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Joel Bousman advocates for multiple use and agriculture

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Since he started his journey in agriculture, Joel Bousman has been an integral part of the Wyoming agriculture industry and, as a result, has been selected to join the Wyoming Agriculture Hall of Fame.

Each year, readers of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup nominate members of the agriculture industry that have gone above and beyond serving the ag industry. Three judges review the nominations and rank individuals based on their contributions to agriculture. At the end of the day, the highest scores receive the honor of being inducted into the Wyoming Agriculture Hall of Fame.

“Joel is a recognized community leader in Sublette County in addressing issues related to extensive mineral development and wildlife habitat,” states the nomination letter describing why Bousman deserves this award.

Agriculture operations

“Joel’s success begins with his management of his own ranch,” says the nomination letter.

Bousman operates Eastfork Livestock in Boulder and is actively involved in the Wyoming Stock Growers Association, having served as a regional vice president of the organization, as well as president of the Green River Valley Cattlemen’s Association and as a member of the Wyoming State Grazing Board. 

“He is looked to for leadership by his peers in the ranch industry, a position of esteem earned by his thoughtful wisdom, determination and willingness to speak out as an industry advocate and defender,” says Sublette County Conservation District Manager Eric Peterson.

Peterson adds that Bousman has been a progressive leader in the ranching community and has worked toward conservation efforts on his ranch, as well as on public lands allotments.

Conservation efforts

Bousman’s dedication toward conservation efforts on his operation and on public land allotments earned the operation the title of 2003 Wyoming Stock Growers Environmental Stewardship Award winner.

“Joel’s recognition as the Conservation Stewardship Award winner was in part due to his determination to make rangeland monitoring a joint effort of agencies and permittees,” Peterson notes, also mentioning Bousman’s involvement in the Joint Cooperative Rangeland Monitoring System’s formulation.

In achieving the award, Bousman has utilized monitoring to improve habitat and increase grazing over time. He worked with BLM range conservationists and permittees to develop voluntary partnerships for range monitoring, including working with UW Extension to produce a video demonstrating monitoring techniques.

    “He was a pioneer in initiating grazing monitoring that is conducted jointly by the federal land agencies and the grazing permittees,” the nomination letter notes.

      “He led the effort by Wyoming and the National Public Lands Council to establish voluntary, cooperative permittee monitoring on public land grazing allotments throughout the western United States,” recognizes Wyoming Governor Matt Mead. 

  Bousman also received the 2011 Guardian of the Grasslands award.

Advocating for multiple use

“Joel has spent his entire life dedicated to furthering the interests of maintaining multiple use practices on public lands, not only as a fourth generation rancher, but also as an elected official,” Executive Director of the Wyoming County Commissioners Association Cindy Delancy says. “He is very passionate about this topic and wants to ensure that our custom and culture remains for future generations.”

Bousman works with Delancy in his capacity as Wyoming County Commissioners Association (WCCA) president, a role he took in January 2011. 

“Joel is actively engaged in a variety of stakeholder groups – locally, statewide and nationally,” Delancy continues. “He’s done an excellent job representing Wyoming everywhere he goes.”

She additionally mentions that Bousman sends a consistent message, regardless of whether he is speaking with constituents or testifying before a congressional subcommittee.

“He is a proven leader who is well respected in all circles – from the halls of Congress to the Wyoming Capitol and from the Sublette County Building to a constituent’s kitchen table,” comments Mead. “Commissioner Bousman advocates tirelessly for multiple-use principles.”

Mead adds, “Commissioner Bousman’s public service has made a positive impact on public lands at a national, state and local level.”

“They broke the mold with Joel Bousman,” Delancy comments. “He is one-of-a-kind and a great human being and a great person.” 

Converse County rancher Gene Hardy joins Bousman in the Wyoming Agriculture Hall of Fame this year. Bousman and Hardy will be recognized at the Wyoming Livestock Roundup annual Agriculture Hall of Fame Picnic on Aug. 15. The picnic is held at Riverside Park in Douglas beginning at 5:30 p.m. – WYLR

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