Teaching about the challenges ranchers face and using hands-on learning are part of the Wyoming Ranch Camp May 24-28 near Evanston presented by University of Wyoming Extension educators.
The camp is at the Queen Mountain Lodge on the Broadbent Ranch and geared toward recent high school graduates and college students.
“This program is meant to be well-rounded, including all these types of topics you need to know to run a ranch or be involved in an ag business,” said Chance Marshall, extension agriculture and horticulture educator in Fremont-Lander counties.
Meat science, animal science, economics, ranch recreation and range management are among topics. Camp attendees will present their ranch management plans the last day, and the winning team will receive an award.
“There are going to be contests going on all week,” said Hudson Hill, extension agriculture and horticulture educator in Lincoln-Afton counties. “The participants are basically given this ranch and asked to put together a ranch plan, and whoever has the best plan at the end of the week is going to win the contest and receive the award.”
The program is limited to 20 participants and costs $200 per student. Lodging and meals are provided. Interested individuals will need to complete an application with name, address, brief background, and brief statement of interest in the camp of no more than 300 words and email them to Marshall, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Hill, email@example.com.
“Part of the application process is to write a statement of interest,” said Marshall. “We just want to know why they want to be part of the program and how they hope to benefit from it.”
There are scholarships available for the $200 registration fee and will be awarded based on the application statement as well as the order they are received.
“If businesses or individuals are interested, they could have the ability to sponsor tuition for a student and possibly sponsor a prize,” said Hill. “They can nominate a young person in their community who may benefit from this class and who is going to be involved in agriculture.”
Housing is at the lodge and participants will have downtime to get in their teams and interact with each other, come up with plans to use the tools learned and make decisions for themselves, shared Hill.
“It’s a good networking opportunity for people who want to do this and want to meet people involved across the state,” said Marshall.
Day one focuses on the economic aspect of running a ranch or agriculture business. Participants will learn about the basics of a ranch business plan, economic tools for analyzing ranch decisions and incorporation of risk management into a ranch plan.
Day two allows participants to explore and tour parts of the ranch and learn from the owners of the ranch about ranch diversification and the importance of managing people, not cows.
“They have an outfitter who has a lodge there and hunts clients out of it, and that’s another source of income for the ranch,” said Marshall. “He’s going to discuss their business approach.”
Day three focuses on range management with some classroom work focused on how to calculate and manage stocking rates, shared Brian Sebade, extension agriculture and horticulture educator in Albany County.
Participants will clip plants and do transects.
“That way folks can really see hands-on what they need to do for estimating, figuring out how many animals they can have, and looking at the different plants and determining what livestock are going to graze what,” said Sebade. “We want to even get in details about poisonous plants.”
Day four focuses on animal science and allows participants to learn about managing herd genetics, nutrition and health, shared Marshall.
“We might be out docking some lambs, talking about animal handling, working with artificial insemination and mineral supplementation,” said Marshall. “We’re going to have all kinds of things they can look at and see firsthand.”
Participants will present ranch plans to a panel of extension personnel and ranchers and a winning team named.
The camp is partially funded by the John P. Ellbogen Foundation.