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Fearneyhough named new director at Wyoming Ag Department

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP)--Jason Fearneyhough will take over as director of the Wyoming Department of Agriculture, Gov. Dave Freudenthal announced May 5.

Fearneyhough will succeed Director John Etchepare when he retires this month, Freudenthal said. Fearneyhough has served as deputy director of the agency since 2006.

"Jason has some big shoes to fill," Freudenthal said. He said Fearneyhough has shown that he's willing and able to continue Etchepare's work of fostering relationships with the state Game and Fish Department as well as working with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and other federal agencies.

The agriculture department oversees the state veterinary services lab, consumer health services, commodity production oversight, state Weed and Pest districts, the Wyoming State Fair and other programs.

Cara Eastwood, spokeswoman for Freudenthal, said Fearneyhough, 38, will be paid $103,450 a year as director.

"I'm incredibly honored to serve in this position both for the state of Wyoming and for an industry that I love," Fearneyhough said in a prepared statement. "I think the department is going in a very good direction and I think the leadership of John Etchepare is the reason for that."

Fearneyhough received a bachelor's degree in agricultural communications from the University of Wyoming. He is working on a master's degree in business.

He started at the department as a technical services inspector in 1996 and later working as a livestock and commodities marketing specialist.

Fearneyhough went to work for the Wyoming Business Council in 1998 as the manager of the livestock and forage marketing program. He moved to Evanston in 2002 and opened his own agricultural consulting business that worked on natural resources and public relations programs for the agriculture department.

"I think my background gives me a solid understanding of both the business side of the industry and the natural resources side, and how they impact on agriculture," Fearneyhough said.

Fearneyhough has been active in many agricultural organizations. He and his wife, Tina, live in Cheyenne with their two daughters.



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