Agriculture related bills await Wyoming legislature
Published on Feb. 1, 2020
Two pieces of proposed legislation relevant to agricultural and other private lands await legislators during the upcoming Wyoming Legislature’s Budget Session.
This “even-year session” begins the second Monday of February, Feb. 10 and lasts about 20 days. During budget sessions, bills will require a two-thirds vote from the House or the Senate to be introduced.
House Bill 33
The Joint Revenue Interim Committee discussed this bill draft at its Pinedale meeting last summer regarding how much revenue a property must bring in to qualify as “agricultural” for certain exemptions.
Up until the present, a landowner must have received at least $500 of gross revenue from selling agricultural products, or at least $1,000 income from leasing to qualify as “agricultural.”
At the Pinedale meeting, the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation asked the Joint Revenue Committee to raise the bar to $10,000 – saying real farmers could meet that.
Others asked for the amount to be cut in half, at least, with reasons that small farmers and those leasing land often fill important roles for a smaller, but valid agricultural operation.
After more testimony and negotiation, the draft bill was amended to its current level of $3,000 in revenues either from agricultural products’ sales or lease income for land to qualify as agricultural.
The bill was introduced on Jan. 3 and is not currently scheduled for a committee meeting or hearing.
House Bill 37
This bill is an additional subsection that outlines an “expedited process” for landowners to voluntarily exchange private property for state-owned land to improve public access to state or federal lands.
HB 37 is sponsored by the Joint Agriculture, State and Public Lands and Water Resources Interim Committee and was introduced on Jan. 7.
It authorizes “development of an expedited process for the exchange of state lands for the purpose of public access to state lands” and for the Wyoming Board of Land Commissioners to make rules and regulations.
The bill proposes people leasing state lands could initiate a process to swap private land on a value-for-value basis.
“The expedited process under this subsection shall be used if the board determines that if the exchange of lands would facilitate legal access to state or federal lands including without limitation exchanging an isolated parcel for a parcel contiguous with other state lands.”
The State Board of Land Commissioners consists of the governor, secretary of state, state auditor, state treasurer and superintendent of public instruction.
To see these and other 2020 Senate and House draft bills, legislative hearings and committee meetings, go to wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2020.
Joy Ufford is a corresponding writer for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.