Current Edition

current edition

As we all enter into the swing of spring work, we here at the Wyoming Livestock Board (WLSB) would like to offer an update on our news, activities and goals.

Spring is busy for us as well. We have worked through the Legislative Budget Session, industry group meetings and prepared for the spring and summer. We have lost and added personnel in our Brand Recording office and welcomed a new senior investigator to our Law Enforcement group. Janet Fridline has joined us in Brand Recording, and many of you have had the pleasure of welcoming Ken Richardson to our Investigative unit. Ken is residing in Pinedale and, along with duties as senior investigator, will be the investigator for Uinta, Sweetwater, Sublette, Lincoln and Teton counties.

As you are aware, budgets are tight for the state, and WLSB will do its part while doing our very best to serve our industry and producers in the fashion to which they are accustomed.

Brand Commissioner Lee Romsa and I have begun district brand meetings. I enjoy greatly getting to visit with our inspectors and spend time with them. These folks are what makes our agency go, and we here in the Cheyenne office are glad to assist them in their duties of identifying ownership and monitoring movement of livestock in our state. At these meetings we are rolling out the equipment needed for the inspectors to start working with the computerized system. We will begin training soon and look forward to the capabilities this will afford us.

Wyoming State Veterinarian Dr. Jim Logan and his staff have been busy with herd plans, risk assessments for the Designated Surveillance Area (DSA), rule streamlining and preparing for another busy season of events across the state, particularly in time for State Fair!

As many of you know, we have been working hard to build a more effective collaboration with our producers, local and state law enforcement agencies and WLSB. I would like to thank the sheriffs of our state and the Highway Patrol for the candid conversations and ideas. These outstanding folks have the best interests of our population and our producers at heart. All of us are working in lean times and understand that working together is the most effective we can be.

I would like to offer a likely scenario and request for our producers and other livestock transporters through our state. We have already helped in training approximately 20 new troopers and have eight other trainings scheduled with other agencies before the middle of June. My scenario is this – consider this a heads up that there is a good chance that you will be pulled over at some point this spring or summer. You will be asked for your brand inspection and health papers, if necessary. My request is that you please have your papers and a smile for the officer making the stop. He may be one of ours, a Sheriff Deputy or a State Trooper, but whichever agency he or she represents, they are truly representing you and working to protect your interests! Interdiction and deterrence are two of our best weapons to help guard your livestock and business interests, so please be patient and say thanks.

In reference to this same subject, I would like to thank the Green River Valley Cattlemen’s Association and the Wyoming CattleWomen for the opportunity to visit with them and share some tips and techniques for preventing theft. We are always available for these conversations and welcome the opportunity to meet with groups, individuals or just give us a call.

We look forward to seeing many of you at the WSGA meeting and many other events around the state.

Happy spring, and may the moisture be just the right amount!

Thanks to the hard work and ingenuity of our nation’s farmers and ranchers, we enjoy an abundance of affordable, American-grown food. With summer nearly here, consumers are ready for their local grocery stores and markets to be fully stocked with their favorite fresh fruits and vegetables. And U.S. agriculture is eager to keep up with the demand for American food products. But labor shortages and unreasonable visa delays challenge farmers’ ability to get their crops harvested and to market.

There’s no question that we need a long-term solution for protecting our borders while also securing a legal, reliable workforce for agriculture. The fix won’t be quick or easy, but it is possible. Farmers need a market-based visa program, managed by USDA, which gives both employers and workers flexibility for long- and short-term work.

While it will take time to achieve the full reform we need, there are serious problems on the ground with our current system that can and must be addressed now. The current H-2A and H-2B system ignores the real-time needs of agriculture, and we’re seeing a prime example right now with massive visa paperwork delays at the Department of Labor.

Farmers across the country are already missing deadlines to have crews in place because of a bureaucratic hold-up with guest worker visa applications. Even after carefully following all the procedures and filing the proper paperwork, farmers are kept waiting 30 days or more for Labor Department approval. The law itself says approval time should be 10 to 15 days, but the government is far behind with no sign of catching up. It’s time for the agency to shape up and bring the system into the 21st century before our agricultural labor situation worsens.

Unfortunately, ignoring the unique labor needs of agriculture seems to be business as usual for the Labor Department. That’s why Farm Bureau is calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to step in. We need USDA to ensure that farmers have the workforce we need to stay in business and continue to provide safe and affordable food. Farmers and ranchers need an agency that understands their labor needs managing this system.

