The Wyoming Stock Growers Agricultural Land Trust recently awarded the late Jim Chant the fourth annual Kurt Bucholz Conservation Award at its annual Roundup Barbecue Aug. 27 at the Hat 2 Ranch in Meeteetse.
Chant was raised on a farm in upstate New York and earned animal and meat science degrees from Cornell University, University of Connecticut and the University of Wyoming. He taught for three years at Northeast Missouri State College where he was noted for sharing his passion of agriculture. He moved back to Wyoming in 1980 and eventually came to the Little Snake River Valley in 1991 and ranched there for the remainder of his life.
“Jim was a great stockman who deeply loved production agriculture,” Wheatland rancher Juan Reyes said in his nomination of Chant for the Bucholz Conservation Award. “His greatest pleasures were the time he spent with his sons, showing dogs, spending time with his wife Patti and working good cattle on Wyoming's open ranges and in Wheatland's feed yards.”
Chant was very active in his lifetime. His achievements include achieving national recognition for the breeding and training of border collies and recognition by the Wyoming Game and Fish for his outstanding stewardship. Chant served his community and agriculture on the Little Snake River Conservation District for 15 years, as secretary of the Savery-Little Snake Water Conservancy District for 17 years, and as treasurer of the State Line Ditch Company for 15 years. He was deeply involved in the development of the High Savory Dam.
“What Jim did best was to inspire, mentor and support others. He was not seeking the limelight, he just wanted to produce results on the ground with these shared visions,” Wyoming State Senator Larry Hicks said in his letter supporting Chant’s nomination.
The Kurt Bucholz Conservation Award is named for the late Kurt Bucholz, DVM, one of the Stock Growers Ag Land Trust’s early supporters who, along with his wife Laura, ranched in Carbon County. For many years, Bucholz devoted countless hours to his county and state and served in the Wyoming House of Representatives until a rare cancer claimed his life in December 2006. He demonstrated a keen understanding of state and local water issues, and was adamant about protecting the upper North Platte Valley's vital and historic water rights. Friends and associates of Kurt’s worked with Laura to develop the Kurt Bucholz Conservation Award in 2008 to be presented annually to an individual who exemplifies Kurt's conservation values, particularly those that center on protecting and nourishing Wyoming's working ranches.
The Bucholz award honoree receives a bronze statue sculpted by Wyoming artist Jerry Palen that depicts the Stock Growers Ag Land Trust horse and rider logo. Past recipients are Saratoga rancher and businessman Joe Glode, rancher and Wyoming Livestock Roundup publisher Dennis Sun, and retired rancher and physician John Lunt.