Monday, September 26, 2016

More than 6,000 farmers ask Congress to pass TPP

To date, 6,325 corn farmers from across the country have written letters to members of Congress, urging them to take up and pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement in 2016. The National Corn Growers Association will be delivering them to Capitol Hill as of Sept. 21. The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a trade agreement between the United States and 11 Pacific Rim countries, representing 40 percent of the global economy and one of the fastest-growing regions in the world. President Obama signed the TPP agreement earlier this year, but it now must be voted on by Congress.
“Trade is good for America, especially our farm economy,” said Bowling. “On behalf of all corn farmers across America, we urge Congress to act now. Pass TPP and give America’s farmers and ranchers a chance to compete for the world’s business.”...more

The Pros and Cons of the Grass-Fed Beef Boom

Americans eat less beef today than they did when Richard Nixon was president. But despite the decline in consumption that began in the mid-’70s, a particular type of beef is rapidly rising in popularity. According to Nielsen, sales of grass-fed beef rose by 40 percent in 2015 over 2014 numbers, compared with a 6.5 percent increase for conventional beef. Today, you can get grass-fed beef franks at Major League Baseball parks, grass-fed beef burgers at the drive-through, and packets of grass-fed ground beef at mega-grocers such as Walmart. For an alternative meat product to achieve such mainstream status in a relatively short period of time is, on some level, a success story. After all, grass-fed production systems are celebrated for raising animals outside of confinement and can have a reduced environmental footprint compared with grain-fed beef. Defining what grass-fed beef is can be a challenge, and what lies behind the rising sales is equally murky. Despite sales being up significantly in the past year, grass-fed beef accounted for less than 2 percent of the overall beef market, according to the USDA. Furthermore, the acceptance of grass-fed beef by American diners doesn’t mean that more American ranchers are moving away from conventional beef production. Overall beef imports to the U.S. have been trending downward for about a decade, but two of the largest foreign suppliers of U.S. beef are New Zealand and Australia—and meat cattle operations in both countries are based in large part on pasture, not feedlots. According to the USDA Economic Research Service, “Most imported beef is lower-valued, grass-fed beef destined for processing, primarily as ground beef.” That’s been the case for a while, but as the market changes, all it takes is some new branding, and the same ground beef that was sold as “ground beef” a few years ago can suddenly become a hip new product with a not-insignificant green halo. The hormone- and antibiotic-free grass-fed burger that Carl’s Jr. debuted in 2014—to much fanfare—is made with 100 percent Australian beef.

Texas Tech receives $35M grant for new vet college

Texas Tech Veterinary College has received a $25 million grant from the Amarillo Economic Development Corp. to support the establishment of a new College of Veterinary Medicine in Amarillo. The grant was approved at a recent Amarillo City Council meeting on recommendation from AEDC, according to a news release. It is a major step forward for Texas Tech's vision of enhancing rural and large-animal veterinary medicine by providing an innovative model focused on improving animal health in the heart of the beef and dairy cattle industry, stated the Amarillo City Council. The new veterinary college will be built in Amarillo on the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center campus, which headquarters the School of Pharmacy and is home to the schools of Medicine, Nursing and Health Professions...more

Ag Futures: Sugar Rushes Higher on Global Shortfall

Sugar prices exploded this week, pushing over 23 cents per pound, the highest level in more than four years. Prices have more than doubled during the last year as a global sugar shortfall looms after two years of disappointing harvests. Sugar is produced around the world, extracted from sugarcane in tropical climates and sugar beets in higher latitudes, but almost half of all sugar production comes from just three countries: Brazil, India, and Thailand. All three nations’ sugarcane crops were hurt by the recent El Nino cycle, which stripped them of much-needed rains...more

Farm Group Praises Court Ruling On OSHA Regulation

A U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration must go through a formal rulemaking process before applying stricter standards to retailers of anhydrous ammonia. Nebraska Farm Bureau’s National Affairs Coordinator Jordan Dux says it’s a big victory for Nebraska’s farmers and agribusinesses. He says OSHA had tied their regulation to an explosion that occurred at a fertilizer facility in West Texas three years ago. Dux says that proved unfounded and the presence of anhydrous there was not a contributing factor to the explosion. Dux says had the OSHA regulation gone forward it would have created astronomical costs for farmers and ranchers and retailers and made it difficult or not impossible for them to obtain anhydrous ammonia. Dux says OSHA now has to go back to the drawing board and hold a rulemaking process. He’s encouraging farmers and others to make sure they make their voices heard during that process. WNAX

