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Guest Opinions

WSGA Adopts New Policies During Cattle Industry Conference

Written by Haley Lockwood

During their June 2016 Summer Cattle Industry Convention and Trade Show, the Wyoming Stock Growers Association (WSGA) adopted a handful of new policies for the coming year. New policies are listed below.

For a complete list of WSGA policies, visit wysga.org.

Brand

Wyoming Stock Growers Association urges the Governor to take every necessary step to avoid changes to the current structure of Brand Inspector compensation based on the recent U.S. Department of Labor Rule requiring overtime pay for workers earning less than $970 per week.

Federal Lands

Whereas there is a vital need for a more active federal role in forest management;

Whereas there is an increasing amount of beetle-killed timber that is available on private, state and federal lands;

Whereas there is an increasing amount of fuel build-ups and fire risk in forested areas;

Whereas there is an available source of product that is underutilized;

Be it resolved that the Wyoming Stock Growers Association support incentives promoting woody biomass utilization on private, state and federal lands; encourage forest managers to utilize the woody biomass available in forested areas; support efforts to incorporate woody biomass generated electricity as a part of the electric grid renewable energy source profile and encourage the development and funding of new technologies and wood based markets for non-traditional products

Marketing

Wyoming Stock Growers Association strongly opposes the 2016 Rule promulgated by the U.S. Department of Labor requiring the payment of overtime for any salaried employee earning under $970 per week and urges the U.S. Congress to take immediate action to stop implementation of this rule, which will have significant negative impacts on ranchers and ranch employees.

Private Lands

1. WSGA supports strengthening Wyoming’s eminent domain laws to provide greater protection to private property owners including the following:

Prioritization of the use of public lands over private lands;

The ability to participate in planning activities affecting their lands;

A jury trial on issues of public benefit;

The right to payment for both initial damage and interruption of activities to include all incurred attorney’s fees and other incurred expenses;

The condemnee may elect to take payment as a single payment or multiple payments or in the form of rents and royalties;

That condemner be required to post bond for attorney’s fees, which are payable to the condemnee if project is abandoned prior to completion; and

In the event of an abandoned condemnation, the condemnee shall be entitled to all incurred attorney’s fees and other incurred expenses.

2. WSGA supports requiring common carriers and their assignees to post a performance bond or contribute to a fund adequate to fulfill all obligations of an easement agreement including reclamation.

Water

1. WSGA urges the Governor and the State Legislature to maintain and protect the current funding mechanism for Water Development Accounts I, II and III and to continue to provide adequate funding to address rehabilitation or replacement of the agriculture water delivery infrastructure and the development of new water storage facilities that contribute toward full use of Wyoming’s water allocations.

2. Whereas on March 1, 2016 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) issued a draft scientific investigation report arguing that stream flows can potentially affect aquatic life, therefore the EPA may assert federal permitting requirements under the Clean Water Act;

Government to assert federal jurisdiction over the use or management of water quantity;

Whereas the Wyoming Constitution declares that all natural water is the property of the state;

Whereas the Wyoming State Engineer has authority to permit and manage all surface water and ground water quantity and use pursuant to Wyoming State Statutes;

Therefore be it resolved that the Wyoming Stock Growers Association strongly opposes the EPA’s and USGS’ unauthorized attempt to expand federal management, permitting or review to water rights, water use or water quantity in violation of state primacy.