WASHINGTON, D.C., December 20, 2012—In a surprise about-face, the Environmental Protection Agency has withdrawn an order demanding that West Virginia poultry grower Lois Alt obtain a Clean Water Act discharge permit for stormwater runoff from her farmyard or face up to $37,500 per day in penalties. While the action is a great victory for Alt, it leaves unresolved a major legal issue with serious implications for other livestock and poultry farmers that must be addressed, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.
The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia ruled in October that AFBF and West Virginia Farm Bureau have the right to join Alt’s lawsuit. EPA had aggressively opposed the Farm Bureaus’ participation. EPA’s withdrawal of the order comes six months after Alt filed her legal action and a mere six weeks before Alt and AFBF are scheduled to file briefs challenging EPA’s interpretation of the law.
–Pre-conference January 17
“Your Future…Our Legacy. Celebrating 10 Years of YF&R Success” is the focus of the Jan. 18-19, 2013 Wyoming Farm Bureau Young Farmer & Rancher (YF&R) Conference. A pre-conference with a legislative focus will be offered the afternoon of Jan. 17. Wyoming young farmers and ranchers are invited to attend the YF&R Conference at the Plains Hotel in Cheyenne. The conference is open to all young agricultural producers (between the ages of 18-35) and all Farm Bureau members. Children are welcome.
“Your Future…Our Legacy” will provide many different topics of interest to Wyoming’s young agricultural producers. The highlight for the conference will be a meeting with Wyoming Governor Matt Mead on Thursday, Jan. 17 at 3 p.m. Governor Mead will sign the Farm Bureau “Agricultural Literacy Week” proclamation, meet with the attendees and answer questions.
Johnson County rancher Ryan Fieldgrove and his family are featured on this week’s episode of “America’s Heartland”. “America’s Heartland” is a nationally-distributed television program that airs on Wyoming PBS and RFD-TV.
The show airs weekly and takes a look at the life of farm and ranch families across all 50 states. Fieldgrove and his family ranch in Johnson County. Fieldgrove is president of the Johnson County Farm Bureau. He is a former member of the Wyoming Farm Bureau Young Farmer & Rancher Committee and just completed his term as state chair of the Wyoming Farm Bureau Agriculture Tax Committee.
Link to Fieldgrove Segment on America’s Heartland website
LARAMIE—Niobrara County rancher Heather Hamilton discussed agriculture issues at a recent Wyoming Farm Bureau Young Farmer & Rancher Discussion Meet and earned $500 cash and a trip to Nashville, Tenn. Hamilton competed Nov. 17 with other young farmers and ranchers in the event held at the Wyoming Farm Bureau Annual Meeting in Laramie.
“It is truly an honor to be selected from such an exceptional and well-spoken group of people to represent Wyoming at the National YF&R Discussion Meet,” Heather Hamilton stated. “I’m looking forward to providing a western rancher’s perspective at that contest.”
Hamilton will represent the Wyoming Farm Bureau in the American Farm Bureau Federation Discussion Meet Jan. 13-14, 2013 in Nashville, Tenn. The winner at the national level receives the choice of a Chevrolet Silverado truck or a GMC Sierra truck donated by GM. The three runner-ups receive a Case IH Farmall tractor, $2,500 cash and a Stihl Farm Boss chainsaw.
LARAMIE–Wyoming families facing hunger received a boost mid-November with the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmer & Rancher (YF&R) Committee “Harvest for All” project. The annual food and fund drive to benefit Feeding America food bank affiliates in Wyoming raised the equivalent of 6,605 meals for Wyoming families.
The 2012 “Harvest for All” project benefited the Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies (WFBR) and Interfaith Good Samaritan in Laramie.
“If we don’t do something about this fiscal cliff, 98 percent of Americans will pay more taxes on January 1,” Mary Kay Thatcher, American Farm Bureau Federation, Director, Congressional Relations, told members attending the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation 93rd Annual Meeting held mid-November.
“It is not just about the rich people,” She continued. “It is about everybody.”
“We have expiring tax provisions, estate taxes, capital gains taxes going up, depreciation changes, alternative minimum taxes,” Thatcher explained. “The second part of the fiscal cliff is the idea of sequestration where Congress has said if they don’t do something by Jan. 1 then automatic spending cuts will kick in.”
–Private property rights focus of Wyoming Farm Bureau Foundation Forum
LARAMIE–“You must advocate for protecting your own private property rights,” Attorney Stacia Berry told attendees at the Wyoming Farm Bureau Foundation Forum Nov. 15, 2012 in Laramie. The Private Property Rights Forum was sponsored by the Wyoming Farm Bureau Foundation.
Featured speakers were Alan Romero, Olen Snider, Jr, and Stacia Berry. The panelists discussed private property rights, the importance of the “bundle of sticks” in regards to property rights, easements and eminent domain. The forum was free and open to the public.
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.”
LARAMIE—Elden and Tena Baldwin, Goshen County ranchers, were awarded the 2012 Farm Bureau Leadership 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 agricultural leadership service in the organization.
“Thirty-four years ago, Elden and Tena Baldwin were married and they carried on a family tradition by joining Farm Bureau as a couple,” Wyoming Farm Bureau President Perry Livingston said. “They have been county and state Farm Bureau leaders ever since.”
The National Horse & Burro Rangeland Management Coalition is a diverse partnership of 11 wildlife conservation and sportsmen organizations, industry partners, and professional natural-resource scientific societies working together to identify proactive and comprehensive solutions to increase effective management of horse and burro populations and mitigate the adverse impacts to healthy native fish, wildlife, and plants and the ecosystems on which they depend. The American Farm Bureau Federation is a member of this Coalition. Read more for the mission statement of the coalition.