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Nonprofit Makes First Grant for Climate Wellness Through Soil Health

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By staff reports

Wyoming’s nonprofit Synergy for Ecological Solutions made their first grant to Carbon Asset Network’s landowner member, Hellyer Ranch in Lander on Wednesday, June 16, 2021.

This grant will enable the ranch to execute a customized plan for greater soil health developed by both Hellyer and Carbon Asset Network’s certified professional agronomist, Neal Fehringer.

The increase in soil health is a result in improving plant production, which causes an increase in photosynthesis. More photosynthesis removes additional carbon dioxide from the air and, in turn release more oxygen into the air and secures more carbon into the soil by increased root growth from more vegetative growth. This is the basis for ‘carbon sinks’ and ‘carbon sequestration,’ which is Nature’s method of cleaning our air.

“Sometimes it’s not understood that there’s a natural connection between improving our soil and reducing carbon in our air,” says John Robitaille, Director of Carbon Asset Network (CAN). “CAN works with the manager of the land to develop a customized science-based solution to increase soil health and meet their land goals. This is the new way forward.”

The manager of the land, called Land Stewards, enlists in the You360 program, which provides funding to develop the soil for one year. The Land Stewards can be ranchers, farmers, or managers of any open land, such as parks or golf courses. This is not connected to any government program and the funding comes from donations to the nonprofit, Synergy for Ecological Solutions.

“At Hellyer Ranch, we have taken some steps towards soil health, but with this grant, we can accomplish major goals,” says Jim Hellyer. “You’ll never find a better steward for our environment than someone who manages land.”

The nonprofit has developed a unique way to fundraise for climate wellness, using donated funds to clean our air, which empowers individuals and businesses to be advocates for the environment.

“There are many people who wake up each day, concerned about our climate. And, businesses are looking for ways to meet ESG goals. Yet, until now, the only solutions offered were to eat vegan, recycle, and perhaps protest fossil fuels. SYNERGY gives the opportunity to donate in order to improve soil health,” says Jeff Holder, Director of Synergy for Ecological Solutions. “We encourage a change of mindset. Rather than wishing for a carbon neutral future in the next few years or decades, let’s make a change right now, today. Finally, everyone can do something that has a direct impact on our climate.”

In the You360 program, donors can donate towards one acre of land for $30 a month/$360 a year. It’s a one-year commitment and the funds pay for agronomy/soil testing and development, with the lion’s share going directly to the Land Steward.

The funds are often used for additional equipment such as a no-till drill or for fencing and labor to help with mob grazing, a practice that has proven to sequester more carbon.

“We celebrate this new way to help ranchers improve their soil,” says Jim Magagna, Executive Vice-President of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association. “With funds from CAN, the rancher is able to adjust their operation with the result of healthier soil and healthier land.”

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Ex-BLM Head: Wyo Rancher Suing Biden Over Racial Discrimination Gets Help From Legal Ruling

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By Jen Kocher, Cowboy State Daily

A Wyoming rancher suing the federal government because of race-based exclusions in a coronavirus relief program may be helped by a recent Tennessee ruling that prioritizing relief based on race and sex is unconstitutional, according to a former director of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

William Perry Pendley, a Wyoming attorney who served as acting director of the BLM from 2019 to 2020, said even though the lawsuit filed in Wyoming addresses agricultural loan forgiveness programs and the Tennessee case addressed COVID relief funds, the two cases share similar roots.

“This will help the Wyoming rancher,” Pendley told Cowboy State Daily. “Though the ruling of the (U.S.) Sixth Circuit (Court of Appeals) is not precedent that the Wyoming federal district court must follow, it is persuasive, especially given that it is a federal court of appeals, that the Wyoming court is likely to follow and cite as authority.”

Leisl Carpenter, a 29-year-old rancher in Laramie County, is suing the U.S. Department of Agriculture over a loan forgiveness program under the American Rescue Plan Act pandemic relief funding that forbids her from applying because she is white. 

“It’s brazen discrimination,” said William Trachman, associate general counsel for the Mountain States Legal Foundation who filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in May.

The American Rescue plan, which was signed into law by President Biden in March, offers $4 billion in loan forgiveness for “socially disadvantaged” ranchers and farmers throughout the United States. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is interpreting the phrase to mean the only people who can apply for aid must be “Black, American Indian/Alaskan Native, Hispanic, or Asian, or Hawaiian/Pacific Islander.”

