Loper’s service recognized in Hall of Fame induction
With a focus on rangeland management, public lands planning and policy analysis, Dick Loper has been committed to Wyoming agriculture for his entire life. This year as a result of his continued dedication, Loper will be inducted into the 2013 Wyoming Agriculture Hall of Fame.
“Mr. Loper has dedicated his time to the ranch families of Wyoming to meet their goals in ranching cooperatively with the BLM and Wyoming State Lands,” says Wyoming State Gazing Board Chairman Glen Alameda. “His time is spent helping many family ranches.”
Wyoming Stock Growers Association Executive Vice President Jim Magagna adds, “Dick’s background in range science, his knowledge of BLM policies and regulations and his relationship with the range science community across the West have enabled him to effectively assist Wyoming BLM permittees in addressing the challenges of public land grazing.”
Loper currently works as a rangeland consultant for Wyoming’s farmers and ranchers and a number of organizations.
“Since his time in the Reagan administration, Dick has made his home in Wyoming working as a range consultant and helping and teaching many ranchers about the benefits of range monitoring and good range stewardship,” says Rawlins rancher Niels Hansen.
Loper has also worked as a range consultant to the Wyoming State Grazing Board and has been involved in the organization since its inception.
Members of grazing boards across Wyoming praise Loper for his involvement in lands issues across the state.
“Loper understands that the study of the outdoor world is not a pure science with absolute answers behind every ‘research project,’ and that the experience and observations of those who live on the land are of great importance to our understanding,” Dave Lockman of Wildlife Management Services of the Rockies, LLC says.
Additionally, Lockman marks Loper’s ability to be unshaped by popular opinion and to take into account multiple variables as admirable.
“Dick has demonstrated integrity and strong support for good range management concepts and is not afraid to defend the agricultural community,” says Lockman, “and occasionally is willing to tell them those things they may not want to hear when he believes it is the right thing to do.”
Federal agency cooperation
In working with Wyoming’s ranchers and federal agencies, Loper is most recognized for his commitment to the health of the rangelands.
“For the past 30 years, Mr. Loper has been committed to working with the BLM grazing permittees and other parties to advance livestock management and improve the health of monitoring and implementation of range improvements,” comments BLM Rawlins Field Office Field Manager Dennis Carpenter. “He has always worked to do what is best for the land. This can be observed not only locally, but at the national level as well.”
Carpenter notes Loper’s involvement in developing management plans, establishment of monitoring and implementation of range improvements as significant.
“As a member of the Committee on Rangeland Classification, Mr. Loper was in a crucial position to focus national attention on rangeland health,” continues Carpenter. “The report from this committee formed the foundation for the establishment of Standards of Healthy Rangelands, which gives both managers and users of public lands a clear goal for all of BLM to achieve.”
“The BLM has enjoyed the privilege of working with him and grazing permittees to achieve a mutual goal of healthy rangelands,” Carpenter mentions.
Aside from just rangeland management, Loper has played an important role in advocating for policy issues as well.
“Dick’s counsel is sought out by people across the West and in the Beltway on issues such as sage grouse, wild horses, range and riparian management and range management,” Hansen notes.
Lockman comments, “He is interested in problem solving and supports Wyoming’s agricultural interest.”
Loper has been involved in several court cases as an advocate for ranchers, grazing and range management.
Loper’s involvement in a variety of organizations has also been integral to Wyoming agriculture.
He has served on the Society for Range Management Select Task Force on Unity in Concepts, on the select committee of the Council for Agriculture Science and Technology and on the Sustainable Rangelands Roundtable.
Loper was also a member of the National Research Council Group that developed a book on rangeland health, published in 1994.
For his service, he has been awarded the Guardian of the Grasslands Award.
“We, as Wyoming agriculture, are fortunate to have a gentleman to know and understand the BLM’s rules and regulations so well to help all land partners on federal, state and private lands,” comments Alameda.
Crook County ranchers Jw and Thea Nuckolls will also be inducted into the Wyoming Ag Hall of Fame this year. The Nuckolls’ and Loper will be recognized at the Wyoming Livestock Roundup annual Agriculture Hall of Fame Picnic on Aug. 14. The picnic is held at Riverside Park in Douglas beginning at 5:30 p.m.
Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.