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Wyoming’s Secret

Written by Dennis Sun

     A week or so back as I was traveling to Park City, Utah for the West Central States Wool Growers Convention, I stopped in Rock Springs to attend part of the Wyoming Weed and Pest Council Convention. I haven’t attended one in a number of years, and I was happily impressed.

I knew many of the “gray hairs” in attendance, but I was amazed to find so many college students in attendance as they were talking on their latest studies to the members. Also, there were a good number of young people in attendance who are in the business, either through the County Weed and Pest Control Districts, private business or in the energy industry reclamation or environmental departments. I found lots of enthusiasm from some really bright young students and those working in the field of managing and controlling invasive species.

Myself, like a lot of others around the state, may take our County Weed and Pest Control Districts for granted. They are always there for us, and they get the job done. So what is the big attractant for invasive species? I don’t have the answer, but I’m thankful for the experience of the older leadership and the enthusiasm and talents of those younger.

I mentioned taking our Weed and Pest Districts for granted. I know that most do a good job, but until a couple people from out of state told me how envious their states were of Wyoming’s Weed and Pest Districts and the great job they did of controlling invasive species in the state, I was unaware of just how good they are. They mentioned how impressive our Weed and Pest employees are – from the leadership at the top to those working out in the hills.

Idaho has cheatgrass from border to border, Montana has a terrible weed infestation, and Colorado smokes most of their weeds. But in Wyoming, we manage and control our weeds and the terrible cheatgrass issue, and the best part as I found out is that we are always looking for better methods of control through research. We’re fortunate to have such experience at UW where there have always been standouts from in the field to state management and down to the counties. Once you catch on what they are all up to, you’ll be proud of them, too.

There was also lots of enthusiasm at the four-state wool growers convention in Park City, Utah. Prices for wool and lamb are up, but the dark clouds with the Forest Service and the Bighorn sheep issue dampens the mood for those affected. Good prices don’t help a lot if you are losing your summer grazing in the forests. 

We do have issues in all segments of agriculture here in Wyoming, and most are related to public lands grazing and government overreach. Hopefully this past election will help solve some of the issues as they can be fixed, not easily, but they can be fixed. It just takes people who are willing to sit down, discuss the problems and make a deal to fix the issue.

Someone once said, “The line separating right and wrong passes not through states, nor between political parties, either – but right through every human heart.”