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Buffalo – With a crowd of nearly 200 people, the Wyoming Stock Growers Association kicked off their Summer Cattle Industry Convention and Trade Show in Buffalo, proclaiming “The Peaceful Re-Invasion” of Johnson County with the 125th anniversary of the Johnson County Cattle Wars.

A positive attitude accompanied the convention, and when Kent Holsinger, an attorney from Holsinger Law, LLC, reviewed President Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office from a natural resources perspective, the momentum for the week continued.

“It’s really fun to see what’s happened in the first 100 days from an ag and natural resources perspective,” commented Holsinger on June 8. “To my surprise, not many people have looked at the first 100 days of this administration from a natural resources perspective. There is a lot to talk about.”

State authority

Holsinger explained, “Constitutional authority to regulate water, oil and gas and wildlife has been given to the states, and the past eight years, the Obama Administration has regulated and grown government to a degree that’s almost incomprehensible.”

He noted that the number of regulations in the Federal Register reached 78,000 pages in 2016, a number far beyond any other administration in the history of the United States, and many of these regulations curtail economic activity.

“These regulations harm our economy and our ability to do the job that we do,” he said, listing rules impacting sage grouse, net mitigation, BLM Planning 2.0, waters of the U.S. and more. “The list goes on and on.”

Appointments

Many news media outlets don’t report on the accomplishments of the administration as they relate to agriculture and natural resources.

“I think the greatest accomplishments – and the greatest shortcomings – of this administration are in personnel,” Holsinger noted.

He emphasized that perhaps one of the most notable presidential appointments was the nomination and approval of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, adding that if the nomination was his only action, it would be noted as an action that significantly benefits the country for years to come.

“Justice Gorsuch has impeccable credentials, boosted by the federalist society,” Holsinger said. “He’s a true conservative, which is refreshing.”

Additionally, Holsinger noted that Trump’s cabinet appointments also show promise as they relate to ag and natural resources. He listed Attorney General (AG) Jeff Sessions, Environmental Protection Agency Administration Scott Pruitt, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue as all positive for the industries.

“AG Sessions believes in strong military and upholding the rule of law, which is a breath of fresh air,” Holsinger described. “Secretary Pruitt is committed to limited government and empowering the state.”

He commended Secretary Zinke’s military involvement, noting that Zinke is the first Navy SEAL elected to Congress and to serve in the President’s cabinet. Finally, Secretary Perdue’s background as a farmer and rancher, veterinarian and state government official are positive.

Vacancies

However, with Trump’s positive appointments, Holsinger noted there are a number of vacancies yet to be filled.

Using Department of the Interior (DOI) as an example, he said, “There are about 70,000 employees in DOI and about 80 presidential appointments. It’s incredibly hard to steer that ship. This administration needs to get their boots on the ground.”

Additionally, Sen. John Barrasso mentioned nearly 1,000 appointments in need of Senate confirmation, with only 100 nominees.

“We’ve got a long way to go, and this administration needs to hear from all of us that this strategy doesn’t work,” Holsinger said. “It’s inexcusable to not fill those seats or those 70,000 employees are going to be running circles around Secretary Zinke and the dozen folks he has surrounding him.”

Executive orders

“Within his first 100 days, President Trump also issued 33 executive orders, among the very first of which was for every new regulation agencies proposed, they had to remove or pick for removal two regulations,” Holsinger said.  “One of the very next executive orders was that agencies had to weigh their actions for impacts on the economy.”

He continued, “These are wonderful changes in regulatory reform.”

President Trump also directed agencies to revoke the Waters of the U.S. rule and directed the Justice Department to stay litigation.

“Thirty-five states, including Wyoming and Colorado, sued to prevent implementation of that rule,” Holsinger said. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen executive action that 35 states had to stand up and sue the federal government.”

The Clean Power Plan was also withdrawn, and in his first 130 days, Holsinger noted that President Trump withdrew from the Paris Climate Accord.

“The Paris Climate Accord is an international agreement, and our Constitution provides that international agreements need to be ratified by the Congress,” he explained. “Our last president didn’t care about the constitution, and he signed the Accord. I’m so glad to see this president taking the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accord because we shouldn’t have been in it without the input of Congress.”

Congressional Review

Holsinger also cited the Congressional Review Act (CRA), an act that was passed in 1996 and was only used once since its inception.

“CRA has been used 14 times with this Congress and this administration, but we hear virtually nothing about it,” Holsinger said.

When an agency passes a regulation, they are supposed to submit that regulation to Congress for review. When they fail to do so, Congress can revoke that rule under the CRA, which prohibits that agency to ever issue that regulation again, Holsinger explained.

