Truman Julian: 1994 Ag Citizen of the Year
By Steve Taylor
Wyoming State Fair Edition, Aug. 6, 1994
Truman Julian, co-winner of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup’s 1994 Wyoming Ag Citizen of the Year award, is from every angle a citizen of the West. Even a casual conversation with the man reveals several levels of commitment, concern and courage.
The Kemmerer rancher is in the sheep business. But that’s like saying Wyoming has some scenery. A closer look brings many important features into focus. Julian presides over a family-based enterprise known as Julian Land and Livestock. The principal activity is the care and management of a flock of approximately 10,000 ewes – primarily Rambouillet. But it’s obvious that Truman Julian is not only proud of the sheep that make him a living, he’s proud of the family heritage and proud of the role agriculture plays in a strong Wyoming.
“Granddad (William) came from England in the 1880’s and started this ranch a few years later. In fact, he brought some of the first sheep into this area,” Julian explains.
Truman’s parents, Don and Josephine Julian, still play an active role in the day-to-day operation of the ranch. But history isn’t all that holds Julian to the land. He loves what he’s doing and he’s determined to help livestock producers become a “more vital and a more vocal” economic entity.
“We should know that we’ve got to change as agriculturalists, as users of public lands and as participants in an ever0chanigng political climate,” Julian stresses. But we need to be sure that Wyoming people are the ones addressing the challenges and solving the problems for Wyoming.”
Truman Julian has never hesitated to get involved. He feels a sense of responsibility to his family, his neighbors, his industry and his fellow citizens.
The list of Julian’s organizational activity is impressive. What becomes apparent is his interest in local control over the things that shape the future – for individuals, communities and agriculture.
Julian has served on the local school board, presided as its chairman, and is a member of the Kemmerer Chamber of Commerce.
Within the ag realm, Mr. Julian has served as president and vice president of the public Lands Council; he’s a member of the Wyoming CRM Executive Committee, first vice president of the Western Livestock Producers Association, and a member of the Governor’s Range Reform Steering Committee. In addition, Julian is President-Elect of the Wyoming Wool Growers and a member of the WWG Executive Board and chairman of the District Grazing Board.
Those who nominated Julian for this year’s award noted that he’s been instrumental in developing a “Wyoming Model” to address range reform, spearheaded Coordinated Resource Management efforts in the state and developed a “Wyoming Position Paper on Federal Lands Management,” which has gained support form the entire agricultural community.
As with most livestock folks who serve without pay on various boards, it would be a mistake to say that Truman Julian is involved just because he likes going to meetings. He’s traveled extensively within the state and across the country to carry the message about today’s agriculture and to explain the real-life impact of governmental policies on the individuals who must ultimately make them work.
Julian is an effective ambassador for agriculture because he has a solid foundation of education and experience. HE earned a masters degree in range management form the University of Wyoming and spent six years as a wildlife biologist for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.
As with most ag leaders, the real work is still at home. The Julian philosophy seems to be: “Before we can talk about resource management and concern for the land, we need to be dong everything we can to make the home place a good example.”
And, as a rancher who depends on public lands grazing for his livestock 12 months of the year, Julian lives and breathes resource management. The sheep operation is complex and quite literally “far-ranging.”
“We run seven bands of about 1,500 head each, so we’ve got men out on horses 365 days a year,” Julian says. With a smile, Julian contends that the “true westerner” is really the sheep man who still rides the range – without the benefit of a pickup truck.
It’s easy to see how a good horse (or in Truman’s case, nearly 100 head) might be considered an essential partner in managing a huge flock.
“Our range actually extends 300 miles, form the Rock Springs area where we winter on checkerboard range to the Bridger-Teton Forest where we spend the summer months.”
Lambing is done within a 50-mile radius of the Kemmerer headquarters, where the lambs are later pulled off as the flock is moved back South.
Julian has worked to fine-tune every facet of sheep production for optimum performance and maximum quality. “We don’t keep any lamb that’s not rom a multiple birth, so our lamb crop runs at least 133 percent,” Julian notes. The sale of feeder lambs, replacement breeding stock and high quality wool (some say the best in the country) has earned Truman Julian the reputation for excellence in what he proudly chooses to do for a living.
With family at the top of his personal list, Truman gets support and invaluable assistance from his wife Marie. The couple have three children: Don, a coach in Riverton; Dave, at the ranch; and Trudi, a teacher and coach at Kemmerer, and one grandchild.
The further generation at Julian Land and Livestock is working to stay competitive in the food business, but Truman admits that it’s getting more difficult.
“If some parts of the proposed range reform go through, and if we can’t manage some of the other issues, I think the sheep business in this country could go under,” Julian says.
Agriculture needs a longer-term commitment from the government and its various agencies, according to Julian.
“It’s a shame that politicians are playing with our livelihood,” he offers. “But, at the same time we’ve got to do a better job of informing and educating our critics.”
As far as Julian is concerned, the suggestion of converting to cattle is not a realistic alternative. “It’s too tough and too expensive and I’m not sure people realize how long such a switch can take,” he says.
In a quiet, powerful statement, Julian puts it this way: “I don’t need write-offs (or impossible options), I need a sheep business.”
Most who know him would add that Wyoming agriculture needs Truman Julian. His vision is based on a genuine concern for proper multiple use management of Wyoming’s natural resources.
As a leader who understand the value of communication, building alliances and generating practical compromise, Julian seems determined to do his part to secure a future for American livestock producers.
We’re proud to acknowledge Truman Julian, 1994 Agriculture Person of the Year. This award will be presented on Friday, Aug. 19 at the rodeo during state fair.