Friday, October 23, 2009

Critical habitat in Alaska is proposed for polar bears

In what would be the largest habitat zone ever established in the U.S. to protect a species from extinction, the federal government on Thursday proposed designating 200,541 square miles on the coast of Alaska as critical habitat for polar bears. Officials said the designation was not likely to further slow the pace of oil and gas development, and it would not impose any controls to slow the biggest threat to polar bears: the melting of sea ice as a result of climate change. Those steps are crucial for polar bears but are being addressed separately in Congress through proposals to cap greenhouse gas emissions, said Tom Strickland, assistant Interior secretary for fish, wildlife and parks. The proposed critical habitat covers three distinct areas along the northern and northwestern coasts of Alaska: the coastal barrier islands and spits along the coast; sea ice over the continental shelf in waters less than 980 feet deep; and terrestrial denning habitat from five miles to about 20 miles more

A day built around a data point goes viral

Author Bill McKibben never saw this coming. Founder of, an environmental campaign aimed at holding atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations below 350 parts-per-million, McKibben set this Saturday as the day to take to the streets. The call went viral in ways far beyond anything McKibben and fellow organizers imagined: As of Thursday morning some 4,227 actions and rallies are planned in 170 countries, with 300 events in China, 1500 across the United States, 500-plus in Central and South America. Organizers credit the increasing inter-connectedness of Web, cellular and social networks for the spread, saying such random and organic growth would have been impossible even two years ago. The climate crisis is also starting to resonate in a significant way, McKibben added. This is arguably the largest political event ever to take a data point as a rallying cry, he said, and people – particularly the youth behind many of the actions planned for Saturday – get more

Senators Bingaman, Baucus and Whitehouse Champion Legislation to Address Climate Impacts on Wildlife and Natural Resources

Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee Chair Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) today introduced legislation aimed at safeguarding wildlife and natural resources, and the essential goods and services they provide to every American, from the harmful effects of climate change. Co-sponsored by Senators Baucus (D-MT) and Whitehouse (D-RI), the “Natural Resources Climate Adaptation Act” provides a framework for protecting and restoring wildlife and natural resources from the existing and forecasted impacts of climate change. The bill calls for dedicated funding for these safeguards, which is expected to come from revenue generated by clean energy and climate legislation. “The support of these key senators, including the chair of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the chair of the Finance Committee, reflects the clear and present danger that global warming is presenting to our treasured lands, water and wildlife,” said David Moulton, Director of Climate Policy and Conservation Funding for The Wilderness Society. The “Natural Resources Climate Adaptation Act” would establish a national policy framework to begin addressing the impacts of climate change on natural resources and would require federal, state and tribal agencies to use the best available science to develop plans and work alongside local groups and private landowners to identify and safeguard vulnerable more

Poll: Americans' Belief in Global Warming Cools

The number of Americans who believe there is solid evidence that the earth is warming is at its lowest point in three years, and the number who see the situation as a serious problem has also declined, according to a survey released yesterday. And the share of people who believe pollution caused by humans is causing temperatures to rise has also taken a dip, even as the United States and world forums gear up for possible action against climate change. In the poll of 1,500 adults by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, the number of people saying there is strong scientific evidence that the earth has gotten warmer over the past few decades is down to 57 percent from 71 percent in April of last year. Only 36 percent of poll respondents said they believe that human activities - such as pollution from power plants, factories, and automobiles - are behind a temperature increase. That’s down from 47 percent from 2006 through last year’s more

Tiny bat pits green against green

Workers atop mountain ridges are putting together 389-foot windmills with massive blades that will turn Appalachian breezes into energy. Retiree David Cowan is fighting to stop them. Because of the bats. Cowan, 72, a longtime caving fanatic who grew to love bats as he slithered through tunnels from Maine to Maui, is asking a federal judge in Maryland to halt construction of the Beech Ridge wind farm. The lawsuit pits Chicago-based Invenergy, a company that produces "green" energy, against environmentalists who say the cost to nature is too great. It is the first court challenge to wind power under the Endangered Species Act, lawyers on both sides more

Wolf hunts in Idaho, Montana still stirring up controversy

The wolf hunt in Idaho is proceeding with remarkable hunter success in some of the state's 12 hunting zones, and in Montana, where limited hunting is underway, the general season opens Sunday. Hunting wolves in both states, made possible after the removal of the predators from the endangered species list last spring, is controversial, and animal rights groups are trying to stop the hunts. The latest campaign was launched by Defenders of Wildlife, which is asking for donations to pay for an ad to be placed in New York's Times Square through Dec. 15. "Hundreds more wolves will be targeted in the coming weeks and months, threatening the very recovery of these amazing animals," the group states on its website. The group also is urging people to sign an online petition that will be sent to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, "urging him to withdraw his flawed delisting rule that prematurely removed vital protections for wolves in the northern Rockies region--before a lasting wolf recovery slips from our grasp." Sportsmen's groups, meanwhile, are backing state wildlife agencies claiming that wolf numbers in the northern Rockies have increased to the point where the animals need to be managed, via controlled hunting, to minimize interaction with ranchers and threats to livestock. The U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance, in an action alert sent to members, cited a recent study by Montana State University that links the reintroduction of wolves into Rocky Mountains to a decline in elk numbers in the Greater Yellowstone more