For example, CRA has been used to eliminate BLM Planning 2.0, the stream protection rule and Dodd-Frank requirements that impacted oil and gas.

“We’ve also got some issues like the Affordable Care Act and many more that must be addressed,” Holsinger said.

Working together

Holsinger said that the current administration provides hope for the next four years, but more action is required from Congress.

“I’m hearing wonderful things about amending the Endangered Species Act, streamlining the National Environmental Policy Act, infrastructure, job creation and others,” he added.

“The best thing we can do is to be vocal and talk about our issues,” Holsinger commented. “We need to communicate to the White House, our congressional delegation and our peers about the problems that need to be addressed.”

Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Casper – On Dec. 7, the Wyoming Stock Growers Association (WSGA) held their annual Awards Luncheon just prior to closing the 2016 Winter Roundup with their business meeting.

In addition to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and Wyoming Department of Agriculture Access Recognition Awards, which will be printed in the Dec. 17 Roundup, WSGA presented a special award to Rep. Kermit Brown, who served in the Wyoming Legislature until this year, and recognized three nominees for the Leopold Conservation Award.

Special recognition

WSGA honored Rep. Kermit Brown of Laramie, who did not run for re-election this year. Brown served in the Wyoming Legislature beginning in 2005. In 2013-14, he was the House Majority Floor Leader, and he advanced to Speaker of the House in 2015-16.

“It’s my special honor today to pay recognition to an individual who served the state of Wyoming and the agricultural community so well, my friend, Speaker Brown,” WSGA President Niels Hansen said. “When I look at the table here, I don’t see the Speaker of the House. I see the guy who came to help us brand calves or my friend sitting on the running board of the trailer, sharing a beer and telling stories.”

To Brown, Hansen said, “Kermit, I’d like to thank you for all you’ve done for us. Thank you for being my friend, my teacher and my mentor. I’m a better man for knowing you. Thank you.”

WSGA Executive Vice President Jim Magagna noted that he first began working with Brown while Brown served as WSGA’s attorney during some state lands litigation. They continued working together when Brown was elected to the House of Representatives.

“I work with a lot of legislators, and we have a great relationship with most of them, but the relationship I have with Kermit Brown is different,” Magagna said. “We've talked about the issues and had disagreements, but I always had a feeling than we were communicating beyond the words we were speaking.”

Magagna noted that Brown’s influence in the legislature, as well as his ability to read the feeling of how legislation will fare, was instrumental in helping to pass legislation or take a different approach. 

“We will miss Kermit in the legislature,” Magagna said.

Brown mentioned, “This is very humbling. I really appreciate it. I’ve enjoyed and always believed in this industry. I’ve done everything in the industry that could to help it.”

“I love what farmers and ranchers do,” he concluded, “and I hope that we never lose it.”

Environmental Stewardship nominees

WSGA also recognized three finalists for the Leopold Conservation Award.

Committee Chair Diana Berger thanked committee members Rachel Mealor, Doug Miyamoto, Grant Stumbough, Bobbie Frank and Jim Magagna for their time.

“They spent a lot of time pouring over applications and ultimately going on site visits with the finalists,” she said.

Finalists include Pete and Ethel Garrett of Casper, Larry and Ruthie Cundall of Glendo and Larry and Jean Vignaroli of Buffalo.

The award winner will be announced in the Jan. 7, 2017 edition of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup.

Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Laramie – “The most important thing we can learn from college is how to learn,” said Sage Askin, a young rancher from Lusk.

Askin concluded a panel discussion titled, “Preparing the Next Generation of Wyoming Ranchers” at the 2016 Wyoming Cattle Industry Convention and Trade Show, held in Laramie June 1-4. He was joined by University of Wyoming College of Agriculture and Natural Resources professors, who emphasized what they teach in their classrooms on campus.

“Open-mindedness is the second most valuable thing we can learn,” Askin added. “It’s hard to stop a person that has those two things.”

Lessons learned

Askin graduated from the University of Wyoming in 2011 with a degree in rangeland management, but he noted that the information he learned in college was far from all he needed to be successful as a rancher.

“Another thing we can learn is that more heads are better than one,” he said. “If we try to go it alone, we’re not going to do as well.”

Askin added that the university also emphasized the importance of networking.

“That carries on for the rest of our lives,” he commented. “The friendships and connections I have made have helped me, and I believe they will continue to help me.”

“It truly is about standing on the shoulders of giants, as Stephen Hawking wrote,” Askin added. “It’s the people we know and can learn from that help us to stand tall.”

“We have to have the social skills and human relationships,” he said.

