CHEYENNE, 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 livestock.
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 their operations.”
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 pump.”
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