For fourth-generation rancher Dennis Sun, summer is split between operating Sun Ranch, 40 miles west of Casper, with his family, attending meetings and advocating for the agriculture industry, and making sure the state gets the latest agriculture news in “the paper.”
The paper is the Wyoming Livestock Roundup, which has earned the Outstanding Research/Outreach Partner Award for 2017. “I never thought I’d be in the newspaper business,” says owner, publisher, and lifelong-rancher Sun.
The Roundup is a staple for the state’s farmers, ranchers, agribusinesses, and others with an interest in the state’s third largest industry. Weekly editions cover livestock and crop production, prices, weather, private lands, federal lands, consumer trends, ag news from D.C. and market influences from around the world. Livestock and equipment sales, fairs, youth activities, guest opinions, and obituaries are regular features in the Roundup’s pages and online editions.
“Dennis and all the staff at the WLR set the standard for this award,” says nominator Kelly Crane, associate director of UW Extension. “In my judgment, few entities contribute more to UW Extension’s mission to provide relevant, research-based information to Wyoming ranchers, farmers, agribusinesses, and rural residents than the WLR.”
Sun Attributes Success to Staff
The Roundup’s editorial team includes staff writer-editors and correspondents around the state. “Our goal is always to give readers quality, accurate reporting,” says Managing Editor Saige Albert.
“The staff is really passionate and dedicated to the Roundup. They have an ag work ethic,” says Sun. “They work till the job gets done, not by the clock.” He notes as soon as the paper goes to press Friday morning, they start on the next week’s issue.
In addition to 52 regular editions a year, the Roundup publishes special editions, such as the Rocky Mountain Horse Edition, Midland Bull Test Edition, Wyoming State Fair and Rodeo Program Guide, Wyoming Seedstock Directory, and fall and winter cattlemen’s editions. In September, there’s a University of Wyoming special edition that includes UW and student accomplishments.
Relationships a Priority
Most mornings, Sun arrives at his office at the Roundup by 6:30 a.m., “when everything’s quiet,” to review the activities and issues of Wyoming producers. The Roundup is a member of almost a dozen organizations, including Wyoming Angus Association, Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation, Wyoming Horse Council, Wyoming Wool Growers Association, and other state, county, and national industry organizations.
Sun is president of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association and has served on the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Dean’s Advisory Board since 2005.
Says Crane, “The Roundup sustains a statewide network of agricultural professionals, businesses, elected officials, community members, and producers, which is an accomplishment largely unrivaled by other media sources in Wyoming.”
Albert points out UW Extension specialists are used regularly as sources, and the Roundup publishes columns by extension specialists each week. The paper also runs guest opinions from department heads and the UW president.
“We appreciate stories from UW sources because they provide practical information for producers that originates from research conducted within the state,” says Albert. “We also have a great working relationship with many UW researchers who notify us about their work.”
“UW helps the state in so many ways,” observes Sun. “UW Extension helps ranchers, farmers, and kids in 4-H,” he says. “With UW being the only four-year university and largest ag program, if you don’t support it, you’re kind of cheating yourself and your family.”
The Wyoming Livestock Roundup was established in Worland in 1989. Sun purchased the paper in 2006. “It looked like it would be an enjoyable business to have and has proved to be. The Roundup’s success shows that hard work pays off.”