Rancher ends public hunting in protest of wolf policies

A Big Hole Valley rancher has pulled his property out of a popular public hunting program in protest of Montana's wolf management policies. Fred Hirschy said Thursday he's fed up with Montana allowing too many wolves to roam and wants the predators numbers dramatically brought down. And he blasted the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks for what he said is a normally lackluster response when his cattle have been attacked. "When I call them, they don't do what I ask them to do anyway," he said. "We want more people on the ground and we want the people on the ground that can shoot some wolves." He said after years of inaction by FWP following repeated attacks on his cattle, he saw no other option but to pull out of the block management program, which pays landowners to allow public hunting on their land. Hunters will lose access to 45,000 acres of Hirschy and his family ranches property west of Wisdom. Portions of the ranch have been enrolled in the program since 1996 and the cancellation of the contract will cost the Hirschys $12,000 this more

BLM approves wild horse roundup

Another wild horse roundup has been approved for Wyoming rangelands as federal officials continue to work to bring wild horse numbers down to acceptable levels. Bureau of Land Management managers issued a Record of Decision on Monday approving the wild horse gathering operations from the remote Fifteenmile Herd Management Area near Worland. The Fifteenmile HMA is located approximately 30 miles northwest of Worland, within Washakie, Big Horn and Park counties in north central Wyoming. The area includes rolling hills, rugged canyons and badlands, and a portion of the Bobcat Draw Wilderness Area. Plans call for capturing the wild horses from the approximately 83,000-acre Fifteenmile HMA as part of a population-control strategy that aims to manage the area in a range from 70 to 160 mature horses. Officials said the operations involve capturing about 280 wild horses, returning about 70 mature animals to the HMA, and removing the remainder of the more

Stockgrowers apologize to Montana gov for poor relations

The president of the Montana Stockgrowers Association apologized Thursday to Gov. Brian Schweitzer for a "distressed relationship" as the conservative-leaning group said it wants to stop quarreling with the Democrat. "I am deeply pained by the distressed relationship that our organization has chosen to maintain with you throughout your term of office," group president Tom Hougen wrote in a letter that he handed to Schweitzer. "I am not excusing our errors of the past, but I am asking you to consider our apology and to consider making amends." "We agree and we disagree, you know that," Hougen told Schweitzer in a meeting. "We like the debate, but we do want to do what we can to work with you." Hougen asked Schweitzer to be the keynote speaker at the ranching group's upcoming convention in Billings. Schweitzer did not immediately accept the invitation to the group's 125th annual meeting, saying he would have to check with his scheduler. The governor told Hougen and vice president Watty Taylor, of Kirby, that he is the first cattleman to serve as governor in 90 years. He said disputes with lobbyists and staff for the Stockgrowers have left him more

Rabies confirmed in Grant County fox

Another confirmed case of rabies has been found in Grant County. The New Mexico Department of Health confirmed Thursday that a fox found about 10 miles south of Glenwood, near the Catron County line, tested positive for rabies. A calf from Socorro County was also confirmed to have rabies. The calf was from a ranch about 10 miles east of Datil. So far in 2009, 20 animals have tested positive for rabies in New Mexico. In 2008 there were 28 cases of rabies in New Mexico, including 18 foxes and one dog in the southwestern part of the state. In Grant County, 14 foxes and one dog were found to have rabies. Two rabid foxes were found in Catron County and one fox each in Sierra and Hidalgo Counties. So far this year, Grant County has had six foxes, two bobcats and a coyote test positive for rabies, while Socorro County had a bat from near Dusty test positive for rabies in July. Fox rabies has been a problem in Arizona for decades and was first discovered in New Mexico in the Glenwood area of Catron County in 2007. The fox had tussled with a dog, Ettestad said, but fortunately the dog was up to date on its rabies vaccination. Now, all the owners have to do is to get their pet an extra dose of medication and quarantine it at home for 45 days. New Mexico state law requires that an unvaccinated dog that comes into contact with a rabid animal be euthanized, or be put into strict quarantine for six more

Navajos to reclaim bones misidentified as poet's

A few months ago, the family of Everett Ruess, an idealistic young artist who vanished on a wilderness journey in 1934, was ready to accept his grim fate — that he had been killed by Indians. They prepared to cremate remains that were found in wild Utah redrock country, which would have forever sealed the legend of Ruess with ashes in the Pacific Ocean. But nagging doubts led four nieces and nephews to another DNA lab, which reported the bones were from another, unknown person. It was a stunning reversal for a legend-busting story in National Geographic Adventure last spring. Now the family is shipping the bones and a few artifacts to the Navajo Nation reservation where they were discovered last year. Scientists say the remains are most likely those of a young Navajo more

Abraham Lincoln: Vegetarian and Animal Rights Advocate?

