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Guest Opinions

Hats Off to Wyoming Agriculture

Written by Matt Mead

On National Ag Day and every other day, I take my hat off to the Wyoming agriculture industry. It is, reliably, Wyoming’s third largest industry. It is a cornerstone of Wyoming’s financial stability, with more than 11,000 farms and ranches and $1.6 billion in annual farm and ranch income. It continues to provide a wealth of benefits to our state, citizens and nation – food for the table, open spaces, wildlife habitat, a pleasant western style of living and much more.

Thank you, Wyoming ag producers, for all you do. 

Agriculture is a challenging business. Whether it is drought, grain scarcity, disease, predators or commodity prices, there’s always something that tests the industry, and the industry perseveres. The centennial farm and ranch families we recognize annually show the long-term commitment of so many to Wyoming agriculture.   

Even in constrained budget times, we press ahead as best we can. Implementation of the state water strategy, issued two years ago, continues. One of the initiatives in the strategy is the 10-in-10 project to build 10 new reservoirs in 10 years. The first four of these projects, in five counties, have been funded by the Omnibus Water Bill – Construction this session. We support agriculture and make the most of a precious resource when we plan well for water storage.

The ENDOW Initiative, which I announced last November, is underway. The Legislature took up the initiative, passing a bill this session that gives it structure, deadlines, continuity and funding. In the coming months and years, the focus will be on developing and executing an economic diversification plan for Wyoming. This is an all-inclusive, all-industry effort, and I know the Wyoming ag industry will provide input and great ideas. Our kids and their kids will be beneficiaries of what we accomplish.     

The calendar tells us spring is here. In Wyoming, spring brings not only moisture but also a sense of renewal. The land greens up, plants and animals fill the fields, and like every spring, it feels like a new beginning. This year, there is more of that feeling than usual – with the prospect nationally of pro-growth economic policies, fewer federal regulations and more authority for the states. We are ready for this change in direction.

Here’s to a great 2017 for Wyoming ag!