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Recognizing leaders: WSGA celebrates leadership at awards luncheon

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Casper – On Dec. 7, the Wyoming Stock Growers Association (WSGA) held their annual Awards Luncheon just prior to closing the 2016 Winter Roundup with their business meeting.

In addition to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and Wyoming Department of Agriculture Access Recognition Awards, which will be printed in the Dec. 17 Roundup, WSGA presented a special award to Rep. Kermit Brown, who served in the Wyoming Legislature until this year, and recognized three nominees for the Leopold Conservation Award.

Special recognition

WSGA honored Rep. Kermit Brown of Laramie, who did not run for re-election this year. Brown served in the Wyoming Legislature beginning in 2005. In 2013-14, he was the House Majority Floor Leader, and he advanced to Speaker of the House in 2015-16.

“It’s my special honor today to pay recognition to an individual who served the state of Wyoming and the agricultural community so well, my friend, Speaker Brown,” WSGA President Niels Hansen said. “When I look at the table here, I don’t see the Speaker of the House. I see the guy who came to help us brand calves or my friend sitting on the running board of the trailer, sharing a beer and telling stories.”

To Brown, Hansen said, “Kermit, I’d like to thank you for all you’ve done for us. Thank you for being my friend, my teacher and my mentor. I’m a better man for knowing you. Thank you.”

WSGA Executive Vice President Jim Magagna noted that he first began working with Brown while Brown served as WSGA’s attorney during some state lands litigation. They continued working together when Brown was elected to the House of Representatives.

“I work with a lot of legislators, and we have a great relationship with most of them, but the relationship I have with Kermit Brown is different,” Magagna said. “We’ve talked about the issues and had disagreements, but I always had a feeling than we were communicating beyond the words we were speaking.”

Magagna noted that Brown’s influence in the legislature, as well as his ability to read the feeling of how legislation will fare, was instrumental in helping to pass legislation or take a different approach. 

“We will miss Kermit in the legislature,” Magagna said.

Brown mentioned, “This is very humbling. I really appreciate it. I’ve enjoyed and always believed in this industry. I’ve done everything in the industry that could to help it.”

“I love what farmers and ranchers do,” he concluded, “and I hope that we never lose it.”

Environmental Stewardship nominees

WSGA also recognized three finalists for the Leopold Conservation Award.

Committee Chair Diana Berger thanked committee members Rachel Mealor, Doug Miyamoto, Grant Stumbough, Bobbie Frank and Jim Magagna for their time.

“They spent a lot of time pouring over applications and ultimately going on site visits with the finalists,” she said.

Finalists include Pete and Ethel Garrett of Casper, Larry and Ruthie Cundall of Glendo and Larry and Jean Vignaroli of Buffalo.

The award winner will be announced in the Jan. 7, 2017 edition of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup.

Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to

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