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UW College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Honors 2011 Award Recipients

September 7, 2011

An agricultural producer, the owner of a wool fiber testing business, a donation of a ranch to the University of Wyoming and a long-time sponsor of research will be honored by the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources during Ag Appreciation Weekend Sept. 9-10.

Outstanding Alumni Award recipients Gary Darnall of Harrisburg, Neb., and Angus McColl of Denver, Legacy Award recipient Tim Mellon of Riverside and Research Partner of the Year Syngenta will be recognized during the weekend and at the Wyoming vs. Texas State University football game Sept. 10. Festivities include the annual barbecue.

Feature stories and photos about the recipients are at

Outstanding Alumni Award recipient Gary Darnall says he always intended to return to the livestock and farming operation that grew from his great-grandfather's homestead nestled against the Wildcat Hills near Harrisburg. Darnall graduated with a bachelor's degree in 1960 and a master's degree in 1962, both in agricultural economics.

"My whole goal was to come back to production agriculture and, hopefully, to the ranch," says Darnall, who attended UW on a track scholarship. His return to fulltime at the farm/ranch had to wait until farm economics changed in the early 1960s. The family was not sure if the operation would support Darnall, his wife, Emilie, two children, Lisa and Lane, and his parents, Harvey and Mattie.

After teaching classes at Western Nebraska College in Scottsbluff, Neb., and as a vocational agricultural teacher - all the while working at the farm/ranch - the economics changed and Darnall was able to join his father.

Darnall says he could not accomplish what he has done without advice and expertise from many others. The operation, which includes Darnall Feedlot, now employs 16, including three part-time employees, and Lisa and Lane, who have joined the operation full time.

Wool Fiber Testing Business

Within nine years of emigrating to the United States in the 1950s, Angus McColl became co-owner of Yocum-McColl Testing Laboratories Inc. fiber testing service in Denver that became and remains the center of wool testing activity in the United States. McColl graduated in 1960 with a bachelor's degree in animal production.   

"The Angus McColl-led transition to an internationally accepted standard was instrumental in stopping the extinction of the wool business in the USA," says Terry Martin of Anodyne Inc. of San Angelo, Texas, in his nomination letter.

Rick Powers, trading manager at Lempriere USA Inc., says, "Without his testing house, our business would completely stop. I just want to thank Angus for his dedication over the years."

And one more - "For nearly 50 years, the entire U.S. wool industry has depended upon Angus as contracts are written and value is determined," wrote Larry Prager, president of the UW Alumni Association and general manager of Center of the Nation Wool Inc. of Belle Fourche, S.D. "Millions and millions of pounds of wool have gone to market with the stamp of Yocum-McColl test results. Few can comprehend the importance of Angus' role."

Ranch Donation Boosts Research

Tim Mellon's donation of the Riverbend Ranch west of Laramie to the UW Foundation will dramatically affect wildlife-livestock disease research in the college and across the Intermountain region. The college will use the proceeds of the sale to fund the Riverbend Ranch Endowed Chair in Wildlife-Livestock Health.

"The gift is a tremendous opportunity for UW to further the great work our folks are doing in the wildlife-livestock disease area," notes Frank Galey, dean of the college, who also chairs the Wyoming Brucellosis Coordination Team.

Long-Time Research Partner

Pesticide and seed researchers in the college nominated Syngenta for the college's 2011 Outstanding Research Partner Award.

Plant sciences Professor Gary Franc and Assistant Professor Andrew Kniss have worked closely with the company, especially with research and development scientist Pete Forster, who is based in Eaton, Colo.

"Pete has been such a big supporter of a lot of our programs at the Powell Research and Extension Center and also at the James C. Hageman Sustainable Agriculture Research and Extension Center near Lingle," says Kniss. "He's always there with information when you need it."

The 29th annual Ag Appreciation Day Barbecue is 2-3:30 p.m. Sept. 10 at Tailgate Park. Proceeds provide scholarships for College of Agriculture and Natural Resources students and help fund various agriculture college student organizations. Tickets can be purchased at the event or prior to the event by contacting Laurie Bonini in the Office of Academic and Student Programs at (307) 766-4034 or

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