Such discrimination by the federal government is constitutionally forbidden, the lawsuit said.

“(The federal government’s) use of race discrimination as a tool to end ‘systemic racism’ is patently unconstitutional and should be enjoined by the court,” the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit said the loan forgiveness program does not necessarily target farmers or ranchers who suffered economically because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Under the relevant provisions, it forgives the loans of farmers or ranchers whose race matches the race of a group whose members have suffered discrimination, per the (USDA),” it said.

The lawsuit asks the court to find the program unconstitutional because of its limits on who can apply for loan forgiveness.

Trachman said he is being contacted by other farmers and ranchers who were prevented from applying for the loan forgiveness program.

Trachman said he is also encouraged by the ruling of the federal appeals court in Tennessee, which issued an injunction against the U.S. Small Business Administration to keep it from prioritizing COVID relief funds based on the restaurant owner’s race and sex.

The court’s decision stemmed from a lawsuit filed by Antonia Vitolo, owner of Jake’s Bar and Grill in Harriman, Tennessee.

Vitolo applied to receive federal relief from the Restaurant Revitalization Fund that was created as part of the ARPA. He was told restaurant owners who were women or minorities would be prioritized to receive the federal funds.

The appeals court found such a prioritization system was unconstitutional and barred the Small Business Administration from applying it in the future.

Pendley, who is not involved in Carpenter’s lawsuit, said he hopes the ranchers and other people filing such lawsuits do not stop the legal action if the U.S. Department of Justice agrees not to enforce the rules in their cases.

“As (appeals court) Judge (Amul) Thapar pointed out, these rules have been on the books for decades and continue to be enforced,” he said. “That DOJ says it will not apply them in a particular case does not mean the constitutional injury goes away.”

The government has 60 days to respond to Carpenter’s Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief. 

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Wyoming Rancher Sues Biden Administration Claiming Racial Discrimination

in News/Agriculture
On climate change and cattle

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By The Center Square, Cowboy State Daily

A Wyoming rancher is suing the Biden administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture claiming race discrimination over a federal loan forgiveness program that bars her from participating because she is white.

Leisl Carpenter, a 29-year-old rancher from Laramie, says in the lawsuit that the “American Rescue Plan” loan forgiveness program is unconstitutional because it discriminates.

“Like a lot of farmers and ranchers, our client has struggled to keep her family ranch afloat through all the difficulties of the COVID-19 pandemic, only to learn that she is ineligible to even apply for Biden’s loan forgiveness program solely due to her race,” Mountain States Legal Foundation Associate General Counsel William E. Trachman said Tuesday. 

“Instead of being rescued by Biden’s plan, she’s been excluded and discriminated against for no other reason than the color of her skin,” he said.

MSLF and the Southeastern Legal Foundation filed the lawsuit in the United States District Court, District of Wyoming on Carpenter’s behalf.

In March 2021, the Biden administration signed At question is the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, signed by Biden in March, which provides $4 billion to forgive loans for “socially disadvantaged” ranchers and farmers. White ranchers are excluded, the lawsuit contends, which is in violation of the Constitution’s guarantee of Equal Protection under the Fifth Amendment.

“The blatant discrimination in the American Rescue Plan Act, Section 1005, is ridiculous,” Carpenter said. “The government needs to bring an end to this horrendous practice of racial discrimination immediately and start treating Americans as individuals based on character and individual qualities, not based on the color of their skin.”

Carpenter owns the 2,400-acre Flying Heart Ranch in Wyoming’s Big Laramie Valley, which she inherited when she was younger, according to a news release. She took out an FSA loan when she was younger to save the family ranch, but the COVID-19 pandemic added to her financial problems.

 When she heard of the pandemic-related loan forgiveness program, she thought it could be a lifeline, but then she learned she wasn’t eligible, according to the news release.

“Making skin color the basis of a government benefit is not only unconstitutional: it is also morally wrong,” Trachman said. “One simply cannot promote racial justice by perpetuating racial injustice. The way to end discrimination is to stop discriminating.”

