Wyoming agriculture organizations look forward to 2022
The year 2020 presented difficult times for agriculture industries and their associated organizations. The state of Wyoming has several organizations which worked diligently through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wyoming Stock Growers Association (WSGA) Executive Vice President Jim Magagna, Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation (WyFB) Executive Vice President Ken Hamilton and Wyoming Wool Growers Association (WWGA) President Regan Smith shared the activities of their organization in 2021 and provided an outlook for 2022.
One of the WSGA’s roles is to inform and educate the public in regards to the role of the cattle industry in the state. The association works to highlight the commitment of ranchers to resource stewardship, care of animals and production of a healthy and nutritious product.
“One of the biggest events for the WSGA is the Environmental Stewardship Tour,” shared Magagna. The association was not able to conduct the meeting in 2020 due to the pandemic, but had two successful events in 2021.
“WSGA held two tours in the summer of 2021and both were very successful,” he shared. “One tour was held in Ten Sleep and the other in Elk Mountain, with nearly 150 people in attendance.”
The two summer tours recognized both the 2020 winner and the 2021 winner for the Environmental Stewardship Awards. The Double 8 Ranch was the recipient for the 2020 award, and the Galloway Ranch was the recipient of the 2021 award.
“WSGA is honored to recognize two outstanding ranches in two different parts of the state for their stewardship work,” commented Magagna.
Earlier this year, WSGA also hosted their annual Wyoming Cattle Industry Convention and Trade Show, held June 2-4 in Sheridan and themed “Positioning Wyoming’s Beef Industry for Success.”
The three-day event focused on a variety of issues impacting the cattle industry with emphasis in sustainable ranch management and resources available to Wyoming producers, which was also successful, Magagna said.
WSGA just completed their Winter Roundup Convention in Casper Dec. 13-15, where several industry leaders and organizations presented on a variety of topics impacting agriculture.
Magagna noted, “The event was very successful and the turnout was exceptionally strong – more than what WSGA had anticipated, which we liked very much.”
WSGA also participated in and hosted a legislative reception in 2021 for legislators and lobbyists in Cheyenne.
Looking ahead to 2022, the organization will be celebrating its 150th anniversary. WSGA has been dedicated to building the economy and culture of Wyoming since 1872. The organizations campaign goal is to raise $1.5 million in endowment funds and will recognize donors based on total contributions paid in full by level of contribution.
“Right now, WSGA is planning for an exceptional event to honor the organization’s anniversary, which will take place in Cheyenne in June of 2022,” said Magagna. “It will include the cattle convention, but also a rodeo, parade and a number of things to celebrate this great milestone.”
WSGA is the oldest trade association in Wyoming and the second oldest cattle association in the nation. This is something to celebrate, Magagna shared.
“WSGA is pleased to report, in spite of everything going on, those in the ranching industry continue to stay committed,” Magagna concluded. “WSGA will certainly be taking the necessary precautions going forward, but will continue to serve the livestock businesses and families of Wyoming.”
WyFB is the largest organization of farmers and ranchers, with the organization’s commitment to protect Wyoming’s farms and ranches. The organization’s focus is to recognize issues of concerns and discuss with fellow members with the primary goal to protect private property rights.
“Last year, the organization as a whole was not able to attend the traditional legislative meeting,” shared Hamilton. “WyFB Director of Public and Governmental Affairs Brett Moline was able to attend in person, but our members were not able to be in attendance.”
For a majority of the state, Wyoming was greatly impacted by drought, particularly in the northeastern part of Wyoming and over the western part of the state, he shared.
“I’m hoping Wyoming can get some good moisture in the mountains this coming year,” Hamilton commented. “So, that is one thing many will be looking forward to.”
With the drought, many have been continuing to have issues in finding hay, he shared.
“This is the certainly the year if producers have extra hay, it’s going to pay,” Hamilton explained, noting the federation continues to hear from folks looking for hay.
The federation hosted their annual meeting mid-November in Cody. Voting delegates from the county Farm Bureau Federations participated in policy discussion, elected officers and discussed policy focus for the upcoming year.
“The biggest topic for a lot of our folks was regarding vaccine mandates and the 30×30 proposal,” said Hamilton. “The federation is continuing to work on receiving information on what the administration is wanting to do.”
Another topic of focus at the annual meeting was in regards to water, conservation versus preservation and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The federation is working with national organizations in representing agriculture perspective.
Hamilton suggested the development of water storage projects before drought occurs will significantly make a difference. He shared, “The federation is going to continue to support the development of water storage in Wyoming that would help mitigate the impacts for the times we end up with a lack of moisture.”
Going forward, WyFB will be carefully looking at proposals during the legislative session and continuing to help answer many questions of farmers and ranchers.
Hamilton concluded, “There’s a lot of ways interested parties can get involved at their county level or get a hold of us here at the state.”
The Wyoming Wool Growers Association (WWGA) has also played a vital role in developing the sheep industry in Wyoming in 2021 and has several events coming up in 2022.
The association works to protect, preserve and enhance the lamb and wool industry by working with legislators, governmental officials and the general public to ensure decisions makers and the producers have accurate information.
The organization has seen growth in both membership dues paid and the lamb market, Smith said.
“WWGA has a small 15 percent growth in dues paid last year and we’re hoping to keep that growth coming,” Smith shared. “It’s been an awfully good year in the sheep business from the lamb market.”
WWGA is looking to start a new membership drive in 2022 and hopes to add to their increased membership numbers.
“WWGA Executive Director Amy Hendrickson has worked diligently with Wyoming Department of Agriculture Director Doug Miyamoto and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife to continue flying over Bureau of Land Management lands for predator control,” Smith said, noting the process has required a lot of time and commitment on Hendrickson’s part.
In 2021, the membership of the WWGA held their winter meeting in conjunction with the WSGA Winter Roundup.
“The Tri-State meeting was canceled in Utah because of COVID-19, but WWGA hosted an educational event in both Powell and Evanston,” Smith continued. “WWGA is looking have some small producer shearing days in 2022, as well as some further sale listings and educational sessions in the state as the year progresses.”
In addition to their annual meeting, the organization hosted a ram test this year with the University of Wyoming’s Laramie Research and Extension Center, as well as the WWGA’s Summer Membership Meeting Aug. 10-11 in Lander.
The year 2022 will host a variety of events for producers associated with WWGA, including the American Sheep Industry Association in San Diego, Calif. to be held Jan. 19-22. This three-day event will provide opportunities for attendees to learn and share information, set priorities and conduct business for a stronger industry.
The Wyoming State Ram Sale is tentatively scheduled for Sept. 13, 2022 in Douglas. The 93rd Annual Wyoming State Ram Sale took place Sept. 13-14, at the Wyoming State Fairgrounds this year. A total of 230 head of sheep sold for a total sale gross of $336,550.
“COVID-19 has been tough on a lot of different industries, but for whatever reason, people cooking at home in addition to the push on cooking shows, the demand for lamb has greatly increased,” Smith concluded. “The American Lamb Council has helped with increasing exposure and hopefully will continue to keep those customers coming that entered into the market last year due to the pandemic.”
Brittany Gunn is the editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.