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Thank A Rancher

Written by Dennis Sun
    We’re not used to seeing the words “Thank a Rancher” displayed in public places around our state. But, from what I hear, we will have to get used to it. A new advertising effort will tell the story of ranching’s benefits. We welcome it.
    Working in conjunction with the Wyoming Stock Growers Agricultural Land Trust, the effort is sponsored by Audubon Wyoming, the Wyoming Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, Wyoming Sportsman for Fish and Wildlife and Wyoming Trout Unlimited. It’s a breath of fresh air…good news in the middle of all the bad news we’ve read and heard the past few months.
    Hold on now, this doesn’t mean we’ve won the war, but we’re definitely making inroads in the effort to share our message. This is a message we in agriculture have long known to be true and now it’s going to be shared with more of the general public. Conservation groups involved with the land trust have, for the most part, been friends of Wyoming agriculture for a long time. These sportsmen and conservation groups that are partnering with the land trust have always supported ranching as a tool to maintain open spaces and wildlife habitat.
    So far, three billboards with the message “Wyoming’s Open, Thank a Rancher” are located near Cheyenne, Casper and west of Cheyenne on Interstate 80. I also understand that the message will be shared via half-page ads in area publications.
    I’m not sure where the idea originated, but the good news is it doesn’t matter, only the message does. Who knows where the advertising campaign will end up; ideas like this sometime take on a life all their own. Besides, in today’s world it is pretty hard to love a rancher to death, so we don’t want to let it go to our heads. Let’s enjoy it.
    Knowing what I do about the conservation groups involved, I’m not surprised to see them behind this action. These state organizations have always worked with agriculture instead of sitting back and blasting farmers and ranchers and their land practices. At times they’ve stood side-by-side with farmers and ranchers during the legislative session in Cheyenne. Other times they have disagreed with us, but we’ve left the meeting room as friends. Some in agriculture have been criticized for being overly friendly with some conservation groups, but these billboards didn’t result from the two groups throwing mud at one another. Just as we realize there are some of us in the ag community who are easier to work with than others, it also holds true with conservation organizations.
    In these times of economic troubles, good news is hard to come by and it is not easy to find a positive story out there. For most in agriculture, the message of open spaces is not new news, but it is welcome news.
    We need to take advantage of positive news and move forward, I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m tired of the negative news every time we turn on the TV. Sit back, take a deep breath and say we’re okay. The sun will still rise tomorrow, but it might be an hour late.
Dennis