Now that the dust has settled from the 2022 budget session, the actual budgeting process was as tame as we have seen in several years. Here are few additions and changes to laws affecting agriculture the Legislature enacted.
In the area of water law, subdivisions and other developers are now required to notify the Board of Control/State Engineer when surface water rights are impacted by development such as relocating a ditch or other conveyance. Another change is any water development project on federal lands requires filing both the name of the agency and the permittee/lessee before a water right is granted. Where underground water development is planned in a control area, in contested case hearings involving the granting of permits to develop underground water, the burden of proof was changed to the petitioner instead of the objector(s). Water development funding was increased due to the insertion of APRA funding where projects were eligible.
The Legislature transferred the authority of controlling noxious weeds and pests on State Lands to the Department of Agriculture and the Weed and Pest Districts instead of the Office of State Lands. Another piece of legislation brings the Department of Agriculture into contracting for predator control. The department now has the authority to contract with federal agencies and county predator boards for control work.
Revenue bonding for agricultural endeavors was authorized. The Wyoming Business Council was authorized to issue bonds for use in processing plants. Extensive rule making is required before this option is ready to use. The Joint Agriculture Committee will review the progress of this rulemaking. With hopes of having it ready to go in 2023.