Grand Ole Opry Star Jean Shepard Dead at Age 82

Grand Ole Opry star Jean Shepard, a fierce practitioner and defender of traditional country music, died Sunday (Sept. 25) in Nashville at the age of 82. The Country Music Hall of Fame member had been in ill health for the past several months.
Born Ollie Imogene Shepard in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma, on Nov. 21, 1933, Shepard and her family moved to Visalia, California, when she was a teenager. By that time, she had already been strongly influenced by the music of Jimmie Rodgers and Bob Wills. She formed her first band, the Melody Ranch Girls, in 1947.
Hank Thompson “discovered” Shepard when her band opened a show for him and in 1952 helped her get a contract with Capitol Records. The following year, she scored her first and only No. 1 single, “A Dear John Letter,” a duet with Ferlin Husky that tapped into the emotions of the Korean War then winding down. The song stayed at the top of the country chart for six weeks.
Possessed of a strong and assertive voice — and an attitude to match — she continued to rise in musical prominence via such Top 5 and Top 10 hits as “Forgive Me John” (also with Husky), “A Satisfied Mind,” “Beautiful Lies,” “I Thought of You,” “Second Fiddle (To an Old Guitar),” “I’ll Take the Dog” (with Ray Pillow), “If Teardrops Were Silver,” “Then He Touched Me” and “Slippin’ Away.”
She continued to chart singles every year through 1978.
Shepard joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1955 and remained a member until her death.
In 1960, she married fellow Opry star, Hawkshaw Hawkins, who had come to the Opry the same year she did. She was eight months pregnant with his son when Hawkins died in the 1963 plane crash that also killed Patsy Cline and country star Cowboy Copas.
The outspoken Shepard was a board member of the short-lived Association of Country Entertainers, a group of prominent country music artists formed in 1974, soon after Australian pop star Olivia Newton-John won the CMA female vocalist of the year award. Their goal was to defend and promote traditional country music as a commercial art form. But Shepard said in subsequent interviews that the charter members, including the chief movers, George Jones and Tammy Wynette, lacked her crusading ardor and either drifted away or were pressured away from the organization.
She also publicly criticized Blake Shelton after he supposedly labeled veteran country artists as “old farts and jackasses.”
Shepard told her own story of what a career in country music was like from the 1950s forward in her 2014 autobiography, Down Through the Years.
In 2011, Shepard was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. In accepting the honor, she boasted proudly of her persistence as a performer, saying, “I hung in there like hair on grilled cheese.”
Funeral plans have not been announced.

One of my favorites by Shepard is Beautiful Lies.

Songwriter John D. Loudermilk Dead at 82

John D. Loudermilk, a Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame member whose hits included “Abilene,” “Waterloo,” “Indian Reservation” and “Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye,” died Wednesday (Sept. 21) at his home in Christiana, Tennessee. He was 82.
Loudermilk was born March 31, 1934 in Durham, North Carolina. He began his musical journey singing in church. When he was 12, he won a spot in a Charlotte, North Carolina, talent contest of which Tex Ritter was the host. A year later, he had his own radio show on WTIK in Durham, North Carolina.
He first realized his gift for songwriting in 1955 when a poem he had written, “A Rose and a Baby Ruth,” found its way to singer George Hamilton IV. Hamilton turned it into a Top 10 pop hit in 1956 and would go on to record such Loudermilk-penned classics as “Abilene” and “Break My Mind.”
Loudermilk had some success as a recording artist in his own right. Singing as Johnny Dee, he had a minor pop hit with his song, “Sittin’ in the Balcony.” He also lodged five singles on the country chart, the highest one being the Top 20 “That Ain’t All.”
He was cousin of the Louvin Brothers — Ira and Charlie — whose original family name was Loudermilk.
Grand Ole Opry member Stonewall Jackson had his first No. 1 with Loudermilk’s “Waterloo,” co-written with Marijohn Wilkin.
Moving fluidly between country and pop, Loudermilk achieved particular success with “Tobacco Road,” which was recorded by artists as diverse as the Nashville Teens, Lou Rawls, Jefferson Airplane and David Lee Roth, and “Break My Mind,” covered by Anne Murray, Sammy Davis Jr., Glen Campbell, Linda Ronstadt, Roy Orbison, Gram Parson and Jerry Lee Lewis, among several others.
His “Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye” was a No. 1 country tune for Eddy Arnold and a Top 10 pop hit for the Casinos.
Ernie Ashworth had the biggest hit of his career with Loudermilk’s “Talk Back Trembling Lips.”
Other notable songs in Loudermilk’s catalog include “Sad Movies Make Me Cry,” “Bad News,” “Ebony Eyes” and “I Wanna Live.” “Indian Reservation,” a pop hit for Paul Revere & the Raiders, was tagged at the end of Tim McGraw’s 1994 hit, “Indian Outlaw.”
Loudermilk was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1976.