College courses

While in college, Askin also noted that it’s about more than taking a single course or degree program.

“There’s not a single degree field that will set anyone up to become a rancher,” he said. “I tried to tailor my courses, but I skipped the boring stuff – and I shouldn’t have.”

Askin asserted that economics and business courses have more of an impact than perhaps range management or animal science course work.

“An ag business degree might be better to have than anything else,” he added.

Passions

“We all have our own passions,” Askin said. “Every student goes to school with something that they’re interested in. The sooner they can jump into a degree program that will allow them to follow it, and take other classes on the side, the better.”

Askin also noted that it’s important to select a specialty and pursue something that they’re interested in. However, he said that it’s important to add additional coursework on the side for a well-rounded overall education.

“If I were to make a recommendation, I’d say pick a specialty, become good at it but keep a broad view,” he said. “Never become too narrowed down. We have to be holistic managers and keep a holistic approach. If we get too tapped into the details, we’re going to lose sight of the big picture, which leads to success.”

Being successful

“There’s three main things that make ranches successful,” Askin said. “Those are grazing management, marketing and stockmanship. I’ll stand by those.”

However, he noted that the other aspects of ranching aren’t to be devalued, but they are tools in a big toolbox.

Managing the resource and selling a product are the most important pieces of a story. He also added that at the end of the day, ranching is about selling a product, and if ranchers lose sight of that, they will be less effective and profitable.

“Every class we take has an impact. Every conversation we have can teach us something,” he said.

Harnessing information

In today’s connected world, Askin commented that it is important to plan for the future and be prepared for all potential outcomes in any situation.

“I’m constantly producing contingency plans for what could happen,” he said. “It’s important.”

“We’re more connected that ever before, and we can contact more people and have more of an impact than in the history of the world,” Askin added. “Based on that, we’re ranching in an era of greater opportunity than has been seen before, contrary to pessimism. There are lots of reasons to be optimistic.”

Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Cheyenne – Young livestock producers and beginning agricultural producers from around Wyoming have the opportunity to become involved and have a more active voice in important industry issues through the Young Producers Assembly (YPA), which is an organization offered through the Wyoming Stock Growers Association (WSGA).

YPA was created to provide young producers an avenue to work collaboratively on important industry issues and hold leadership positions in the organization, says WSGA Communication, Publications and Programs Director Haley Lockwood.

“The purpose of the program is to have a way for young producers from across the state to work on issues that are important to them,” she says.

Building a foundation

YPA leaders are currently in the process of creating the foundation for the organization, says Lockwood.

“We’re basically in the brainstorming phase of a lot of this and nothing has been set in stone,” explains Lockwood.

The group last met at the summer convention, so Lockwood is hopeful that many decisions will be made at their next meeting during the Winter Roundup Convention on Dec. 5.

“It’s been a busy fall, so we actually haven’t had a good solid meeting since the summer convention in Laramie. I think that at this winter’s convention we’ll be able to get a lot more done because a lot more people will be able to come,” comments Lockwood.

The group plans to discuss several business items that were brought up during the summer meeting.

“During our regular business meeting, we’ll go over various items that we are working on right now, such as our trademark logo,” says Lockwood. “We feel that it’s important for us to have a logo as a way for people to recognize us as a group, once we finally start promoting it.”

Involvement

YPA is open to young producers between the ages of 18 and 40 or to individuals who have five years or less of agricultural experience.

“Even someone who is in their 50s but is just getting started in the ag business is more than welcome to come and join us,” says Lockwood.

She explains that many topics that will be discussed in YPA are important for beginning producers to learn about.

“A lot of the things that we plan to go over have to do with how to get started in the business, family successional planning and the basics that we feel are really important. We didn’t want to exclude anyone who is just getting started,” emphasizes Lockwood.

Individuals who are interested in becoming involved with YPA are encouraged to attend the Winter Roundup Convention meeting or to contact the WSGA.

“If they want, people who are interested are more than welcome to come to the Winter Roundup and come to our meeting in December. They can also contact me at our office, which is probably the best way to get more information,” says Lockwood.

Training leaders

YPA and WSGA is hopeful that providing leadership positions at a younger age will better equip members as they step into leadership positions in WSGA.

“If young producers start in the leadership of Stock Growers at an earlier age, we hope they feel that they have a voice and don’t have to wait until they’re 50 to have a say in some of the things that happen in Stock Growers,” continues Lockwood.

“We also felt that there were a lot of people who were put into leadership positions that sometimes may not feel as comfortable doing it,” explains Lockwood. “We think that if we start with a younger group to get everyone involved a little earlier, they would be more than happy to take leadership positions in the future.”

