Thursday June 23, 2016
by Marti Halverson


AGRICULTURE - June 22, 2016

Agriculture is Wyoming’s third largest industry.  Ranching and farming have been the livelihood of Wyoming families for over 125 years.  It is also a way of life in hundreds of communities around the state.

Thousands of Wyoming youth participate in local 4-H and FFA programs.  Here they learn appreciate the value of the land.  They are our youngest conservationists.  

The sales of junior livestock projects have put many a Wyoming youngster through college, supported them on missions or allowed them to buy their first car to get them to their first job.

My favorite day of the whole year is the annual Junior Livestock Sale at my County Fair.  I stock up on good beef, lamb, pork and goat – all antibiotic-free and hormone-free.  Best meat in the world!

This way of life is under threat.  There are forces intent on shutting down livestock grazing on public, federally-controlled lands – the traditional summer grazing allotments for which ranchers pay fees to the federal government.  In one county in Utah, grazing allotment areas have been cut by 35%.  Roads to traditional grazing allotments are being closed.

In the Wyoming Range alone, 260,000 acres are being cut off to grazing – as well as other traditional, multiple uses.  AUMs (Animal Unit Months) are being cut.  Traditional water rights are being curtailed.  Stubble-height rules are being imposed.

Much of this is due to the BLM’s new 9 Plan – the price Wyoming is being asked to pay in exchange for the 2015 finding that listing the greater sage grouse on the Endangered Species list was “not warranted.”

In addition, the BLM has developed Land Management Plan 2.0.  This aims to further restrict local input on local public land use, in direct violation of the 1976 Federal Lands Policy and Management Act.

In some quarters, ranching itself is being vilified.  Not even cutting off access to public land for grazing will satisfy these folks.  There’s a Facebook group called Public Lands Hunt Club.  I think Facebook responded to all our complaints because in February the Club had to post “No, no we don’t want all cattle shot . . . “ Although, the page is still up.  The Shoot Welfare Ranchers Facebook page seems to have been taken down, however.  Proof that even Facebook knows where to draw the line.

And don’t get me started on the protect-wolves-at-all-costs mentality that is decimating our livestock and wildlife herds.

I have an excellent working relationship with the Wyoming Farm Bureau and the Wyoming Stock Growers Association – they are my go-to fellows if I have a question on anything ag.

Support our Wyoming ranchers and farmers!  They work 24/7/365 to meet the needs of the state, the country and the world. 

Marti at the Annual Livestock Sale, Star Valley, WY, 2016.


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 Box 5009
Etna, WY 83118