Though not mentioned in the obituary, one of my favorites wrtten and sung by Loudermilk was Road Hog.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

Laughing at life

by Julie Carter

As long as we are still drawing a breath, we have the opportunity to keep learning life’s lessons, big and small. For myself, I have found that grasping some of the simple lessons are often the most rewarding. One of those is learning to laugh and laugh in abundance.

Laughter is a precious gift. It dislodges anger in the way a summer rain washes the dust from the landscape. It fosters friendship and dilutes hostility. Medical science says laughter helps the healing process.

A willingness to laugh is the first step to the joy of laughter. Seeing humor in situations may take practice for some, for others it is an art. I laugh at myself as much as I laugh at anyone or anything. Sometimes I’m the only one who thinks I’m funny, but that too makes me laugh.

Knowing the difference between a mishap and a catastrophe is important, as is understanding that likely you can do nothing about either except pick up the pieces. Your choice is to laugh about it or grumble. Choose laughter.

Almost every situation benefits from the application of laughter. People take themselves way too seriously – looking for perfection, a way to be indispensable and in complete control. They set themselves up for a life of stress and failure. Self-appointed superintendents of the world work way too hard at jobs they will never complete.

I have friends who make me laugh. I laugh with them, at them and we all laugh at almost everything. Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be and so if I keep friends who remember more or differently than I do, there is a never-ending series of topics to laugh at.

Success almost always happens in private and failure in full view. So laugh at it. Not one shred of evidence exists in favor of the idea that life is serious. If you smile when things go wrong, people will undoubtedly be assured you have someone in mind to blame.

Laughter is contagious. If people nearby aren’t laughing with you they are at least curious about what is making you laugh. They will want some of the same.

Euphoria is fleeting at best and needs fed continually to sustain beyond the moment. The skill is not in the emotion but in the ability to keep it going. You can always find sorrow in the world; finding joy sometimes takes effort. Make the effort.

It might even hurt a little the first time, but crack that smile wide open even if you have not yet found something to smile about. It won’t be a terminal pain. Surround yourself with people who find joy in life and like to laugh. You will learn to laugh by association. I can promise an addiction to the joy. You will want more of it.

Laughter is a gift to be shared. When you have learned to laugh, help someone else that needs to feel the fun. That quick laugh you share with someone today may be the spark of joy that turns his day around.

Plan to be spontaneous, even if you wait until tomorrow. Joy comes with no expiration date.

