When one talks about Wyoming news these days, you have to start out with praising and thanking all of the rodeo cowboys from Wyoming and those with ties from Wyoming who recently competed in the National Finals Rodeo. Imagine that, even bull riders from Wyoming, and six of them. We’ve never seen that kind of talent and numbers, and don’t forget Dusty Tuckness, who was voted the top bullfighter for the second year in a row. Lance Creek and Meeteetse are well known to the rodeo world, where it used to be just Kaycee and Cheyenne. We’re really proud of all of them, and we wish all of the contestants from Wyoming good luck next year. We also thank the state of Wyoming for supporting them, and they represent the state well.
Sage grouse are in the news again, as they always are in this state. “The Secretary of Interior came to Cheyenne to meet with Governor Mead and others from western states to discuss strategies to protect the sage grouse while maintaining a robust economy in the West,” said the Governor’s spoksman Renny Mackay of a meeting in early December. Sometimes that means: “how do we (Obama) blackmail businesses, especially the energy sector, to protect the sage grouse?” As I see it, Wyoming already leads the West on ways to protect the bird, and the sage grouse must like it, because we have over 50 percent of the sage grouse in the West and we were there before we had to hang all the trinkets on the fences. Oops, I’m getting out of the Christmas spirit, aren’t I?
We applaud the Governor for asking the Wyoming Legislature for $10 million to go to the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust Fund to be used as matching funds, some for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Sage Grouse Initiative (SGI). Some of these funds will be spent on conservation easements around the state, and remember, the Wyoming NRCS has a lot of funds they have used and will use on conservation easements. Using the state funds and easement participants’ donated values as matches, this all makes the process work. NRCS has really stepped up and shown the nation they are willing to make SGI work, and we thank them for that. Remember, initiating an easement is a voluntary process initiated by the landowner, and the decision is that family’s or business’s own decision. Like them or dislike them, it is your personal right, but if you favor conservation easements, there is money out there and they may help with estate planning, buying family members out or getting out of debt. It’s your decision, to be done with a lot of planning and thought, as they are “forever.”
The big news a couple of weeks ago was the USDA budget approval without the restriction of federal inspection for slaughtering horses. This perked up numerous ears around the country. As we have all read, the culture of many countries around the world is human consumption of horsemeat, but it’s not popular in America, where the culture dictates by some that the horse is a companion or friend. They’ve never been kicked or bucked off by their “companion,” have they? Stay tuned, there will be lots of news in the New Year on this subject.