March 28, 2022 by The Riverton Ranger - Jeff Rebitski
Agricultural Innovations Summit in Dubois raises questions and hopes
Dubois- On the brightest and warmest day of the year so far, a group of advocates and staff from Central Wyoming College met in what is certain to be a regular event at one of the newest and most impressive attractions Wyoming has to offer. The Museum of Military Vehicles seems to be the perfect place to face yet another challenge facing the country...How will we meet the challenges facing agriculture in the coming days, weeks, months and years?
Central Wyoming College in one of the boldest moves imaginable, is revitalizing its agriculture program and by doing so, preparing not only the newest generation of farmers and ranchers, but the dedicated local landowners who have built the heritage of Fremont County with the sweat of their brow and the blood on their hands that so often accompanies the hard and thankless work. Dr. Brad Tyndall, President of Central Wyoming College, spoke with passion about the changes to the college and the curriculum with regards to its agriculture programs. Starting with the Rocky Mountain Complex for Ag and Equine Science, a multi-million dollar event center and laboratory complex, this gargantuan building will hold two arenas for professional equestrian and agricultural events as well as a complete USDA meat processing lab to train and produce future meat processors. A farrier lab will train and prepare horseshoers in not only the craft, but instil the business acumen to ensure a successful business model after college. Equine and livestock health will compliment the overall program and hopefully help the community realize the importance of regular veterinary care.
The farm to table concept is not a new one, but with so many innovations on the way to accomplish the compte circle, the college is exploring things like vertical gardening, indoor and outdoor small and large scale plans and the use of hydroponics, However, the real innovations come with how the local community then take advantage of these innovations. There is now a cooperative effort for distribution that picks up and delivers the local produce and products. The issues surrounding the collection and distribution of locally made products has long plagued the industry, but now, with this new model, it is possible to efficiently collect and distribute these goods.
People, as a rule, are resistant to change and the biggest challenge facing the agricultural industry is accepting that locally grown food and meat is attainable and practical as it supports local farmers and ranchers. If you continue to do the same things because it is familiar, you will never know if a better idea is out there. New concept farming means that people with backyard gardens can have their veggies in local markets where they can buy local craft meats raised by people they know. A small greenhouse may lead to a source of income with little to no extra effort and having a place to take all those extra zucchini you end up with will alleviate that nightmare.
Questions are obviously out there to be answered, but it seems that there are some very smart people already at work to ensure that our agricultural heritage is being carried into the future with its integrity in place.