sugar beets,” Johanna Cubbage said in an Aug. 16, 1979 issue of the Powell Tribune. The Cubbages chose a vigorous variety of sunflowers to plant that year. Warren Cubbage said for that article that he planted the seeds 6 inches apart in an effort to grow smaller heads to harvest more seeds.
Crop insurance deadline is Sept. 30 The Billings Regional Office of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Risk Management Agency reminds producers in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming that the fall sales closing date is Sept. 30. Fall sales closing and cancellation dates are applicable for wheat, in counties with both a fall and spring sales closing date, forage production and rye. There are two major changes. One is requests for crop insurance on New Breaking acreage must be completed by the applicable closing date. The other affects how prevented planting eligibility will be determined. Doug Hagel, Billings Regional Office Director, said producers should contact their crop insurance agent for more detailed information on the new rules. For more information on how to find a crop insurance agent, go to http://www.rma.usda.gov/ tools/agent.html
Johanna Cubbage said last week that first year of sunflower cultivation was a challenge. “We had to go clear back to South Dakota to pick up a header for our combine back then,” she recalled. “We had to pay our own freight.” Eventually, that sunflower seed growing effort didn’t pan out because “it was like trading your own money.” Fast forward to today, when Powell-area growers are producing confectionary sunflowers on about 2,000 acres across the Powell flat. Grower Rick Stroh has leased Cubbage farm ground and is growing sunflowers for Dahlgren and Co., the Crookston, Minn., company contracting acres locally. Dahlgren is easy to work with, Johanna Cubbage said. “They’ll pay freight now,” she said.
ecause of brucellosis-infected cattle discovered last year, all sexually intact cattle and bison shipped out of the Designated Surveillance Area that includes Park County must be identified as DSA stock. It must be an Livestock Board-approved ID, said Wyoming Assistant State Veterinarian Dr. Bob Meyer. U.S. Department of Agriculture laws and Wyoming Livestock Board rules require proper identification on livestock prior to change of ownership. These laws ensure proper disease surveillance, traceability and protect the health of the Wyoming livestock population, said the Wyoming Livestock Board. “Recent changes in cattle importation requirements by surrounding states, particularly Nebraska, Colorado and
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Johanna Cubbage displays a full-page feature story from an issue of the Powell Tribune published in 1979, the year she and her late husband, Warren, were among four Powell families who were the first to grow sunflowers. Thirty years later, her farm ground is again sporting the bright flowers. Tribune photo by Judy Killen
Surveillance-area cows must be ID’d prior to shipment BY GIB MATHERS Tribune Staff Writer
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South Dakota, specify that all ing, “These cattle and bison sexually intact cattle and bi- originated from within one son, regardless of age, leaving of the DSAs and have permanent, individual the DSA must identification,” be identified the board said. either with ‘Be thinking ahead Livestock permanent, Board-approved official USDA/ about getting those tags can be atAPHIS ap- animals identified.’ tached by the proved ID, or be individualDr. Bob Meyer producer and can be obtained ly identified to Asst. State Veterinarian free by calling state of origin 307-777-7515 in using a unique ID number for each animal,” Cheyenne or 307-857-4140 in Riverton, said the board. said the board. As of April 30, the DSA It is the owner’s responsibility to ensure their stock are boundaries include all of identified. The producer’s Park, Sublette and Teton veterinarian can attach any counties, the northwest corDepartment of Agriculture ner of Hot Springs County, Lincoln County north of U.S. tag they have been issued. Prior to shipping to other 30 and west of U.S. 189, and states, the DSA’s producer’s Fremont County west of the veterinarian is required to Wind River Indian Reservaprovide a Certificate of Vet- tion, said the board. Avoid the fall rush. “Be erinary Inspection. Nebraska, and likely other states, will thinking ahead about getting also require the statement those animals identified,” written on the certificate say- Meyer said.