Julie can be reached for comment at


The Hunts
By Stephen L. Wilmeth

            Three mornings this past week suggested fall is nigh.
            The open door from the bedroom onto the porch at 4:30 prompted a tug at a cover and real hesitation before staggering out to start the coffee. Each decision to get going, though, was rewarded with quiet time. As usual, I checked the weather reports and pack saddle contents from Mogollon Creek (emails), but there was time of peace and devotion that followed.
            On mornings like these, it is seldom that I do not think about my grandparents. They were all morning people. Each one of them was distinct in their morning rituals, but each was conditioned to start early. Both grandmothers were up and going at the same time as their husbands. The smell of butane stoves and the delicious odors of breakfast creation are part and parcel to those memories. There was not a lazy bone in either of those women. Both are now long gone, but their influences on me are clearer and more distinct each passing day.
            Collectively, they demonstrated mornings are not just important, but easily the best time of all.
            The Hunts
            We saw Hugh and Verna at Trey’s wedding last Saturday.
            Surrounded by family, we enjoyed the service as well as the reception. Like it or not, Hugh and I have become the grandfathers that our grandfathers were to us. There was a natural progression of chit chatting about the ceremony and the events of current days to the point of talking about the times of being with our grandfathers, the Rice brothers. The cool mornings and the gorgeous harvest moon that rose at the start of the reception only made it easier and more appropriate their memories were part of the discussion.
            For years, sleepless, anxious nights followed by early, opening mornings would put us around the kitchen table at the headquarters of the Rice Ranch in the bottom of Sacaton Creek waiting for first light to hunt a deer. Hugh would have spent the night there while we would have driven the 16 miles from “the river” to arrive before sunup. We listened and participated in those morning discussions with our grandfathers. Meanwhile, Hugh’s grandmother, Minnie, was a blur of motion getting ready for the day as she finished putting her sparkling kitchen back in order after breakfast. The last of her biscuits would have been eaten and the only things left on the table were coffee cups.
            Without a doubt, our grandfathers were as anxious and excited about those opening mornings as we were. Our love for a hunt was, in large part, the result of them. They were the elders that taught us. They stoked our interest with their stories and their demonstrated and abundant skills outside. By the time we were ten and eleven, we were pretty fair deer hunters. By the time we were in our mid teens, we were skilled.
            The mornings would finally start with the deduction it was “light enough to shoot”.
In those earliest days, we’d go in one pickup and hunt together. Whether it was up and out of the creek back to the east or to the west, the pastures were familiar, almost magical, and grand places with names like Trivio, the George Clark, Cross H, the Alexander, or the York. The names became synonymous with past memories of success or high adventure. The discussion in the cigarette smoke filled closed pickup of those times was about deer killed last year, three years ago, or even 60 years prior. The Rice family had been on that land, largely privately held, since 1888.
It wasn’t like we had to drive somewhere to start to hunt. We would be hunting with all eyes watching the moment we left the house. Being on familiar ground certainly adds benefit, but every rancher I have ever known learns “how to see” as well. It is a learned trait and it isn’t just vision clarity.
The blue eyes of those elder Rice brothers, however, were special. In fact, to the outside observer they were incredible. Seldom did we get to a certain spot of destination without seeing deer, and, more often than not, in numbers.
Hunting isn’t the same to me today as it was then.
Given the choice, I still prefer venison to beef, but perhaps age or the stewardship of land has changed me. Maybe it is just the years. The commercialization of hunting makes me flinch. All the stuff that goes along with the sport now seems extravagant. Just viewing a hunt on one of the outdoor channels suggests a small fortune must be invested before a shot is fired. Scent proof camouflage, ultra-light garb, range finders, spotting scopes, 10X binoculars, four wheelers, gators, beanies, balaclavas, day packs, dehydrated meals, two way radios, GPS devices, topo maps, doe scent, trail cameras, long range shooting platforms, compound bows, deer bullets, elk bullets, temperature resistant powders, deer calls, fifth wheels, and an expanding array of paraphernalia that would make the Rice brothers scowl with incredulity seems to be the norm of today’s hunts.
Rest assured I remain a hunting advocate. I believe the game animal that provides economic benefit is the animal that will ultimately be best protected, but the actual hunt and the sanctity of the hunt should remain more important than all the “stuff”. I remember John becoming emotional talking about the deer he killed the last day of the season long ago on a wind blown point. He had stalked the deer for several hours before he took the single shot. He approached the deer quietly and sat there. Just he and that animal alone on that grassy ridge were the focus. He remained there until nearly sundown before he started down. He told me it was being alone, at that moment, and in that place was most special.
To me, perhaps the deer that got away were most special.
I’ll always remember the big buck in the Cross H pasture. I got him up from a bed in a juniper thicket. He didn’t tilt away like most big bucks. Rather, he kept pace with my movement. At one point, I was no more than thirty feet from him but all I could see was the tips of his horns. His rack moved silently back and forth as he continued to smell for me. I spent a lot of time with him, but I never saw anything more than the tips of those horns.
Another day in the same pasture, a gang of five big bucks were spotted standing nose to tail around a big juniper tree. We studied how to get closer, started a methodical stalk, but failed when wind changed and they scented us. Every one of them was a real trophy.
Another morning at the head of Wind Canyon, I headed back to get the pickup to go around to pick my brother up at the Will Shelley Tank down the drainage. I was within a hundred yards of the truck when I jumped four big bucks in some low lying mesquites. Those deer were likely bedded right there when we left at sunup and they let us walk by them.
As they clattered away, I had a hunch and walked north across the drainage into a parallel header. I no more than topped the ridge into that canyon when I heard and then saw what I believe was the biggest deer in the bunch. He was still a long way away coming in a hurry up the bottom, but saw me as soon as I saw him. He didn’t hesitate. He whirled and was gone. I saluted him and wished him long life.
I hope his descendents remain there to this day.
I am headed out the door shortly to plumb several livestock troughs we have just installed. As usual, there will be time to think during the drive on the highway before I turn off onto the dirt road at our entrance. I’ll watch for the herd of antelope in the Coldiron Pasture that has raised a number of fawns this summer. There is no doubt in my mind that our presence enhances their existence in these times just as the Sacaton deer herd of my youth was enhanced by Rice stewardship.
Right now, though, I am going to take my cup of coffee out onto the balcony and watch for the first hint of daylight. I’ll sit there for a while and visit with the memories of my grandparents in the cool and the still of this predawn … just like they did all those years ago.

Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico. “Tissy told me when she was Miss Rodeo American her dad told her if she couldn’t come home and have the time to have a cup of coffee and a biscuit with her neighbor, Minnie Rice … she shouldn’t come home.”

Beyond the Butterfly Net

Beyond the Butterfly Net

by Myles Culbertson

When I accepted the job as Executive Director of the New Mexico Livestock Board my father-in-law, Dogie Jones, who had been in that position 40 years ago told me: “I’m going to give you just two pieces of advice, and then I’ll shut up and not ever bother you about how you do your job.  First, the State Veterinarian works for you, not the other way around; and second, you are not dog catchers.”  He was true to his word and, with no further input, let me figure out for myself not only the job, but also his cryptic message. 

I inherited a talented, experienced State Veterinarian whose ability I greatly respected, and it was not long before we were in agreement about the lines of authority.  But what about the “dog catchers?” This other familial word of wisdom took a while for me to untangle; a mystery whose underlying principle was to be found woven in the organization’s history and governing laws.

In 1887 the cattlemen of New Mexico were able to obtain the necessary authority from the Territorial Legislature to build a regulatory defense against livestock diseases, including the tick borne “Texas Fever” arriving with the great north-bound cattle drives and decimating native herds.  The newly formed New Mexico Cattle SanitaryBoard and, a few years later, the Sheep Sanitary Board became the regulatory animal heath bulwarks for the territory’s livestock industry.  Soon after, the Board became New Mexico’s first territorial law enforcement organization, confronting and taking down the scourge of rustlers that had permeated the southwest.  By the 20th Century, the LivestockCode of New Mexico had become the model for animal health and ownership protection and is emulated to varying extents in most of the western states. New Mexico’s brand, ownership, and health requirements for all livestock were brought together in 1967 under a merger with the new name, New Mexico Livestock Board, with a new consolidated “Livestock Code.”

The foundation for the bulk of New Mexico’s Livestock Code is built around integrity of ownership.  Accordingly, all livestock must have an owner of record evidenced by a brand or sufficient documentation.  Any folks who confuse the principle of ownership with the virtue of sharing will find themselves introduced to another side of their friendly Livestock Inspectors, and to a stern system of justice.

Inspection, investigation, and movement control are necessary and integral to protecting ownership as well as preventing or containing the spread of listed diseases.  This system prevents transport of stolen or diseased, as well as stray or feral, livestock.  It is a simple and effective principle, based on assuring integrity by balancing optimum protection and minimum adverse effect for livestock owners.  When “no-brand” cattle or other livestock with no proof of ownership are presented to the inspector, the law requires the estray process to determine whether they have an owner and, if not, see to it they are placed by sale into the hands of an owner. 