Exhaustive examination of the Complete Works of Abraham Lincoln, the solely cited source of Lincoln’s alleged quote in favor of animal rights, failed to find any such statement. Lincoln’s alleged abstinence from all hunting beyond his early childhood, put forth to corroborate his alleged animal rights views, is based upon an invalid generalization by Goodwin. And claims that Lincoln practiced vegetarianism are disproved by overwhelming contrary evidence from several independent sources, thereby unequivocally invalidating the claim that Lincoln held a rights-based philosophy toward animals. Additional evidence that Lincoln expressed humane sentiments about and performed humane actions toward animals (not cited in the present essay), while admirable, are insufficient to establish that Lincoln held a rights-based animal philosophy, rather than the more prevalent and weaker humane more

Meet the Animal Rights Movement’s Rich Aunt

The deceptively named “Cancer Project” animal-rights group is at it again. This time its target isn’t hot dog makers, but grilled-chicken servers. The group, a branch of the PETA-linked Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), filed a lawsuit in Connecticut yesterday against three restaurant chains demanding warnings about a supposed link between grilled chicken and cancer. As we told the media, PCRM is nothing more than an animal rights front for pushing vegan activism, which is funded primarily by a single rich donor. Since 2003, PCRM and the Cancer Project have derived 60 percent of their budgets from a single woman: Nanci Alexander, the wealthy founder of the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida. The Palm Beach New Times called up the Cancer Project and Nancy Alexander to inquire further about her funding role, but the newspaper was stonewalled by both parties: Ms. Alexander declined to comment for this article, but Jeanne Stuart McVey, a spokesperson for the Cancer Project, confirmed that the PCRM and Cancer Watch [sic] are "sister organizations." McVey played down the notion that the groups are radical vegetarians, but did acknowledge that they "recommend a plant-based diet for better health." McVey deflected questions about Ms. Alexander's role in funding the Cancer Project. Since the Cancer Project prefers to deflect answers, we’re happy to fill in the information gap. The tax returns for “Nanci’s Animal Rights Foundation, Inc.” tell the whole story. (Yes, she actually calls it “Nanci’s Animal Rights Foundation.” We call it “Nanci’s ARF” for short.) Since 2003, Nanci’s ARF has given $30 million to the PCRM Foundation, which in turn funds PCRM and the Cancer Project. That’s on top of $10 million Alexander reportedly gave PCRM before her foundation was incorporated, and $22 million that Nanci’s ARF has donated to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). In 1998, PETA recognized Nanci and her now ex-husband Leslie Alexander -- a board member of the Humane Society of the United States -- as its largest individual more

Swine Flu Exacerbates Pork Industry Woes

The pork industry is facing one of its worst struggles in memory and an unwanted link to the so-called swine flu is exacerbating problems, experts told Congress on Thursday. "Over the past 24 months, pork producers have lost an average of $23 on each hog marketed ... and things look bleak going forward," said Don Butler, president of the National Pork Producers Council. Butler and other industry leaders testified to the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy and Poulty. Experts told the panel that the media labeling the H1N1 flu virus as "swine flu" was an unforeseen blow to an industry that already was struggling with its bottom line. Butler said research by the National Pork Producers Council showed a short-term reduction in pork prices immediately after the swine flu label stuck on the H1N1 virus. He says the council's research also shows a lasting negative connotation in the eyes of some consumers even though the USDA has said that swine flu cannot be transmitted by eating pork more

George Strait talks about songwriting, roping, and ranching

After dominating the record charts and selling out concert venues for the better part of 30 years, thereby establishing yourself as the uncontested King of Country, what can you do for an encore? If you're George Strait, you just keep doing what you've always done. All you need is a little Twang. The latest in a seemingly endless line of immaculately crafted crowd-pleasers released by the 57-year-old Texas-born living legend, Twang — Strait's 26th studio album and an instant No. 1 smash hit — underscores what every fan already knows: The reign of King George will continue unabated for as long as Strait keeps making records. The King of Country is a genuine cowboy: proud owner of a South Texas cattle ranch and occasional competitor — along with his son, Bubba — as a team roper. All of which explains why, when he's not performing on tour or in the recording studio or enjoying himself while fishing, hunting, or sitting courtside at a San Antonio Spurs game, chances are good you'll find George Strait back in the saddle more

U.S. Farm Report Welcomes Cowboy Poet and Humorist Baxter Black

You can view his first appearance on the show here.

