◆ Lincoln County Farm Bureau Federation supports local families and their farms.
By Breanna Call
A saying commonly heard from the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation (WYFB) is “Agriculture keeps Wyoming strong; the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation keeps agriculture strong!” It is true that agriculture plays a big role in Wyoming’s economic well-being. In fact, along with minerals and tourism, it belongs to the top three leading industries in the state, bringing in over $1 billion per year. Wyoming’s main agricultural products are beef, hay, sugar beets, wheat, barley, and wool.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Wyoming operates “the largest farms and ranches in the U.S. with an average of 2,430 acres per farm, over five times the national average size.” An overwhelming 94% of these farms are operated not by corporations but families. This means that when laws or policies are changed, it is individual families that are affected and small businesses that must change course to keep up with new standards.
The WYFB website ( wyfb.org) states, “Each year the Wyoming Legislature meets and makes decisions that affect us all. With less than two percent of the population producing food and fiber for our nation, it is essential to have a voice when it comes to the new agriculture policy, laws, and regulations that affect your lifestyle.”
So how does the WYFB support these families and “keep agriculture strong”?
Well, their mission is “to represent the voices of Wyoming farmers and ranchers through grassroots policy development while focusing on protecting private property rights, strengthening agriculture, and supporting farm and ranch families through advocacy, education, and leadership development.” They state that “Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation grassroots lobbyists work hard to ensure this mission is fulfilled.”
The WYFB also adds: “In today’s environment, agriculture is continually facing legal onslaughts from anti-agriculture groups. The American Farm Bureau and Wyoming Farm Bureau are working hard to protect agriculture interests in the courts. Our efforts are aimed at reducing government regulations that are unnecessary and drive up the cost of food. The anti-agriculture groups work to use regulations and lawsuits to drive agriculture out of business. We are working in the courts to combat these efforts.”
Stetson Nield, President of the Lincoln County division, is also working hard to protect farms in our community. He is focusing on not only our farms in the present but also our farms in the future by directing his energies toward the youth in our community through the Young Farmer & Rancher program. His goal is to “help educate our younger generation coming in about where their food comes from” so that they “want to be a part of [agriculture.]” He wants them to “understand what our community is based off.”
“This community is very heavily into agriculture,” says Nield, “and it used to be even more than it is now. . . . I’d hate to see that tradition die because it really taught me a lot and it helped me throughout my growing up. . . . I’d like to see all these other kids coming up . . . enjoy the love for the ground, the love for the animals that I had, and I still have, . . . sharing the happiness that brings to the community.”
To stay up to date on what our local Farm Bureau Federation is doing for our community, follow them on their new Facebook page: Lincoln County Farm Bureau Federation. They are focused on keeping agriculture strong in our community and supporting the families that work day in and day out to keep farming alive.