UW President Asserts University's Commitment to Ag Producers
The University of Wyoming's job is to help producers overcome challenges and keep agriculture strong and vibrant in Wyoming, UW President Tom Buchanan told those attending an evening banquet during the WESTI Ag Days.
Theme for the recent Wyoming Extension's Strategically and Technologically Informative days in Worland was Partners in Agriculture.
"The theme of this year's WESTI conference describes perfectly the relationship we have with many of you," said Buchanan, whose wife, Jacque, is from Thermopolis, just 30 miles down the road from Worland. "Wyoming was founded on the enterprises of farming and ranching, and UW recognizes the large number of people and businesses that rely on a strong and vibrant agricultural economy."
Buchanan was the featured speaker at the Big Horn Basin Ag Ambassadors Ag Appreciation Dinner during WESTI, a two-day event full of seminars pertinent to producers. Many of the presenters were from UW.
"The theme was ‘Partners in Agriculture,' and we ended up with a lot of partners," said Jim Gill, UW CES educator in Worland. "The programs were well-attended along with the 200-plus country folks who attended the Ag Appreciation Dinner.
During his speech, Buchanan highlighted current research topics at the College of Agriculture that include infectious diseases, weed and pest control, restoring and improving disturbed rangelands, water and carbon sequestration.
"These are all issues those involved in agriculture must understand and deal with to stay competitive," said Buchanan.
Buchanan complimented the college's efforts.
"Our College of Agriculture has never had better leadership or better faculty than it has today," he noted. The college was second among other UW colleges in research funding with $11.7 million last year and is first per faculty member. Added Buchanan, "The expertise of our extension educators out in the state has never been stronger."
Buchanan said UW will talk with legislators for funding to expand the biological safety level 3 laboratory capability at the Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory (WSVL), where scientists test for diseases such as brucellosis, plague, tularemia and chronic wasting disease. The WSVL is managed by the College of Agriculture's Department of Veterinary Sciences.
"I want you to hear loud and clear that this facility is a priority for the University of Wyoming," Buchanan said, "not because we need another building but because we have a commitment to work with you as partners to eradicate the diseases that plague your livelihood." Buchanan also said UW will look to other partnerships where the ag industry is involved. He expects the new School of Energy Resources to partner with the College of Agriculture and explore expanded renewable energy technologies and identify a greater role for agriculture in conservation of natural resources.
"Let me add one more thing," said Buchanan, "Wyoming is a state where there is only one university, and it belongs to the people. UW exists to serve you. And if we're not, then we're not doing our job."