One committee taking on Wyoming Governor Matt Mead’s economic diversification initiative will hold a public forum about agriculture this week.
The Executive Committee on Economically Needed Diversity Options For Wyoming, or ENDOW, has divided into five subcommittees representing different parts of the state’s economy.
ENDOW Communications Coordinator Annaliese Wiederspahn said the goal of the agricultural subcommittee’s upcoming meeting is to hear feedback on how the state should diversify its agricultural sector over the next 20 years. The Rural Council, which seeks to represent communities and individuals outside the state’s larger towns, will also attend.
“From ag producers, from small business owners, just from interested parties, people interested in the local food movement, all of these things,” Wiederspahn said. “To come together and provide ideas that can be distilled down into the recommendations that ENDOW will put forward on August 1st of this year to the governor.”
Participants will be discussing new innovations or markets in farming and ranching that could spur economic activity in Wyoming. Subcommittee chair Wally Wolski, who grew up on a family farm in Goshen County, is counting on new technologies.
“It used to be everybody tried to see who could have the straightest rows, and anymore you don’t have to worry about that because of GPS in tractors,” Wolski said.
Wolski added that drones and data-driven fertilizer and sprinkler systems could improve the future of agriculture. The committee will also be looking for ways that producers can get higher prices for goods and access retail markets. Many farmers and ranchers are vulnerable to fluctuations in wholesale prices, which are impacted by global trade.
“As far as any particular crops, at this time we’re just in the process of identifying them, and that’s why we want to get input from the public,” Wolski said.
The forum will begin at 10 a.m. Wednesday, March 14 in the Casper College Student Union. In the coming months, Wolski said the committee will prioritize ideas and get advice from outside experts on how to implement them.