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current edition

To the Editor:

There has been a lot of talk about the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB). It seems that McDonalds, Wal-Mart, The World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Brazil’s JBS and others are going to make us volunteer to be sustainable. Sort of reminds me of Bill Clinton’s idea of requiring people to volunteer. This group of do-gooders wants to help us stay in business for years to come. Why do I not believe them? 

I don’t believe them because of the entities involved. Like Wal-Mart. It is my understanding that Wal-Mart likes to chicken-ize their suppliers. It seems they like to make tight contracts and then force their suppliers to be the low-cost producer. Being forced to be the low-cost producer does not sound sustainable to me. What about quality? Does quality come from the lowest cost per unit? And speaking of quality, how about JBS, the Brazilian meat packer? These are the people who want to import their South American, low-priced – and I suspect low-quality – beef at the expense of the U.S. rancher. 

McDonalds says that they plan to double the amount of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat foods that they sell. Does that sound like they are supporting the beef industry? If McDonalds wants to help U.S. ranchers to be sustainable, they would buy 100 percent born, raised and processed in the USA beef. And they would brag about it.  Wal-Mart would do the same.  If they don’t, they are not trying to make ranching in the USA sustainable. 

GRSB talks about our carbon footprint. I wonder if they consult with any genuine scientists or if they choose to listen to the Hollywood and political big shots. There is a lot of science that is not brought to the table in conversations about carbon. For example, all of the grass growing on the prairies is going to turn into carbon. If that grass is not consumed, it decays. When it decays, it turns into its basic components, which include carbon. Sometimes it decays quickly, as in fire. In that process it turns into its basic components, which include carbon. If cattle, bison, antelope or rabbits eat the vegetation, it turns into carbon. So, fortunately for us, carbon dioxide is made in great quantities on a continual basis. Without CO2, our plants would die and so would we. The flora needs CO2 just as we need oxygen. And the plants use the CO2 to make that oxygen. 

What other reasons do I have to not believe that GRSB is here to save us? How about their principles? They talk about using the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. As much as I would like for the entire world to think like I do, it isn’t going to happen. I have no interest in what the United Nations thinks that I should do. And I don’t expect the people of China or Germany care what I think they should do. The New World Order is not for me. 

Although I have not seen it in writing, I suspect that the GRSB would be quite willing to accept EPA’s onerous and expensive rules and regulations. For example, we have a diesel-powered pickup that gets about 16 miles per gallon (MPG). That is, until the anti-pollution equipment engages. I don’t know the process that is used, but after the re-gen cycle, the total fuel mileage average goes down to about 12 MPG. Consider that we will put 100,000 miles on this pickup during its life with us. At 16 MPG, it would use 6,250 gallons of fuel. At 12 MPG, it would use 8,333 gallons. So to make EPA happy, we use an additional 2,083 gallons of fuel over the lifetime of this vehicle. Does this make any sense? Not to me. Now consider the price of that fuel. At $3.80 per gallon, the EPA will have me paying $7,915 more for fuel than I would need to spend. Is this what sustainable means? Does Brazil have these requirements? We can’t compete with the world markets unless we have a level playing field. 

My final point is about management of a business. Does anybody at McDonalds know why I don’t graze cattle in Section 12 before July 10? Do they know that this specific pasture has larkspur growing in it? Do they know that larkspur is deadly poisonous to cattle? Does Wal-Mart understand that the water source in the lower pasture usually dries up in late June? I strongly suspect that the answers to these questions are no. Yet it looks as if they want to tell me how to best run my ranch for their benefit. And what do you think? Will they buy my high-quality beef when JBS will sell them some South American special at 15 percent less? Or would it be 30 percent less?

The WWF specifically wants to save the prairie dogs. They have a very good reason for this. Prairie dogs are the source of food for the Black-Footed ferret. Unfortunately the prairie dog probably destroys more grassland than any other animal. Having prairie dogs on the place does not make a ranch sustainable. 

The word “global” is part of the primary idea behind this movement. I have been going on about the United States cattle rancher. It is not my first goal to save the rancher in Argentina or the poultry house in China. I am much more concerned about the rancher in the USA. Yes, for personal reasons and also for a greater cause. I do not want the USA to become dependent on imported food. I think I will pass on using the United Nations guidelines for making the USA a food dependent nation. 

Sincerely,

John Francis

Cheyenne

To the Editor,

We are once again at the time of year for the Wyoming Public Land Coalition (WPLC) to renew its membership in the National Public Lands Council (NPLC). NPLC is the only national level group dedicated solely to the preservation of grazing on federal lands, and WPLC is our dedicated group to the national group. Therefore I am urging you to support our Wyoming coalition.  

Because Wyoming is always active and engaged when issues come along, we have earned high level of respect in Washington, D.C. The fact that we continue to fight many of the same issues over and over again is a testament to the success of the NPLC. If not for the continued vigilance and work going on in D.C., many of us would have long ago gone the way of the logger. Rest assured your money has not gone to waste. Your representatives have and continue to work for the good of all of us at their own expense. Very little money has been spent to defray travel costs for your representatives. Your money goes to the fight.

When the letter asking for your support comes, please, don’t set it aside to look at later. Put in the “must pay” pile, and pay it the next time you sit down to pay bills. It is up to us to continue the fight for the good of the next generation.

Sincerely,

Niels Hansen

First Vice President, Wyoming Stock Growers Association

Wyoming Public Lands Rancher

Rawlins

To the Editor:

On Nov. 4, Wyoming voters will be asked to vote on a constitutional amendment to the Wyoming Constitution regarding the University of Wyoming Board of Trustees. 

The constitutional amendment would allow no more than 20 percent of the Trustees to be nonresidents of the state. The amendment does not require any members of the Board to be from outside of Wyoming. Any appointment must be made by the Governor and also be approved by the Wyoming Senate. 

In conjunction with the resolution to amend the Wyoming Constitution, the Wyoming Legislature unanimously passed Senate File 38 in 2013. The legislation increased the number of trustees from 12 to 13 and would allow two of the 13 members to be nonresidents. The legislation requires any nonresident appointed to the board to “possess verifiable and demonstrable interest in and past interactions with the university which are reflective of commitment to the education mission of the university.” 

The legislation will go into effect upon successful passage of Constitutional Amendment A in the upcoming General Election. 

As sponsors of this resolution, we encourage Wyoming voters to approve this constitutional amendment. Over half of UW’s graduates live outside Wyoming but still have a passion for the state’s only four-year university. Many have attained national achievement and recognition. These alumni would bring experience and expertise that could help the university fulfill its mission of making our students competitive anywhere in the world. 

This proposed amendment does not suggest that there are not enough talented people currently in our state to serve on the board. Rather, the hope is that passage of this amendment will strengthen the UW Board of Trustees and broaden national exposure to our great university. 

In order to pass, a constitutional amendment must receive a majority of the total ballots cast in the election. That means if you do not vote on the amendment, your ballot is counted the same as a no vote. 

Again, we ask for your support on Constitutional Amendment A on Nov. 4. 

Sincerely,

Tony Ross, Wyoming Senate President

Phil Nicholas, Wyoming Senate Majority Floor Leader 

Kermit Brown, Wyoming House Majority Floor Leader 

Tim Stubson, Wyoming House Majority Whip