Friday, January 20, 2017

Wild horses trained at a Kansas prison head to inauguration

Wild mustangs trained at Kansas prison will be part of the inauguration parade for Donald Trump. Fort Riley and the U.S. Border Patrol agents are bringing about 10 of the horses to the 1.5-mile parade Friday from the Capitol to the White House. Since 2001, the Bureau of Land Management has sent horses to the Hutchinson Correctional Facility for training. They come from public lands in the western United States, where their numbers are too high to sustain. Over the years, more than 60 horses trained at the prison have paroled the border from Brownsville, Texas, to San Diego. Hundreds of others have been adopted...more

 They should make nice companions for all those jackasses in DC.

Neil Kornze talks about accomplishments, issues of BLM

Bureau of Land Management Director Neil Kornze took a look back at what his agency accomplished and the issues that still need work before he stepped down from the position. Kornze said Thursday that he felt “blessed” to lead the BLM. He worked for the agency for six years and led it for the last four. “It’s been an absolute dream for a boy from Elko,” he said. “It used to be my nights and weekends were getting to the north end of Fifth Street and just getting out and exploring. To be able to be involved in public lands questions every day has been absolutely extraordinary. Not the path that I expected for myself, but one I have been so excited to be on.” Kornze said he was proud of the BLM’s record in managing conservation areas. The agency is responsible for about 800 of these areas across the country and the BLM has kept communities involved in the process of “figuring out the best path forward for what we do with those places,” he said. In regard to the change in administration, Kornze said the secretary of the Interior nominee said “he does not support the sale and disposal of public lands.” “That was very encouraging to me,” Kornze said. “I think we’re always learning how to manage the public lands better, but I think it is such a critical and incredible part of our national heritage. There are few places in the world where when you’re born you’re automatically given access to some of the most beautiful places in the world, and you get that here in the United States. That’s the conversation I think we’ll continue.”...more

Getting a sheep into a teepee is no easy task

For years at the Black Hills Stock Show, sheep have been sheared, ridden upon by youngsters, wrangled by border collies and corralled by ranchers on horseback. So what else can possibly be done to these woolly and wily animals? How about being tackled and then shrouded in a homemade teepee by two people racing against the clock? It's true: The 2017 Black Hills Stock Show will feature the inaugural Sheep Teepeeing competition in which a team of two chases down and tackles a ewe, assembles a home-made canvas teepee, and then must convince the sheep to go inside and stay there until the competitors can run across a finish line. While it's certain to be fun to watch, and a big challenge for the contestants, a big goal of the sheep teepeeing event is to keep a South Dakota tradition alive. "It's an opportunity for us to celebrate the tradition of sheep herding and use of teepees in South Dakota," said David Ollila, a sheep rancher near Newell who is also the sheep field specialist for the South Dakota State University extension office in Rapid City...more

Myths hurting beef industry: consultant

The disconnect between the agriculture industry and consumers, and the truth behind some of the myths surrounding the beef industry, were explored by guest speaker Jude Capper at this year’s Tiffin Conference. “(The disconnect) seems to be getting bigger with the rise of media people who like to tell the consumer what they think we do rather than what we actually do,” said Capper. Capper is an independent Livestock Sustainability Consultant based in Oxfordshire, U.K. Her research focuses on modelling the environmental impact of livestock production systems, specifically dairy and beef – projects include the effect of specific management practices and technology use upon environmental impact. Some popular media myths explored by Capper include the effectiveness of the “Meatless Monday” campaign; ecological impact of beef production; differences between grassfed and grainfed beef; the image of the “factory farm” versus the reality; and the perceived dangers of hormones in beef. “Meatless Monday” as an environmental movement doesn’t have the impact some believe it does, according to Capper. She said the total carbon footprint from meat in Canada amounts to about 3.9 per cent. “What that means is if everyone in Canada went meatless every Monday for a whole year, the national carbon footprint would come down less than 0.55 per cent,” she said. And because the meat needs to be replaced with another food, the idea is misleading to the public. In regards to the ecological impact of beef production, Capper said efficiencies at all levels of production have led to larger yields. Between 1977 and 2007, water use in the U.S. was reduced by 12 per cent, land use reduced by 33 per cent, and carbon footprint by 16 per cent...more