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Washington Man To Pay Back More Than 200 Million Over Raising Pretend Cows For Food Company

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By Mary Rose Corkery

A Washington man agreed to pay back more than $244 million that he was paid to raise nonexistent cows for two companies.

Cody Allen Easterday, 49, pleaded guilty to misleading the companies, including Tyson Foods Inc., in agreements to purchase and feed thousands of cows, the press release said.

Under an agreement, the companies would pay Easterday’s organization the funds to purchase and raise the cattle, the agreements said, according to the press release. Easterday’s Ranches Inc. would return the advanced costs with attached interest and additional payments, but could keep the difference between the cow sales and repayment to the companies, the press release said.

Easterday provided fake invoices to the companies for reimbursement from 2016 through November 2020, the press release said. The companies gave Easterday Ranches Inc. more than $244 million during the scam.

The defendant used the money to pay off debts for his ranch and for personal expenses, the press release said.

Along with agreeing to pay back the money as restitution, Easterday was charged for a count of wire fraud, and is scheduled for sentencing in August. Easterday faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in jail.

A Miami couple pleaded guilty in early March for making false claims that they had employees on farms, which weren’t real and received over $1 million in coronavirus relief from the fraud, a March 8 Justice Department press release said. A Florida man pleaded guilty Feb. 10 over using a portion of fraudulently accessed Paycheck Payment Protection (PPP) money towards buying a Lamborghini, a Feb. 10 Justice Department press release said.

The Justice Department didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment

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Wyoming Legislators Look At Helping Wyoming Meat Processors

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By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily

For all its beef, Wyoming has very few meat processing facilities.

But legislation is being considered at the state and national level aimed at helping Wyoming’s ranchers find new markets for their products.

According to Derek Grant with the Wyoming Department of Agriculture, there are nine state-inspected meat plants in Wyoming, from Rock Springs to Jackson to Buffalo and Laramie – in all corners of the state. 

Meanwhile, nine other meat processing companies in Wyoming are regulated by the Food Safety Inspection Service of the USDA, but Grant says most of them are “custom” plants rather than large-scale processors that prepare meat for retail sale. 

There’s only one company in the state – Wyoming Legacy Meats in Cody – that is a USDA-certified slaughter and process facility.

So state legislators during their general session considered several bills aimed at helping ranchers process their animals inside Wyoming.

House Bill 54, which has been approved by both the House and Senate and is awaiting action by Gov. Mark Gordon, calls for for the Wyoming Business Council to support the state’s meat processing industry with loans and grants.

House Bill 51, which is also awaiting Gordon’s signature, would authorize and fund a $20 million state program to expand and enhance Wyoming’s meat processing capabilities.

And Senate File 122 would create the Wyoming Agriculture Authority to promote agriculture in the state, particularly by encouraging the development and expansion of Wyoming meat processing facilities. This bill was awaiting its first full House review on Thursday.

In addition to helping Wyoming meat processing facilities, the bills are all aimed increasing the options available for ranchers looking to distribute their products.

Currently, about 80% of the nation’s meat processing plants are owned by four companies. Those companies have been accused of working together to keep prices paid ranchers for their meat low.

In addition, the closure of one major plant due to the coronavirus last year reduced the nation’s capacity for meat processing, putting a dent in demand for Wyoming meat.

Backers of the three bills said during committee hearings that by helping the meat processing industry in Wyoming, ranchers in the state would have other markets for their products.

But being able to process meat within the state’s borders is just one step. Right now, only facilities inspected by the USDA can sell their products outside Wyoming. 

U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney is working on a bill to change that.

The bill, known as the Expanding Markets for State-Inspected Meat Processors Act of 2021, would open the doors for local producers to export Wyoming products to additional markets by allowing meat products inspected by state meat and poultry inspection programs to be sold across state lines.

Right now, Wyoming Legacy Meats, which was founded in 2016, is the only USDA-certified slaughter and processing facility in the state — the first since the 1970s. And that company recently received a $2.2 million dollar grant to expand its ability to slaughter and process meat. 

Dr. Frank Schmidt, who with his wife Caety started the business to process their own cattle from the Double Doc Ranch, was moved to found the plant so they could control the product from, in their words, “conception to consumption.”

Cheney’s bill would create dozens of new jobs at Wyoming Legacy Meats alone, according to James Klessens with the economic development organization Forward Cody.

