The University of Wyoming Board of Trustees approved a new Bachelor of Science degree program in ranch management and agricultural leadership (RMAL).
The interdisciplinary program is designed to equip students with both practical experience and effective leadership skills, integrating coursework in resource management, business operations and real-world problem solving.
“UW Ag leadership has put together a thoughtful program with inputs from across the state,” says UW Trustee Macey Moore. “Students who graduate with this degree will find themselves prepared with the ability to navigate a diversity of roles in agriculture for their entire careers.”
Housed in the College of Agriculture, Life Sciences and Natural Resources, the program will launch in fall 2024. Students enrolled in the program will complete coursework across departments, including classes in animal science, rangeland management and ag business.
“It’s truly an integrated program that’s responding to needs in our workforce,” comments Kelly Crane, RMAL director and senior associate dean in the College of Ag.
To complement classroom learning, students in the RMAL program will engage with industry innovators through internships and other hands-on learning opportunities.
“There is a real and tangible value for well-rounded students entering our industry that are trained to be future leaders,” says Trey Patterson, CEO of Padlock Ranch Company. “This is critically important for our ranching operations, communities, industry organizations, agencies and allied industries.”
The new bachelor’s degree builds on an annual RMAL seminar series launched in 2021 with
funding from Farm Credit Services of America and the state of Wyoming.
These seminars, open to both UW students and the public, offer a preview of topics to be addressed in the undergraduate program, including public land partnerships, energy development, family-run businesses and water management.
In addition to courses in existing UW departments, the new bachelor’s degree will require RMAL-specific courses, such as public policy and regulatory considerations for ranch and rangeland management; integrated ranch and rangeland problem-solving and planning; and leadership and collaboration strategies to address contemporary challenges in ag.
“The topics of ranch management and ag leadership are arguably more relevant to Wyoming than any other state,” says Doug Miyamoto, UW graduate and director of the Wyoming Department of Ag. “Wyoming is also the smallest state in terms of population, which means our agricultural sector must punch above its weight and take on leadership roles.”
Doug Stark, a member of the College of Agriculture Dean’s Advisory Board, agrees. “The new Ranch Management and Ag Leadership program is a transformational step in preparing students for real life and work experiences,” he notes.
On behalf of the RMAL team, Director Crane expresses gratitude to the many supporters who have helped make the new program possible.
“We are genuinely grateful for the support and endorsement of this new program by UW administration, our colleagues on campus and the Board of Trustees,” he says. “We are also humbled by the amount of external support this program has received and look forward to delivering.”