The Wyoming Premium Heifer Program successfully closed its first year of sales yielding positive results for livestock producers who participated in the initiative. 

Two combined internet video and live sales were conducted for 772 bred heifers and 774 replacement heifer calves at the Torrington Livestock Market and the Buffalo Livestock Auction in November 2012 and January 2013. 

Certified bred heifers at the Torrington sale brought $22 more per head than the market average for commodity Wyoming bred heifers during that same time totaling a premium of $7,216.  Certified bred heifers at the Buffalo sale brought $81 more per head, or $35,964 total, over the market average at the time of that sale for a total premium of $43,180 for both sales. 

The Wyoming Premium Heifer Program is a joint venture with the University of Wyoming’s Animal Science Department and the Wyoming Business Council’s Agribusiness Division.  It is designed to develop and market bred and replacement heifer calves that are certified under a standard set of guidelines and that would ideally demand a higher price per head at market. 

John Henn, Livestock and Meat Marketing Program manager in the Business Council’s Agribusiness Division, said the beef cattle industry is experiencing the lowest cow numbers since the early 1950s.  The low calf and cow numbers have created an alternative market opportunity for cow-calf producers for replacement and bred heifers.

“Over the next few years we will see a very high demand on heifers from several segments of the industry creating a great marketing opportunity for cow-calf producers in the state,” Henn said.  “The Wyoming Premium Heifer Program is providing the ability for producers to create and capture that added value sought by buyers across the country.  As the program grows over the next several years and is promoted in and out of state its reputation and recognition will be realized in the industry by sellers and buyers.”

For more information on the program, contact Henn at 307.777.2847 or

The mission of the Business Council is to facilitate the economic growth of Wyoming. The Business Council, a state government agency, concentrates its efforts on providing assistance for existing Wyoming companies and start-ups, helping communities meet their development and diversification needs, and recruiting new firms and industries targeted to complement the state’s assets. For more information, please visit the Wyoming Business Council website.