“Meat packing isn’t the sexiest or the prettiest project out there – but most of us still eat meat, and so there’s a real need for it,” Klessens said.

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Cheney Introduces Bill to Allow State-Inspected Meat to Be Sold Across State Lines

in News/Liz Cheney/Agriculture

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney introduced a bill this week that would allow state-inspected meat to be sold across state lines.

The bill known as the Expanding Markets for State-Inspected Meat Processors Act of 2021 is similar to legislation Cheney introduced in a previous congressional session.

“The economic ramifications of COVID-19 resulted in processing interruptions and decreases in the amount of meat getting to market, leading to shortages across the country,” Cheney said following introduction of the bill. “As we recover from the challenges posed by the pandemic, we must be doing everything possible to expand opportunities and open markets that will allow livestock producers to increase their economic activity.”

The legislation would allow meat products inspected by state meat and poultry inspection programs to be sold across state lines.

The legislation was endorsed by Gov. Mark Gordon, the Wyoming Stock Growers Association, the Wyoming Farm Bureau and the Wyoming Department of Agriculture.

“Rep. Cheney’s bill would finally acknowledge equity of Wyoming’s state inspection program and federal inspection requirements,” Gordon said. “Passage of this act would allow our hardworking state inspectors and the Department of Agriculture to better serve our producers and help Wyoming export high-quality products to additional markets. I fully support this concept and appreciate Rep/ Cheney’s efforts.”

Beef producers in Wyoming have long complained about the fact that four companies control 80% of the meat packing industry and have alleged that the companies work together to keep prices for beef producers artificially low.

The weaknesses of such concentration became apparent when several large meat processing plants were forced to close by the coronavirus, reducing the nation’s supply of meat and driving costs for producers even further down.

Gordon said last month he was working with legislators to expand the state’s meat processing capacity to address concentration of the industry.

“These producers play an essential role in powering our state’s economy and providing high-quality food to consumers across the country,” Cheney said. “Allowing state-inspected meats to be sold across state lines empowers producers to access these new markets while supplying the increasing demand. This legislation will also increase competition and offer more meat choices for American families.”

Current law prevents state-inspected meat from being sold out-of-state. Presently, there are 27 states, including Wyoming, with inspection programs certified by the Food Safety Inspection Service as meeting or exceeding federal inspection standards.

However, products processed at these FSIS-approved state MPI inspected facilities are not currently allowed to be sold across state lines. 

Department of Agriculture Director Doug Miyamoto said the legislation would allow his staff to better serve the agricultural industry of Wyoming and would bring more opportunities to the state’s ranchers.

“The Wyoming Department of Agriculture, along with many of our counterparts across the nation work very hard to ensure that state eat inspection programs achieve status that is ‘equal to’ federal inspection,” Miyamoto said.

WSGA executive vice president Jim Magagna thanked Cheney for introducing the legislation again.

“Wyoming, until recently, had no federally inspected processing facilities, putting our livestock producers at a clear disadvantage in being unable to process their beef in-state to meet consumer demand in neighboring states and beyond,” Magagna said. “This discrimination against state-processed meat has no basis in food safety as our state inspection program is federally approved by the FSIS and must meet all of the same standards as  federal inspection.”

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UW College Of Agriculture Students Learn Hands-On Livestock Slaughter Skills

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Ditching laptops and donning rubber boots and coveralls, University of Wyoming students prep within five minutes for class.

This isn’t the standard dress for COVID-19 precautions but for class on the UW Meat Laboratory kill floor.

Two people in hard hats, masks, hairnets, gloves harvesting an animal

Instructor McKensie Harris, right, helps Grace Corrette of Brighton, Colo..

This is just one of the many courses McKensie Harris, assistant lecturer and internship program coordinator for the Department of Animal Science, teaches in fall.

“The livestock slaughter practicum class is just that,” said Harris, in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. “A place where students can develop skills in the animal harvest industry.”

During Phase 1 and 2 of UW’s approach to reopening this semester, the class was taught online with an academic focus providing students virtual lectures on principles of animal handling, food safety and meat science.

During Phase 3, when all students were allowed back on campus, the class went right to work in the UW Meat Lab.

“McKensie did a great job during those first four weeks to prepare us to hit the ground at full speed,” said Ben Herdt, a student in the class from Laramie and manager in the academic advising office with the Advising, Career and Exploratory Studies Center.

