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What a Difference a Year Makes

Written by Dennis Sun
For the last few weeks Wyoming, hasn’t had its best hat on. In fact, it’s had its mad hat on. Last year at this time we were all smiles with all the moisture and good prices, but the same can’t be said this year.
   We always say in Wyoming, if you don’t like the weather wait five minutes. We only had to wait a few months into the year of 2012. By March, we realized we were going to have a strange year – we weren’t feeding the hay we usually do, we witnessed a lack of snowfall around most of the state away from the mountains, and the moisture left in the mountains disappeared with high temperatures reaching seventy degrees around the state at the end of March.
    After a dry April, we still had May to get caught up on moisture, and that has happened before. Some did receive some moisture, but some places it only greened up along the edge of the highway and that was it.  The hot winds kicked in and most knew we had run out of luck – gather up the reins and pull your hat down because it’s not going to be a good summer.  
    Whether manmade or nature’s call, the fires started in mid-June, and they actually roared across the state, as well as in neighboring states. The whole state complained about smoke, but those who were dealing with the flames were in our thoughts and prayers. We can’t imagine the hell they were going through. We all heard the horror stories – someone lost a barn or maybe even the house, ranchers couldn’t find their cattle and hoped they weren’t lost, all the elk are in the meadows, or they had to cut the fences and run. These stories about the fires of 2012 will last a lifetime. We hope we have seen the worst, but now we all have to live with the results of fire and drought.
    Agriculture and rural states pull together in tough times and prepare for better days and this will be no different. As we visit with those affected, there is always someone who has it worse. We talk to God a lot, in proper ways of prayer, and we ask why. Why are we paying for the exceptional year last year? There are no good answers, just tears, frustration and the question what will we do to get through the winter.
    For those affected, we in agriculture are behind you and your families. We share your frustration, and we know it just as easily could have been us in the middle of a fire. We all know, as you do, some days are better than others, the sun will still rise tomorrow, and there is always a future.
    They say this drought covers 56 percent of our nation, but tough times bring out the best in agriculture. We celebrated the Environmental Stewardship Tour on the Sommers Ranch in Pinedale on July 12, and we are preparing to celebrate our 100th State Fair in August. As we celebrate our youth in all of our county fairs this summer, we hope we will all enjoy better days in the next years.
Dennis