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Property Improvement Project|Barnyards & Backyards

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Jennifer Thompson
Small Acreage Outreach Coordinator
University of Wyoming Extension
5015 Stone Road
Laramie, WY 82070
Phone: (307) 745-3698
Email: jsjones@uwyo.edu

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Barnyards & Backyards teams rehabilitating two properties; learn about techniques to apply to your own property!

This property improvement project provides Wyoming resource experts the chance to practice what they preach when they turn their expertise to rehabilitating two selected small-acreage properties near Wheatland and Casper, Wyoming. You can watch the successes and failures of the property makeover process through articles in the Barnyards & Backyards magazine, the http://www.uwyo.edu/barnbackyard Web site, and Facebook.

The project will start with a tour of each of the properties by a team of resource experts and the landowners. They will then discuss the landowner's goals for the property. The resource professionals will then offer guidance and discuss the different management alternatives that are available to reach those goals. Choosing from these options landowners will determine the course they want to pursue and the rest of the project will consist of the practical details of how each issue is tackled and the results of their efforts.

The property near Wheatland is owned by Dallas and Dixie Mount. Dallas, who is a UW CES educator, had nominated the 78-acre parcel, which, at the time was under different ownership. Two weeks later, the property owners put it up for sale. Since the property was contingent to the Mount's 2-acre home site, they decided to purchase it.

Mount's property is positioned in the middle of the Wheatland Irrigation District and is in the drainage between two lakes. The stumps of Russian olive trees, which are designated a noxious weed in Wyoming and are an invasive species, scar one area of the land in a slough. The trees were snipped off two years ago and every one re-sprouted. The sprouts were treated last year. The previous owners grazed the land each year from March to October with approximately 40 cow-calf pairs. Season long grazing is especially harmful to plants in the early growth period. Some areas are bare, others are overgrazed and some are under grazed.

Mount says the goal for this property, first and foremost, is to get the bare spots filled in. In addition, the Mounts would like to have a bit of recreation, such as family horseback riding. It's the goal of the Mounts to have a nice property and for it to earn approximately 50 percent of the land's payment by leasing portions of it out in a manner that will help them meet the other goals for their property.

The other property is northeast of Casper and owned by Tim and Krista Brown. The 20-acre property sits on an ancient sand dune in a high wind area. The Brown's have two horses and no fences on their piece of the prairie. The area has been overgrazed, native grasses were grubbed out, and cheatgrass has moved in! An objective would be to get rid of the cheatgrass and promote the natural grasses already there. The Brown's would like to make the property sustainable!

Two teams of Wyoming Resource experts have been formed one for each property. Teams are working with landowners to reach the landowners' goals. Members of the teams come from a variety of backgrounds including, local, county state and federal land resource organizations. Meet the team and see what's happening by searching for Barnyards & Backyards on Facebook and becoming a "fan". You can also follow the project by subscribing to Barnyards & Backyards magazine. This quarterly magazine provides practical information on rural living in our challenging and beautiful state.

Extracted from a Barnyards & Backyards magazine article by Jessica Leetch who was the Small Acreage Outreach Project intern this summer in Wheatland.

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