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President Trump wants large cuts to agriculture in his first proposed budget plan, and one can hear the howling across the nation. It is time to get your lobbying skills up and running.

Now, one has to realize that the President Trump’s proposed budget plan is just that – proposed. Our ranking Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) will be the first to tell you that he is the Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee and that is a powerful position. He will tell you that it is up to Congress to develop and approve the budget.

Of course, these days Congress is all across the board. A number of the members don’t represent or have agriculture in their districts, and so anything is a safe vote for them. Party lines or paying off the national debt may not be a priority for them, but getting re-elected is.

A lot of what the President is proposing will have to be worked out in the upcoming Farm Bill that has already had some hearings on. The plan predicts a balanced federal budget in 10 years according to a DTN Progressive Farmer article. Mick Mulvaney, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, believes the country will generate higher economic growth than currently projected. 

Mulvaney said economic growth under Obama was poor at 1.9 percent, but said, “We believe we can get to three percent growth.” We hope he is right.

President Trump wants to spend these cuts to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and other federal agencies to increase spending to the Department of Defense by $25.4 billion in 2018, as well as a $4.3 billion increase in Veterans Affairs and a $2.8 billion increase for the Department of Homeland Security.

Mulvaney said this administration’s first official budget plan was written “through the eyes of the people paying taxes.”

He went on to say, “Spending is merited based on the number of people a program helps and whether that spending is justifiable to taxpayers. We simply cannot continue to measure our compassion by the amount of money we’ve spent.”

You know, America’s low cost of food is somewhat related to crop insurance availability and other commodity payments they receive. Dropping crop insurance availability, the amount of insurance and who can receive it may force the price of food up.

The proposed plan also wants to shift more USDA functions to user fees over time. For example, meatpackers would pay USDA $5.9 billion in user fees over 10 years for meat safety inspections, along with higher fees to the Animal and Plant Inspection Service, the Agriculture Marketing Service and the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration. This would collect a combined $700 million in higher user fees during the next 10 years.  I would guess these fees would ultimately cost this nation’s farmers and ranchers in the long run.

Don’t forget to attend the Wyoming Stock Growers Association (WSGA) meetings in Buffalo June 6-9. It is the 125th anniversary of the Johnson County War, only this time the stock growers are showing up in the daytime, without horses and guns for a “peaceful” re-invasion. Great speakers, fun events and a good dose of history will make for a great time.  Get on the WSGA website to see all that is happening in Buffalo. It’s time to get away for a couple of days and let the grass grow. From golf to soil health to learning from others and having fun, we’ll see you there. 

Promoting beef to strangers is not an easy job, especially if you are a young lady somewhat new to the business. But to my surprise, I found some young ladies doing just that and a lot more.

For years, women involved in ranching or producing beef have been on the front lines in promoting beef, along with raising it. Most women involved, I always thought, were the innovators. Basically, if there was a problem, they thought of ways to solve it, and then they did it.

  In Wyoming, as across the nation, women involved in producing and promoting beef are doing a great job, and we don’t thank them enough. Those of us men recognize that our “better halves” are just better salespeople than we are. Promoting beef must just come naturally to the female side. They do it so easy.  President Trump should have had a member of the Wyoming CattleWomen at his side when he talked to the Chinese Premier on importing American beef into China. It would have been a slam dunk for American beef.

A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to visit with the Natrona County Cow-Belles. This group of ladies, besides having placed some great signs along the highways leading into Natrona County, work with their daughters and other young ladies, known as the Royal Court, to promote beef at various events, such as the College National Finals Rodeo. They have handouts on beef that help, but it is really their knowledge about beef and their confidence in going up to total strangers and introducing themselves to talk about beef that makes it successful.

Their moms and other Cow-Belles have spent time practicing with the young ladies on what to say and how to say it on speaking on beef issues. I would imagine the hard part is getting someone to stop and listen to them, but they are all dressed so nice and are so polite, they’ve won that battle.

Someday, I hope to see some of these young ladies in a leadership role with state and national cattle

women’s organizations and more importantly, state and national beef organizations. They are earning their stripes and we need to thank them and those who support them.

Around this time of the year, we at the Roundup are getting the word out for people to send in nominations and applications for the 2017 Wyoming Agriculture Hall of Fame Award. We all know someone or a couple who needs to be honored for their work in agriculture.  They are down every road. Those nominated will be ranked by three judges from around the state. Our judges are independent and do not know who else is scoring applications. Then, I will tally up the rankings and the top persons or couples will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Nominees who are not selected will be eligible for two additional years.

Those chosen will be honored at the 2017 Wyoming Agriculture Hall of Fame Picnic on the evening of Aug. 16 during the Wyoming State Fair.  The picnic, sponsored again by Wyoming Farm Credit Services of America, Cargill/Vigortone and the Wyoming Livestock Roundup, will be held at Riverside Park in Douglas. Sens. Mike Enzi and John Barrasso (both R-Wyo.) will present the awards. The application deadline is June 12th. The nomination application, along with a list of past awardees, are on the Roundup website or give us a call at the Roundup office and we will get them to you. It is a great way to recognize family, friends, or neighbors and business partners the way they so richly deserve. Thank you.   

