Herbst honored by Business Alliance
Four individuals whose lifelong achievements in business stand out will be inducted into the Wyoming Business Hall of Fame at a Nov. 8 gala dinner held in conjunction with the Governor’s Business Forum in Cheyenne.
Among the honorees is Lois Herbst, long-time Shoshoni rancher, who is recognized for her contributions to the ag industry.
Patrick and Paul Hladky of Cyclone Drilling and Maury Brown of Maurice Brown Exploration will also be recognized during the gala.
Started in 2013, the Wyoming Business Hall of Fame is a cooperative project of the University of Wyoming’s College of Business, the Wyoming Business Alliance (WBA), Wyoming Heritage Foundation and the Wyoming Business Council.
WBA President Cindy DeLancey said success in Wyoming is defined in many ways.
“This year’s outstanding honorees exemplify the high caliber people found in our business community,” she said. “Through their notable contributions to their industry and communities, these business leaders are helping position Wyoming for future success.”
“These Wyoming business leaders have found success in different ways, but they each share a willingness to take risks, a need to challenge themselves and the desire to give back to their communities,” said Shawn Reese, chief executive officer of the Wyoming Business Council. “As we look to the future, these traits are critical for us to build a more prosperous Wyoming.”
“Lois Herbst is being recognized for her long-time dedication to agriculture,” says DeLancey. “Lois is well known for being a person of strong convictions who turns those convictions into actions for the betterment of Wyoming.”
Herbst has helped to operate the family ranch, Herbst Lazy TY Ranch LLP with her family. The ranch has been in operation for 111 years.
Not only was she actively running the ranch, Herbst also divided her time working on agriculture issues and volunteering on numerous boards, including the University of Wyoming’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Advisory Board, the Wyoming Beef Council, Wyoming Stock Growers Association and the Wyoming Business Alliance and the Wyoming Heritage Foundation Steering Committee.
Herbst was inducted into the Wyoming Agriculture Hall of Fame in 1999. She was the first woman president of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association (WSGA) and the first woman elected to serve on the Wyoming State Grazing Board.
After her husband passed away in October 1990, Herbst said she got intimately involved in the ranch, and she jumped into a role advocating for the industry, as well.
“When my husband died, no one expected me to keep ranching,” Herbst said, “but it was a life I loved, so I continued. I’m proud that we have been able to hold this ranch together for 111 years.”
Then, after Bruce Babbitt was named Secretary of the Interior in 2002, Washington, D.C. started to impede on ranchers’ ability to operate more and more, Herbst said.
“Bruce Babbitt was sent West to reform rangeland rules and regulations, and we all started going to meetings,” she said. “It’s the only way I could hold onto the ranch.”
But for Herbst, speaking publically wasn’t a big hurdle.
“I am very comfortable speaking up,” she said, an attribute that she credits to being raised in a rural school and a large family. “There were eight of us in my family, and if we wanted to be heard, we spoke up.”
Herbst added that she hopes young people today learn to project their voices and speak to be heard.
“Too many young people today just mumble to each other. Our voices have got to be heard,” she said.
Herbst joined innumerable public meetings, hearings and more, even participating on a variety of panel discussions.
Herbst jumped in with both feet when she began to actively fight for the ag industry.
“In 1991, I started attending meetings of WSGA,” Herbst said. “We had always been members, but I didn’t attend the meetings until then.”
She also became active in the National Public Lands Council and Wyoming Public Lands Coalition, continuing to expand her involvement. She worked with Fremont County Farm Bureau, Wind River Multiple Use Group, Wyoming Resource Providers, Guardians of the Grasslands and more to fight for the agriculture industry.
On the ranch, Herbst was always actively involved in raising cattle and crops.
“In 1994, my son Frank and I were recognized by the Wyoming Beef Improvement Program for the Angus cattle we were producing,” she said. “I attended many meetings, learning about genetics, sire selection, herd health and methods of treating cattle to improve the quality of the product we produced.”
Herbst added she was a “hands-on rancher,” even night-calving for 45 years of her career.
“I liked knowing that I would be up to check the heifers, and I wanted to know they were okay,” she said. “Good genetics and proper nutrition eliminated most problems.”
She continued, “Our vet described our program as ‘a most aggressive herd health program.’”
In July 2008, Herbst celebrated her 75th birthday, and with no one to take over the operation, she decided to sell the cattle that October.
“I was ready to quit farming and ranching then,” she said. “I had 216 irrigated acres and leased another 100. I was doing all the irrigation myself for the corn and alfalfa at that point.”
Today, she leases her land to neighboring ranchers to ensure it remains in agriculture production.
“I’ve always emphasized that the ranchers on the land today are representatives of generations of families who have used these lands in a productive manner and still producing and always learning better methods of protecting the environment,” Herbst said.
Saige Albert, managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup, complied this article. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.