CWC President Dr. Brad Tyndall talks about positive economic impact strategies with community leaders and representatives at the nearly finished Rustler Ag and Equine Center (photo by Jeff Rebitski)

By Jeff Rebitski

Staff Writer

The Central Wyoming College (CWC) Board of Trustees, as well as the mayors from Lander, Riverton, and Shoshoni along with several community leaders from all three towns, took an in-depth tour of the new Rustler Agriculture & Equine Complex (RAEC) on Wednesday. All of them listened to Dr. Brad Tyndall, president of CWC, talk about progress and the future impact that this facility will have both educationally and economically for the people of Fremont County and Wyoming in general. 

“We, like the state’s ENDOW (Economically Needed Diversity Options for Wyoming), have concluded that there is much economic and employment potential in meat and food processing in this region. CWC’s Rustler Ag & Equine Complex envisions supporting superior ag and equine programs to lead this movement,” Tyndall said.

The building itself and the surrounding grounds are scheduled for an August 26, 2023, grand opening that should provide a spectacular opportunity for people from all over Wyoming to experience the grandeur that will be the envy of every person who ever sat atop a horse. Along with two professional arenas, there is a series of classrooms and a complete meat processing complex housed in the same building. 

In the future, the RAEC will provide the educational resources to provide degrees in a variety of ag-related fields as well as the necessary space to host rodeo, equestrian, and clinician programs at a level that has not been seen in this region before.

There is also a chance to attract professional-level events including concerts and PRCA-sponsored rodeos, all of which will bring economic advantages to the entire community.

The innovative approach to the agricultural industry in Fremont County will get a long-needed shot-in-the-arm that will propel the CWC experience for students young and old into areas only dreamt about to this point. The idea that the youth of Wyoming can acquire a degree or certificate in a program that will allow them to live, learn and stay in Fremont County was the goal of CWC all along. This complex is the shining star that this, and many other communities, have been waiting for and now it is a reality. 

With an already-developed equine program that draws students from states all around the country, CWC was able to change directions even further and develop an agricultural program in conjunction with the strong farm-to-table program that is already making an impact in Riverton and Lander. The impact comes as local producers can now produce and sell their goods in a convenient and well-managed store, locally owned and operated. With support from local legislators, the changes to policy at the state level will continue to help and promote the ag movement.

The future of beef production and marketing is changing and CWC is anxious to lead the changes by keeping local beef available to local consumers and marketing the meat in ways that will make the demand higher all over the country and the world. Fremont County and Wyoming beef in general could, and should, be available to anyone around the world. 

With programs that provide training for small acreage farming and hobby farm management, CWC is positioning itself to help even the smallest of producers grow, market, and sell their goods, showing the youth of Fremont County that it is possible to live, learn and earn in this amazing place we call home.