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Wyoming to Challenge Wild Horse Program

19:53PM Dec 04, 2014
Horses Sunset

Wyoming will continue to challenge the federal government on wild horse management, Gov. Matt Mead told ranchers.

Speaking to told ranchers Wednesday at the annual winter meeting of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association, Mead said that he will continue litigation to pressure the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and Congress to consider alternatives for wild horse management.

Federal officials gathered more than 1,200 wild horses from the checkerboard lands of southwest Wyoming in September. The agency spends more than $80 million nationwide for wild horse management, and the BLM's long-term holding facilities in Rock Springs are nearing capacity.

"They don't have the resources needed to properly manage wild horses," Mead said. "We have to make sure that the wild horses are appropriately managed, and we have to make sure the BLM has sufficient funding to do that."

Separately, several Wyoming legislators participated in a forum on agricultural issues facing the Legislature at Wednesday's meeting, the Casper Star-Tribune reported.

Rep. Hans Hunt, R-Newcastle, unveiled proposed legislation to boost spending on technical education in the state.

Hunt said his proposal will mirror Wyoming's Hathaway Scholarship program for college students. He wants to provide money for students in agricultural and technical fields.

"It's got to where we are neglecting the elective courses, particularly agriculture and vocational technical classes," Hunt said. "There are a lot of kids out there who have a lot of potential, but they don't have an interest in studying math and science."

Sen. Leland Christensen, R-Alta, said he expects the Senate Agriculture Committee to continue work on a bill to ban the use of natural resource data obtained by trespass on private lands.

The proposal creates the crime of trespass to unlawfully collect resource data. It carries a penalty of a maximum six months in jail and $5,000 fine for a first offense and a sentence of 10 days to a year in jail for repeat offenses.

"If you collect that data unlawfully, it can't be used," Christensen said. "We recognize that that really only works at the state level. If they take that information out of state, we can't really control what the feds have in their books."