Skip to Content

The Weekly News Source for Wyoming's Ranchers, Farmers and AgriBusiness Community

Joint Ag Committee discusses hot topics at recent meeting

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

The Wyoming Joint Agriculture, State and Public Lands and Water Resources Committee convened at Western Wyoming Community College in Rock Springs June 10-11 to discuss several interim topics and hear updates from a few Wyoming agencies. 

On the second day of the meeting, the committee deliberated on legislation regarding right to repair farm equipment and eminent domain, then heard an animal health update from Wyoming Livestock Board (WLSB) Director Steve True and Wyoming State Veterinarian Dr. Hallie Hasel. 

Right to repair 

To begin, a representative of the Legislative Service Office (LSO) read the committee the right to repair memo, which outlines an issue reported by producers who have had to face increasingly more barriers when it comes to repairing farm equipment. 

“The use of proprietary software means only authorized manufacturers know how to repair these components, and many producers wait weeks for service, causing delays in harvest and other work,” the LSO noted. 

“On the other hand, farm equipment manufacturers seek to protect proprietary interests, and if farmers are given source code, they could override safety features and there could be a decrease in value and intellectual property,” the LSO continued.

Further, the LSO noted on Jan. 1 Colorado became the first state in the nation to enact a right to repair ag equipment law, allowing producers to repair their own equipment or to take it to an independent mechanic of their choice.

Similar legislation in Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota and Utah have failed, although the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) has worked with three-fourths of manufacturers to develop memorandums of understanding (MOU) allowing producers access to air codes, specialty tools and information on how to fix problems while still protecting companies’ intellectual property rights. 

The committee then heard conflicting testimony from Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (RMFU) Director of Government Relations Tyler Garrett, Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation (WyFB) Brett Moline, 21st Century Equipment Sales Manager Russell Ball and Titan Machinery General Manager Quentin Cranmore.

Moline, Ball and Cranmore agreed they don’t believe legislation is necessary. 

“We feel good about where we are now,” said Moline after reiterating AFBF’s work on the current MOUs. “Under our current situation, I don’t think we need to do any legislation.” 

Ball outlined what John Deere offers in regards to customer support, including an electronic service tool called Customer Service Advisor which is available for purchase and provides customers with all special tooling available to dealers. 

“As a dealer in Colorado, there is really nothing available to our customers today that wasn’t there already before passing the bill. Awareness has heightened, but I don’t feel the need for any legislation in this area,” Ball said. 

On the other hand, due to the hardship and mental strain felt by producers when trying to get equipment fixed in a timely manner, RMFU is in support of passing legislation on the issue. 

“Our members and members across the nation do not believe the MOUs go far enough or provide equipment owners and/or independent repair providers with the same information provided to mechanics at the dealerships,” Garrett stated. 

Garrett also voiced concern these MOUs are not binding and manufacturers could back out at any moment. 

After opening the floor to public comment, Wyoming Stock Growers Association (WSGA) Executive Director Jim Magagna told the committee WSGA has supported efforts to draft and pass right to repair legislation for years and recently renewed a policy which was set to expire on the topic at their summer convention in Douglas. 

Sen. John Kolb (SD-12) moved to continue working on the 2018 Freedom to Repair Act and Rep. Jon Conrad (HD-19) seconded it.

Eminent domain 

LSO then read the memo for eminent domain, which outlines standards required before an easement will be granted through eminent domain and reminded the committee of two bills from last year’s session – Senate File (SF) 10 and SF 11. 

Budd-Falen Law Offices, LLC Senior Partner Karen Budd-Falen offered testimony on the issue and explained her thoughts on the two bills. 

“There are a few things I would ask you to reconsider when looking at SF 11,” she said. “One of the things I would like to see in this bill is notice provided to a local governing body before any of this is ever started because if landowners and counties have notice, I think the public will be much better served.” 

Budd-Falen also pointed out a few issues with SF 10, including an incorrect citation and inaccurate language. 

She added, “I think we also need to be sure to include what fair market value is, as defined by the Barlow case.” 

Following some discussion, the committee passed a motion to have a bill draft prepared for their next meeting with the inclusion of conceptual language on landowner notice and fair market value.

Livestock health 

After a lunch break, True and Hasel offered testimony on the state of WLSB and livestock health in Wyoming. 

Following the passing of a hide inspection bill in both houses during last session, True explained all brand inspectors and slaughter facilities have been updated and trained on the new procedure. Additionally, WLSB has welcomed four new county contracts in their law enforcement program.

In regards to animal health, Hasel noted a roping horse illegally imported from Texas to Wyoming tested Coggins positive in April.

“As a result of exposure, we have tested approximately 15 other horses in Wyoming and are in the process of testing more horses in Texas and Utah,” she said. 

With a positive highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) dairy recently identified in Wyoming, the state vet lab and WLSB are working with the Wyoming Department of Agriculture and the Wyoming Department of Public Health to help the dairy get back on its feet. 

Hasel explained HPAI symptoms in dairy cattle peak seven to 10 days after exposure, including going off of feed, a decrease in production, a high fever, lethargy and thickened, colostrum-like milk.

“Primary care involves keeping them hydrated during the high-fever period,” she said. “After the seven to 10 day peak, they do start to come back if properly treated and hydrated, although a large percentage of them do not return to milking at the level they were previously.” 

Hasel further noted they currently believe all HPAI dairy events stem from the one transfer of the disease from birds to cattle in a Texas dairy.

To conclude, Hasel noted during the last session, the legislature increased brucellosis reimbursement from $25,000 to $50,000, which has significantly benefitted producers battling the disease. 

“We will probably have at least four producers request funding for Fiscal Year 2024 and possibly some more this fall,” she shared. “We have one large herd still under quarantine in Park County but they will hopefully be out within the next month or so.” 

The Wyoming Joint Agriculture, State and Public Lands and Water Resources Committee will reconvene Sept. 10-11 in Buffalo.

Hannah Bugas is the managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments not his article to

Back to top