Wyoming’s farming and ranching families have a proud legacy of providing food for this country. Our history is open lands filled with grazing livestock and ranchers working hard to provide for Wyoming and their families. But as any rancher knows, it can be a fickle industry, and is only for those as tough as the Wyoming landscape.
Wyoming’s climate is not for the faint of heart. Our ranches have dealt with the adverse effects of wind for generations – hay being blown away as livestock are fed, fence lines leaning and the loss of precious topsoil. As with any industry, those who thrive can differentiate themselves and take advantage of their opportunities. We jumped at the chance to take the wind that has been a detriment to our property and livelihood and turn it into a positive for our families.
We are two Wyoming ranchers among many that have embraced this opportunity and have granted wind energy to be installed on our land.
Wind energy companies pay Wyoming landowners approximately $11 million each year in lease payments. These lease payments provide an additional revenue stream that allowed us to bring back our children to work on the ranch and become the next generation of Wyoming ranchers. Additional revenue also allows us to update machinery and implement modernization and efficiency upgrades to our operations. These are essential factors in securing our ranches for generations to come.
In this Wyoming legislative session, members of the Legislature will contemplate making it more difficult for wind providers to operate in Wyoming. They are examining two bills, so far, that will substantially increase the tax burden on wind energy.
Our passion is for raising cattle and generating food for the world. Allowing for multi-use development of our private property helps to maintain Wyoming’s open spaces, where cattle and wildlife can graze together. As we take pride in feeding America, we can also feel good about providing a fraction of the electricity that is needed to keep this country’s lights on.
Raising taxes on wind does not guarantee more money for Wyoming. It does risk new wind projects heading to Colorado and Montana and providing additional revenue to their ranchers and farmers. Let’s use all Wyoming’s resources to benefit Wyoming citizens and provide revenue to keep Wyoming’s ranches thriving for generations.