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PAGE 10 • POWELL TRIBUNE TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2011
Big Horn Basin sugar beets at center of national soft drink ‘Throwback’ Admiral president Kelly Clay, the Worland company wanted to keep it going. “It was so successful for us ORLAND — The shockingly wet spring of 2011 that we didn’t want to give it up,” allowed sugar beets to Clay said. “Now the company has get off to a good start in the Big made it a national product and we Horn Basin with less early-season are tickled to death.” Clay said his company had irrigation – and it is coinciding with a new market for those persistently lobbied the national brand. “We’ve been pressing beets. Or rather, there is a market for a sugar product for years. that is now reviving after some 25 I think the big companies are understanding there’s a definite years of inaction. The company that bottles demand for real sugar drink products.” Pepsi’s line of soft And it’s not just drinks in Worland limited to a few is once again using regional markets sugar — from Big ‘It’s huge for our now, as Pepsi has Horn Basin sugar area. I drink a added the Throwbeets — in some of Pepsi Throwback back brand as a its products. permanent part That’s a big every day. I’m glad of its beverage switch from what’s portfolio. gone on in the last to see it’s still “Really, we’ve quarter-century, on the shelf. It seen success all when the Admigives us another over,” said Tejeral Beverage Corp. da. “We are curregularly sweet- avenue to sell our rently activating ened its Pepsi line commodity — to a Pepsi Throwback with high-fructose corn syrup hauled customer that uses with a strong digital presence. in on rail tankers raw, natural sugar, We also have from the Midwest, and that’s great.’ an awesome raeven as the factodio campaign and ry sat surrounded Chris Bolken in-store point-ofby fields of sugar Emblem sugar beet grower sale that reinbeets. forces the brand Signs on vehicles and billboards across Worland message at all points of contact. promote Pepsi as a soft drink With the help of retailers and local bottlers to get the word out, brand produced in Wyoming. That means Wyoming Sugar we are finding traction and develCo., the local sugar factory that oping a loyal consumer base.” opened in 1917 and is now owned THE SWEETENER WARS by beet farmers, can once again By late 1984, the nation’s bighelp reinforce the local Pepsi bottler’s slogan: “Proudly Made in gest soft-drink bottlers, Coke and Pepsi, had switched sweetening Wyoming.” “Wyoming Sugar Co. is proud their lines from sugar to corn to supply sugar to Admiral Bev- syrup. “Coke switched to high-frucerage,” said Vic Salzman, vice president and manager. “It is ex- tose corn syrup for financial citing to see our sugar being used reasons,” recalls Clay. “It was cheaper to make. So, to be comclose to home.” The idea is to sell a “nostalgia” petitive, everybody switched line of products, notable for the from sugar. But we resisted. We taste of sugar-beet sugar that was told the company that if we could stay with sugar, we’d make up once part of many Pepsi drinks. In 2009, Admiral Beverage was the difference in cost. But the big a player in Pepsi’s experiment companies own the trademarks, that regionally test-marketed so they call the shots.” Big Horn Basin beet growers “Throwback” versions of Pepsi Cola and Mountain Dew, contain- weathered the switch to highfructose corn syrup because the ing sugar instead of corn syrup. “Consumers today seek prod- sprawling sugar commodity maructs that have a rich history and ket offered other outlets for their deliver an authentic experience,” crops, from cookies and candy to said Esther-Mireya Tejeda, Pepsi other products sweetened with spokeswoman in New York City. natural sugar. Growers adjusted “For some, Pepsi Throwback is a their plantings based on market trip down memory lane. For oth- demands as the soft drink switch ers, it is a chance to experience an to corn syrup took hold over sevauthentic twist on their favorite eral growing seasons. It all began when Americans brand. Pepsi Throwback originally hit shelves in April 2009 as an reaching out to vending machines eight-week, limited-time offering, in 1980 received a shock: prices and after three, limited-time-only for candy bars and soda pop had runs, we learned that consumers suddenly doubled. Protective sugar-import tarwanted Pepsi Throwback yeariffs allowed producers to charge round.” After the test period for the higher prices on domestic sugar retro drinks ended, explained used by bakers, confectioners BY PATRICK DAWSON WyoFile
CDC: Half of Americans have a sugary drink daily
ATLANTA (AP) — Health officials say half of Americans drink a soda or sugary beverage each day — and some are downing an awful lot. A new study found that one in 20 drinks the equivalent of
and soft-drink bottlers, pushing eral appeals court ruled that Coke the price of pop and candy up had indeed breached the contract permanently. made in 1921. Despite Coke’s The retail cost of a bottle of pop argument that technology may did not drop, even though corn have rendered the old contracts syrup was about half as costly as obsolete, the court observed, refined beet sugar by the mid- “While the availability of satis1990s, and 60 percent less than factory sweeteners might make cane sugar. Domestic sugar pric- a ‘sugar only’ contract an oddity es today remain inflated thanks to today, sugar as a sweetener is not subsidies. obsolete.” According to Sen. Richard The initial U.S. District Court Lugar (R-Ind.), Americans are ruling in favor of the bottlers paying almost twice as much for called for Coke to pay $20.7 milsugar than they would without lion in