Livingston retires after three-plus decades in agriculture

By: 
KateLynn Slaamot

Photo by Alexis Barker/NLJ

Peggy Livingston and Chuck Grieves share a laugh as he recognizes her for her years of service to the Farm Service Agency during her retirement party on Sept. 14 at the Weston County Events Center. 

KateLynn Slaamot

NLJ Reporter

 

Peggy Livingston retired on Aug. 27 from the Farm Service Agency, after almost 36 years working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. However, with a small ranch that she and her husband, Doug, own, Livingston isn’t quite finished working in agriculture.

“I grew up on my family’s ranch south of Beulah,” Livingston said, noting that ranching has always been a part of her life. 

The longtime outdoors enthusiast is no stranger to hard work, as she recalled time spent in nature with her dad — riding, haying and working cattle. 

“I loved being outside with my dad. That’s what started my whole love of agriculture,” Livingston said. 

A country school student for six years, Livingston said that her dad, Harvey Talley, took her to school on horseback in the winter, but she walked when the weather was nice. She went to high school in Sundance, graduating in 1974 before heading off to the University of Wyoming. 

After two years of college, she married Doug in 1977, then moved to Newcastle and began working for FSA, which was called the Agriculture Stabilization and Conservation Service at the time. 

When the couple’s first daughter was born, Livingston left her job for a few years before going back to work for the U.S. Forest Service for 13 years. She returned to FSA in 2001, where she remained until retirement. When she first started at the agency, she was a technician, but after returning, she climbed the ranks to be the director of the county office. 

“She was a great leader and supervisor — leading by example, doing right for the producers, being fair to everyone who walked through the door and working with integrity. She was never too busy to stop what she was doing to help a producer, and she worked very hard to get them the assistance they needed,” said Sherie Hilgenkamp, a
co-worker of Livingston’s at FSA since 2019. 

The agency works with agricultural producers to help them through various natural disasters that may affect them, and Livingston said she loved being there to lend a hand when “the troops were down.” Being in a ranching family herself, Livingston had intimate knowledge of the challenges presented by the elements that ranchers have to overcome. 

“That’s what kept me in that career, is my belief of how important agriculture is,” Livingston said. 

Livingston said she also loved the people she worked with and the producers she met along the way, noting that she enjoyed learning about other people’s interests. 

“The people are what makes it. That was always special to me,” she said.  

Livingston also cultivates her deep love of and appreciation for nature, she said. She recalls the many times she rode horseback in the woods or saw wildlife that instills a sentiment that’s hard to describe. Her love of the land has also prompted Doug and her to plant over 1,000 trees over the years. 

Her father also taught her the importance of a good work ethic, she said, and how important it is to put one’s heart into everything you do, even if it’s not always a job you enjoy. 

“You still need to get up every day and give it your best,” she said. 

Now that both Livingston and her husband are retired, they hope to devote more time to the ranch they purchased two years ago. It’s been in the Livingston family for years, and the couple is excited to continue the operation of the ranch. 

“My biggest loves are riding horseback and working cattle,” Livingston said. 

The Livingstons are also excited to spend more time with their daughters, Leslie and Kaitlyn, and grandchildren. Leslie lives in Newcastle, and Kaitlyn lives in Fort Collins, Colo. 

While Livingston is excited to be at this new chapter in life, she will be missed by her coworkers.

“We made a great team,
and I miss her a lot,” Hilgenkamp said. 

As for Livingston, she said she will miss her coworkers a lot.

“I’m grateful for this community,” Livingston said. “I’ve made tremendous friendships over the years.” 

Category:

News Letter Journal

News Letter Journal
14 W. Main St.
P.O. Box 40
Newcastle, WY 82701
Ph: (307) 746-2777
Fax: (307) 746-2660

Email Us

Facebook

Please Login for Premium Content