Symposium to address wide range of topics

TORRINGTON, Wyo. – It’s not a secret – people are living longer today.

And that’s a good thing. But it’s resulting in the need for some difficult conversations in the agriculture industries.

“The average age of primary (agriculture) operators is continuing to increase,” said Caleb Carter, Extension Educator with the University of Wyoming Extension in Goshen County.

“More disturbing, and just as important, if we look at the last time the USDA did farm surveys, they started looking at second and third operators,” he said. “Their average age is increasing as well, in some cases, faster than the primary operators.”

That can lead to those difficult conversation about when is granddad going to step back and pass on the reigns of the farm to his son or grandson? Having those conversations without angering everyone in the family will be one of the topics covered Tuesday during the 2018 Southeast Wyoming Beef Production Convention at the Rendezvous Center on the Goshen County Fairgrounds in Torrington.

The presentation is part of the UW Extension Agriculture Legacy Management Transition project, focused on the future of family farms in the state and the region, Carter said. Communication remains one of the most difficult parts of that legacy of passing on the farming operation, he said.

“It’s a really complex deal,” Carter said. “Not only is there a management side to it, there’s an emotional side to it as well. People can get upset.

“The focus of the presentation is giving people the tools to have those difficult conversations,” he said. “It will give people the tools to step back, look at the situation and say, ‘Let’s have this conversation together. We’re talking about us men who’d rather go fix a fence than talk about our feelings.”

The Southeast Wyoming Beef Production Convention, co-sponsored by the Wyoming Stock Growers Association, is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday. One change this year is shorter individual sessions, giving producers from around the Tri-State region a chance to hear more information about production, marketing and more.

“I think people will like that,” Carter said. “That allows us to get a few more topics in there.”

One of those topics will be the new move toward Beefchain, using Blockchain technology in beef production and marketing. The Convention will kick off with a panel discussion featuring Rob Jennings, CEO of Wyoming-based BeefChain, Tyler Lindholm, a rancher and chair of the Wyoming Blockchain Task Force, and others.

The drive behind BeefChain is to “create a new ‘rancher-centric’ supply chain utilizing blockchain technology to recapture the value now realized by third-party feedlots and processors,” according to its website.

In addition to an ongoing trade show, other presentation topics will include developing long-term strategies for operations during market changes, beef quality assurance and developing export opportunities for beef. UW Extension Educator Dallas Mount of Wheatland will share what he learned about new marketing strategies during a recent sabbatical in Australia. 

Cost for the convention is $20, or $15 for students, and includes lunch and admission to the trade show. Carter believes producers from around the region will benefit from the information presented during the day, particularly given the continuing changes in an ever-expanding,
global market.

“We’re in a world market today,” he said. “It used to be you went to the sale barn and sold (livestock). Now, there are so many other marketing opportunities.

“A lot of these things … need to be looked at and understood from different angles. That’s what we’re trying to do with this convention,” Carter said. “We’re trying to look at all the different technologies, new advances in production, and present them to the producers so they can look at them and say, ‘Does that apply to me?’”


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