Delays in worker visa approvals may sound like just a human resources headache, but these delays can be devastating for farmers. A crew showing up 30 to 40 days late just doesn’t work when crops need to be planted, tended and harvested. Crops don’t wait for stacks of bureaucratic paperwork to clear.

Yes, we need a long-term solution, including attention to border security, to fully solve agriculture’s labor problem. But we also need a fix today for the needless delays that are keeping farmers from running their businesses.

Visit fb.org for the latest from the American Farm Bureau Federation.

All investments are subject to risk.  Investing in the stock and bond market subjects an investor to market risk – the possibility for an investor to experience losses due to factors that affect the overall performance of the financial markets. 

Certificates of Deposit (CD) are safe from market risk. They are not safe, however, from inflation risk.  When your investments don’t keep up with the rate of inflation, the purchasing power of your money declines.  This is known as inflation risk or purchasing power risk.   

The effects of inflation can be devastating to a retiree’s standard of living. For example, if your annual living expenses are $50,000 per year today and inflation averages four percent, you will need $109,556 in 20 years to maintain the same standard of living. 

Ronald Regan said, “Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hit man.”

Real return

The real return of your investments is the net return you earn after subtracting taxes and inflation.  If you are not earning a positive real return, you are going backwards in terms of your purchasing power. 

For example, if you earn five percent on a CD and taxes and inflation are 33 percent and 3.5 percent, your real return is zero percent.

Net return

Net return is the gross return of CDs or the S&P 500 adjusted for inflation. 

While stocks incur more risk, CDs offer a fixed rate of return, and the interest and principal on CDs will generally be insured by the FDIC up to $250,000. 

CD performance is based on average historical interest rates from Bloomberg. Data prior to 2013 is from Lipper. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) measures inflation. The S&P 500 Index is unmanaged and a common measurement of market performance. It is not possible to invest directly in an index. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Investments in mutual funds will fluctuate with market conditions, and you may have more or less than the original amount invested when you sell your shares.

Chris Nolt is the owner of Solid Rock Wealth Management, Inc. and Solid Rock Realty Advisors, LLC, sister companies dedicated to working with families selling a farm or ranch and transitioning into retirement.

For more information, call 406-582-1264 or visit solidrockwealth.com and solidrockproperty.com

With the increasing age of many agriculturalists across the state and nation, the future of the cattle industry and many ranches across our state has been the topic of interest for many years. Like many family-owned businesses, whether in town or in rural areas, a plan for the future is essential and with that, our youth being the cornerstone to success. 

In 2015, the Wyoming Stock Growers Association (WSGA) started the succession process knowing that the future may be uncertain, but the people are not. This process would help the youth in the association or anyone who is just starting in the agricultural industry learn, grow and become successful and involved leaders. The inaugural group of 20 individuals from across the state started the Young Producers Assembly in December 2015.

This assembly was formed to create a way for young cattle producers who are members of either WSGA or the Wyoming CattleWomen (WCW) to gather together to create camaraderie among each other through meetings and family events, find, evaluate and create solutions to issues that the younger generations feel are important and create a foundation of assembly members who are involved and will eventually stand before the WSGA or WCW membership as educated and strong leaders who will foster the next generation.

The Young Producers Assembly (YPA) is working closely with the WSGA staff, officers and members to create strong group who is correctly represented in WSGA for future opportunities, representation and voting. Even those members who do not have a voting membership will have their voice heard clearly through this assembly, which is an important factor to the youth in both organizations.

  “Our goal for the Young Producer Assembly is to secure the future of Wyoming Stock Growers, Wyoming CattleWomen and Wyoming’s agriculture,” YPA Chair Kendall Robert’s explained. “It’s time for all of us to come to the table and find a means to increased membership, have open discussion of issues involving all generations, build on the importance of policy and leadership and ultimately recognize how it affects Wyoming agriculture today and beyond.” 

This assembly is open to anyone who is a dues-paying member of either organization, and collegiate students are welcome to join the group through the Youth Joint membership.

“We feel that agriculture has a unique opportunity because the term ‘young’ has a broad meaning,” states WSGA Communications Director and YPA Secretary Haley Lockwood. “Everyone’s opinion, no matter of age, matters, and we want that voice to be heard. I think many people would be surprised to know a kid in their twenties and thirties provides a nutritious and safe beef product for Americans to enjoy and keeps Wyoming’s open spaces alive.”

Anyone who is interested in learning more about the assembly or would like to join please call the Wyoming Stock Growers Association office at 307-638-3942 or email Haley Lockwood at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..