Dennis Sun: Ag Depends On Energy

Columnist Dennis Sun writes: "We need to recognize oil and natural gas are a part of our lives and will continue to be into the future. Turning to electric power for everything is a mistake."

Dennis Sun

March 18, 20233 min read

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(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

As we are still digging out of snowbanks, I look forward to spring and what it will bring for the summer. When I glance at the current wool, lamb, calf and yearling markets, I’m pleased with what I’m reading. Then, I come back to all of the issues happening in our industry today, and I start to frown.

When I think about the high input and living costs we are suffering in agriculture – brought on by inflation, poor decisions from leadership and Washington, D.C. using politics to solve peoples’ issues – I realize the cost of energy effecting our businesses and everyday lives tops the list.

Since the energy market is based on global supply and demand, we don’t have a lot of control over it. Mix in the war in Ukraine, Russia stopping oil and natural gas from reaching Europe as they depended on Russia as a main source of oil and natural gas and the current administration hindering production of oil and natural gas in the U.S., it’s no wonder energy markets have been so volatile.

“The world is facing an energy supply and demand imbalance, which is causing global bottlenecks and price hikes,” says Suzanne Ogle, president and chief executive officer of the Southern Gas Association.

Right or wrong, the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions has gained momentum and changed how energy is produced. We’re at the point where we should use some common sense instead of making issues more political than they already are.

Implementing more restrictions, which are unneeded and uncalled for, is not the answer.

I heard a quote saying, “Today, climate change is the new religion, replacing our church religion.”

As a country, we have to be energy dependent – just look at Europe. It is going to take all sources of energy to sustain our energy needs, and we need to have open minds since there is a place and need for all types of energy.

We need to recognize oil and natural gas are a part of our lives and will continue to be into the future. Turning to electric power for everything is a mistake. We just don’t have the infrastructure for it yet, and we may never have it.

Today, electric cars and trucks are just a fad. In many rural states, especially northern states, they are not functional. Maybe someday they will be, but not right now, especially for use in agriculture.

Individuals involved in family agricultural operations just want to farm, ranch or manage their businesses, as they have a right to do. They recognize a drought could be weeks away or a blizzard could blow through next week, and they all realize some days are better than others.

Regardless, they just want to manage their businesses with their families involved.

I read a quote from Cattleman Doug Ferguson, who said, “The end goal in cattle marketing is not to have an off-farm job.”

How true that is today. America’s farms and ranches produce the best crops, livestock and children with a work ethic and a learned common sense.

The most import things in life really aren’t things.

Dennis is publisher of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. A weekly agricultural newspaper. To subscribe call 1800-967-1647 or visit .

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Dennis Sun

Agriculture Columnist