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Times are Positive

Written by Dennis Sun

Lately, it seems like the news is full of positive stories. One has to be careful about talking about all the good news, fearing that we may sabotage our good luck. I’ve always thought positives were opportunities and that you wouldn’t recognize a positive unless you had a negative to compare it to.

In the business of agriculture, we always have enough negatives.

Except for last week, the cattle prices have been good. Wool is good, too, I understand. The price of oil keeps going up, which is not good when we buy gasoline at the pump, but it has saved the state. I would rather pay a little more for gasoline than have to pay a higher tax on property.

In fact, the big news for Wyoming last week was the state Consensus Revenue Estimating Group (CREG) reported Wyoming has around $141 million more in its accounts than was predicted. Don’t we all wish that would happen in our personal bank accounts, too?

The brightest picture came from predictions of sales and use tax collections. This shows Wyoming has reversed its downward trend and is moving upward at a faster rate than predicted. Along with the state, that $12.6 million is good for our towns and counties.

Increased mining activity should show gains in severance taxes and federal mineral royalties of around $13.3 million for the fiscal year of 2018. Altogether, this increased mining activity shows an estimated $33.4 million available for K-12 education in the 2019-20 biennium. The budget for education is where our state is really hurting.

As stated, oil has been up to around $64 a barrel, and we all realize how much oil and natural gas help Wyoming’s budgets. These minerals not only help the state budgets but also the state’s savings and rainy-day accounts. We already have double the number of drilling rigs in the state compared to a year ago. These drilling rigs not only help the local economies but also prove to pump more oil.

Getting back to meat, Americans are eating more meat. Demand for beef is up as are exports for beef. The meatpackers are showing strong demand for beef, and fed cattle supplies are tight.

How about the rising stock market? It is going crazy. We’ll have a correction sometime, but enjoy it as it keeps rising. The stock market, along the recent tax bill Congress passed and President signed, are both good signs.

A study showed steak consumption is often linked to a rising stock market. We hope they both keep going up. We hope for a rising stock market, cold weather back east for increased energy use and no tax increases here in Wyoming. Those are some more positives.

Inserted into this week’s Roundup is our annual Winter Cattlemen’s Edition. We focused on farms, ranches and ag businesses in western Nebraska. As you know, agriculture is big business in western Nebraska, and we’re proud to showcase it. We hope you will enjoy reading the edition and finding something new to remember about the people and places. We certainly enjoyed meeting the people of western Nebraska.