Stumbough to join Ag Hall of Fame
“When choosing whom to nominate for such an esteemed group, I thought quite a bit about what Grant represents – how he helps agriculture and the people in agriculture, how he protects what we have and how he presents Wyoming to others,” writes southeast Wyoming rancher Larry Cundall of Wheatland native Grant Stumbough in his letter to the Wyoming Agriculture Hall of Fame selection committee. “I believe he gets an ‘A’ grade in all of these categories.”
Stumbough was raised on a ranch near Wheatland, and he says his dad still runs cattle on the family ranch. After spending time around Wyoming working for state government, he says it was good to return home to Wheatland as the Southeast Wyoming RC&D Coordinator.
“Grant is a product of a rural ranch family, completing his share of early years in a country school, learning the country values that have served him well in his years in government service,” continues Cundall.
The nomination form for Stumbough reads, “Grant is a proven leader in helping people over his past 30-plus years of public service.”
Stumbough has spent most of his time working with Wyoming State Government, helping in the areas of drought, watershed improvement, public grazing issues, water quality, mediation, local empowerment, wild horse issues, endangered species issues, range management, carbon sequestration, wind energy development, to name a few.
“Ag has always been near and dear to my heart,” says Stumbough, adding he likes working with producers and wide-open spaces. “I’ve always respected those who feed and clothe the world. It’s a noble profession.”
Stumbough graduated from Wheatland High School before spending two years at Casper College and two years at the University of Wyoming, which gained him a degree in Agribusiness in 1980. He began his career with the state as a compliance inspector in the Department of Agriculture, where he inspected various facilities like dairies and oversaw weights and measures inspections on things like livestock scales.
“A job in the natural resources section came open, and the current director encouraged me to apply,” says Stumbough. “My first job was working with conservation districts, and I didn’t know what they were or what they did, but I’ve always been interested in natural resources.”
Stumbough says through his work with the conservation districts he became hooked on natural resource policy. “Doing good things for the land and working with the ranchers is what I liked the most,” he notes.
Throughout his career Stumbough has been involved in many projects and causes, but he says his number one is coordinated resource management, or CRMs.
“My good friend Dennis Sun got me started on that years ago, and to me it made so much sense, especially on public lands, to make sure we have all the stakeholders working together,” says Stumbough. “We really did a good job with that, and to set goals as a group and make assignments and action plans and see good things happen on the land was one of the most gratifying things I’ve ever done.”
He says equally as satisfying is his current project – landowner associations and wind energy development.
“I like people processes, because, to me, that’s when you make things happen,” he notes, speaking of how the ag industry in southeast Wyoming has unified to work toward one goal – wind energy development – that’s good for the resource and can assist independence from foreign oil. “We’ve got neighbors working with neighbors to put together requests for proposals and using collective bargaining to help each other with a community-based payment.”
“Grant Stumbough has helped more farmers and ranchers in the state of Wyoming in the last few years utilize their resources that anyone else,” write Rocky and Nancy Foy in a letter of support for Stumbough. “He is on the leading edge of the wind farms, and he has been a voice for the wind farms in the southeastern part of the state and for the western part of the United States.”
While wind energy takes 90 percent of his current focus, Stumbough’s new project is the Pathway to Water Quality on the Wyoming State Fairgrounds.
“It’s a cool project, because we have a lot of entities involved, coming together in the name of doing what we can to educate and inform livestock producers and provide them with new technologies to protect water quality,” he says.
Shawnee area rancher Terry Henderson, who’s involved in a wind association, says, “Like those involved in production agriculture, Grant does not know the meaning of a 40-hour work week. He gives of his time far beyond his ‘official’ work day for the rural people.”
“The work that Grant has done will not only affect ranches in the short term, but he leaves a lasting legacy for those of us working the land, regardless of the outcome of wind development in Wyoming,” continues Henderson. “Many of the communities have become closer as a result of these groups.”
“Grant takes the punch line out of the old joke, ‘I’m from the government, and I’m here to help you,’” says Cundall. “Grant really is here to help, and he has been for a long time.”