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University of Wyoming Foundation

Donor Stories

A Passion for Agriculture Fuels Advocacy

Ron and Lynne PulleyWhen Ron and Lynne Pulley of Huntley, Wyoming, began thinking about retirement, they chose a plan that would not only give them a secure income but also would benefit something that they strongly believe in?agriculture. As a result of their involvement with the University of Wyoming College of Agriculture, they funded a charitable gift annuity in 2008 that will be used to support graduate assistants in the Department of Animal Science.

"The future of agriculture depends on the education of the youth," says Lynne.

"The Foundation did an awful lot of work to help us," says Ron. "We went over it a lot, making sure we had the right cash flow and that we wouldn't outlive our savings. To me, it seemed pretty simple, and it was the most secure thing we could do."

Under the terms of a gift annuity, someone planning to retire transfers cash or property to the UW Foundation and then receives generous payments for life. Such an annuity offers security because the payments are fixed, and there are estate and capital gains tax benefits. Not only that, but the donor gets to choose where the gift is applied. Ron and Lynne are passionate about agriculture, so that is where they directed their gift.

The Pulleys are also active members of the UW agricultural community. "We spend a lot of time at Animal Science," says Ron. "It opened up a whole new social network. We enjoy it because it gave us a whole new list of friends."

They first became involved with the university in 2004 when they were awarded a grant proposal for meat research into the raising of yaks. "We've always had a hand in the leading edge of animal products of one type or another," says Ron. The Pulleys have raised dogs, chinchillas, yaks, and Highland cattle, among other things.

They now raise rare mulefoot hogs through their business Wyoming Heritage Hogs. The reason these animals are called mulefoot is because the normally cloven hooves are fused into a single toe (syndactyl)¬. This hardy outdoor pig is known for its ability to store fat under its skin and in between its muscle fibers. At the beginning of the last century, mulefoot hogs were widespread and popular for their marbled hams but have since fallen out of favor due to consumers' emphasis on leaner meat. Florence Fabricant of the New York Times has said that the meat is "darker, more heavily marbled with fat, juicier and richer-tasting than most pork, and perfect for grilling." This breed won the 2009 Pig Pageant blind taste test judged by food professionals, chefs, and food writers.

As it says on Ron and Lynne's Web site: "Simply the best tasting pork!"

The Pulleys' goals for Wyoming Heritage Hogs are to support the survival of the mulefoot hog, to provide quality breedstock, and to develop nutritious and tasty pork.

"The problem is marketing the product," says Ron, and in order to reach people the Pulleys have a Web site (wyomingheritagehogs.tripod.com), and they regularly connect with people around the region. In Laramie, their pork can be purchased at the Big Hollow Food Co-op, and whole or half hogs can be purchased on their farm, Rolyn Acres, in Huntley.

Photo:
Ron and Lynne Pulley

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