Crook County’s Hugh Thompson received Wyoming Farm Bureau Distinguished Service Award – Nov. 19, 2012

            LARAMIE—Hugh Thompson, of Crook County, was awarded the 2012 Farm Bureau Distinguished Service Award at the 93rd annual meeting of the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation (WyFB).  Presented Nov. 16, the award is given to those who have gone above and beyond in their service to agriculture.

            “We are grateful for the heart Hugh left on a ranch in Northeastern Wyoming that kept him headed home throughout his career in natural resource management, “stated Wyoming Farm Bureau President Perry Livingston.  “His vast knowledge of natural resource management has been an incredible asset to agriculture and Farm Bureau.”

             “I was completely surprised and humbled when my name was called,” Hugh Thompson said.  “Anything I’ve accomplished I have had a lot of help doing so.”

            “I’ve had help from Farm Bureau people, from our legislators, from my neighboring ranchers and other multiple use minded citizens of the area and so it wasn’t just me,” He continued.  “I might have been an instigator, but so many people are a part of the efforts I’ve been involved with for agriculture.”

           Hugh grew up on a ranch along the South Dakota/Wyoming state line in the Northern Black Hills.  Pursuit of a career in natural resource management took him to the Forest Service and the Utah Department of Natural Resources.  He retired from the Forest Service as the Supervisor of the Dixie National Forest; and from the Utah Department of Natural Resources as Deputy Director.

           In 2004, Hugh returned to the Wyoming ranch on which he was raised.  He has several grazing allotments on the national forest; Hugh uses his knowledge of the agency to properly manage his permits.

          Drawing on experience and knowledge gained with the Forest Service; Hugh has advised local ranchers when they have issues with the forest service.  Hugh uses his vast knowledge of the agency to make sure it remains committed to multiple uses of the resource; with its highest priority being production agriculture.

          “In my career with the Forest Service, every decision I made was appealed and litigated by the militant environmental community and I learned a whole bunch on how to deal with those folks,” Thompson explained.  “So now when I get a chance to help somebody else with the knowledge I gained on litigation, well that is why I do it.”

          “In my last ten years in the Forest Service, I spent more time in the courts than I did in the woods so I have a real desire to see that the truth is told about the issues in natural resource management,” He continued.

          When the environmental community tried to manipulate an obscure Wyoming land designation statute called ‘Very Rare and Uncommon’ to define the Sand Creek Area in Crook County; Hugh led a coalition of local ranchers, botanists, geologists, multiple-use advocates and local government officials in defeating the proposal which had been brought before the Wyoming Environmental Quality Council.  Not done with the issue; Hugh, another local rancher, and other interested parties worked with Crook County’s State Representative and Senator to convince the Wyoming Legislature to abolish the ‘Very Rare and Uncommon’ statute.  The legislation was signed by the Governor.  This action undoubtedly protected multiple use and saved Wyoming grazing permittees and other resource users from similar battles in the future.

             “Hugh is exceptionally deserving of this award because he is a very rare and uncommon resource to Wyoming,” Brett Moline, WyFB director of public and government affairs, said.

            Hugh currently serves as the Natural and Environmental Resources Chair for the Crook County Farm Bureau.  Hugh is a member of several church and fraternal organizations.  He is also a ‘Shriner Dad’; a group that takes turns driving from Wyoming to the Shriner’s Hospital in Minneapolis for children needing their services.  He is a past president and current secretary of the Black Hills Regional Multiple Use Coalition; and a current member of the Black Hills National Forest Advisory Board.

           “Farm Bureau offers the opportunity to network with about every kind of natural resource expertise that you can think of; Farm Bureau has it in their ranks,” Thompson said.  “I am greatly appreciative of this award and I accept it on behalf of every Farm Bureau member in the state.”

            “The Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation is proud to honor Hugh Thompson with the 2012 Distinguished Service Award honoring their distinguished service,” Livingston concluded.  “We thank Hugh for his dedicated leadership on behalf of the Crook County Farm Bureau, the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation and the state’s agriculture industry.”

            The Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation is the state’s largest general agriculture organization.  Members work together from the grassroots to develop agricultural policy, programs and services to enhance the rural lifestyle of Wyoming.  On the web, www.wyfb.org.

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