I’d Settle for a Slow Down, but it’s Important to be Active
By Sage Askin
It has been the wildest of rides this year. Earlier today I was horseback, on a tired horse, and thus slowly making my way into cowcamp for the night. It ran through my mind the whirlwind that life seems to be right now.
Nobody seems to know which way is up, whether we are destined for a depression or rampant inflation, if my kids have COVID-19 or a cold or whether it will rain next year. I’ve caught myself telling our crew and our family “Just push on, as it will slow down in another week, month or year.
Over and over, it’s been harder to believe myself. Is it going to slow down soon? Logically, I know it will, as we come to end of our season. But the work won’t stop, the projects keep starting, the truck keeps breaking down and we keep having more kids.
Speaking of seasons, the Wyoming Stock Growers Association’s (WSGA) Young Producers Assembly (YPA) has a group of people who are in every season of our life, where we are raising kids, working every day and running businesses. Why then, do we choose to be involved with an organization like WSGA? It’s something I had to think about the other day and it’s worth exploring.
To attend both conventions will cost around $1,000 in expenses. In addition, hotel rooms, babysitters, food/dining, replacement labor and our membership can add up to a significant expense. It’s important to realize the return we get on this investment.
Our WSGA executive vice president is nationally known as Wyoming’s most effective lobbyist. Jim Magagna has the ear of the governor, senators, our representative and countless state and local authorities.
Jim works endlessly to continue to keep agriculture viable in Wyoming and the work he does benefits both members and 90 percent of ranchers who are not members of WSGA. And guess who they call when they want to know which way to vote on an issue? You guessed it.
So, why be a member when you can get the benefits without the expense? For me, it comes down to three things which cannot be valued highly enough.
First, membership provides a voice. Within WSGA, if we attend, our voices are heard. When direction needs changed, it happens and if we show up and pay our dues, we can get the voice to spark change without becoming a legislator or having a law degree. Our voices are heard loud and clear, respectfully and in an orderly fashion.
It cannot be overstated that agriculture as we know it would not exist without WSGA. Neither would our state. So, if you want to be a part of an organization where you can feel like your voice is heard, believe you personally matter and where you can help protect the legacy for your children, you should consider becoming an active member of WSGA and YPA.
Second, the networking is invaluable. Do you want to know how to stay in business in small town Wyoming? If so, attend a WSGA meeting. There you will find a great number of Wyoming’s most successful ranch businesses. Why are they members? Because they feel the value is worth the price of admission.
The network we have found through WSGA gives us a point of contact in every city in the state, which is helpful if you break down, if you want to buy hay or if you want to succeed in the livestock industry in Wyoming.
Third and final, I believe it is our responsibility as producers. What matters more than anything? The responsibility we have to our forbearers and our family. It is our responsibility to be certain we leave our children and their children better opportunities than we were given. For me, my responsibility is to continue to work together for this to be possible. What better place than WSGA?
Altogether, when considering the big things to be a part of, when time is our most precious resource, I encourage all to attend conventions, outreach events and any opportunity where you may be involved with WSGA. It’s the affiliate organization that gets things done, and your presence is worth your time.
Another great benefit of joining is getting to hear about our regional events, which are open to all agricultural producers. Upcoming events include Oct. 8 in Laramie and Nov. 8 in Douglas. Visit the WSGA website to preregister for these events, and be sure to attend Winter Roundup Convention in Casper Dec. 13-15.
Have a great fall!
Sage Askin is the president of the Young Producers Assembly. This column was originally published in The Stirrup, the Wyoming Stock Growers Association’s Young Producers Assembly newsletter. For more information, visit wysga.org.