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Changing Times

These days, if you were to visit with ag producers or landowners in southeast Wyoming, the topic may not be the high prices of livestock or grains. You would hear about the skyrocketing prices for fuel and other needed supplies for the farm or ranch besides groceries, but the main topic would be oil wells, wind power and selling water to oil companies. We never thought we’d hear that talk in southeast Wyoming, but good for them. We wish them all the best.   
For the moment, the oil well rumors have quieted down some, as so far no one has hit the “big one,” as the oil company did in northeast Colorado. The companies are catching their breath while consolidating mineral rights and awaiting final data from seismic crews, plus we hear that drilling rigs are in short supply. But, the potential is still out there.
I hear some are still selling or trying to sell water to oil companies, so that is still in the realm of topics, and the pipeline through eastern Wyoming is always on the minds of those whose land it crosses.
We also can’t forget the proposed wind power projects with Wasatch’s 62-turbine Pioneer Wind Park south of Glenrock and Pathfinder Renewable Wind Energy’s planned project, along with BP Wind Energy and Horizon Wind Energy in the Bordeaux, Slater and Chugwater areas. The Pioneer Park project is in the permitting stage, and the Pathfinder Wind project is scheduled to be online sometime in 2016. Either of those projects is big business for the affected landowners, the local economies and the state.  
The not-so-good news in southeast Wyoming is that the person who has been involved in assisting landowners in the wind and oil plays has left his position as coordinator of the Southeastern Wyoming RC&D Council.
Grant Stumbough, of the NRCS, was the major push in developing the wind associations and assisting landowners and their associations with their wind issues and other related matters. In other words, he was the “go-to guy” for information for both landowners and the wind energy companies. He brought the landowners together to form the associations to ensure they got the best deal possible, and that helped the wind energy companies lease up blocks of land. He also helped the attorney and landowners involved in the proposed eastern Wyoming pipeline to develop their LLC to protect themselves from the pipeline company.
Grant made sure he was always in the background and never in the negotiation part of the landowner’s deals. While he never stepped over the line of what his role was, he was a big part of what’s happening in southeast Wyoming and will truly be missed. We wish him well in his new position – he is leaving as a friend to many.  
On another note, keep the farmers and ranchers in Texas in your prayers. Around one-and-a-half million acres have burned as a result of the ongoing drought that stretches from southeast Arizona to Louisiana. The loss of forage, ranch buildings and livestock has been terrific.
Dennis