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2014 Wyoming Farm Bureau Annual Meeting Sees Strong Members

Written by Ken Hamilton

By Ken Hamilton, Wyoming Farm Bureau Executive Vice President

Despite temperatures plunging into the sub-zero mark on the thermometer, representatives from the county Farm Bureaus made their way to the 95th Annual Meeting in Sheridan on Nov. 13-15. 

Policy discussions are the main reason for the voting delegates to attend. This year many of the issues that concerned those folks were related to private property rights – issues like trespassing to collect data that is currently the subject of a lawsuit against Western Watersheds Project. Most property owners are concerned about people coming on private lands without permission, but entities that have an agenda to drive livestock off public lands and trespass over private lands to accomplish those goals are especially disconcerting.

There was quite a bit of discussion about the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) power grab with their proposed “Waters of the U.S.” rule, which had a comment deadline of Nov. 14. Members took advantage of the opportunity to send their comments in electronically while at the state annual meeting. In addition, members signed nearly 350 “Ditch the Rule” post cards this fall during the county Farm Bureau annual meetings, which were then sent to the agency. EPA’s actions probably helped reinforce the adopted policy regarding the “Regulation Freedom Amendment” to the U.S. Constitution. The proposal would establish a process that whenever 25 percent of the U.S. House or Senate transmitted their opposition to a regulation to the President, then it would require a majority vote of both the House and Senate before the regulation could be adopted.

Farm Bureau members expressed their support for proposed Joint Transportation Committee legislation that would allow agricultural producers and their employee’s to be exempt from current Class A or B driver’s license requirements when they are engaged in their agricultural operations.

Members also expressed their concern about the President’s use of the Antiquities Act for designation of monuments and felt that these actions should only occur after a two-thirds majority vote of each house of Congress.

In addition to resolutions which were considered, the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation’s Young Farmer and Rancher Committee held their Collegiate Discussion Meet, which saw Bryce McKenzie from Northwest College in Powell win the competition over 14 other student participants. Bryce will travel to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Young Farmer and Rancher conference in February to represent Wyoming in the national competition.

Farm Bureau members recognized Representative Mark Semlek for all of his efforts and work on behalf of agriculture in Wyoming with their Distinguished Service Award. They recognized Sharleen Castle for all of her efforts and work on behalf of the county and state Farm Bureau with the presentation of the Wyoming Farm Bureau Leadership Award. Both recipients were deserving winners. 

In addition to Farm Bureau’s recognition, Representative Semlek was selected by the folks at Crop Life for their National Legislator Award, which certainly speaks volumes about Mark’s abilities and work in the Wyoming Legislature.

Perry Livingston from the Sundance area was re-elected president. He will be serving his 10th term as Wyoming Farm Bureau President. Todd Fornstrom from the Pine Bluff’s area was elected vice president.

Visit our website at wyfb.org for more news and links to our Facebook page where you can see photos from the annual meeting.