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When this time of the year rolls around, it is time to start planning what ag, livestock or natural resources fall meetings and conventions to attend in the next couple months.

If you are one who isn’t planning on attending any of the meetings or conventions, you’re really cheating yourself and your family. I say that because one misses a number of opportunities by not attending some of these functions. There is so much information, not only from the speakers but also from others in the same business as you are. You will use the information you learn to help your business and family succeed in life. You can also have some fun at these events.

On Oct. 24-27, the Wyoming Water Association Annual Meeting and Education Seminar is taking place in Sheridan. This is a great seminar to attend if you are interested in water, water management or water rights.

The West Central States Wool Growers Convention in Sun Valley, Idaho on Nov. 9-12 is a must if you are in the sheep business, farm flock or range operation. You will see more producers, feeders, packers and wool buyers in one location than any other regional meeting.

Nov. 10 is the date of the Wyoming Women's Ag Symposium, to be held in Casper at the Ramkota Hotel. This is always a great event for information and a good time.

The 2017 Wyoming Weed and Pest Fall Conference will be held on Nov. 14-16 in Sheridan at the Holiday Inn. This conference is always fun and very informative on invasive species management.

Head to Cheyenne Nov. 16-18 for the Wyoming Farm Bureau Annual Meeting. If you belong to Farm Bureau or wish to, this meeting’s decisions will guide the Wyoming Farm Bureau for the next year.

On Nov. 17-18, the 109th Annual Convention of the Farmers Education and Cooperative Union of America, Rocky Mountain Division, will hold their meetings in Denver, Colo. at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.

The Wyoming Natural Resource Rendezvous, a joint convention with the Wyoming Stock Growers Association and the Wyoming Association of Conservation Districts takes place in Casper at the Ramkota Hotel and Convention Center Nov. 27-29. This will be a great convention for livestock producers, conservation district members and those from the natural resource fields.

Nov. 28-30 are the dates for the XXV Range Beef Cow Symposium, to be held in Cheyenne at the Little America Resort and Convention Center. These three days are packed with information on all aspects of producing range beef cows for the ranch.

There is something for everyone at these meetings, and we are fortunate to have such a wide range of meetings in the region. You need to take advantage of these meetings and conventions. There will be a lot of information to take home and adapt to your ranch, farm or ag business. Times change, and whether you are young or older, we have to change with them, but we need the right information to change with.

Also, don’t forget to attend one of the Wyoming State Fair listening sessions that are happening around the state. They will conclude with the Joint Agriculture, State and Public Lands and Water Resources Interim Committee hearing on Oct. 18 in Douglas at the Wyoming State Fair Grounds in the Ft. Reno Building.  During that hearing, they will be discussing the Wyoming State Fair overview, operations and maintenance. If you have an interest in the future of our State Fair, you need to attend and voice your opinion.

  

The annual Fall Cattlemen’s special Edition is inside your Roundup this week, and as always, the Fall and Winter Cattlemen’s editions are fun to produce for everyone involved. This fall, we focused on Crook County. We have to be honest and tell you we didn’t know a lot about Crook County when we started planning the edition a couple of months ago. We have all driven through Crook County and have known people from there for years, but we were in for a great surprise.

The editors who traveled up to Crook County really have the best part of visiting and learning about the county from the people they interviewed. While hearing all of the good stories about the families, they see the beautiful spots around the county, the places one doesn’t get to see from Interstate 90 or the other highways.

The early days or history stories are always the best, and Crook County has a lot of history. We learned that what is now Crook County was once covered by a prehistoric ocean, as were a lot of other places in Wyoming where we find fossils, and now, they have coal. Around 13,000 years ago, the first humans arrived, ancestors of today’s Native Americans. Petroglyphs dating around 1,000 to 500 years ago show the presence of aboriginal people well before Indians began settling in the area. Later, Plains Indian tribes followed the bison through the land and had the county to themselves until 1811, when the Wilson Price Hunt Expedition passed through on a fur trading venture bound for Oregon. One wonders just what they thought of Devils Tower at first sight.

Gold was first rumored in the Black Hills in the 1870s. Those who made it in and out of the area, escaping the Indians, brought back stories, largely exaggerated, of huge gold deposits. In 1874, the government sent a large military expedition led by Lt. Col. George A. Custer to the Black Hills and came back with reports there was, in fact, gold there.

Since an 1868 treaty with the Natives, the government prohibited settlers from even traveling through the area, so when gold was found, the government tried to buy the Black Hills from the Natives. Being holy ground, they refused to part with it, and then, as we know, the battle was on.

On Dec. 8, 1875, Wyoming’s territorial legislature created Pease County out of the northeast part of Wyoming Territory. Later, Crook and Johnson counties were created out of the northeast part of Pease County. In 1890, the Wyoming legislature created Weston County from the southern half of Crook County. Finally, in 1913, Campbell County was created, taking the western halves of Crook and Weston counties.

Beulah, now along Interstate 90, is considered the first settlement in what is now Crook County. First known as Sand Creek, the area drew gold prospectors in the late 1870s.

After the gold dwindled, cattle ranchers came in and settled. Texas cattle had been coming into northeastern Wyoming since the late 1870s, and some of those Texas cowboys stayed and settled in Crook County. In fact, in the 1890s, Moorcroft became the largest cattle shipping point in the U.S.

