Cheyenne, Wyoming – Wyoming Treasurer and rancher Mark Gordon launched a new policy platform today to grow opportunities and cut red tape for Wyoming agriculture producers.
“From beef, lamb, bison and pork, to sugar beets, barley and hops, gluten free oats, organic wheat, and everything in between, Wyoming’s ranchers and farmers combine their experience, knowledge and unparalleled work ethic with our unique environment to deliver universally admired products,” said Gordon. “As a state, we need to step our support and promotion of the agriculture industry, expanding opportunities for exports, driving new technologies that will drive down costs and improve efficiencies, and fight for commonsense federal regulations that don’t tie the hands of our ag producers.”
Gordon’s Growing Wyoming Ag platform includes policy and regulatory initiatives to foster and grow the state’s agriculture economy. Positions and proposed initiatives include:
- ‘Born and Raised Wyo’ Products: Branding and promoting livestock and agriculture products grown and raised exclusively in Wyoming
- Meat Inspection in Wyoming: Expand opportunities under the state and federal meat inspection systems for Wyoming producers.
- Enforcing Wyoming’s Constitutional Obligation to Safeguard Livestock
- Predator Control and Animal Damage: Ensuring Wyoming’s wildlife is managed by Wyoming and not the Federal Government.
- Bringing Commonsense to Federal Agencies: Leading the way to reform regulatory structures so they are implemented in a common sense and locally accountable manner.
- Meaningful Solutions for Transportation: Fighting back against burdensome regulations and pushing for meaningful solutions that ensure safety of livestock and protect Wyoming’s agricultural industry.
- Protecting Wyoming’s Agriculture Labor Market: Work with Wyoming’s Congressional Delegation to make the H-2A Visa program and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements less burdensome for sheep producers.
- Crops, Opportunities, and Innovation: Support Ag Innovation Summits and cohesive agriculture policies throughout state government.
- Expanding Export Markets: Work to expand overseas export markets for Wyoming Ag products to places like Taiwan, Vietnam and China.
- Driving New Ag Technology: Encourage and help facilitate early adoption of transformative technologies in agriculture.
- Protecting Wyoming Water: Push back against rules that would expand federal authority over our water and defend Wyoming’s rights under our interstate compacts.
Gordon’s Growing Wyoming Ag policy plan can be found below.
Growing Wyoming Ag
Policy Priorities to Advance Wyoming’s Agriculture Sector
‘Born and Raised Wyo’ Products
Wyoming’s agricultural economy is a crucial part of Wyoming’s future. Our agriculture products are second to none. From beef, lamb, bison and pork, to sugar beets, barley and hops, gluten free oats, organic wheat, and everything in between, our ranchers and farmers combine their experience, knowledge and unparalleled work ethic with our unique Wyoming environment to deliver universally admired products. Whether here at home or far away, using the ‘Born and Raised Wyo’ brand will help sell their products.
As an example, Wyoming beef would be an exceptional product to brand and market as ‘Born and Raised Wyo.’ In Wyoming, beef generates more than a billion dollars in revenue each year from nearly 11,000 ranches, most of them family owned and operated.
As Governor, I will work with producers and the Legislature to tailor policies to support the branding and marketing of our high quality agricultural products as ‘Born and Raised Wyo.’
Meat Inspection in Wyoming
Although a majority of Wyoming beef and lamb goes to out-of-state backgrounders, feeders, packers and fabricators, there are opportunities for more value to be realized here in Wyoming if we had greater processing capacity. Currently, there are approximately 80 meat plants in the state of Wyoming, yet only two of them are federally inspected and the majority only process game animals in the fall. As a result, Wyoming producers have limited opportunities for processing that would allow them to fulfill out-of-state demand from within Wyoming.
As Governor, I will seek to expand opportunities under the state and federal meat inspection systems for Wyoming producers.
Enforcing the Constitution
Wyoming producers are entitled to all the protections enshrined within our Wyoming Constitution, which includes safeguards to keep our livestock healthy and viable. That means, among other things, the system of “inspection and such other regulations as may be necessary for the protection of stock owners, and most conducive to the stock interests of the state.” This also means the protection of personal property rights.
As Governor, I will continue protecting your Constitutional rights.
