Wyoming, April 11, 2005 (ENS): The state of
Wyoming is making solar and wind powered pumps for stock
water available to ranchers to help them cope with the
six year long drought gripping the West.
Developed by the University of Wyoming Electric Motor
Training and Testing Center, the technology can help
ranchers who typically rely on surface water for their
The new pumps would allow them to reach underground
water supplies in remote areas of their ranches. As
livestock rarely venture far from water sources, more
watering locations can mean an improved utilization
of the range.
Governor Dave Freudenthal, a Democrat, said, “With
Wyoming’s ongoing drought, surface water is not
as readily available as we might like. My hope is that
this new technology can help ranchers water their livestock
using the means and areas that make the most sense for
The project is funded through the state’s petroleum
violation fund, administered by the Wyoming Business
Council. It aims to publicize uses of renewable energy
and promote conservation. The solar and wind powered
pumps will replace less efficient diesel engines that
have been pumping water for livestock.
During this pilot stage of the project, state officials
hope to deploy between two and four pumps in each of
the state’s 23 counties. As the program progresses,
the goal is to generate matching funds from the U.S.
Department of Agriculture, private resources and other
conservation programs to help provide pumps to all ranchers
Each rancher receiving a pilot pump will be asked to
provide such services as concrete pads for the pump
or fencing the system. They will also be expected to
allow public access to the solar or wind powered stock
water pumps for demonstrations.
Bob Yeik, who ranches on about 5,000 acres west of
Yoder, has been running a solar-powered pump on a 2,000
acre pasture. “It’s operated now for about
two summers, and has been very satisfactory watering
more than 100 head of cattle during the summer months,”
Yeik said. “Without it, I would have had to consider
a new windmill tower or running a mile and a half of
electric line in there, which was going to cost me a
large sum of money. We are up to now quite happy with
The program has attracted the support of the Wyoming
Association of Conservation Districts.
Ranchers are asked to submit applications providing
basic information on their operations to a committee
formed by conservation districts, rural electric cooperatives,
University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension and rural
ranching organizations, in consultation with the Department
The pilot is being launched, said Department of Agriculture
Director John Etchepare, to give ranchers a chance to
see what is relatively new technology in action.
“In all of the years I was in ranching, having
reliable water sources was a number one priority,”
Etchepare said. “We were almost totally dependent
on our windmills for our livestock and wildlife water.
Let me assure you that the wind does not always blow
in Wyoming. This new technology comes highly recommended
and looks to be a very valuable resource for Wyoming’s
farmers and ranchers.”