Wyo Farm Bureau Prepares for Meeting
Every fall the agricultural community gets busy trying to get everything done before the first cold snap catches up with them and makes the job twice as hard or, in some cases, impossible. We also find fall to be the time when agriculture groups hold their meetings, all the time hoping that a fall blizzard doesn’t shut the roads down before, during or after the meeting can get done.
This year the Wyoming Farm Bureau will once again return to Laramie for our 94th Annual Meeting. We’ll be sharing the town with the High School football championship, so hopefully those two activities in Laramie won’t encourage a fall snowstorm.
Speaking of storms, I would like to encourage folks to donate to one of the several groups raising dollars to help the folks in South Dakota.
In conjunction with our annual meeting, the Wyoming Farm Bureau Foundation will host a free symposium on succession planning on the morning of Nov. 14.
Of course the main reason for our meeting, beginning the afternoon of Nov. 14, is to consider resolutions that have been developed by the county Farm Bureaus. We have several resolutions dealing with the Common Core Standards being used in the state’s education system. All of them oppose the implementation of these standards.
Another topic that has seen a lot of discussion deals with Wyoming fence laws. Ever since I was a kid, everyone talked about Wyoming being a “fence out” state. As always, what we think is so and what is so ain’t necessarily so – sorry Mrs. Fender, my first and second grade teacher, for using “ain’t”. Wyoming court cases have established cattle as something you should fence out. However, in looking through the statutes, you can’t find anywhere where it says cattle are fence out.
Several resolutions want to put into statutes what the court cases have established. Of course, this only pertains to cattle, so other species such as sheep or bison won’t be affected. There has been a lot of discussion on what’s happening in Wyoming where someone overstocks their pastures either with cattle, or some other exotic animal, and those animals decide the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. The other rancher suddenly finds him or herself the recipient of several more head of livestock.
Some other resolutions deal with how the state pays for damage caused by their livestock, or, in this case, wildlife. During dry years, wildlife make it a point to come into irrigated acreages, and some folks find the impacts caused by wildlife to be a significant issue. Again, Wyoming Statutes dealing with wildlife damage to grass calls for compensation based on “extraordinary damages,” which most agricultural producers feel is very difficult to prove. One resolution addresses this by saying that even a partial taking of a person’s property either by wildlife or some other means should be compensated by the state.
Wyoming agricultural producers share their memberships with other groups. The Wyoming Rural Electric Association (WREA) has been working on issues with power generation and these folks have a lot of Farm Bureau members, as well. There are several resolutions supporting WREA’s efforts in keeping electricity affordable.
There are numerous other issues that will be discussed, but one thing that you can be sure of is the passion agricultural folks bring to the debate on these issues and it’s also worth noting how broad the issues are that agricultural folks follow.
If you’re in Laramie Nov. 14-16, drop by the Wyoming Farm Bureau Annual Meeting and visit with some of your neighbors, listen in on the American Farm Bureau folks that are coming and visit with Representative Cynthia Lummis on Nov. 16.
Ken Hamilton can be reached at email@example.com or by calling 307-721-7712.