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Happy New Year

Written by Dennis Sun

Well, it doesn’t seem that long ago that we were wishing all of you Happy New Year for 2016. They say time goes faster as one gets older. I think it is true. But anyway, there is going to be a new year, and most of those in agriculture are optimistic.

After the elections, there was a renewed optimism in agriculture. For cattle producers, part of the optimism was due to the increase in the price of calves and the cattle futures turning around some. For those in agriculture, especially in the West, there was joy over the election. It has been a long time since there was much good news out of Washington, D.C. Come to think about it, ranchers and farmers from the West, and even their Congressional members and staff, haven’t been treated with much respect in the last eight years. Government overreach was alive and well in the West.

But hopefully that is behind us to where at least we can have sensible discussions with those in our nation’s capital who are running the government in the executive branch. After all, we’re Americans, too. The West has to be more than just a playground for the rest of the nation.

We all have to realize that just a new administration is not going to solve our issues. They are just the start. The number of us in agriculture is shrinking, they say, so we have to work harder to help feed the growing populations of our world. To accomplish that, we have to be strong politically and strong in our livestock, farm and ranching organizations. We have to be even stronger in the organizations that assist us and represent us with public lands, both state-wide and nationally.

As producers – and even those who represent us at the state level – we are not able to be at all the national or regional meetings or to lobby for us where we need representation. We need a strong Public Lands Council in Washington, D.C. and a viable Wyoming Public Lands Coalition here in our own state. That means that public lands grazers need to pay their annual assessment. If you haven’t already paid your assessment, the letter and information is around your house somewhere. If you have paid, thank you.

In past years, not even 20 percent of the Wyoming public land ranchers have paid their assessment. That is a travesty. A new administration will not stop the radical groups from filing lawsuits. That’s how many of those groups are funded. It takes money from us producers to allow our state and national public land organizations to fight those legal actions. We can’t just stand by and let 20 percent pay the bill.

We are well represented on the national Public Land Council Board. Keith Hamilton, a rancher from Hyattville is the Wyoming Board member, and Niels Hansen, a rancher from southwest of Rawlins is the Treasurer on the Public Lands Council. We can’t not support them.      

So now we’re coming to a New Year. One always has to believe it will be better than the last year for our families and us. Winter has reminded some of us this really is Wyoming, after the great fall weather we had, but with God’s grace and a little help from Washington, D.C., next year will be good for us.

From all of us at the Roundup, have a great and prosperous New Year.