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Stay Informed and Engaged

Written by Dennis Sun

We have to be careful these days, thinking we may have it made and it’s time to relax and take it easy. That may be the worst thing we could do.

Since an Appeals Court has ruled in favor of Wyoming in the lawsuit concerning the management of the grey wolf and since we have an administration in Washington, D.C. that we hope will be more in tune with agriculture’s way of thinking, we may think that it’s time to snooze. Wrong.

I feel that now is the time to make up lost ground, and we have plenty to make up for. The past few years haven’t been kind to agriculture or public lands ranching, but we need to hang together to get some changes made. It is no doubt that working together and not slinging arrows at each other in the ag or the public lands arena is in our best interest. Our goals and needs for farming, ranching and taking care of our families and businesses are all about the same. It’s how we get there that causes the trouble. It’s kind of like when there’s only one toy dump truck in the sandbox in elementary school. We always lose when we all start drawing lines in the dirt. It’s alright to say what you stand for. Just don’t cuss the other person in agriculture, saying they are wrong. Enough said.

On the wolf issue, just because the Appeals Court ruled for Wyoming, doesn’t mean Wyoming can start managing the wolf today. The Plaintiffs will have 45 days to file a petition to the court describing where they disagree with the ruling, and then the court has seven days to respond to the petition. The bad part is that while new wolf packs are forming and wolves are starting to den in new country, the Plaintiffs could file on the 45th day, and then we wait seven more days for a ruling after that. It’s only after that point that agencies can transfer management. So, we may be looking at a good two months before Wyoming gains control of wolves again. Or Plaintiffs could appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to override the Appeals Court. That would take years.

Despite all the good news on the wolf issue in Wyoming, we also need to work on the wolf bill making its way through Congress. The U.S. House is okay with it, but, as we said last week in this column, the U.S. Senate may not be. There are just too many Senators without any skin in the game. First, those who want more wolves have been getting to eastern Senators with fake news to get those Senators to vote against delisting bills. Our Congressional delegation needs all the true stories and documentation on wolf impacts that we have. We have those stories, and we need to tell them.

We also need to tell our story on public lands ranching. Even though the current administration is pro-business, the other side is still beating on their doors with their same message, and we need to educate. We have a good story to tell, and to stay in business, we all have to tell it.

We need to work together with our conversations. A good conversation means being able to disagree and still continue the discussion without being disagreeable.