Passengers scream as Florida alligator leaps into airboat

A couple vacationing in Florida got an up-close-and-personal interaction with the state’s most famous reptilian residents when an alligator leaped off the bank it was sunning on and into their airboat, briefly wedging itself in the boat’s railing. And they caught it all on video. Tylor Hindery, 30, really wanted to see some alligators on his Florida trip, so he managed to talk his wife, Emerald, 31, into an airboat ride. The Springfield, Missouri, couple took a tour with two other people in hopes of capturing some brag-worthy pictures and video. He wouldn’t reveal which area of Florida he was in, but a Facebook live video he took of his close encounter starts mere feet from the creature’s snout. “The guy killed the engine and we just floated over,” Hindery said. “We got stuck on the bank, and he didn’t want to turn the engine on and scare everything.” The group enjoyed the picture-perfect proximity for a few moments as the guide starts to discuss plans to push off from the bank and back into the water. “Don’t make no sudden moves,” the man in the boat warned, “because ... ” As if on cue, the gator lunged. He landed directly in the airboat, sending the camera wheeling and the passengers screaming and scrambling to safety. But as the focus turned back to the gator, it turned out the plump reptile cleared the railing on one side of the boat, but not the other. He was stuck...more

The Video

The company of wolves

A surefire way to animate an afternoon is to let a child share space with a wild animal. While most children do not normally get to see wolves up close, Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary facilitates such encounters. The organization, based in Ramah, New Mexico, rescues displaced wolves and offers them lifetime sanctuary. It also educates the public on “wild wolves and wolf-dogs in captivity, and the difference between wild and domestic animals” — an important distinction to be aware of in a time when wild spaces are shrinking, and it is no longer unusual for coyotes and wolves to wander into our backyards...more

Mexican Drug Lord Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman Extradited to U.S.

Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman has been extradited to the United States, Mexico's government said Thursday, a little more than a year he was caught following his brazen escape from a maximum-security prison. Several U.S. jurisdictions want to try the former Sinaloa cartel leader on federal drug trafficking charges, including prosecutors in San Diego, New York, El Paso, Texas, Miami and Chicago. A plane carrying Guzman landed at MacArthur Airport on Long Island, New York, at around 9:30 p.m. ET, where dozens of U.S. marshals and other law enforcement officers were gathered. The Justice Department said Guzman was will "face criminal charges in connection with his leadership of the Mexican organized crime syndicate known as the 'Sinaloa cartel," and is charged in six separate indictments in the U.S...more

Ranch Radio Song of the Day #1764

We'll close out our tribute to Tommy Allsup ( with A Party For The Old Folks. The tune is on his CD Raining In My Heart.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Attorney For Oregon Standoff Leader Faces New Charges In Courthouse Scuffle

The attorney for the leader of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation is facing three charges in connection with a dramatic incident that played out as his client was acquitted last fall. Mumford previously faced charges of failing to comply with the lawful direction of federal police officers and impeding the performance of official duties. He pleaded not guilty to those charges last week, but the special prosecutor from Washington, Timothy Ohms, has replaced the charges. The new charges that Mumford faces include creating disturbances by impeding or disrupting the performance of official duties, failure to comply with signs of a prohibitory, regulatory and directory nature, and failure to comply with the lawful direction of a federal police officer. Mumford’s attorney, Michael Levine, has said Brown and U.S. marshals overreacted. “My client was doing nothing that a zealous advocate would not do,” he said. “What we have here is an unprecedented attack on the defense bar, I truly believe unprecedented, and I’ve been practicing law for almost 40 years.”...more

Defendants in second Oregon standoff trial want Ammon Bundy, Ryan Payne to testify

The second wave of defendants set for trial next month in the armed seizure of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge want occupation leaders Ammon Bundy and Ryan Payne to testify in their defense. Bundy and Payne are both in custody in Nevada, scheduled to face trial themselves this spring in another federal case. The seven defendants in the second Oregon standoff trial have proposed that Bundy and Payne be transferred to Oregon to testify sometime in March and then return to Nevada by April for their trial in the 2014 standoff with federal land management agents near Bunkerville, Nevada. They anticipate Bundy, who testified over three days last fall and was acquitted of all charges in the refuge takeover case, would take the stand on two trial days. "In my opinion, his testimony cannot be replicated by any other witness or even group of witnesses. Mr. Bundy also has personal knowledge of facts related to the misdemeanor charges presently facing these defendants that were not at issue in the first trial and to which Mr. Bundy's prior testimony did not apply,'' wrote defense lawyer Andrew Kohlmetz, standby lawyer for defendant Jason Patrick. "It is the unanimous judgment of all defense counsel that Ammon Bundy is a critical witness for the defendants in this case.'' Prosecutors argue that no mention of the acquittal of Ammon Bundy and his six co-defendants be allowed during the second trial, saying it would be irrelevant and "wildly prejudicial.'' If the court were to allow mention of the acquittals, then the court also should mention the defendants who have pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge as well, but ask the jury in the second trial to disregard both, Assistant U.S. Attorney Ethan Knight wrote in a court filing. Defendants want the court to allow evidence that the seven defendants tried last fall were acquitted on the federal conspiracy charge...more

