Wyoming state ag agencies plan ahead for activities, priorities in 2017
Cheyenne – As producers and agriculture industry groups have prepared for 2017, Wyoming state agencies have also prepared for the new year, and the Wyoming Department of Agriculture (WDA) and Wyoming Livestock Board (WLSB) have a long list of priorities for the year.
At the WLSB, Director Steve True notes that they are in the middle of their largest brand renewal.
“Each brand is renewed every 10th year, and this year through March 2, we are renewing almost 8,500 brands,” he says. “As of this week, 50 percent of those have been renewed.”
“Our priority is to make our producers and brand owners aware that their brands may be up for renewal,” he says, noting that producers who are unsure about their brand expiration date or renewal process can call 307-777-7515 with questions.
In addition to brand renewal, True also notes that, at the end of 2016, the WLSB lost 10 brand inspectors to retirement.
“Through the end of the year, we had 10 brand inspectors retire, taking with them over 330 years of experience,” True comments. “They will be sorely missed, and we wish them well.”
He continues, “Our priority is to fill these positions with quality and qualified new inspectors.”
True adds that the recent additions to the WLSB’s brand inspection unit have been high-quality inspectors, and the agency plans to search for the best people to fill the 10 vacant positions.
“We will search for the best folks for these opening and would continue to ask our producer community to actively participate in helping us find the right people,” True comments.
Department of Ag
At WDA, Director Doug Miyamoto also looks forward to a busy 2017.
“In 2017, we will work to sustain and improve consumer protection activities of WDA,” he says. “New meat plants are opening that are requesting state inspection, and we need to make sure we can provide inspection services for new commercial food establishments in addition to inspections already provided.”
Miyamoto also notes that WDA also strives to foster economic development activities within the state through the services that they provide.
“We will work to provide new and existing services required for legal commerce,” he says. “These include activities like scale certifications, gas pump certifications and inspections for feed, fertilizer and pesticides, among others.”
As another top priority, Miyamoto notes that WDA will continue to work with partners throughout the state.
“We will focus on increasing the viability of Wyoming’s agriculture industry through our partnerships with industry associations, conservation districts, weed and pest districts, predator districts, Agriculture in the Classroom, Agriculture Leadership Council and others in reaching out to the public about the importance of agriculture,” Miyamoto comments.
He adds, “We will also use our partnerships to address important policy issues facing a new presidential administration.”
As a state agency, Miyamoto notes that the legislative session does have impacts on the agency, but they only provide technical information on bills and track their progress through session.
“So far, there are a number of bills that we will track that influence agriculture, including House Bill (HB) 25 Dry bean commission member terms, HB 54 Taxable value of agricultural land, HB 67 Determination of agricultural land for taxation and Senate File (SF) 58 Instream flow rights,” he explains.
Miyamoto adds, “We will also keep an eye on bills that impact agriculture as they arise.”
For the WLSB, True says there were no bills posted at the beginning of the session that would directly impact the agency, but they will actively monitor the session.
“We look forward to meeting with the new Joint Agriculture, State Lands and Water Resources Committee during session,” he comments.
True also notes that the WLSB is scheduled to meet with the Joint Appropriations Committee on Jan. 11 to discuss their 2017-18 biennium budget, which is a high priority for the agency.
Look for updates from the legislative session every two weeks in the Roundup.
Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at email@example.com.