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Election day is Tuesday of next week – Nov. 8, and if you haven’t already voted, you need to on Tuesday. Remember, the freedom to vote is one of the greatest rights you have, and it does keep America free.

Here at the Roundup, we try to stay out of politics. We report on those running for state and national office, but that is about the limit. I’m pretty sure everyone realizes those of us involved with the Roundup are conservative, as we’re all involved in agriculture one way or the other, and those in ag tend to be conservative, as you know. We’re proud of that. But we don’t tell people who to vote for in the Roundup. We feel that would be an insult to, first, your intellect, and, second, it is none of our business whom you vote for.

As the election draws near, we’ve been hearing people saying, “I’m not voting. I’m sick and tired of this election and those running for national office.” We can all sympathize with those folks, as nationally this election season has been a mess.

Nationally, we usually vote for someone or against someone, but this year, those running for president have really soured us on the election process. American presidents just don’t talk like this year’s candidates have publically.

Many of us have said, “How did we end up with these two?” or “How has America come to this?” No one seems to have the answer. Lately, there have been some big issues come to surface, but is anyone listening?

I see, as of Nov. 1, around 25 million voters have already voted. Good for them for voting, but they didn’t get to vote on the whole story. Basically, none of us have heard either candidate’s whole story. The only thing they talk about is how their opponent is just a crook. We haven’t heard much about policy or issues from either candidate.

To be truthful, a lot of us have just tuned out on the national election. Thank God there is lots of good sports on TV and good books and a great ag newspaper to read in our spare time. Just when you think it can’t get any worse, it does. But, one of them is going to be President of the U.S.

So, we have to take it seriously and vote for our choice for a number of reasons. By not voting, we are most likely giving the candidate we wouldn’t vote for an invisible vote, and by not voting, it is unfair to those candidates in our local and state elections that are all so important. Remember, we still have civility in our state and local elections, and hopefully that doesn’t change.

I think it is up to us as state and local voters to let it be known that Wyoming voters don’t want their elections to go the way the national elections have gone. Respect and civility are a part of who we are, and we don’t want our elections to take place in a mud pit.

As they say, “The line separating good and evil passes not through states nor between political parties either but right through every human heart.” Also remember free is not the same as free and easy.

So please vote, and just take some air freshener with you to the voting booth.

 

The month of November is about upon us, and it is time to, if you haven’t already, plan on what state conventions or meetings to attend over the next 40 days. As I’ve said time and time again, if you are in any kind of production agriculture, livestock, crops, marketing, government, both state and national or just have an interest, you need to belong to at least one of the related organizations and get involved by attending their meetings or conventions.

Our fall meetings have already started this past week with the Wyoming Water Association Annual Meeting and Educational Seminar. For those whose interest is mainly water, this is always an interesting meeting.

On Nov. 1-3, the 72nd Wyoming Weed and Pest Council Fall Conference and Business Meeting will be held in Cody. If you have issues with invasive species and pests or have an interest, this meeting is a must. The rooms are filled with numerous speakers on the subjects and most of those attending are youthful, high energy and very knowledgeable. From the legal aspects to the actual control, it can be found in the educations sessions on Nov. 2.

On Nov. 4-5, the Independent Cattlemen of Wyoming will meet at the Ramkota Hotel in Casper. The convention starts at lunch on Nov. 4 followed by a full afternoon of speakers on sustainable beef, state’s rights and public lands, with a banquet at 5:30 p.m.. The next morning is the general business meeting and committee reports.

Nov. 10-12 is the Wyoming Farm Bureau Annual meeting at the Hilton Garden Inn in Laramie. Business meetings will be held in the morning of Nov. 11, and that afternoon is the Standing Committee Meetings, ending with a dinner that evening. On Nov. 12, they will hold the General Session, speakers and election of officers. If you are interested or a Farm Bureau member, this is where to be.

The 23rd Wyoming Women’s Ag Symposium will be held on Nov. 10-11 at the Ramkota Hotel in Casper. This event is filled with speakers that address issues important to women in ag – and also the men in their lives. It is always very informational, fun and a time to visit with others.

The Wyoming Association of Conservation Districts 71st Annual Convention comes next on Nov. 15-17 in Riverton at the Holiday Inn. You need to be there if you are a District Supervisor or are involved with districts. The week starts with a Board of Directors meeting, then continues on to meetings and breakout sessions on Nov. 15. The general session starts on Nov. 16 followed by committee meetings, and the evening ends with a great social hour and fun auction. Nov. 17 is filled by concurrent sessions with numerous topics of interest and also on all days is a great tradeshow.

The Wyoming Section of the Society of Range Management is holding their annual meeting with the Wildlife Society, Wyoming Chapter in Cody at the Holiday Inn on Nov. 15-17. What an agenda they have filled with all about wildlife and range management. You need to get online and see the agenda that is packed with information and fun.

