The Wyoming Stock Growers Association and Encana Oil and Gas, Inc., are working together to support Community Dialogues for Rural Wyoming, a program dedicated to providing information and education about life in small communities with high energy and ag involvement.
The program, conducted by WSGA, was established to tell the stories of farmers, ranchers and others in rural Wyoming's rural communities. A website, RealRanchers.com, has been established along with a Facebook page, YouTube channel and Twitter account, all detailed on the website.
A $20,000 grant awarded by Encana will enable the program to host public events, offer social media training, provide advertising to drive traffic to the website, and purchase equipment to aid in the development of video content.
The program targets rural community members, local leaders and family ag producers with the aim of providing a line of communication between rural communities and the non-agricultural public.
"People who live and work in Wyoming's rural communities have a story to tell, and an interested audience who want to hear from them," says Kosha Olsen, WSGA program director. "Content for the website and social media outlets is provided by rural community members, a number of whom are younger ranchers who have expressed interest in becoming more involved as leaders."
The website has already been viewed more than 6,300 times in eight months, Olsen said earlier this month. The Facebook page has more than 1,000 followers from 18 countries.
"Agriculture is such an important part of Wyoming that it's critical we in the oil and gas industry promote open discussion with landowners and others in agriculture," says "Randy Teeuwen, Encana community relations director.
"Social media and transparent discussions will help others understand the importance of rural life to the heritage of Wyoming and allow us to work together."
Encana previously awarded grant funding to support the initial phases of the program. The upcoming phase will provide more and new content, including a series on how the energy industry collaborates with agriculture and opportunities it creates in rural communities.