Sheep soon followed, and their numbers, along with the rest of the state, significantly outnumbered cattle in Wyoming in the early 1900s.

When the railroads came in the late 1800s, timber became a major resource.

We hope you enjoy the Fall Cattlemen’s issue. We enjoy bringing it to you.

Ever since the first of the year, all we have heard about the price of calves was that the market was supposed to be weak. While calves were expected to be better than last summer, there wasn’t much to support higher prices all summer.

While we did have some minor drops in calf prices off and on, calf prices were not so bad for most of the summer. Last week in an article from Drovers Cattle Network, they said the market in 2017 was expected to be slightly different than in 2016. Given the adequate rainfall, good forage conditions across most of the cow/calf country and really good prospects for winter wheat grazing in the Southern Plains, calf prices are expected to have more support than normal through the remainder of September and possibly through the first half of October.

And this makes sense, as many producers are holding onto their calves longer than last year, and strong demand is coming from stocker producers. This is surprising to me, but CattleFax proved it true this week, saying that feeder and calf sale receipts were at $10.97 million year-to-date and above the three-year average while video and internet auction receipts were at $1.91 million year-to-date, lower than last year and the three-year average. These facts do prove that people are holding off on selling their calves longer, as there was a large run last week through the auctions.

With strong demand from exports, the good news from China accepting beef from the U.S., demand from packers this summer and the best news of America’s consumers listing beef as their first protein choice, so for the most part, calf prices have stayed steady to up.

The consumers’ protein choice was highlighted in the Consumer Beef Index (CBI), a key research survey that the beef checkoff performs twice a year. CBI tracks changes in consumers’ perceptions of beef and the demand for beef relative to other meat proteins, and it assesses the impact of the beef industry’s communication efforts on consumers. It also measures the extent to which consumers consider the positive aspects of beef to outweigh the negatives.

Seventy-seven percent of those surveyed listed beef as their first protein choice when it came to proteins overall, and 93 percent reported eating beef at least monthly. But the bad news is, the survey results showed that the proportion of heavy beef eaters – or those eating beef more than three times a week – stands at only 25 percent, down significantly from 44 percent 10 years ago. 

Polly Ruhland, Cattlemen’s Beef Board former chief executive officer, said “There is less beef available on a per capita basis than in the year 2000, but while that has changed in the last two years, the perception by consumers is that beef prices are higher, so they are eating less beef.”

CBI helps those in beef checkoff programs to understand why consumers say they are eating less beef and address those concerns through advertising campaigns, social media channels and in the grocery stores. That is your beef checkoff at work for you. Don’t mess with it.

Grilling season is over, and there are large amounts of beef and pork waiting to hit the grocery stores, so meat prices should drop at the grocery stores. Hopefully, if consumers like beef that much, they will start buying more of it.

     When one wants to change a Wyoming statute, you need to give it a good deal of thought. It is similar to going to court before a judge. One really never knows what the final outcome will be. Some state statutes, especially those concerning Wyoming’s water laws, should be left alone, as they are some of the best water laws in the country.

But, if there is not a real threat to the intent of the statute or it is archaic, maybe our legislature needs to take a look at it. That is, if they can bring that statute up to date safely and keep the intent.

So, the question I have for you is, should we modernize Wyoming’s trespass laws? I’m not talking about the hunting or antler collecting trespassing laws. I’m referring to the original trespass statutes in our state constitution.

The last couple of years, trespass has come up in court cases concerning trespassing across private lands to gather data. The ranchers won their case, and now, it is under appeal. Western Watersheds Project, National Press Photographers Association and Natural Resource Defense Council brought a suit against the state of Wyoming over the new statutes. Just last week, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals still found the laws may be unconstitutional, saying they may violate First Amendment rights. The case has been remanded back to district court in Wyoming, where it will be reconsidered with the appeals court findings.

So, as to not muddy the waters, we should most likely not try to change the old trespass laws until all of this get settled first. When we look at it, our new laws and the old laws are apples and oranges. The new laws were just trying to protect private property rights and were not intended to block lawful data collection.

When is trespass not trespassing?

The court, in the latest case against the state, said, “We conclude that the statutes regulate protected speech under the First Amendment and that they are not shielded from constitutional scrutiny merely because they touch upon access to private property. Although trespassing does not enjoy First Amendment protection, the states at issue target the ‘creation’ of speech by imposing heightened penalties on those who collect resource data.”

That means we need to clean up the First Amendment parts and still keep a balance with private property rights. They are both guaranteed under the Wyoming statutes

At the proper time, we do need to modernize our trespass laws to protect our private property rights. Under the current trespass law, the trespasser is guilty of criminal trespass if he or she enters or remains on or in the land or premises of another person, knowing he or she is not authorized to do so or after being notified to depart or to not trespass. Notice must be given by personal communication to the person by the owner or occupant, by his agent or by a peace officer or the posting of signs reasonably to come to the attention of intruders.

As you can see, it is up to the landowner to tell a trespasser he or she is trespassing and prove it. If the old laws were like today’s hunting laws, it is up to the trespasser to know where they are located. That is easy today with modern GPS technology.

Judges are too lenient today with trespassing. They come down hard on someone found trespassing in town but easy on people found trespassing on your ranch or farm.

Remember, ranchers and farmers are just like people in towns. They just have bigger backyards.