What do we want?
Around three weeks ago, Governor Freudenthal and the Building the Wyoming We Want Advisory Committee hosted the second conference on planning for Wyoming’s future. The two-day conference, held at Casper College, was well attended and from an agricultural perspective some good information was presented. Terry Cleveland, in an article in last week’s Roundup, further discussed the findings. Some of that information bears repeating in this week’s paper.
First, we should thank the Governor and his advisory committee for the planning process they initiated. Yet, it is up to the citizens of this state to ensure that something good comes out of this process.
As always, I’m sure some showed up to “be seen.” Others showed up to make sure their businesses were not jeopardized (everything is okay as long as it’s not your ox getting gored). But the vast majority of attendees were present because they love this state and want their children and grandchildren to grow up in the Wyoming they know.
This planning process will work because of a couple of reasons. One, the Governor hired Terry Cleveland, former Wyoming Game and Fish Director. Two, there are some good people on the advisory committee who will see this process through. Terry, during the interview with the Roundup, stated his passion for Wyoming. He has a true love for this state and the Governor couldn’t have picked a better man for this job. During his time as Wyoming Game and Fish Director, stronger partnerships were formed between the wildlife community, the Game and Fish and Wyoming agriculture. He often praised the positive role agriculture plays in providing wildlife habitat, which was nice to hear for a change.
In the survey taken on Wyoming values, Wyoming agriculture rose to the top on many occasions. A large majority of Wyomingites stated their recognition that agriculture is a key part of Wyoming’s way of life and open space preservation. That was good to hear, but did some of them just say it because it has always been free to them? Let’s face it: wildlife and open spaces are taken for granted by many out there. It’s not an amenity that has cost the average citizen much money to enjoy.
The survey also showed support to incentivize ranchers and farmers to keep the land in agriculture and open space. Hey, we haven’t heard that statement before. I don’t know that I want money from the government to stay in business, but it would be nice not to be kicked around so much. I would sure be happy with some dollars from the Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust Fund for range improvements. That does both wildlife and me some good and it proves it is a good project with not many strings attached. As Terry stated, “the best way to achieve smart growth is through incentives and not through rules and regulations and statutory changes.”
Ross Perot once said, “The activist is not the man who says the river is dirty. The activist is the man who cleans up the river.” Ranchers and farmers are true activists.
Have a great Fourth of July and say a prayer for our men and women in the military.