Song Of The Day #162

Here's a tune for all you weekend warriors. Hank Williams' 1947 recording of Honky Tonkin' should get you in the right frame of mind.

All of Williams work in widely available. This song is on his 20 of Hank Williams' Greatest Hits and on several other collections.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Remembering Cliff Hansen

Cliff Hansen, the oldest living former U.S. senator, who died today at age 97, served his last of two terms in a suite of rooms in Washington's Dirksen Senate Office building. His desk was at one end, and his most junior staff member worked at the other. Every evening when he was in town, Hansen would turn out his own light and walk through the string of offices, saying goodnight to members of his staff. When he got to the desk of that junior staffer, he'd ask, "May I borrow your phone?" "Senator," the staffer would say, "this is your phone. Of course you can use it." Hansen would pick up the receiver, dial a number and say, "Honey, I'm on my way home." And with that, he would be off to his apartment and his devoted wife, Martha. I know these details, because I was that junior staffer. Clifford P. Hansen was the last of a breed, a true Wyoming rancher, who rose from county commissioner, to president of the state stock growers association, to governor, and finally U.S. senator, serving from 1967 to 1978. Though he was friends with Washington's powerful, he avoided the cocktail party and dinner circuit. His idea of a stiff drink was half a capful of Cutty Sark in a tall glass of water. With his warm Western smile and utter lack of pretense, he was a favorite of his Senate colleagues and congressional employees alike. If the cafeteria workers found out you worked for Cliff Hansen, you got special more

Obama to Give Senate Climate Bill a Push With MIT Speech

President Obama will try to push the Senate climate bill forward Friday with an energy-themed speech at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, just days before the start of a marathon series of hearings featuring testimony from top administration officials. The White House said Obama's remarks covering "American leadership in clean energy" will dovetail with the Senate's effort to place a first-ever economywide cap on greenhouse gas emissions. Obama largely stayed out of the spotlight during the House debate earlier this year, but many Democrats and environmentalists say the president must be more active in lobbying the Senate if leaders are to find the 60 votes necessary for the measure's passage. Obama's speech in Cambridge, Mass., comes the same day that U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson plans to release the agency's economic and environmental analysis of the climate bill (S. 1733 (pdf)) from Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.). With the EPA analysis in hand, Boxer is set to begin a three-day series of hearings in her Environment and Public Works Committee on Tuesday, Oct. 27, with testimony from Kerry, Jackson, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Jon more

As Time Runs Short for Global Climate Treaty, Nations May Settle for Interim Steps

With the clock running out and deep differences unresolved, it now appears that there is little chance that international climate change negotiations in Copenhagen in December will produce a comprehensive and binding new treaty on global warming. The United States and many other major pollutant-emitting countries have concluded that it is more useful to take incremental but important steps toward a global agreement rather than to try to jam through a treaty that is either too weak to address the problem or too onerous to be ratified and enforced. Instead, representatives at the Copenhagen meeting are likely to announce a number of interim steps and agree to keep talking next more

U.S. hunters, anglers lobby for climate bill

An unlikely lobbying group is pressing the U.S. Senate to curb greenhouse gas emissions: American hunting and fishing groups who fear climate change will disrupt their sport. Hunters and anglers are mainly a Republican Party constituency representing tens of millions of votes in the U.S. heartland and could help swing crucial votes as the Senate tries to pass legislation to cut carbon output. Twenty national hunting and fishing groups urged senators in a letter last month to ensure "the climate legislation you consider in the Senate both reduces greenhouse gas emissions and safeguards natural resources." Among those calling for "comprehensive" legislation were groups not usually associated with liberal causes, like the Dallas Safari Club, the National Trappers Association and Pheasants more

Forest's death brings higher temps, researchers suspect

But there might be a more consequential impact to the carnage: The beetle kill could be accelerating regional climate change by increasing temperatures and decreasing rainfalls in Colorado, Wyoming and northern New Mexico. "The local impacts where the forest has been destroyed will be fairly dramatic," said Peter Harley, an associate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. "The big question is how much of an impact will this have?" NCAR researchers are about a year into a four-year study to gauge and assess such effects. The research centers in large part on the ability of living trees to cool the air when they evaporate moisture through their leaves – a process called transpiration – and what happens to climate conditions when large numbers of trees die. Trees also help control surface temperatures by absorbing and reflecting heat from the sun. Disrupting these basic functions by destroying wide swaths of trees across the West appears to spike surface temperatures. Already the researchers have completed computer modeling studies indicating that if the millions of acres of pine trees in Colorado were to die, that could raise temperatures statewide nearly 4 degrees Fahrenheit, said Christine Wiedinmyer, a NCAR scientist in Boulder and, with Harley, one of the principal investigators on the more