Predator Control and Animal Damage
Whether our hay fields and pastures are overgrazed by wildlife, or our livestock are being preyed upon by bears, wolves or other predators, Wyoming must assure that producers have all the tools they need to manage wildlife when it harms their livelihoods. Wyoming worked hard and successfully earned the right to manage species such as the grizzly bear and wolf.
As Governor, I will ensure Wyoming’s wildlife is managed by Wyoming… not the Federal Government.
Bringing Commonsense to Federal Agencies
Wyoming citizens are affected every day by a blizzard of delaying, complicated and burdensome federal regulations such as those that directly affect management of endangered species and of our public lands. Wherever they apply, we need to insist on local control by vigorously asserting Wyoming’s primacy in enforcing regulations, and cutting back on the unnecessary or overlapping regulations already in place. I will strive to build collaborative relationships with federal natural resource agencies based on full recognition of the critical role of state and local government in management of our natural resources.
As Governor, I will lead the way in reforming regulatory structures so they are implemented in a common sense and locally accountable manner.
Meaningful Solutions for Transportation
Trucking is a critical component when bringing Wyoming agricultural goods and livestock to market. The advent of Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) as mandated by the federal government has the potential to disrupt this system. Transportation is a particularly stressful time for livestock and that impacts their health. ELDs when combined with mandatory restrictions on hours of service make it difficult for experienced drivers to use their judgment and skill set to do their jobs safely and effectively. Furthermore, they threaten the welfare of livestock being moved. Additionally, many independent truckers and small trucking firms simply cannot afford to purchase and install these devices which also require monthly service fees.
As Governor, I will fight back against these burdensome regulations and suggest meaningful solutions that ensure safety and protect our agricultural industry.
Protecting Wyoming’s Agriculture Labor Market
Wyoming is the second leading exporter of wool in the country. We have one of the most remarkable woolen factories in the country in Johnson County, Mountain Meadow Wool. With more than 350,000 sheep, Wyoming wool is a high- quality product with a strong market presence. However, some proposed revisions to the H-2A Visa program could significantly hurt the sheep-industry. Sheepherders are essential in many operations for managing grazing and protecting the sheep from predators. Changes to the H-2A visa program and the associated outlandish Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements jeopardize the future of many sheep operations. I will work to make the H-2A program less burdensome to assure that sheep producers are able to secure workers in a timely manner.
As Governor, I will assist Wyoming’s congressional delegation in fixing these types of burdensome regulations that simply don’t make any sense for agriculture producers and threaten their very livelihood.
Crops, Opportunities, and Innovation
Wyoming can do more to help Wyoming’s burgeoning crops sector. Entrepreneurialism is alive and well across the state with a vast variety of crops from gluten-free oats, hops, custom barleys, sugar beets, spelt, organic wheats, hays and alfalfas to many of the products made from them. Beer, bread, whiskeys and spirits, breakfast cereals, biofuels, custom hays and pellets and on and on. Wyoming markets have expanded. Wyoming entrepreneurialism has expanded, and Wyoming’s efforts have expanded.
As Governor, I will support Ag Innovation Summits and cohesive agriculture policies throughout state government.
Expanding Export Markets
Neighboring states have seen tremendous success in marketing their agricultural products to places like Taiwan, Vietnam and China. Idaho in particular has seen significant growth in their agricultural industry after taking a variety of steps to promote trade in the Far East. As a result, their farm product exports were up more than 10 percent last year – resulting in billions of dollars in trade.
As Governor, I will make expanding the overseas market for our products a high priority.
Driving New Ag Technology
Wyoming is leading the way with innovations in technology from blockchain to vertical gardens to new ways to control weeds. The University of Wyoming, our community colleges, high schools and extension offices should engage in a collective manner to improve producer understanding and access to emerging technologies.
As Governor, I will encourage the adoption of transformative technologies in agriculture.
Protecting Wyoming Water
Wyoming’s water is among our most precious resource. It is a critical component of our agricultural production. Water rightfully belongs to the state and we must ensure state management at every turn.
As Governor, I will fight rules such as Waters of the United States (WOTUS) that would expand federal authority over both surface and underground water quality. I will defend Wyoming’s rights under our interstate compacts.