compensatory damages. Coke appealed that decision, and no federal subsidies. A 2007 paper issued by the though the higher court sided conservative Cato Institute with the plaintiffs, it reduced the concluded that “sugar policies damages award to only $1 per are a textbook case of economic plaintiff. damage done by big governTHROWBACK TO THE ment intervention in the marSWEET BEET ketplace.” Pepsi Throwback, made with “High sugar prices also damage U.S. food manufacturers, sugar instead of high-fructose including makers of candies, corn syrup, features a retro packchocolate, and breakfast cere- aging. The Worland sugar refining als,” the Cato paper stated, citing U.S. Department of Commerce plant was started during World figures. “The sugar-growing War I by a group of Utah invesindustry employs 61,000 people, tors. For many years after World but 988,000 are employed in food War II, Worland-area sugar businesses that use sugar and beet farmers and this local mill had a steady outlet for much of are hurt by current policies.” Tom Schatz, president of their product: Admiral Beverage, Citizens Against Government which began operating in WorWaste, a nonpartisan taxpayer land in 1947. It was a convenient, watchdog group, last year called symbiotic relationship — a local on Congress to end sugar sub- bottler employing many people, sidies, especially the Feedstock using sugar produced by local Flexibility Program that forces farmers and refined in the local the federal government to pur- factory, also a steady employer. chase surplus sugar from large Until corn syrup changed that sugar processors and re-sell it to relationship. Wyoming Sugar Co. is a ethanol plants, at a loss. “Federal sugar subsidies are grower-owned refinery formed not only costly, they are also pro- in late 2002, succeeding previous tectionist,” Schatz said in an April corporate operators Holly Sugar, 2010 news release. “By keeping then Imperial Sugar, which went foreign sugar out of our markets, bankrupt in 2001. Local bankers the government is knowingly kicked in $3.5 million to help the shifting the cost burdens onto grower cooperative acquire the old plant, the second-smallest in consumers and taxpayers. ” Wyoming sugar beet growers the nation, which annually proreceived $8 million in federal cesses local beets grown on about sugar subsidy payments between 20,000 acres. Western Sugar’s 2000-04 – the only period out of plant at Lovell — another growerthe past 15 years that state farm- owned plant — is the smallest U.S. sugar beet ers benefited. refiner. Since the An early battle fall of 2006, all in the sweeten‘It was so the nation’s beet er wars came sugar processing in 1981, when a successful for us plants have been group of 102 Coke that we didn’t want owned by growbottlers across er cooperatives. the U.S. sued the to give it up. Now To participate in parent company the company has growing beets for violating its made it a national as a depend1921 assurance able cash crop, that the secret- product and we are farmers agree to formula Coke tickled to death.’ the sugar refinsyrup would always be made Kelly Clay ing company’s with sugar. Admiral Beverage Corp. specifications for seeds, acreage Coca-Cola, the president planted, time of bottlers charged, had in 1980 switched to the harvest and delivery to the mill. What about that long absence cheaper sweetener — corn syrup — but refused to pass the sav- of beet sugar from those locally ings on to bottlers who would not made soft drinks during the corn agree to conditions of the new re- syrup era? “Certainly, it was a large gime. By 1993, only 30 plaintiffs remained in the suit, and a fed- changeover,” said Wyoming Sug-
ar’s board chairman Dick McKamey. Plant manager Vic Salzman explained that Cargill Sweeteners North America had been marketing the Worland sugar to customers in the Midwest and Western U.S. Now Worland sugar will also go, once again, to the local bottler. Many beets grown around Worland are processed there for use in Pepsi Throwback. “Admiral Beverage has added to our portfolio of customers,” said Salzman. “We have been able to work adding Admiral Beverage sugar requirements into our current business plan. Wyoming Sugar provides 50-pound bags and 2,000-pound totes of sugar to Admiral Beverage.” Besides crystallized sugar, the plant produces byproducts of molasses and beet pulp pressed and pelletized into livestock feed. Salzman declined to say how much beet sugar the cooperative supplies annually to Admiral Beverage. But regardless of the raw numbers, seeing beet-sugar soda in Big Horn Basin stores is a big deal for local growers. “It’s huge for our area. I drink a Pepsi Throwback every day,” said Chris Bolken, who farms beets at Emblem. “I’m glad to see it’s still on the shelf. It gives us another avenue to sell our commodity — to a customer that uses raw, natural sugar, and that’s great.” “I think it’s awesome. The product is now all locally grown and made,” said Kevin Keller, Worland-area beet farmer and member of the cooperative. “Anytime you see a business that wants to buy your product, it’s good news.” “The Worland plant makes some of the best sugar in the world,” said Admiral Beverage chief, Kelly Clay. He said his company — North America’s fifth-largest Pepsi bottler — has just revived bottling a 7-Up with sugar, as well as an originalformula “Heritage” Dr Pepper. Clay’s persistent promotion of sugar over corn syrup earned him the honor of “Friend of the Sugarbeet Industry” earlier this year at the American Sugarbeet Growers Association convention in Tucson, Ariz. He told the growers he expects such sugar-based drinks to continue catching on. As he told WyoFile: “We’re hoping to keep making Throwback until I’m pushing up daisies.”
