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Hang in There

Written by Dennis Sun
As we developed our annual sheep edition, we realized that despite lower prices, there is still a robust sheep industry here in Wyoming. A large part of that due to the Mountain States Lamb Cooperative and the fortitude of those in the sheep industry.
    The planets lined up early this spring, and there was a terrible backlog of fat lambs. Lambs were going to the packers at record heavy weights, because feeders couldn’t sell them and had to keep feeding. There is still an overstock of market ready lambs in the feedlot, and it looks like that it will carry into the next year before it gets much better. Lambs are selling in the country, but at much lower prices – up to around $1.50 a pound lower than last year.
    Not only did the cost of hay and corn skyrocket, but also with the national economy, demand just hasn’t been there. Now the drought and a drop in wool prices have affected the industry as well. But the sheep industry in Wyoming is still out there, ready for better times, and they will come. It just hurts so much coming off a record year in 2011 – with outstanding lamb and ewe prices and a record year of precipitation on the range. The planets lined up for our benefit last year, and now we are seeing just the opposite.
    In 2012 all sheep numbers increased in Wyoming from 2011 as producers thought it was time to grow. The sheep producers are hanging in there, and on Sept. 11 in Douglas, the Wyoming Wool Growers Association is holding the 84th Annual Wyoming State Ram Sale. The rams at this sale just keep getting better and better as sheep genetics improve. With around 280 head of rams to sell, it is going to be a good one. With a dinner and dance the night before, the long traditions of the ram sale continues. We’ll see you there.
    Every now and then a moment happens that we remember and hold forever. One of those times happened a week ago when the Wyoming Stock Growers Land Trust held their annual barbecue and fundraiser at the Budd-Espenscheid Ranches west of Big Piney.
    During the program part of the barbecue, Laura Bucholz of Saratoga presented, in memory of her late husband Kurt, the Kurt Bucholz Conservation Award to Bob Budd of Cheyenne.
    As you know, Bob has had a very productive life in conservation, from the time he became associated with the Wyoming Stock Growers Association with 10 years as executive director, up until the present, in his position as executive director of the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resources Trust. No one deserves a conservation award more than Bob, who is always an advocate for agriculture and its families. He has served as president of the International Society of Range Management, facilitated development of management plans for sage grouse, big horn sheep and large grazing allotments in the state and other states as well. From governors to environmentalists to farmers, ranchers and sportsman, all have trusted him to get the job done right, and he has served all with respect. The award was a surprise to Bob and being on home ground made it all the more special. We’re proud to call him our friend. Congratulations to Bob.
Dennis