Jury In 2nd Oregon Standoff Trial Will Remain Anonymous

U.S. District Court Judge Anna Brown said Friday she will keep the identities of jurors anonymous for the second Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation trial. Defendants Jason Patrick, Duane Ehmer, Dylan Anderson, Sean Anderson, Sandy Anderson, Darryl Thorn and Jake Ryan are scheduled to go to trial Feb. 14. In her order, Brown said her experience with the first trial and others throughout her career guided her decision. “Based on 25 years of experience as a trial judge, this Court finds if jurors’ names and personally-identifiable information are publicly disclosed, there is an unacceptable, continuous, and significant risk that jurors will be contacted,” Brown wrote. She said that such contact has the potential to compromise the jurors’ ability to make a decision on the case without being subjected to “external information and influences.”...more

Trump can scale back monument designations, experts say

 by Mateusz Perkowski

The Trump administration could sharply revise controversial national monument designations made by its predecessor, though it’s unclear such changes would be a high priority, experts say. Pro-monument environmental groups would also likely seek to counteract such moves, testing largely uncharted legal waters. While the Trump administration could not entirely revoke earlier national monument designations, their size and land use restrictions within their boundaries could be modified, said Karen Budd-Falen, an attorney who represents ranchers in public land disputes. “All that stuff is fair game for the Trump administration,” she said. “It’s pretty clear they have maneuvering room.” Theoretically, Trump could go beyond recent designations — such as the expansion of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in Oregon — and amend monuments created by presidents before Obama, Budd-Falen said. “There’s not a statute of limitations or a time frame on these things,” she said. The Republican-controlled Congress could also outright overturn a national monument designation or simply excise tracts that are most problematic for ranchers and other natural resource users, said Scott Horngren, an attorney with the Western Resources Legal Center, which litigates on behalf of agriculture and timber interests. “They could use a scalpel,” said Horngren. With the multitude of contentious issues facing the Trump administration and Congress, though, it’s open to question whether they’ll want to tackle disputes over national monuments, he said. “We just don’t know that.”...more

Water law update: Where do we stand on WOTUS?


The Waters of the United States (WOTUS) saga continues into another year, with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit still considering the rule, and the rule as it stood prior to August 28, 2015, still in effect. Still, 2016 saw two important cases interpreting the present WOTUS rules. In Duarte Nursery v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the issue was whether field cultivation near “vernal pools” (depressed areas that fill with water during wetter periods of the year, but may be dry for the remainder) constituted a violation of Section 404 of the federal Clean Water Act (CWA). The Corps alleged Duarte had been cultivating soils near the pools, resulting in the “discharge” of soils into them. The district court applied the “significant nexus” test proposed by the U.S. Supreme Court’s Rapanos case, and determined that even though there was no surface connection between the pools and the closest stream (Coyote Creek, a tributary of the Sacramento River), the pools were “hydrologically connected” to the Sacramento River. The court made this determination even though there was no surface connection between the pools and another water body that could be considered “navigable” (another CWA term). EXPANSIVE INTERPRETATIONS Although limited to California and currently under appeal, many observers have noted this case as an example of the expansive interpretations possible under the previous version of the WOTUS rule and have cautioned that, if eventually effective, the current WOTUS rule would expand Environmental Protection Agency and Corps jurisdiction even further. Conversely, a number of observers hailed the case of United States Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes as a step forward for landowners. In the Hawkes case, the Corps had issued a “jurisdictional determination,” finding that portions of Hawkes’ land constitute a WOTUS. Such determinations often put landowners in form of purgatory since they may not be appealed to a court, but could also be erroneous upon further examination. DIFFICULT OPTIONS Thus, landowners faced three difficult options: (1) Consider the land “off limits” for any activity that did not have a CWA permit, (2) ignore the determination and proceed with use of the land, with the potential of civil or criminal liability if any future activity was found in violation of the CWA, or (3) spend significant sums of time and money to secure an EPA or Corps permit that might not be necessary...more