The West Central States Wool Growers Convention in Sun Valley, Idaho on Nov. 16-20, is always a must for range sheep and small flock producers. This convention always attracts the best speakers, largest group of wool buyers and sheep packers, public land managers and sheep producers from the region. The fun and information there is one of the best.

On Nov. 22, the Southeast Wyoming Beef Production Convention will be held in Torrington at the Rendezvous Center. If you raise cattle or are in the beef business, this day is filled with information you need to survive the falling prices of cattle.

And last will be the Wyoming Stock Grower’s Association Winter Meeting in Casper at the Parkway Plaza on Dec. 5-7. More on that event later.

It is the last of October; we’re seeing a lot of cattle pots around the county, and country roads are full of calves headed down those roads. It’s not the best of times to be selling calves, but in the livestock business, one takes the good along with the bad.

The calves in those trucks are certainly undervalued, and that is what hurts. But, don’t take it out on the truck drivers or especially not the brand inspectors. The truckers are always under more regulation as far as hours worked, and now, there is talk of them being responsible for the health and wellbeing of their loads. And the local brand inspectors are there to make sure that everything is legal and calves that are leaving the state get to leave. Especially don’t complain when you pay for the beef checkoff. That is most likely one of the reasons beef prices are not lower than they are.

As we have all heard, the talk around the scales is always in the form of a question – where is the bottom on these calf prices? After the last couple of weeks, no one is sure. There is some talk of calves going under one dollar a pound. After all, the average price that finished cattle brought last week was under $100, and that was the first time we saw prices that low since December 2010. Slaughter levels are high – or as they say elevated – so that would mean they should go down some more. As wholesale meat prices are pressured to drop, that should help at the grocery stores.

Packers are doing well these days, and they are killing lots of cattle, keeping the feedlots current and fed cattle weights lower. Drovers CattleNetwork says, if a feeder buys calves today to feed, and they bought those calves aggressively as they should, because of the economics of the situation, the cattle feeder has a greater potential for profit than their cattle currently on feed in their lots. Drovers also says that the situation today is almost the exact opposite of the situation a year ago when cattle feeders were delaying markets and fed cattle got so heavy. Fed cattle were down $3.32 from last week and off $25.61 from a year ago.

Drovers says, the biggest drag in the meat sector may be the 50 percent lean trimmings, which are those trimmings left over after the cutting and fabrication process. They say lean beef demand seems somewhat slow, as both 50s and 90s are experiencing depressed prices. The boatloads of Brazilian lean meat making their way into our meat markets can’t help either. Unlike Country of Origin Labeling (COOL), maybe we should just label beef from other countries, rather than marking American beef. That should be cheaper.

It is payback time. We say that cattle are undervalued today, giving the market fundamentals of supply and demand, but others said cattle were grossly overvalued in the market in 2014, 2015 and much of 2016. For the rancher in the hills trailing the pairs to the shipping corrals to trucks waiting to weigh and load calves, that doesn’t diminish the pain.

Who should control or own Wyoming’s federal lands? That question has been asked more in the last few years, and now it has dropped in Wyoming as a major issue between our candidates running for the lone seat of U.S. Representative and those running for our State Legislature.

      One of the issues with the question is that it isn't a question that can be answered by a plain "yes" or "no", and those who want just a "yes" or "no" don’t understand the issue.

First, it’s easy to understand and sympathize with those who want to see the federal lands turned over to the states, as the federal government has really made it difficult to do business on these federal lands in recent years. From management of feral horses to cumbersome restrictions for public land users trying to make a living from these public lands, it’s almost unreasonable to deal with the regulations that the federal government is coming up with. It’s the frustration of trying to do business – or see a lack of business – with the agencies from Washington, D.C. that makes public land users support western states taking over management or ownership.

Then, there is the misinformation that is running amok out there why we should or shouldn’t. We’ve heard, “The state will just sell the lands to the rich,” or “We need the federal lands to stay as they are in order to have more wilderness, protected areas and national parks.”

To say what will happen if the state does or doesn’t take over the federal lands is pure speculation on anyone’s part. We really don’t even know if it is legal to do so at this point.

Our State Legislature funded a feasibility study to research whether or not it is feasible for the state to own or manage the federal lands within its boundaries. It could come back as illegal or not feasible, who knows. The report is supposed to be out next month.

You know, for western states to take over federal lands, there will have to be a lot of negotiations before anything happens, and there are tons of questions to be answered. Some of those questions include what happens to the mineral rights. Are they on the table or not? We also need to see if the state just managing these lands will be enough to stop the overreach of the federal government. I’m sure the state won’t want the responsibility of managing the feral horses under the current restrictions. The government will have to clean up that mess. Really, there are as many questions to be answered as there are no answers for at this point.

So, instead of voting for the candidate on their stance of this question, vote for the best candidate the state needs in Congress and our State Legislature. The issue of who should own or manage the federal lands is just too premature at this point. And it may not even be an issue down the road. The question shouldn’t cloud up our election in November.