WyFB presents awards at annual meeting
After a long day of policy discussion, the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation (WyFB) and attendees of the 104th Annual WyFB Meeting, held at the Little America Hotel and Resort in Cheyenne, gathered for a dinner banquet and awards presentation on the night of Nov. 10.
During the ceremony, WyFB Membership Committee Vice Chair Kevin Baars and President Todd Fornstrom presented three esteemed awards – the Bronze Boot, the Bronze Hat and the WyFB Distinguished Service Award – and recognized two members for their decades of service to the organization.
County membership awards
Each year at their annual meeting, WyFB presents two counties with one of two traveling bronze awards.
This year, the Bronze Boot went back to the Big Horn County Farm Bureau Federation for the third year in a row.
“Big Horn County was the first county to reach membership quota and acquire one new regular member under the age of 35,” explained Baars, who presented the award to Big Horn County Farm Bureau Federation President Tim Beck.
“Since this was the third year in a row that Big Horn County won the award, they will get to keep the Bronze Boot and a new one will be made,” Baars noted.
Baars then presented the Bronze Hat to Park County Farm Bureau Federation President Brian Asher.
Park County received the award for having the greatest increase in Century Club members.
Fornstrom then took to the stage to recognize the 2023 WyFB Distinguished Service Award recipient.
The award is given annually to someone who has gone above and beyond in their service to agriculture, and this year, the award was presented to Wyoming Senior Assistant Attorney General Chris Brown.
“Water is the key to survival, and there is no denying the importance of H2O to life. Water and the management of this resource are crucial to agriculture,” Fornstrom stated. “Tireless in his service to the state of Wyoming, Brown’s dedication to serving the state in all issues related to water rights, water use and water law is commendable.”
Fornstrom noted Brown graduated with honors from the University of Wyoming College of Law in 2002 and has worked at two attorney general’s offices since 2011. Brown is also a Veteran of the U.S. Navy and was previously a partner in a private law firm in Powell.
Today, Brown works within the Water and Natural Resources Division, representing the Wyoming Department of Agriculture, the Wyoming Livestock Board and several divisions of the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, just to name a few.
His daily responsibilities include providing day-to-day advice and representation for any water-related issues in the state, as well as serving as the primary attorney for Wyoming in all state river compact decrees.
“Brown has become the state of Wyoming’s leading attorney on all things related to the Colorado River, and in doing so, he has established himself as possibly the best attorney on the Colorado River issue across all states,” wrote former Wyoming State Engineer Patrick Tyrrell in a nomination letter.
“He is a stand-up guy for both his primary client – the state of Wyoming – and for anyone looking for honest, unfiltered and helpful answers related to Wyoming water,” Tyrrell continued. “He does all of this with a smile, an incredible work ethic and the support of many people with whom he has dealt.”
Fornstrom commented, “Thank you for your distinguished service to Wyoming agriculture through your work with the state of Wyoming, water law and water users. We are proud to show our appreciation as we recognize Brown with the 2023 WyFB Distinguished Service Award.”
To conclude the ceremony, Fornstrom recognized two staff members who have dedicated decades of service to the organization.
“The first has spent time as a WyFB office manager and executive secretary, spent several years with Mountain West Farm Bureau and even some years in a county office in Pinedale,” noted Fornstrom, before applauding Diane “Dee” Brewer for 35 years of service.
“The second, Ken Hamilton, has spent 40 years serving WyFB,” Fornstom added.
Hamilton, who currently serves as the WyFb executive vice president, announced his retirement earlier in the day.
“As I said earlier this morning, it has been a real pleasure working with this organization, and I have enjoyed every bit of it,” Hamilton said. “There have certainly been a lot of fine people who have been wonderful to work with. I appreciate the opportunity I have had to work for agriculture these past 40 years.”
Hannah Bugas is the managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.