AFBF, Pork Producers, Dairy, and Food Industry endorse Perdue

Dairy Industry Groups React Favorably to Perdue USDA Nomination

NPPC Backs Perdue For Agriculture Secretary

Farm Bureau strongly endorses Perdue for USDA 

Food Industry Hails Trump’s Appointment for USDA Secretary 

Zinke gets the thumbs up from Montana agricultural groups

Rebecca Colnar
for Tri-State Livestock News 

Ranchers watching the hearing may have noticed that grazing did not make the list of multiple use; natural resource development of oil production and coal received the most attention, with sportsmen’s concerns coming in second. Several western senators surfaced sage grouse management issues, and how stakeholders in the western states had worked to develop a feasible solution only to have those plans dismissed by the Bureau of Land Management. However, despite the lack of agriculturally related comments, ranchers believe the Congressman will listen to the concerns of those whose livelihoods depend on grazing public lands. As Montana’s Representative, Zinke has been willing to meet with ag groups and local rural communities. “He’s been very supportive of the agricultural community,” said Tom DePuydt, a cow-calf producer from Malta. “About a year ago, he held a town hall meeting in Malta and heard our local concerns, especially regarding the listing of sage grouse as an endangered species. The Treasured Landscape Initiative, for monument expansion, introduced in 2010 by the then Bureau of Land Management Director Robert Abbey, was still very much on the minds of people in Malta and Rep. Zinke listened to us.” DePuydt believes Zinke will be a willing listener. “Listening and understanding is an important part of local input. Federal plans need to be consistent with local land use. I find it disturbing that in some cases, international concerns carry more weight than those of local people.” Although Zinke has indicated his strong support of funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, DePuydt expressed concern. “I have reservations about that, as I feel that fund needs to be overhauled and have a limitation regarding private lands and private property rights. I worry that fund provides too much money for land acquisitions. However, I’m hopeful if voted as Interior Secretary and with the new leadership in Washington, D.C., Zinke will make proper use of development of natural resources a priority. That’s what makes our rural communities thrive,” DePuydt said. Montana Farm Bureau President Hans McPherson, who has met with Rep. Zinke in Montana and Washington, D.C., is thrilled with the nomination. “My experience is he gathers facts before forming opinions. He wants information from people who are on the ground with dirt under their fingernails or sawdust in their cuffs,” said the Stevensville rancher. “He wants to know what’s going on in the woods and on the farm. He will be levelheaded and honest, and willing to take advice and seek advice. He’s not going to tell you he’ll do something, then not do it.” McPherson believes Zinke will listen, a trait that he believes has been lacking in past interior secretaries. “Anybody who grazes, farms, logs or mines will have a say. He is certainly not going to let the environment get trashed, but he’ll use sound science to make decisions, and give more weight to those directly affect by federal land management policies than basing a decision from someone far-removed in San Francisco.” The fact Zinke understands Western issues is critical. “Montana is unique because we have logging, we have grazing, we have mining, and yet we also have the biggest and best national parks in this country,” McPherson noted. Zinke understands the importance of balancing those. He will be a great asset to President Trump’s cabinet, and as a Montanan, I couldn’t be more excited or more proud to have him serve as Secretary of the Interior.”...more

Obama's ‘Forceful' Final WOTUS Defense

The Obama administration is fighting for a controversial water regulation until the very end of its tenure in power. The Justice Department filed “a 245-page brief in defense of the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule that defines every water body in the nation, and determines whether they can be regulated under the Clean Water Act,” The Washington Post reported. The brief filed last week is “the administration’s most forceful defense of the rule,” the Post reported. Justice Department Assistant Attorney General John Cruden “said that by filing the brief, the court now has to consider it, and the lawyers prosecuting the case for the current administration will still be around to do so. To undo a rule, Cruden said, the Trump administration would have to take the same arduous path that the EPA and Army Corps took to create it.” Legal challenges to the rule “should be denied because the rule is not arbitrary, capricious, or otherwise contrary to law,” the brief argues...more

Sheriff introduces ag theft prevention tool

Tulare County ranchers and farmers are getting a little help from the sheriff’s department in the form of water. But it’s not what you might think. Sheriff Mike Boudreaux announced Wednesday a new investigative tool being used by the department’s Agricultural Crimes Unit, SmartWater CSI. Once sprayed on ag equipment, the liquid which is invisible, odorless, stays on a thief for up to five years without them noticing and is picked up using an ultra-violet light. The sheriff’s department is the first agency in the western United States to take advantage of the technology. “We will use this tool to protect our ag partners,” Boudreaux said. The invisible witness Boudreaux referred to the product as a “silent, invisible witness”...more

Ranch Radio Song of the Day #1763

In memory of Tommy Allsup we bring you his live performance of A Big Rock In The Road, which is on his Raining In My Heart CD.