YPA currently has four committees, including policy; social recruitment and events; education and outreach; and fundraising. The committees will provide leadership opportunities and training for young producers.

“Once our members graduate to Stock Growers and take committee chair positions or even regional vice president positions, they will feel more comfortable and be really aware of what those positions entail and what to expect,” explains Lockwood.

Emilee Gibb is editor of Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Casper – The Wyoming Stock Growers Association (WSGA) committee for agricultural promotion, education and enhancement met at this year’s Winter Roundup in Casper, held Nov. 30-Dec. 1, to share updates concerning scholarship and award opportunities, the University of Wyoming (UW) and the formation of the WSGA young producers assembly.

Scholarships and awards

Haley Lockwood, WSGA communication, publication and program director, noted the 2015 Environmental Stewardship Program winner will be announced in the Wyoming Livestock Roundup in January, and additional information will be distributed in the spring for the next round of applicants.

“Also, in April, I will be submitting the King Ranch 2016 nomination for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) environmental stewardship award,” she noted. “I always hope that our producers will be selected for the regional award through NCBA. They have great operations that are chosen every year, and I always hope that Wyoming will be represented.”

Lockwood also mentioned that information for the next Hansen Memorial Scholarship will be released in February 2016, and the winning recipient will be invited to the WSGA summer convention in Laramie June 1-4.

“Last year, we had a lot of student applications  to go through, and it was extremely tough to decide. We had to create a committee to decide who would receive the scholarship,” she said.

Range interns

This year, the application deadline for the WSGA rangeland internship program is set for Jan. 16.

“We are trying to target people who would get agency-level jobs out of school who also have no ranching experience,” she explained.

Interns will work with mentors to gain hands-on experience, connecting concepts from the classroom with real-world applications to bridge the gap between agencies and the realities that ranchers face.

“There are mentor opportunities for producers who are interested and use rangeland initiatives. Producers and students can contact me for information, or visit the WSGA website,” she added.

UW cattle update

Updates from the Wyoming Collegiate Cattle Association (WCCA) were also shared at the meeting, as WSGA scholarship recipients and WCCA club members BJ Bender and Micayla Crimmins described WCCA promotional events at UW.

“Our first event was the UW family farm day. We had a lot of families and students come to see what our ag facilities are like,” noted Crimmins.

The club also held their first annual beef box raffle, ordered promotional items such as t-shirts and roping gloves and promoted themselves on campus with booths set up at various student events.

“A few of us went to the Range Beef Cow Symposium in Loveland, Colo., and that was really good opportunity. We got to network, listen to industry professionals and go through the tradeshow to see new technologies and products,” added Bender.

In the spring, WCCA will also be hosting Curt Pate, a producer from Montana who emphasizes low-stress cattle handling techniques. Both UW students and the general public will be invited to attend the event.

College of Ag

Bret Hess, director of the UW Agricultural Experiment Station, and Pepper Jo Six, UW Foundation major gift officer paired with the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, spoke at the meeting as well.

Hess noted that both UW Extension Director Glen Whipple and Dean Frank Galey have been reappointed for new terms in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and the search is underway for the new university president.

Although a hiring freeze is in effect at UW, Hess also noted that efforts are being made to ensure that critical faculty are retained and hired, working on a case-by-case basis with an emphasis on serving both the university and the state.

He also mentioned that College of Ag building renovations are being reviewed, Extension listening sessions will continue in the state, and 2016 will celebrate 125 years of Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Stations.

Six encouraged producers to share their passion for agriculture, highlighting activities in the college of agriculture and natural resources, including continued work at the ACRES student farm, plans for an improved equine program and improved equine facilities on campus, efforts toward building a young producer program and the benefits of the sales of the Riverbend and Y Cross ranches.

Upcoming opportunities

“The sale of Y Cross  Ranch has been really beneficial. We now will have $400,000 annually to use for scholarships and student support in the College of Agriculture. That is a lot of scholarship aid for our students to take advantage of,” Six explained.

There has also been an endowment established recently for the support of sheep-specific research at UW.

“This is a good era for the College of Agriculture, especially with the sheep industry, as producers have stepped forward and want to make a difference and be more viable,” she said.

The committee meeting also welcomed Kendall Roberts, who discussed plans to create a Young Producers Assembly within WSGA.

“Hopefully, this will be a tool to build and recruit for more young producers to become members of WSGA and for having a say in policy, leadership, education and activities that take place within WSGA,” she explained.

The meeting adjourned with support for the Young Producers Assembly. No other resolutions were considered.

Natasha Wheeler is editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..