Economy trumps climate as concern

For voters, the economy outpaces all other issues by a wide margin, according to a new Public Strategies Inc./POLITICO poll. As the nation struggles to climb out of a recession, 45 percent rated the economy as the most important issue in deciding their vote if the congressional election were held today, followed by 21 percent who said government spending, 20 percent who chose health care reform and 9 percent who said the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Just 4 percent ranked climate change as the top issue. Economic worries also led a majority of Americans to place jump-starting the economy ahead of concerns about the environment. Even as the Obama administration is pushing for climate protection legislation, 62 percent of those polled agreed that “economic growth should be given priority, even if the environment suffers to some extent.” The remaining 38 percent believed that “protection of the environment should be given priority, even at the risk of curbing economic growth.” more

Wolf hunts serve a practical function

The average American hamburger, courtesy of McDonald’s, usually costs the impoverished student about a dollar, while the cow it came from probably contained around $2,500 worth of beef. That meaty investment can be lost when wolf packs hunt from domesticated cattle herds, which is becoming a prevalent problem as pack sizes increase. The current Idaho allowance for wolf hunting is a realistic and well-planned approach to minimize human-lupine clashes as the wolf population increases during the next few years. It minimizes the reimbursements the Idaho government has to pay ranchers for cattle killed by wolves. While the losses to the cattle ranchers are not as severe as it may sound, nevertheless, the wolf packs have had a large effect since their reintroduction in 1980. Elk and deer herds that were unused to predators and quickly shrank, and as a result the availability for hunting also decreased sharply. Luckily, the current wolf packs merely cover roughly 1 percent of the total state area. Given time, it will increase sharply, and more wolves means more encroachment and lower elk and deer herd populations. Although the number of tags issued for wolves seems significant compared to the existing wolf population, they will not have as much of an effect as some people more

Environmental concerns delay solar projects in California desert

Across the desert flatlands of southeastern California, dozens of companies have flooded federal offices with applications to place solar mirrors on more than a million acres of public land. But just as some of those projects appear headed toward fruition, environmental hurdles threaten to jeopardize efforts to further tap the region's renewable energy potential. The development of solar-power facilities in the desert has been a top priority of the Obama administration as it seeks to ease the nation's dependence on fossil fuels and curb global warming. In addition, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has urged that the state meet one-third of its electricity needs from renewable sources by 2020. But the presence of sensitive habitat, rare plants and imperiled creatures such as desert tortoises, bighorn sheep and flat-tailed horned lizards threatens to stall or derail some of the projects closest to securing permits. "There are significant environmental issues involved in the California gold rush-like scenario unfolding in the desert," said Peter Galvin, conservation director of the Center for Biological Diversity. "We are not going to just roll over when critical wild lands and last habitats of endangered species are in the mix." Beyond the environmental issues is a bureaucratic one: State and federal regulatory agencies are hobbled by mandatory work furloughs and a lack of experience in processing utility-scale renewable energy project more

Former Earth Liberation Front spokesman starts up 'radical' environmental magazine

Craig Rosebraugh, a longtime activist, former Earth Liberation Front spokesman and former Portland restaurateur, has started up a new quarterly magazine: "Resistance, Journal of the Earth Liberation Movement." The Arizona-based magazine isn't striving for mainstream balance; it describes itself as "radical" and names Shell oil company as its "Ecoterrorist of the Season." Today's release is the second edition, but Rosebraugh is describing it as a "national launch," saying the magazine is now available at Borders and hundreds of other stores in the United States and Canada after signing on with Disticor Distribution. Rosebraugh drew controversy for speaking for ELF, which used arson and other sabotage tactics that prosecutors consider eco-terrorism. His organic vegan restaurant, Calendula, ran into labor problems before closing. Rosebraugh, 37, is attending law school at Arizona State University and editing the more

Park Service averages 11 searches per day

The ripest recipe for trouble in a national park? Young men hiking on a weekend who make a bad decision or two and end up hurt, exhausted, or lost. On average, 11 search-and-rescue operations are launched in national parks every day. While expenses average around $900, the price can easily jump into the thousands of dollars, according to a new analysis of search-and-rescue operations over 15 years. Travis Heggie, an assistant professor at the University of North Dakota who headed the study, also found that roughly 20 percent of the people who called for help probably would have died had they not been rescued. Nearly half of the calls for help are for hikers, often out for the day, who are caught unprepared, get hurt or sick, or underestimate the wild more

