Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Ag-tivity

The Agribusiness Division hosted the 7th Annual Ag Diversification Tour yesterday to check out different ag operations and see how those producers are using innovative ideas and the resources they have to keep a steady income.

The tour started in Douglas, Wyo., at the Wyoming State Fair Grounds with these cinnamon rolls for breakfast. These babies (and they're about the size of a real baby) were amazing. Judy and her crew at the cafeteria there know what they're doing. Definitely worth a stop for folks during the fair which is Aug. 8-15.

The first stop was Lucile and Dennis Taylor's Boer goat ranch outside Douglas, Wyo. They raise the goats for meat, seedstock and 4-Hers.

Then it was back to the Fair Grounds for lunch with keynote speakers Terry Henderson of Cougar Valley Ranch and Ron Richner of Lone Tree Mini Bales and Drift Boats. Terry discussed her grass-fed beef marketing strategies and how 20 ag families have developed a wind energy project.
Ron talked about their hay operation, the two-pound bales they sell for pet food and decoration, and the drift boat business they operate on the North Platte River.

After lunch, it was back on the bus for a trip out to Deer Forks Guest Ranch. Pam Haar's daughter and son-in-law are building a house on the property made of straw. This is no Three Little Pigs story: The walls of the house will be made with 19-inch bales of straw that are then covered with stucco. When it's all said and done the walls will be about two-feet thick.

The Haars are also experimenting with tires to build structures on the property. These "bales" are made of 100 compressed tires and weigh about one ton. They're used to...

...build the walls for this barn. The "bales" are covered in a layer of cement and provide remarkable insulation. There was a dramatic difference in temperature from the outside to the inside of the barn. And it saves tires from landfills...

The Deer Forks guest ranch above is also diversifying their operation with a llama trekking program, and are raising miniature cattle, club lambs and pigs, and boer goats for a variety of uses.
There are a lot of creative ranchers and farmers out there. If you have an idea for your operation and need some help getting it off the ground, contact the Agribusiness Division at the WBC. They can walk you through some of the particulars in value-added marketing.
What the tour is all about:

video