Sweetened drinks have been linked to the U.S. explosion in obesity, and health officials have been urging people to cut back. Many schools have stopped selling soda or artificial juices.
The CDC report released lazt week is said to be the first to offer national statistics for adults and kids. Past studies have focused on certain groups, particularly school kids.
more than four cans of soda each day. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention research also showed teenage boys drink the most soda, sports drinks and other sugary liquids.
(WyoFile is a nonprofit news service focused on Wyoming people, places and policy. For more information, visit www. wyofile.com.)
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TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2011 POWELL TRIBUNE • PAGE 11
Land Institute President Wes Jackson to speak on ag at Northwest College Wes Jackson, a leader in the international movement for sustainable agriculture, will be in Powell Tuesday, Oct. 4, as a featured author in the Northwest College Writers Series. Jackson will talk about his writing on no-till farming, polyculture, agrarianism philosophies and more at 7:30 p.m. in Room 70 of the Fagerberg Building. Jackson is president and founder of the Land Institute in Salina, Kans. He is one of 18 individuals Life magazine predicts to be among the 100 “important Americans of the 20th century.” The Smithsonian recognized him in 2005 as one of “35 Who Made a Difference,” and in 2009 he was included in Rolling Stone’s “100 Agents of Change.” The work of Jackson’s Land Institute has been featured extensively in popular media, including The Atlantic Monthly, Audubon, National Geographic,
Time Magazine, The MacNeil- Some of his other books include Lehrer News Hour and National “The Virtues of Ignorance: Public Radio’s “All Things Con- Complexity, Sustainability, and the Limits of Knowledge” sidered.” and “Rooted in Jackson’s tireless the Land: Essays research and push on Community and toward sustainable Place,” co-edited agricultural pracwith William Vitek. tices have implicaIn 1994, Jackson tions for Wyoming’s sketched his vision economy on mulfor the resettletiple levels, if he’s ment of America’s correct in his belief rural communities that, “By beginning in “Becoming Nato make agriculture sustainable we will tive to This Place,” have taken the first and in “New Roots step forward for hufor Agriculture,” he manity to begin to outlined the basis WES JACKSON measure progress for the agricultural by its independence from the research at the Land Institute. extractive economy.” After earning a bachelor’s The author of numerous degree in biology from Kansas books and papers, Jackson’s Wesleyan University, a master’s most recent work, “Consulting in botany from the Univerthe Genius of the Place: An Eco- sity of Kansas and a doctorate logical Approach to a New Agri- in genetics from North Carolina culture,” was published in 2010. State University, Jackson es-
tablished and served as chair of one of the United States’ first environmental studies programs at California State UniversitySacramento. His belief that “If your life’s work can be accomplished in your lifetime, you’re not thinking big enough,” has led to a continual landslide of honors and awards for the 75-year-old. Jackson is a recipient of the Pew Conservation Scholars award (1990), a MacArthur Fellowship (1992), Right Livelihood Award, known as “Alternative Nobel Prize” (2000), and the Louis Bromfield Award (2010). He’s also received four honorary doctorates and in 2007 the University of Kansas Distinguished Service Award. Admission to Jackson’s presentation at the NWC Writers Series is free. A selection of his books will be available for purchase and signing during the evening.