Not long into my tenure the “dog catcher doctrine” became clear.  There are some, mostly outside the industry, who believe the New Mexico Livestock Board chases around the state with metaphorical butterfly nets to capture un-owned livestock.   As the legitimate livestock producers know, it doesn’t.  The livestock industry is who created the agency, drafted its legislation and rules, and gives representative input on how they want their business, and their property rights, protected.  The Livestock Board’s Inspectors are invited onto property to determine ownership of livestock, and are also responsible to maintain vigilance over the movement across district and state lines.  Horses are, by law, livestock subject to the same statutes and must have an owner.

The industry knows the ecological, animal health, and economic deterioration that can accompany proliferation of feral livestock, and it relies upon the Livestock Code to prescribe the process by which stray animals are handled. This sometimes puts the industry, and its representative agency, at odds with special interest activist groups who want all hands off of stray horses delusionally regarded as wild, majestic, original natives of the land.  Such groups, always glad to name a common villain, are quick to proffer the notion that the Livestock Board is actively in the hunt to send wild horses to slaughter.

The movement to declare bands of feral horses to be “wild,” claiming ancestral connection to the horses of the conquistadors, is growing.  Special interest groups have intimidated federal agencies like the BLM into taking little or no action to reduce and dispense the alarming overpopulation of horses, most of whose histories have nothing to do with original Spanish and Indian ponies, but rather are descendants of horses abandoned over the last several decades.  Today the state of Nevada is facing an emergency situation, unable to find resolution to what must be done with herds of feral horses numbering in the many thousands and whose numbers are destroying an extremely sensitive arid habitat.  The BLM, which controls more than 80% of the state’s landmass, is cowering in the face of a “public outcry,” and no rules seem to exist to govern a solution. 

In New Mexico, a minor special interest calling itself the “Wild Horse ObserversAssociation (WHOA)” has attempted for years to designate a herd of feral horses running loose on BLM and private land in the Placitas, NM area, as being “wild,” although it is commonly believed that most if not all are domestic horses and their offspring that have strayed over the years from the San FelipePueblo and elsewhere, and never retrieved.  Court battles have been joined for years over whether they should be legally considered livestock subject to the Livestock Code.  The Livestock Board has long been aware that it may someday be called upon to estray some 100-plus horses if they are ever presented by the landowner (BLM) for inspection and, at that time, and also called upon to attempt to nebulously determine which, if any, are descendents of original Spanish horses in order to be placed on whatever public lands “wild horses” are supposed to reside.

Looking at a more recent situation, a small band of stray horses has wandered at will for years in the Ruidoso/Alto area, often on privately owned land and homesteads.  A property owner recently penned them and contacted the Livestock Board, which, unable to determine ownership, took possession and commenced the statutory estray process to either identify the owner(s) or sell the horses in order to establish an owner.  Some of the area residents demanded their return and touched off a series of demonstrations, biased news reporting, fundraising (of course), and general condemnation of an agency doing its job.  WHOA, apparently seizing an opportunity to broaden their influence, stepped out of their usual Placitas beat and entered the Alto fracas, filing an injunction that will effectively force the judiciary to, among other things, define a wild horse.  At the time of this writing the court case is being litigated.

The plaintiffs’ goal in this case is to have the horses designated by a judge to be “wild” and turned back out to roam at will in the Alto/Ruidoso community.  If the court arbitrarily bypasses state law to “protect” the subject horses under judicial fiat, then a precedent may be set for any feral horses anywhere in New Mexico.  The only necessary elements would be a local uproar and a special interest group with a pro-bono attorney.  Also, since this is an issue whose venue is mostly deeded land, a poorly thought out decision could potentially create a precedent for forcing private property owners into accepting the trespass of free roaming livestock under condition of a “wild” designation. The Livestock Board, which has been a successful bastion against the proliferation of stray and feral animals, will have had its hands tied, and WHOA with their small ad hoc network of activists will have succeeded in further corroding the statutory protection of livestock, their owners, and the land itself.

