Dennis Sun: Ag Needs Stability

Columnist Dennis Sun writes: "Having an administration in Washington, D.C. that doesn’t understand agriculture, especially public lands, endangered species and water issues, creates volatility which can hinder our business climate."

Dennis Sun

April 03, 20233 min read

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(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

Agriculture comes with numerous names, but the most important is business. As a business, like others, we realize stability comes in all forms.

For those involved in agriculture, especially farmers and livestock producers, the main factors for stability are prices and weather. Another factor agriculture has always had to deal with is politics.

When it comes to agriculture in politics, we are often out voted, but we need to learn to be better at telling our story. We have some great ag organizations assisting us.

Having an administration in Washington, D.C. that doesn't understand agriculture, especially public lands, endangered species and water issues, creates volatility which can hinder our business climate.

Every dollar spent on regulations is a dollar less to spend toward improving land for wildlife, recreation and the business of ranching and farming. If one values open space, water development, improved soil conditions and wildlife habitat, a family in agriculture is a friend.

The old saying is so true, "Every so often a person will need a doctor, a dentist or a banker, but this same person will need someone from agriculture three times a day."

Agriculture's biggest responsibility is food security. Responsibility of the land is an important part of food security. Having to deal with unneeded regulations makes food security more fragile.

For livestock producers, stability means good prices for cattle, sheep and horses. I realize a wild swing in prices may not always be the best, but high cattle and sheep prices are sure nice.

Cattle prices have been off for a number of years, but forecasts show they will be quite a bit higher the next few years. Cattle numbers are currently low these days, and rebuilding herds may take some time.

Lower beef production is the result of decreases in both cattle slaughter and carcass weights. In the last four weeks, beef production has averaged around 6.4 percent lower compared to last year at this time. Total beef production is expected to drop sharply for the remainder of the year.

In the sheep markets, lambs are up one week and down the next, with the trend slightly moving up. Carcass weights are down, which hopefully means slaughter is current.

There is nothing anybody can do about the weather, but a couple of years of drought followed by a horrendous winter does not do agricultures cash flow any good.

Cold weather paired with all of the snow has really hurt the condition of livestock. I just hope we don't have a late spring.

Many people ranch and farm because it is their livelihood and passion. With so many dollars tied up in land, it can, at times, be a good business to enjoy with our families.

Sure, there are hardships, but the culture of agriculture has numerous rewards. Providing food and fiber for America is an honor not taken lightly.

Someone once said, "One of the nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating."

Dennis Sun is the publisher of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup, a weekly agriculture newspaper. To view this weeks edition or subscribe, visit or call 800-967-1647.

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Dennis Sun

Agriculture Columnist