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Cheyenne Mayor Marian Orr sees accessible, affordable, high-speed broadband as critical to the city's prosperity and future. Back in January, she announced the formation of a broadband task force. The City Council recently adopted a resolution drafted by the task force following several months of research.

There will soon be a Wyoming Pacific Asia office based in Taiwan. The Wyoming Business Council (WBC) has entered into a 22-month contract with a Taiwanese representative to help create business relationships between the state and country.

F.E. Warren Air Force Base

A large federal investment is coming to Wyoming as Congress is investing $90 billion in modernizing Intercontinental Ballistic Missile weapon systems (ICBMs). ICBMs are stored at three locations across the United States, including F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne.

Gunwerks

The Wyoming Business Council has recommended full funding to expand the Gunwerks firearms manufacturing facility in Cody. The project is expected to bring in up to 66 new jobs.

The 2018 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report commissioned by American Express

Wyoming is ranked 42nd in the nation for growth of women-owned businesses since 2007, with a 22 percent increase in that time. That’s compared to a 58 percent increase of women-owned businesses nationwide. But Wyoming still ranks in the top ten for women’s businesses that employ large numbers of people.

Bob Beck

The Economically Needed Diversity Options for Wyoming Committee or ENDOW presented a 20-year plan to the legislature’s Joint Revenue, Business and Economic Development Committee and generally got good support. 

Wyoming Business Council

The Wyoming Business Council has hired Russell Elliott as Broadband Manager for the state of Wyoming. Elliott previously worked in telecommunications in New Mexico and Colorado.

USGS via TopoQuest

A foreign trade zone, or FTZ, near the Casper International Airport will be expanded to cover most of Natrona County.

Cody Laboratories Inc.

Just a few months ago Cody Laboratories was gearing for a $50.5 million expansion that would add 57 new jobs. But in April, it announced the expansion was going to be postponed because funding never came through. Now the facility, owned by the Lannett Company, is facing close to 50 layoffs. That's more than a third of the staff. 

Leonard J. DeFrancisci via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Many hotels and restaurants in Cody don't have enough seasonal workers this year. This is partly because of a regulation change to a foreign workers visa program.

Raspberry deLight Farms

Studies show that Albany County has the highest rates of food insecurity in the state. One organization hopes to fix that with the help of a $400,000 Food Project Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Courtesy Image

Wyoming communities will soon see new investments in businesses and jobs thanks to a nonprofit that plans to reserve a portion of its $65 million New Markets Tax Credit award for the state.

Montana and Idaho Community Development Corporation (MICDC) will invest about $12 million in Wyoming projects in hopes of improving the state’s economy. The nonprofit expanded into Wyoming this past July and will use the first of its U.S. Treasury award for contributions to Wyoming businesses and organizations.

Weatherby Inc.

Sheridan has attracted a firearms manufacturer that is expected to provide between 70 and 90 jobs.  Weatherby Inc. announced Tuesday that it will relocate its manufacturing operations to Sheridan after over 70 years in California. 

Weatherby said it is coming to Sheridan because of its available workforce and Wyoming’s business-friendly environment. Sheridan City Administrator Mark Collins said the community is the site of a number of manufacturing companies, and he thinks that helped attract their business.

Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported

A survey of rural bankers in ten Great Plains states says their biggest worry in the coming year is farm and ranch foreclosures.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss said the problem is that beef and other agriculture commodity prices continue to be so low and that could lead to a fairly sharp upturn in foreclosures in 2018. Goss said Wyoming has a double whammy since energy prices continue to be sluggish, too. He said that in turn would hurt rural banks.

©UCAR. Photo by Carlye Calvin

The new supercomputer known as Cheyenne was officially dedicated at a ceremony Tuesday in the city it was named after. Governor Matt Mead, University of Wyoming President Laurie Nichols and Cheyenne Mayor Marian Orr were all in attendance, among other state leaders. Tony Busalacchi is the President of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research or UCAR. He said Cheyenne is the 22 most powerful in the world and three times stronger than the Yellowstone supercomputer it’s replacing.

Bright Agrotech; https://pixabay.com/en/vertical-farm-green-wall-bok-choy-916337/

Seven years after getting its start in a storage unit in Laramie, the company Bright Agrotech is merging with a San Francisco firm.

Bright’s founders developed a technology that allows people to grow food vertically, on indoor towers or exterior walls. Their hydroponic systems nourish plants using nutrient solutions instead of soil. They provide education and equipment to farmers around the world who are interested in this kind of production.

Wyoming Beef Council

Three Japanese food editors visited Wyoming last week to learn more about how beef is raised and cooked in the U.S. The tour was part of a partnership between the Wyoming Beef Council and the U.S. Meat Export Federation. 

Wyoming Beef Council director Ann Wittmann said the U.S. shipped 425 million pounds of beef to Japan alone in 2016. That brought in over $1 billion for U.S. beef producers. Wittmann said Japanese markets also prefer cuts that U.S. consumers don’t have a taste for.

