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Agriculture

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Encyclopedia | In 1878, the enterprising Otto Franc described Wyoming as “the finest & wildest country . . .  abounding with fish & game.” From conflicts with rustlers through the beginnings of irrigation and the end of the open range, his huge Pitchfork Ranch came to dominate Wyoming’s Bighorn Basin.
Encyclopedia | John Hunton, initially a sutler’s clerk at Fort Laramie, later a government hay and freight contractor, cattle rancher and land commissioner kept daily diaries of his life from the mid-1870s to 1888—leaving a valid and vivid portrait of that time. 
Encyclopedia | During World War II, the U.S. Army operated two large and 17 smaller prisoner of war camps in Wyoming. Prisoners worked on farms and in the camps, often for private employers, who paid a going rate for local wages. Some prisoners became friends with their supervisors, others with the farm families they worked for.
Encyclopedia | Under a Cold War-era U.S. government program, University of Wyoming faculty taught vocational agriculture and engineering at Kabul University and other schools in Afghanistan, and Afghan exchange students studied in Laramie. At least one personal account survives, a shrewd, engaging memoir by faculty wife Ruth Southworth Brown.
Encyclopedia | Stephen Leek’s efforts to save the starving elk of Jackson Hole came at a time when survival of the species was very much in doubt. The founding of the National Elk Refuge in 1912 was one result—a huge achievement. But feeding wildlife in herds leads to disease, we now know. And Leek himself was a decidedly complicated man.
Encyclopedia | Two years after they were married in 1910, a Lander bank took almost everything from John and Ethel Love’s sheep ranch in central Wyoming. Still, despite floods, blizzards, wild dogs, rattlesnakes, barbed-wire cuts and the Spanish Influenza the family remained—and Ethel, in her letters and journals, kept track.
Encyclopedia | The federal government finally entered the irrigation business in 1902, after it became clear that large infusions of public funds were needed to build projects big enough to be effective in the arid West. The eventual result was a dozen dams across Wyoming, but crop agriculture here remains scarce. 
Encyclopedia | Starting in 1900, African-American homesteader Alonzo “Lon” Stepp built a prosperous ranch of about 1,700 acres on the Green River in Lincoln County, where Fontenelle Reservoir is now, triumphing in an era and a region where few blacks could claim such achievement. His descendants still live in the area.

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