Over the coming decades, the long term unintended consequence of all this can potentially rival the crisis being experienced in Nevada, which had its beginnings the 1970s with an advocate who became known as Wild Horse Annie, along with her own small ad hoc network of activists.  Today the BLM in that state is stuck with thousands of “wild” horses that need to be taken off the land to prevent further destruction, but have nowhere to go.

I retired from the Livestock Board a few years ago knowing the constant assault by external interests unrelated to the business of livestock raising would be among the most aggravating challenges for the next leader.  Had I left a letter in the desk for my able successor, I would have repeated my father-in-law’s advice about state veterinarians and dog-catchers.  The note would also have contained a discussion about the unique autonomy of a state agency whose moral and ethical obligation is to the livestock industry, not the administration.  I would also have given a heads-up about a chattering class, the likes of which Teddy Roosevelt described as “cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat,” that doesn’t understand or respect the vital mandate of the Livestock Board, and doesn’t care to.  But then I know a letter was not necessary, as the issues of the day quickly temper the steel of a good Director as he deals with the ever-rattling barbarians at the gate.

So, Dogie was right.  There are no butterfly nets in the Livestock Board inventory.  It is not an animal control office chasing stray animals, nor should it ever be.  Rather, it is a well organized law enforcement agency with a dynamic 129 year history, created by the livestock industry itself through the legislative process.  The New Mexico Livestock Board operates under a solid, time-tested set of laws, rules, and protocols for the protection of livestock and their owners.  Portions of that Livestock Code are now vulnerable to compromise, depending on the outcome of the Alto horse litigation.  A bad decision emerging from that case may have the effect of confusing and stifling the estray laws, with adverse ramifications eventually but inevitably haunting livestock producers and landowners across the state. 

Myles Culbertson grew up in the ranching and cattle business in New Mexico. In his varied career he has been engaged in agriculture, banking and international trade and is the former Executive Director of the NM Livestock Board.

Myles' column should serve as an education to many, and as an alert to the livestock industry.

Baxter Black - It's a county fair buy-out

 “Roy, can you show us the scar? It’s gotta be a big one!”

 “What scar?”

  “Where they took your conscience out!”

   “Aw Kendall, yer full of it! What would an order buyer know about a conscience anyway!”

“I was just down to the fair office. I noticed that you put a floor bid on all the kids’ show steers. I’ve never seen anything so low! It’s shameful! Little kids came up to me with tears in their eyes. It broke my heart. And you, the owner of one of the biggest auction markets in the state!”

“I’ll have you know that I was the first one to price them and it was left open for two hours if anyone wanted to up it. Besides, they’re kids. It’s good experience for ‘em.”

“There were adults crying, too, Roy. Grown men, weeping silently.”


“Now I’d be willing to buy ‘em from you at 25 cents a hundred weight above your floor price. I’d hate to see you accused of making exorbitant profits from the sweat and toil of innocent farm kids. There are child labor laws now, Roy. But I’m only thinkin’ of you, Roy. You tossing and turning, unable to sleep knowing that you literally took the food from their trembling mouths.”

“You’re crazy if you think I’m gonna give’m to you at a quarter above! I’ve floored the cattle for the last 10 years here at the fair. I have a reputation to maintain. I’m only doin’ it for the kids.”

“The little waifs gathered around me, Roy. Like birds in the winter. They looked up at me with big sorrowful eyes and asked me, ‘Mister, what are cattle really worth?’ It was all I could do to keep from breakin’ down right in front of them.”

“A quarter above! I might take $2 above if I don’t have to hold ‘em.”

“Roy, Roy, Roy, I’m only offerin’ to take’m off your hands for your own good. It might give you a little piece of mind. You’re not the kind of man who robs the blind man’s cup or picks the tip off the next table. Remember, it is more blessed to give to a regular customer than to keep it all for yourself.”

“Two dollars.”

“Roy, that’s 50 cents above the market. Think of the children. You’ll be haunted by nightmares of gaunt homeless 4-H kids endlessly marching in a circle leading fat steers. Little kids with shattered dreams of college or a new bike. Pee Wees dragging chains through your troubled dreams whispering your name ... Scrooge, Scrooge, Scrooge ...”