West Slope folks more likely to be grounded in framers’ ideas

The point is that we here in the West don’t fall into either one of these dependent categories for the important reason that we are most likely to understand the minds of our founders, the spirit of the Constitution and the kind of nation it aimed to create. The farmer in Fruita, the waitress in Delta and the mechanic in Clifton often have a more fundamental understanding of the minds of our founders and what they were hoping to accomplish than all the urban politicians and big-city organizers. This is true because we live our lives in ways much closer to those of the framers than people who now dwell in most of the former colonies. We understand the need for independence and self-reliance that comes from having to count on ourselves to make our way in life. If things get more than we can handle, the person we’re most likely to turn to is our neighbor, not a far-off government agency. A rancher working stock on Dallas Divide still understands what was going through George Washington’s mind as he supervised work in his fields at Mount Vernon or John Adams at his farm during the cold Massachusetts winters. Some might wonder how that could be, when so many of our political leaders are big-city lawyers who must be well-versed in the Constitution. Our president even taught constitutional law for a while. Surely he understands its spirit. That could be true, but it all depends on the reason one studies something. Bank robber Willie Sutton studied safes, not because he admired them or wanted to improve them, but so he could get money out of more

Canada, Mexico $1.3 Billion Short of Claiming COOL Harm Group Tells USDA, USTR

In a letter sent Friday that contains trade data compiled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), 17 R-CALF USA officers, directors and committee chairs informed Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk that unless Canada and Mexico can demonstrate that the U.S. country-of-origin labeling (COOL) law has reduced the value of their combined exports of live cattle and beef to the U.S. by more than $1.3 billion, those countries cannot even claim that COOL has caused them any economic harm. Both Canada and Mexico have challenged the U.S. COOL law in a complaint filed with the World Trade Organization, with Canada's most recent complaint filed Oct. 7, 2009, and Mexico's filed Oct. 9, 2009. R-CALF USA's letter contends that economic harm must be measured from a balanced trade relationship and explains that the reason Canada and Mexico cannot begin to measure an economic harm “is because these combined countries continue to enjoy the unmitigated, windfall spoils emanating from an imbalanced trade relationship with the United States, to the tune of $1.3 billion annually.” more ...go here to read the letter.

NCBA's statement on COOL disappointing to some

The Oct. 7 statement by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) regarding Canada's challenge of the U.S. Country of Origin Labeling Law (COOL) under the World Trade Organization (WTO) was disappointing to many cattle producers across the country, including myself. As the primary contractor for, and receiver of, Beef Checkoff funds, NCBA needs to learn to listen to our consumers and respect the hundreds of thousands of cattle producers who pay into the mandatory Beef Checkoff. With public statements clearly aimed at undermining U.S. ranchers' defense of COOL, it is little wonder that producers overwhelmingly favor changes in the Beef Checkoff structure. I am reminded of the 1998 and 1999 U.S. trade investigation cases against Canada for dumping and subsidies in the cattle industry. During the International Trade Committee hearings, Canada's attorney used NCBA statements against U.S. ranchers. Today we are hearing similar statements from this same U.S. based organization about Canada's COOL challenge, trying to show a lack of unity and support by U.S. cattle producers for COOL. You can bet that at the WTO hearings on the COOL challenge, Canada, and what is anticipated to be nearly every other importing beef country into the U.S., will use statements like the one issued last more

State inspection of meat and poultry

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced today that the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is holding two public meetings on proposed regulations to implement a new program under which State-inspected establishments with 25 or fewer employees will be eligible to ship meat and poultry products in interstate commerce. The announcement will implement a directive of the 2008 Farm Bill and is one component of USDA's "Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food" initiative to help develop local and regional food systems and spur economic opportunity. "These meetings will help ensure that the proposed regulations successfully open doors for small meat and poultry establishments to provide safe products to their communities." The meetings will be held by teleconference and will provide the public with an opportunity to comment on the proposed rule published on September 15, more

Song Of The Day #161

Today Ranch Radio brings you Candy Kisses, recorded by George Morgan in 1949. It's available on several of his collections, the best being the 8 disc box set Candy Kisses.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Former Wyo. governor, US Sen. Clifford Hansen dies

Former Wyoming governor and U.S. Sen Clifford Hansen, a rancher who rode his agricultural background to political success in Cheyenne and Washington, D.C., died Tuesday night. He was 97. Hansen, a Republican, was elected governor in 1962. As governor, he supported lowering the voting age from 21 to 18, increasing retirement pay for state employees and repealing the state's ban on accepting federal aid for education. As his term as governor drew to a close in 1966, Hansen ran for the Senate, beating Democrat Teno Roncalio. In the Senate, Hansen served on the Veterans Affairs Committee, the Finance Committee and the Special Committee on Aging. He backed reservoir projects in Wyoming, designating national recreation areas and wilderness areas in Wyoming, and placing a ceiling on federal expenditures. Hansen was re-elected in 1972 and stepped down in 1978. Hansen also was president of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association from 1953 to 1955 and was a University of Wyoming trustee from 1946 to 1963. In 1995, he was inducted into the National Cowboy Hall of Fame as a "Great Westerner." more

As a senate aide from 74-79, I got to watch Cliff Hansen in action. He was a fine gentleman with a great sense of humor.