“When I went in that very first day of in-person instruction, I suited up and was on the meat lab kill floor within five minutes going to work, and that’s a tribute to the preparation we were doing in the weeks before.”

For three weeks the class will use hands-on learning to harvest a pig, then focus for three weeks of beef harvest and round out the class with two weeks of lamb harvest.

“The class has been one of my favorite courses I think because it’s so hands-on,” said Brittany Vogl, a sophomore in the class from Elizabeth, Colo. “The first day McKensie said, ‘We are going to be here, we are going to help you every step of the way, but we aren’t doing it for you.’”

Students work with the animal from the beginning – when it comes into the facility as a live animal and to the end – preparing and putting the carcass in the freezer.

For Herdt, as a UW staff member, he has the opportunity to take classes. A coworker who has kids in 4-H and raises animals recommended this course to him.

“I really enjoy cooking,” said Herdt. “I enjoy cooking meat, and I enjoy the idea that we need to become more connected to the food we eat. So that’s what really drew me toward the class.”

He also mentioned taking a variety of different classes helps him get better at his job. He generally works with first-year students who are either academically at-risk or undeclared and need guidance on courses to take.

“It helps me be better at my job if I take an undergraduate class because it keeps me connected to what they are experiencing,” said Herdt.

He explained his job requires him to be a great generalist, of knowing what is generally offered around campus because students often don’t know what’s out there until they talk to someone who has tried it before.

Two people in hard hat, gloves, mask, coveralls harvesting an animal

Graduate assistant Clara Ritchie, right, of Arvada helps Ben Herdt in the livestock slaughter class.

“It’s nice to find these little corners of campus where really great things are happening,” said Herdt. “I’m super impressed with what McKensie is doing and Kyle (Phillips, UW Meat Lab manager), who runs the meat lab, and Warrie (Means, associate dean and associate professor in meat science). Their whole corner of campus is very impressive.”

The class was required for Vogl’s major in animal science with a concentration in production, meat and food technology, but she wanted to step out of her comfort zone.

“I was intimidated but after seeing the process a few times, I feel way better,” said Vogl. “If someone were to approach me in the grocery store and say, ‘How could you eat meat? It’s unethical,’ this course will give me a stronger platform to combat that and have experience to back up my thoughts.”

Vogl shared that the class was a lot of hard work but with proper technique anyone can harvest an animal.

“Ag can be a very male-dominated industry but for a woman to take interest in it is a really big deal, because a lot of the practices we learned requires a lot of strength and you would normally associate that with a man,” said Vogl. “However, what McKensie has taught us is it’s all about technique. It doesn’t matter what you look like, who you are, what your gender is, it’s all about technique and how you do it.”

Both Herdt and Vogl believe they are gaining a greater understanding of the livestock slaughter process and would recommend the course to others who are interested in this area of study and like hands-on learning.

“The community the meat lab provides to those students is great,” said Herdt. “Those are the kinds of communities we need. That over there supports those students so much, and their persistence and retention is going to be so much better.”

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Gov. Gordon Launches Meat Processing Expansion Grant Program

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Gov. Mark Gordon has announced the launch of the Wyoming Meat Processing Expansion Grant Program to provide support for Wyoming meat processing facilities and Wyoming citizens impacted by supply chain disruptions and regional shut-downs of processing facilities resulting from the COVID-19 public health emergency.

The Governor has appropriated $10 million in Federal CARES Act funds to the program, which seeks to strengthen Wyomings’ local food supply chain and address meat shortages at retail locations and food banks within the state.

Wyoming-based meat processing businesses and nonprofits may submit grant applications for capacity-related improvements made before December 30, 2020. .

“As anyone who has tried to get a beef cut up this year knows, processing in Wyoming is facing significant bottlenecks in 2020. The First Lady’s initiative has seen this across the state,” Gov. Gordon said.

“That is why we have set up the Meat Processing Expansion Grant Program, which will help improve our meat processing capacity and ensure our citizens have access to high-quality products,” he said.

Applications will open September 15, 2020 and be reviewed by a group from the Wyoming Business Council, Wyoming Department of Agriculture, and the Governor’s Office.

