Pine Bluffs Post - Serving all of Eastern Laramie County since 1908

By Charlene Smith
Pine Bluffs Post staff 

Laramie County wheat growers look to the future

 

The Wyoming Wheat Growers Association (WWGA) held its annual meeting in Albin Jan. 7. Topics of the meeting included ideas on improving production, as well as optional crop rotations. Among the 38 producers attending the day-long meeting were many farmers from Laramie County.

In Laramie County, winter wheat producers top the production rate for Wyoming. However, the winter wheat market is not as strong as it has been in the past which concerns most growers.

Drought is one of the main reasons for the downturn in Laramie County's winter wheat production. Laramie County is not conducive to growing crops other than winter wheat due to its limited irrigated land and climate.

According to the USDA Wyoming Field Office, some dry peas, beans and lentils might do well with the irrigation situation, but not corn or other water-dependent crops, which may bring more money for producers. However, Laramie County is second in the state for corn production, only behind Goshen County.

"Laramie County is very limited in what it can grow," said Ty Anderson, third generation wheat producer in Pine Bluffs. "We are 75 percent dry land in Laramie County and winter wheat usually does very well here."

Anderson, along with his father, Tim Anderson, produces wheat off of 10,000 acres in southeast Laramie County. He was elected for a one-year term as WWGA president. With time spent on numerous committees, Anderson's mission is to "promote wheat quality and technology."

Anderson believes wheat can compete with corn in the diverse markets such as fuel and organic supplemental

"WWGA gives money to University of Wyoming to formulate ideas and concepts for wheat's future," Anderson said. "In turn the private sector is giving money to the wheat producers to keep growing and trying the new ideas."

This process of research for new uses of wheat will lead to new concepts, Anderson hopes, and a stronger wheat industry.

WWGA is instrumental in helping pass these new concepts and ideas to producers but has just under 60 members. Anderson believes there aren't more members because of the generational gap of "knowing what I am doing to looking for new trends and ways to improve the product we produce." He added the low involvement might stem from farmers being confident in the knowledge they have of their industry.

Anderson said he felt the WWGA could enhance many of the successful wheat farmers production and offer more information on ideas for the future. His hope is to make wheat a competitor with corn for markets other than the main food market.

Charlene Smith

Anderson and all wheat producers would like to follow in cotton's footsteps with the financial and marketing savvy turnaround they have had. The cotton industry went from 15 percent faith in the product to 85 percent. The cotton industry has everyone in the "value chain" sitting on their board and helping with decisions that influence the market for cotton, said says Gordon Stoner the Secretary/Treasurer of the National Association of Wheat Growers. This process is what the wheat industry needs to do in order to survive.

Although one farmer feeds 155 people each year, wheat producers similar to Anderson hope to make wheat not just something that dances in the wind, but a strong contender for leading the crop industry in America.

 

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