Promoting beef to strangers is not an easy job, especially if you are a young lady somewhat new to the business. But to my surprise, I found some young ladies doing just that and a lot more.

For years, women involved in ranching or producing beef have been on the front lines in promoting beef, along with raising it. Most women involved, I always thought, were the innovators. Basically, if there was a problem, they thought of ways to solve it, and then they did it.

  In Wyoming, as across the nation, women involved in producing and promoting beef are doing a great job, and we don’t thank them enough. Those of us men recognize that our “better halves” are just better salespeople than we are. Promoting beef must just come naturally to the female side. They do it so easy.  President Trump should have had a member of the Wyoming CattleWomen at his side when he talked to the Chinese Premier on importing American beef into China. It would have been a slam dunk for American beef.

A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to visit with the Natrona County Cow-Belles. This group of ladies, besides having placed some great signs along the highways leading into Natrona County, work with their daughters and other young ladies, known as the Royal Court, to promote beef at various events, such as the College National Finals Rodeo. They have handouts on beef that help, but it is really their knowledge about beef and their confidence in going up to total strangers and introducing themselves to talk about beef that makes it successful.

Their moms and other Cow-Belles have spent time practicing with the young ladies on what to say and how to say it on speaking on beef issues. I would imagine the hard part is getting someone to stop and listen to them, but they are all dressed so nice and are so polite, they’ve won that battle.

Someday, I hope to see some of these young ladies in a leadership role with state and national cattle

women’s organizations and more importantly, state and national beef organizations. They are earning their stripes and we need to thank them and those who support them.

Around this time of the year, we at the Roundup are getting the word out for people to send in nominations and applications for the 2017 Wyoming Agriculture Hall of Fame Award. We all know someone or a couple who needs to be honored for their work in agriculture.  They are down every road. Those nominated will be ranked by three judges from around the state. Our judges are independent and do not know who else is scoring applications. Then, I will tally up the rankings and the top persons or couples will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Nominees who are not selected will be eligible for two additional years.

Those chosen will be honored at the 2017 Wyoming Agriculture Hall of Fame Picnic on the evening of Aug. 16 during the Wyoming State Fair.  The picnic, sponsored again by Wyoming Farm Credit Services of America, Cargill/Vigortone and the Wyoming Livestock Roundup, will be held at Riverside Park in Douglas. Sens. Mike Enzi and John Barrasso (both R-Wyo.) will present the awards. The application deadline is June 12th. The nomination application, along with a list of past awardees, are on the Roundup website or give us a call at the Roundup office and we will get them to you. It is a great way to recognize family, friends, or neighbors and business partners the way they so richly deserve. Thank you.   

    We tend to forget our state legislators this time of the year, as our minds usually tune out anything about the state’s lawmakers as soon as the legislative session ends. But in reality, our state lawmakers’ work never ends. They are tuned in and working for us year-round. They are at their day jobs at home and are not bunched up in Cheyenne, though.

This past week, I attended one day of the Joint Agriculture, State and Public Lands and Water Resources Interim Committee meeting held in Hulett. The purpose of the meeting, as the notice said, was to begin the committee’s interim work as assigned by the Legislature’s Management Council. The committee discussed various topics, including stranded state lands inventory, the prior appropriation statutory of water allocation, state-led collaboration for federal lands management, the state fire suppression account and the Black Hills National Forest. In addition, the committee received agency updates from the Office of State Lands and Investments, the Wyoming Water Development Office, the University of Wyoming College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the Wyoming Livestock Board, the Wyoming Department of Agriculture, the Wyoming State Forestry Division and staff from the Wyoming congressional delegation.

Also, Harriet Hageman, an attorney from Cheyenne who is an authority on Wyoming’s water issues, and Jim Neiman from Neiman Enterprises in Hulett, who owns most of the large lumber mills in the region, were asked to present testimony.

If you are involved in any type of agriculture in Wyoming, you were affected or had chips on the table at this meeting.

As you know, our state agencies now have to complete their normal tasks, plus deal with new issues as they are directed or arise, all under a state budget that is tight and getting tighter. I would guess there are numerous bottles of stomach acid reliever in most desks in state government these days.

The co-chairs of this committee are Rep. Robert McKim from Afton and Sen. Larry Hicks from Baggs. Both are very knowledgeable men. The committee is made up of five Senators and nine Representatives. Some of the members are involved in agriculture or the natural resources field, but there are some appointed who have no background in agriculture or natural resources, and they are undergoing a steep learning curve. They all know, as members of this committee, that they have responsibility to the committee and the issues, so are all engaged in the issues.

The Management Council selects the issues that need to be addressed while the Legislature is out of session and assigns those issues to committees, with a goal in mind to bring some legislation back to the full body, if needed. These issues need explored, with expert testimony coming from those who know from all sides of the issue. Importantly, comments from you, the citizens who are affected by the final outcome, is also heard during the meetings. Our government is a democracy, which is what makes our state and this country great.

It is not an easy task to be on an interim committee, as you can’t make everyone happy while not spending a lot of money. We thank these legislators for the good job they do, even though we don’t always agree with them. They have to do the job with the well-being of the state in mind. We can help them and ourselves by staying informed.