The grants require a portion of processed and retailable products to be provided to local food banks, pantries, soup kitchens, prisons, schools, or other charitable organizations to help feed hungry or underserved populations.

For additional information on the program, visit the Wyoming Department of Agriculture’s website.

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Wyoming’s “Food Freedom Act” Featured on CBS Saturday Morning

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Wyoming’s first-in-the-nation Food Freedom Act was featured on CBS News on Saturday morning.

The legislation, championed by the late Rep. Sue Wallis and current State Rep. Tyler Lindholm, was passed in 2015 and made Wyoming the first state in the country to adopt legislation that deregulated many direct-to-consumer food sales.

In plain English, it means local food producers can take their products directly to market.

This was something CBS apparently found of particular interest in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Farmers markets have proved to be invaluable during the pandemic by offering fresh food often in open air environments. And in one state it’s becoming even easier to sell homemade locally sourced food, thanks to a law passed five years ago,” said CBS anchor Michelle Miller.

The segment featured many Campbell County residents selling their food products at a local farmer’s co-op including Jordan Madison who makes and sells his own peanut butter.

“Madison doesn’t need his jars inspected or weighed and they’re not subject to any government oversight. He just delivered it to this co-op, where customers buy it directly,” explained the CBS reporter.

Lindholm, contacted by phone on Saturday afternoon, said Wyoming’s “common-sense approach of producer to consumer sales is the envy of most states due to the COVID-19 crisis.”

“Wyoming continues to lead the nation and other states are starting to take notice,” Lindholm said. “We didn’t enact this legislation for emergencies though, we were just tired of arbitrary rules.”

“By removing government from the equation, we have opened the door for communities to thrive,” he said.

The video received attention from legislators on both sides of the aisle. 

State Sen. Tara Nethercott, a Republican from Cheyenne, posted the video on her Facebook page saying it was “exciting to see Wyoming featured on CBS.”

“The Wyoming legislature has continued to de-regulate and allow entrepreneurship to thrive. Representative Tyler Lindholm has been instrumental seeing this through! Proud to support these efforts,” she said.

State Rep. Stan Blake, a Democrat from Green River, posted the video as well.

“So proud to have been a cosponsor of the Wyoming Food Freedom Act. Started by Representative Sue Wallis continued by Representative Tyler Lindholm. This is great for Wyoming’s citizens. Buy Local,” he wrote.

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Gordon Upset By Closure Of Lamb Processing Plant

in News/Mark Gordon/Agriculture

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

The impending closure of the country’s second-largest lamb processing plant in Colorado is more evidence of unhealthy consolidation of the country’s meat packing industry, Gov. Mark Gordon said in a letter to the secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Gordon, in the Thursday letter, said he was distressed about the announced purchase of Mountain States Rosen’s lamb processing facility by JBS USA Holdings, a Brazilian company.

“This transaction marks the end of on-site lamb processing and represents further consolidation of the packing industry and increased foreign influence on American markets,” Gordon’s letter said.

JBS was the winning bidder for the Greeley, Colorado, plant in bankruptcy proceedings. JBS, the largest importer of lamb in the country, said it has no plans to process lambs at the plant in the future.

The MSR plant serves sheep ranchers in at least 15 states, Gordon said, and the JBS takeover leaves sheep ranchers in Wyoming and elsewhere with nowhere to process their sheep.

Gordon said he is worried about what the closure will mean to the agriculture industry.

“As a businessperson, today I see a giant getting bigger; as a rancher, I wonder where my neighbors will take their lambs; as a father, I worry for those next generations; and as Governor, I worry about what this loss means to the state and our producers as a whole,” he wrote. “I do not believe there is any realistic way to avoid repeating what is happening today unless we set our eyes on the future.”

Gordon said MSR was itself created in an attempt to resolve the consolidation of the meat packing industry in the hands of a few large companies.

“They rose to become the second-largest lamb processor in the nation and yet, at the end of the day, they are trampled by a monolithic foreign corporation,” he said. “I question whether or not this becomes an antitrust issue. We can dismantle AT&T but cannot look at the companies that supply food to our citizens?”

U.S. Sens. Mike Enzi and John Barrasso in May joined members of Congress from other states in urging Attorney General William P. Barr to look into allegations of price manipulation and anti-competitive behavior in the beef packing industry.

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