End of the road for Salt Creek trial

Attorneys for San Juan County and the state of Utah said Friday that they have proven the Salt Creek road in Canyonlands National Park was used continuously by the public from 1949 to 1998 and, therefore, should be open to Jeeps, all-terrain vehicles and other motorized travel. Federal attorneys disputed the evidence as dated and unreliable and said that, in any case, the county hadn't filed its road claim in time to beat a statute-of-limitations deadline. The sides made their closing arguments in a trial that has spanned three weeks and included a vehicular and airborne site visit Tuesday to help U.S. District Judge Bruce Jenkins make his decision, which will come later in writing. The fight over the rugged route, which is largely a stream bottom in the Needles section of the park on the way to Angel Arch, has pitted off-highway-vehicle enthusiasts, the county and the state against the National Park Service and conservation organizations. The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance successfully sued the park service to close the route to off-roaders due to environmental damage, a decision the park service made provisionally in 1998 and finalized in 2003. San Juan County sued to reopen a 7.5-mile stretch under Revised Statute 2477, an old mining law that granted rights of way across public land. Congress repealed the statute in 1976, but existing claims were grandfathered in, leading to a series of road-ownership disputes that must be argued road by road in federal more

Forest Service To Implement Grazing Deals

The U.S. Forest Service will implement new 10-year grazing administration plans on western North Dakota’s federal grasslands even if the two major rancher associations decline to sign the deals, one of the state’s senators said. The rancher associations administer grazing on the grasslands on behalf of the Forest Service, issuing permits, collecting fees and ensuring ranchers follow management plans for areas where grazing is permitted. The Forest Service gave the Medora and McKenzie County grazing associations a one-week reprieve to make a decision on the agreements. The reprieve expired Tuesday. Keith Winter, president of the McKenzie County group, said his association has told the Forest Service what parts of the agreements it objects to and is waiting for a response. He would not detail the group’s objections. Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., said Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell told him late last week that the new plans would be put in place even if the grazing groups did not sign off on them, and the associations would be able to dispute portions during the next 45 days through a U.S. Department of Agriculture appeals process. Grazing will not be disrupted by the dispute over the more

Investigation under way after ranchers build fence in national forest

Three ranchers in northern Utah are in deep trouble for building a fence and cutting a swath, as much as 65 feet wide in some parts, through a National Forest. The U.S. Forest Service has already punished the ranchers by taking away half their grazing privileges. Now, a law enforcement investigation is underway. The fence runs three and a half miles through the national forest west of Bear Lake. "I think it's egregious, and something went wrong," says Kirk Robinson, with the Western Wildlife Conservancy. It's a so-called "laydown" fence, designed so cowboys can tip the barbed wire down and lay it flat each winter to protect it from snow damage. "It's a lot of labor for us," says Round Valley rancher Stuart Wamsley, adding that he would have preferred not to build the fence. Wamsley says he and two partners were pushed to do it by the Forest Service. The fence divides their grazing permit area, so cattle will use alternating pastures each grazing season, giving vegetation a chance to recover. "It was at their insistence that we went ahead and put this fence in," Wamsley says. But the Forest Service says it bulldozed an excessive swath. Environmental and wildlife groups are outraged. They say the cut averages 40 to 65 feet more

Prairie dog plan draws ire

Ranchers and environmentalists are at odds over a plan for managing black-tailed prairie dogs on the Thunder Basin National Grassland in northeast Wyoming. Environmentalists don't like how the plan would allow prairie dogs to be killed with poison in places where they're not wanted. Ranchers counter that poisoning must be an option to keep prairie dogs from spreading and damaging ranchland by eating away the grass that grows around their colonies. "They're very damaging," said Rosanne Driskill, a rancher near Devils Tower. "They'll kill a large acreage if they get a chance." The purpose of the plan is to establish prairie dogs in large enough numbers to support a reintroduced population of black-footed ferrets. Prairie dogs are the only prey of black-footed ferrets. The first ferrets could be reintroduced to the Thunder Basin National Grassland around this time next year, said Misty Hays, deputy district ranger for the Forest Service in more

