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Life Goes On

Written by Dennis Sun
As I write this column from the Wyoming State Fair, I am amazed at the number of people attending the fair during the start and over the first weekend. In the past, the Demolition Derby and the start of the horse shows were the main events. This year, however, the Wyoming State Fair really started with a bang on Aug. 10 with the large Fort Fetterman Remount Horse Sale. Then over the weekend, aside from the horse and goat shows two new events – the Sheepwagon Contest and the Dutch Oven Cook-off – emerged. These events were complimented by the regular stock dog cattle trials, the sheep dog trials and the grand event, the Ranch Rodeo Finals. The ranch rodeo packed the stands again this year. Usually on Monday and Tuesday of the first full week, attendance has been pretty limited in past years, but not this year. There were numerous people just out to see what the Wyoming State Fair was all about, and they were not disappointed.
    As we’ve said before, this is a tough year in Wyoming. The drought, the price of corn and the ramifications of high priced corn are the subject of talk up and down the midway and from the Roundup Tent to the livestock barns. But you know, parents are still at the fair, supporting their children and Wyoming’s youth. This year, we might see just one parent accompany their 4-H or FFA member, while the other parent stayed home and watched the place. Despite whatever is happening at home, if their child was picked to go to State Fair that was where they would be. The same scenario has likely been seen through the generations with their parents, and so it will with them – whether it was a youth horse event or other 4-H or FFA show, their child was getting to the Fair. It is all part of growing up.
    With the end of the 100th Wyoming State Fair, it has been another week for the books, full of great livestock, engaged youth and supportive parents. But we remember that the world continues to turn outside of the fairgrounds.
    Calf and yearling sales for northern cattle have been pretty good this past week as well. While they didn’t look quite as good as earlier in the summer, sale prices remain better than last year. The good part is that interest has picked up for a number of reasons. Let’s just hope we only have to remember one year of drought.
    On the subject of marketing, what gives with the press release late last week about the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) announcing that it will file a lawsuit seeking an injunction against the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), the Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB) and the Beef Promotion Operating Committee (BPOC)? As I understand it, the lawsuit involves the beef checkoff. The worst part of this ordeal is that the OCM partnered with the Humane Society of the United States. Our first response was, “What is going on here? Are they nuts?” Hopefully we will hear more about it in the weeks to come so we can get some grasp on the issue. There has to be more to the story. Stay tuned.
Dennis