Dennis Sun: As Seasons Change, Keep In Mind Big Issues

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By Dennis Sun, Wyoming Livestock Roundup

The seasons are changing and a number of producers have received some moisture recently. We’re all hoping the drought is behind us.

The cattle markets are following their fall pattern as the Oct.1 U.S. Department of Agriculture Cattle on Feed Report was down around one percent year over year. As with earlier months, the number of steers on feed as of Oct. 1 were down 2.3 percent from last year and the number of heifers were up 1.4 percent year over year.

This is the highest heifers on feed percentage in 21 years. As you know, this tells us cattle numbers are still shrinking.

Aside from a dip earlier in October, the markets have stayed good, despite a poor outlook in the winter wheat fields, especially in north Texas and Oklahoma. These wheat fields provide cheap grain for calves in the coming months and keeps them out of the feedlots with expensive grains.

With these higher prices, we must not forget what happened around a year ago when the packers were making around $500 to $600 or more on each fat cow being processed. I say this as it seems our memory fades as cattle get higher.

We need to have our national livestock organizations keep pushing so it doesn’t happen again. This still needs to be one of our main issues to deal with.

We still have enough issues here at home, as the list is long. Hopefully, the upcoming election results will be favorable to both producers and feeders.

We need to be watchful and comment on the amended Chapter Four Rules addressing the leasing of state trust lands for grazing and agricultural uses. Our Wyoming Stock Growers Association (WSGA) recognized some issues with the planned revisions by the Wyoming Office of State Lands and Investment and got the governor’s and State Lands Board’s attention to stop the current process. The State Lands Board then requested and approved the WSGA amendments for a new formal comment period.

This will affect most every producer in the state, so stay informed on what is happening with the issue.

There are some proposed changes to the hunting laws in regard to trespassing and the use of drones, so stay tuned to the State Legislative Judiciary Committee for more information.

Other issues affecting agricultural producers is the federal government buying private lands. A private landowner has the right to sell to whomever they want, but the government should give an equal amount back to private ownership. Whatever it takes to have no net loss of private lands.

Wyoming should not have any foreign ownership of its private agricultural lands – this should also happen across the nation.

Wyoming should be very careful about losing water to lower river states, especially upstream on the Colorado River Basin.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department should develop management practices to control the large numbers of elk in areas across the state which are out of control.

Well, that is all I have from my soapbox.

The Wyoming Livestock Roundup is a weekly agriculture newspaper available online and in print. To subscribe or view this week’s edition, visit wylr.net.

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