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A balanced view from a long perspective B
arry Flinchbaugh, Kansas from across the United States State University professor included points about Congress, the U.S. budget, the farm bill, of agricultural economics China and global agriculture. for 40 years, received the 2011 A lack of leaderAmerican/World ship in Congress Agriculture Award has resulted in from the National political uncerAssociation of tainty, according County Agriculto Flinchbaugh. tural Agents in Business and Kansas City, Kan., commerce canlast month. not make plans Flinchbaugh has without fiscal served as adviser policy and a budto eight governors, get. There is $4 six U.S. senators, a trillion of “loose couple of U.S. Secchange” in the U.S. retaries of Agriculthat is not invested ture, U.S. House in anything right and Senate comnow. Flinchbaugh mittees, as well as believes that if international orgaSANDRA FROST Congress would, nizations. He has Guest columnist over time, develop been a resource for a balanced budpast and present get and reduce the deficit, the committees writing farm bills. economy would grow by 5 perHe has served on national and cent per year. international commissions on “There are two ways to make food, agriculture and policy for policy,” said Flinchbaugh. Congress. “One, through civil discourse Flinchbaugh’s speech to and compromise, and two, at the 1,200 county agriculture the point of a gun.” He recomextension agents assembled
mended the first option. There will be a new Farm Bill in 2013, said Flinchbaugh, even with a tight budget. If a new Farm Bill is not passed, then the Agriculture Adjustment Act of 1938, a permanent law for commodity programs and price supports, would come into effect. Agricultural interest groups disrupt the congressional legislation writing process by getting involved in Farm Bill negotiations too early. “The U.S. needs to get proud,” said Flinchbaugh. We should not fear China. A citizen of the United States spends less than 10 percent of their income on food while in China a citizen spends 33 percent on food. In the next 15 years, 15 percent of adult males in China will not be able to find a wife. Think about that. China owns only 12 percent of U.S. debt. Finally, China needs our trade. There are more reasons why the U.S. has nothing to fear from China. The U.S. is innovative and has transportation and agricultural infrastructure.
We have skilled farmers and a social safety net. The foresight of past leaders has established land-grant educational institutions, research and cooperative extension services. Demographers predict the global human population will be 9 billion in 2050, an increase of 3 billion from today. Flinchbaugh noted that, today, 27 percent of U.S. agriculture production is exported. Global agricultural production today increases 9.1 percent annually. In order to feed 3 billion more people by 2050, global food production must increase 9.75 percent per year. “There is no way we can feed 3 billion more people without biotechnology, science and extension,” said Flinchbaugh. Flinchbaugh concluded by asking us to embrace biotechnology, science and extension as a policy base that would feed the 2050 world. (Sandra Frost is a University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service educator in Park County.)
Energy audits can be helpful to ag producers Wyoming agricultural producers, small businesses and rural electric cooperatives all outside of Cheyenne are eligible for low-cost energy audits and renewable energy development assistance (REDA). The program is through the University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service, State Energy Office (SEO) and Manufacturing-Works, said Milt Geiger, energy coordinator for the extension service. If selected, a $1,000 energy
audit can be purchased for $250 or the $250 would pay for a $1,000 REDA program. The program is funded by a USDA Rural Development grant. “Renewable energy systems have the potential to be cost-effective in Wyoming but understanding the specifics of your potential installation is critical to success,” said Geiger. “Through the low-cost opportunity offered through a partnership of university and state government entities,
small businesses and ag producers can obtain the information about renewable energy and energy efficiency that allows informed decisions.” Non-profits and residential homeowners are not eligible. Manufacturing-Works is a UW-affiliated nonprofit providing general business, technical and marketing assistance and engineering solutions. “The cheapest unit of energy is the one never used,” said Larry Stewart, director
of Manufacturing-Works, “and our engineers will help make sure businesses are using energy as cost-effectively as possible.” Applications are evaluated on a first-come, first-served basis. Applications are available through the SEO at 307-7772824 or at wyomingbusiness. org/energy. REDA applications are being accepted by the UW CES at 307-766-3002 or at wyomingrenewables.org and click on the Incentives link.
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PAGE 12 • POWELL TRIBUNE TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2011
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UW extension’s master cattleman program earns top national honor A program that promotes sustainability of Wyoming cattle producers is a national award winner from the National Association of County Agricultural Agents. The Wyoming Master Cattleman Program received the top honor in the Search for Excellence in Farm and Ranch Financial Management category. “It was a real honor to accept national recognition for the Wyoming Master Cattleman Program on behalf of the entire team that has worked on the project,” said
Bridger Feuz, University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service educator based in Uinta County, who developed the program. “The program represents the hard work and collaboration of many UW extension employees and other organizations in Wyoming, including the Wyoming Stock Growers Association and the Wyoming Business Council.” More than 200 producers have participated in the program, which consists of eight, three-
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455 S. Absaroka • 754-9521 • Powell, WY • www.lintonsbigr.com Cody to Powell Toll Free 587-2668 • Toll Free 1-800-698-2145
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