Melodie Edwards / Wyoming Public Radio

The city of Cody is now home to Wyoming Legacy Meat, the first USDA-inspected full-service meat processing plant in the state in over 40 years. This will allow more ranchers to market their beef as “grass fed” and “natural” and sell it out of state.

Right now, there are several state-inspected slaughter plants and processors in Wyoming, but that meat can only be sold in-state to a limited market. That’s why most cattle are sold to feedlots, sweeping Wyoming’s beef into the nation’s bulk meat supply. 

 

The cold, wet spring is delaying crop planting for farmers around Wyoming. Normally, almost 80 percent of sugar beets have been planted by now. But only 56 percent has been planted so far this year. 

Jeremiah Vardiman is an educator for the University of Wyoming’s northwest extension in Powell. He said farmers were finally able to get into the fields to plant most of the barley crop. But the plants aren’t growing very fast because it’s too cold.

Ryan Britt

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced last week that national parks added about $35 billion to the economy in 2016. But some industry analysts are seeing signs that new travel bans and immigration policies may impact that growth in 2017. 

Tourism is the second largest industry in Wyoming with visitors spending $3.2 billion and supporting almost 32,000 jobs in 2016. And Zinke announced record breaking revenues of nearly $40 billion thanks to National Park visitation nationwide.

Amy Martin

The Wyoming Livestock Board is testing cattle around the state for tuberculosis after learning that a herd in South Dakota was exposed to the disease. 86 animals from that herd were shipped to Wyoming in late February.

Wyoming State Veterinarian Jim Logan said TB in cattle is serious since it means producers with exposed cattle must quarantine their herds, and testing the animals requires cattle to do two trips through the shoot for shots three days apart.

And, worst of all, the symptoms of TB aren’t obvious.

Newsday.com

A recent study by the website www.wallethub.com has ranked Wyoming as the second most economically dependent state in the firearms industry.

The study measured several factors, including gun ownership, gun sales per capita, how many people were employed by the firearms industry, and contributions to Congressional members by gun-rights and gun-control groups. Wyoming ranked in the top five in most categories.

Theo Stein / USFWS

Many ranchers around the West are searching for a way to control a recent increase in livestock killed on the range. At the annual Wyoming Farm Bureau meeting this month, members supported a new policy they hope will address the problem. Farm Bureau spokesman Brett Moline said it’s not clear why people are shooting more livestock.

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Wyoming communities are encouraging holiday shoppers to forego Black Friday and visit their local downtowns on Small Business Saturday instead. American Express initiated Small Business Saturday seven years ago to promote shopping locally during the holiday season rather than buying gifts online. Wyoming Business Council member Tom Dixon said small businesses are part of what makes Wyoming special.

BOB BECK

The Western Sugar Cooperate Plant in Torrington will lay off 86 employees in November when it shuts down the production facilities. There are concerns surrounding the layoffs, including what the shutdown will mean for the city’s economy. Ashley Harpstreith, Executive Director of Goshen County Economic Development Corporation (GCEDC), said the community will face challenges.

Flickr via Creative Commons

Despite the major layoffs in the coal industry this year, the unemployment rate in Wyoming rose slightly in June, up by .1% to 5.7% since May. Although that rise isn’t significant, it is a serious increase from last June when it was only 4.2%.

A report from the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services says almost every county in Wyoming has seen increases in unemployment since last summer. Senior Economist David Ballard says the largest of these increases were seen in the more energy dependent counties. Natrona, Converse, and Campbell County all increased by over 3%.

Vertical Harvest

After seven years, Vertical Harvest - Jackson Hole’s hydroponic greenhouse – celebrates its grand opening this week. A hydroponic greenhouse grows plants without soil, and with less water than traditional methods. Vertical Harvest raises tomatoes, basil, and greens straight up in the air, which means the plants are stacked in several stories worth of growing space.

CEO and co-founder of Vertical Harvest Nona Yehia says the operation has been selling its produce to local restaurants, schools, and the hospital for about a month now.

YouTube

Sugar beet farmers in Wyoming are celebrating another record-breaking increase in production. In 2015, 13% more sugar beets were harvested in Wyoming for a total of 940,000 tons. It’s the seventh year in the last eight to break records. That’s according to Wyoming State Statistician Rhonda Brandt who says Wyoming has been growing sugar beets to process into sugar since at least the early 1900’s, but in the last decade, conditions have improved for farmers.

It isn’t easy for farmers in Wyoming’s arid climate to make a healthy profit on their crops, but at a conference next week in Cheyenne, farmers can learn how organic methods could help their bottom line.

University of Wyoming soil science professor Jay Norton is one of the organizers. He says the conference will offer a full schedule of talks focused on irrigated and dryland food production, among other topics.

Due to falling gas prices and the end of a Wyoming tax credit, the state’s only ethanol plant is closing its doors. 

The tax credit expired in July, but current gas and corn prices also added to the demise of Goshen County business Wyoming Ethanol.

Goshen County Economic Development Director Ashley Harpstreith said 18 workers will be displaced, but she’s hopeful that this is a temporary shutdown. 

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