University of Wyoming launches Ranch Management and Ag Leadership program

Information from Wyoming ranchers and other agricultural sectors molded a new ranch management and leadership program being launched this winter in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Wyoming.

The Ranch Management and Agricultural Leadership program has two approaches, one to meet the needs of students and another to meet the needs of community members already engaged in ranch management and agriculture.

Much of the community-based, non-formal learning opportunities in this program will involve UW Extension.

RMAL information and registration is at

Program interim director Kelly Crane said the RMAL development flipped the usual process of creating an academic program. Most programs start by convening a campus committee and developing a curriculum based on existing courses and faculty expertise. The initial effort in developing this program was listening to people across the state and region.

College personnel heard from ranchers, ag business leaders, elected officials and ranch managers at a May 2018 summit convened by former UW president Lori Nichols at a ranch near Douglas. Another summit was held this fall in northern Wyoming.

What was heard was the college trains good rangeland managers, agribusiness professionals and animal scientists.

College personnel spent the last year and a half traveling the state listening to workforce needs in addition to those received at the summits.

Crane said the college’s aspirations for the program has resonated with ranchers and federal agencies.

“The needs for the workforce and for the kinds of students we turn out in natural resources have really evolved,” said Crane. “They’re embroiled in public policy and public lands issues. We still hope science provides the answers for everything, right? But it doesn’t.”

The issues are complex, and students need professional networks to work with complex issues, he said.

The public option and student option have a required one-day leadership session scheduled in Casper.

For more information about the program, contact Pepper Jo Six, College of Ag & Natural Resources, director of development, at 307-766-4133 or [email protected].