“Buck seventy-five.”

Mother Theresa, The Environment, and The Poor in India

by Vijay Jayaraj

Early this month, Mother Theresa was canonized as Saint Theresa by Pope Francis in a celebrated canonization ceremony in Vatican City.

At this juncture, the same poor people in Calcutta (now Kolkata), whom she served with her life, face a different kind of threat to their lives—energy poverty caused by radical environmental policies.

Sadly, these policies are supported by Pope Francis himself.

People from all walks of life, including those from various faiths, have celebrated the life of Mother Theresa over the past decades. For them, her work of charity and her heart for the poor far outweighed her religious identity.  

One would assume that the poverty situation in the streets of Kolkata would be far better now, after the decades of continued service by the Missionaries of Charity, which she founded in 1950. Unfortunately, poverty alleviation for the nearly 300 million poor people in India cannot be achieved solely by tending to basic needs through charity.

The poor in India need empowerment through education, employment, and economic development. An industrial revolution, akin to that in Europe, is needed. A critical element to this economic revolution is the energy sector.

Unfortunately, instead of supporting energy development in India, the climate change obsessed elements within Western Governments, and the current Pope, have been on a fossil fuel-ban bandwagon, accusing the human race of emitting too much carbon dioxide and negatively impacting the earth’s temperature system. 

India and other developing countries face the relentless pressure to reduce their dependence on coal-based energy from many global organizations (like the U.N.), and were given deadlines to make the necessary transition to renewables.

Although the developing countries are free to not participate in these restrictive accords, they are more often coerced into doing so. The Paris agreement drafted last year was the pinnacle of this anti-fossil bureaucracy.

Climate change alarmism-based restrictions on energy policies are at best an embarrassment to the scientific community and an unnecessary fear-based, self-created hurdle to the development policy-makers who have spent their entire life fighting poverty, as well as an affront by the Catholic Church to the work of Mother Theresa and others like her.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), widely though wrongly considered the single most authoritative body on climate change science and policy making, by its own admission has defined earth’s climate system as ‘coupled nonlinear chaotic system,’ rendering it a highly unstable and unpredictable system, thus implying the science behind it unsettled and predictions impossible. 

Moreover, the computer climate models used by IPCC to inform climate change based decisions failed to reflect the lower global atmospheric temperature levels in the past 18 years. In those 18 years, there has been no significant increase in temperature levels globally as falsely claimed by the climate alarmist backed IPCC.

Scientifically well-informed data suggest that there is no significant positive contribution of human carbon dioxide emissions towards rising global temperature levels. Adding to the complexity is the historical proof that the temperature levels have risen and fallen in the past 2000 years without any anthropogenic influence

Thus the failure of models, the lack of significant warming in the last two decades, the non-correlation between anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions and global temperature levels, the natural variability within the earth’s temperature system such as the oceanic cycles of El-Niño and La-Niña, the subservient nature of IPCC and the crackdown of non-alarmists—all pose a serious challenge for a developing country like India to accept IPCC based policy-restrictions on its energy sector.

The stakes are too high for India to comply with the policies of a pseudo-scientific alarmist movement which uses empirically flawed data to predict catastrophic warming trends that have failed to materialize

Mother Theresa stood for the poor of this country. Will we do the same? Will those who celebrate a life of service to the poor also advocate for measures that will lift a nation out of rampant poverty?


Child Brings Dead Squirrel to School in his Backpack, Tells Principal it’s for Dumplings

A principal of an Oklahoma City elementary school had to make one of the weirdest phone calls to a parent, when a little boy was found keeping a dead squirrel in his backpack. The little boy’s reasoning was priceless. A photo of the late rodent was posted on Ladye Hobson’s Facebook and explained the awkward phone call she received from the principal of Gatewood Elementary in Oklahoma City. Ladye Hobson told Fox 25 that her husband often jokes about making squirrel dumplings, and the little boy, Brylan, thought he would bring home dinner for the family. It’s probably safe to say that the squirrel dumpling jokes have come to a screeching halt in that house after this...more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1706

Our gospel tune today is Hank Snow's 1953 recording of The Gloryland March

runnin' late...

The Westerner will be published today, just a wee bit late.