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Gov. Gordon gives address at WSGA convention

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Gov. Mark Gordon and First Lady Jennie Gordon made an appearance at the Wyoming Stock Growers Association’s Annual Reception and Auction, held during the organization’s Winter Roundup Convention and Trade Show in Casper on Dec. 5. 

During the event, the governor offered remarks on some of the pressing issues in the state and thanked convention attendees for their good work in Wyoming agriculture. 

A challenging administration

“This administration has been a real challenge, but I think you all know that,” Gordon began. “Westerners – regardless of whether they are Republican or Democrat – are under threat from Washington, D.C. right now.” 

He gave a nod to some of the pressing, hot button issues currently buzzing through the state of Wyoming, including the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) new conservation rule, Rock Springs Resource Management Plan (RMP), Greater sage grouse, livestock grazing and natural resources. 

Gordon noted a large portion of legislation coming down from the Biden administration is “supposedly based on science and often underdeveloped.” 

“When we talk about things like grazing guidance, air quality standards, wildlife populations and conservation, there is a real lack of practical understanding,” he stated. 

“In the case of the BLM’s conservation rule, those of us who have spent our lives in conservation as ranchers get a little concerned what we are or are not doing will fall under their new definition of conservation,” he continued.

The Rock Springs RMP, Gordon pointed out, came as a little bit of a surprise.

“We worked with the Trump administration to make sure we had a reasonable RMP put together, then there was a two-year pause with no activity,” he explained. “And suddenly, instead of going with an alternative somewhere in between full conservation and full development, as is standard practice, they moved forward with the full-conservation agenda.” 

In response, Gordon requested BLM withdraw their preferred alternative and come up with something else. The BLM has since extended the comment period on the project, but refused to reconsider their preferred alternative 

“Since the beginning, Jennie and I have been very concerned about sage grouse being listed as an endangered species. At the time, we were part of the core area, and we worked our tails off to make sure the species would not be listed,” he said. “We demonstrated we could graze cows and raise sage grouse. Now, it is under review, and I have to say we are very concerned.” 

A conservative budget

Additionally, Gordon discussed his proposed budget for the state of Wyoming. 

“We only have 15 rigs currently running in Wyoming, compared to the 33 rigs running in 2020,” he  noted. “We have had challenges in the courts to make sure the leasing program proceeds, and we have had challenges to make sure the federal government actually adheres to the law.”

“So, when I talk about the budget, it has been really important to make sure we have enough resources in the Federal Natural Resource Policy Account to help our counties mount these challenges,” he continued. 

Gordon shared the state has seen a two-fold uptick in income made from tourism over the past four years, and sales from Wyoming’s natural resources continue to hold strong. However, he also voiced his concern for the amount of revenue coming into Wyoming.

“It is also important to remember, in this budget, the dollars we have coming in from the federal government are starting to go away. In fact, we turned several of them down because they came with such extreme stipulations, we didn’t think it would be in Wyoming’s best interest to take them,” said Gordon. 

“I want to compliment the legislature for having the foresight to understand spending everything we have today is not the wise choice,” he continued. “The wise choice is to provide for future generations and coming years, so the monies we put aside last year are available and will help mitigate some of the challenges we are facing this year and will continue to face for the next two to three years.”

A positive outlook

Despite these challenges, Gordon reminded convention attendees life isn’t all bad. 

“I want to let you know it isn’t all bad,” he said. “We have made some incredible inroads.” 

“I believe ag still has a great future and I feel our industry has opened many doors, providing for more vocal markets and more opportunities for young producers,” he added. 

“Wyoming is a remarkable state, and the people who moved here, set up ranches and made a go of it are the people who make things happen,” he continued. “We are going to work every single day to make sure Wyoming is recognized for its leadership in natural resource management, conservation and development, agriculture and economic activity.” 

Gordon concluded, “Good things are happening in Wyoming. This is not a time to be anxious. This is a time to be resolute and to make sure the Wyoming way of helping each other in times of need holds us together and makes us great.” 

Hannah Bugas is the managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to

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