Democrats' hidden gas tax

There's something the Democratic lawmakers who are pushing cap-and-trade legislation don't want the public to know. The controversial climate-change legislation winding its way through Congress will impose a massive new national gas tax on the American people. We discovered this by analyzing what the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill would do to gas prices and what Americans spend on gasoline, diesel and jet fuels. We found that cap-and-trade legislation will levy a $3.6 trillion gas-tax increase that will impact every American and important segments of our economy. Americans travel more than 200 million vehicle miles each month, and annually we spend nearly $1.2 trillion on gasoline and oil. The average household spends 5 percent of its annual budget on fuel. For many, gasoline is a mandatory expense. And this legislation disproportionately hits middle and lower income households that tend to have longer commutes to work and must drive in order to work. These families will be hit especially hard by the projected $1 per gallon increase for the additional gas tax the cap-and-trade legislation will bring. Several industries will be penalized more severely by the gas tax than others. Our nation's farmers and ranchers, who are tasked with producing high-quality goods for much of the world, will be harmed by Waxman-Markey's $2 trillion tax on gasoline and $1.3 trillion tax on diesel fuel. Gas- and diesel-powered equipment, ranging from tractors to combines to fertilizing systems, are the operational foundation of American farms and ranches. Under the climate-change legislation, they will face $550 million in higher fuel costs in 2020 and $1.65 billion in more

Book is more than just pretty pictures

Laid out prone in South Dakota’s Badlands, wildlife photographer Michael Forsberg focused on burrowing owls in the prairie dog town far down the prairie. During weeks spent hunkered in Dakota dirt, Forberg’s aim shifted. “I was amazed day after day at all the wildlife I saw,’’ he said. “Not just the amount, but the diversity. Everything from dragon flies to pronghorn and a bunch in between. But I knew that people in cars screaming by off in the distance were looking over this landscape and thinking there wasn’t anything there.’’ Forsberg set out to challenge the notion that the Great Plains is a place to drive through or fly over by revealing the region in ways rarely seen or thought about. He tucked away the idea for about five years and refocused on it in 2005. More than 100,000 traveling miles later, the result is Forberg’s latest book, “Great Plains: America’s Lingering Wild.’’ The 260-page, large-format volume is Forsberg’s attempt to remind Plains people what’s out there in their big backyard — and to point out its more

Cold War Remnant: Cancer for Baby Boomers

Even with a half century's hindsight, the U.S. government's willingness to risk the health of the nation's children seems somewhere between unfathomable and unconscionable. Between 1951 and 1962, the Atomic Energy Commission detonated more than 100 nuclear bombs in the atmosphere over its Nevada Test Site, just 65 miles from Las Vegas. The radioactive fallout menaced not only the ranchers and the miners unlucky enough to live in that remote area of southern Nevada, but -- as a new study unveiled Tuesday demonstrated -- untold millions of unsuspecting Americans as well. The winds carried Strontium-90, Iodine-129 and other lethal particles across a broad swath of the country. Infants who were bottle-fed, which was then considered the modern approach, were particularly vulnerable to the Strontium-90 that ended up in cows' milk. In 1961, as John Kennedy was poised to resume atmospheric testing after a two-year moratorium, he met with White House science adviser Jerome Wiesner in the Oval Office one rainy day. The president wondered how fallout reached the earth. Wiesner explained that it was washed out of the clouds by rain. "You mean," Kennedy asked, "it's in the rain out there?" As Wiesner tells it, the president then "looked out the window, looked very sad and didn't say a word for several minutes." Nonetheless JFK, fearful that the Soviet Union might score a nuclear breakthrough, authorized a new round of above-ground testing before negotiating the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in more

H1N1 flu strain found in Canadian turkey flock

Turkeys in the Canadian province of Ontario have become infected with the H1N1 flu virus, but no birds or eggs from the farm entered the food supply, provincial government officials said on Tuesday. The infection poses minimal risk to human health, Dr. Arlene King, Ontario's chief medical officer of health, said in a news conference in Toronto. However, she noted the discovery highlights the need for those who work with farm animals to be vaccinated for both seasonal flu and the pandemic H1N1 flu strain. The risk of the virus passing between people and animals is that the virus could evolve into a form against which humans have little or no immunity, King said. There is no evidence that the virus has changed, she more

Tick-Transmitted Horse Disease Detected on South Texas Ranch

Texas Animal Health Commission
Box l2966 * Austin, Texas 78711 * (800) 550-8242 * FAX (512) 719-0719
Bob Hillman, DVM * Executive Director
For info, contact Carla Everett, information officer, at 1-800-550-8242, ext. 710, or

A tick-borne disease known as equine piroplasmosis has been confirmed on a ranch in South Texas. Additional testing is being conducted to determine the extent of infection. Horses on the ranch are quarantined to their premises, and a thorough disease investigation is underway. Equine piroplasmosis can affect horses, donkeys, mules or zebras and cause clinical signs common to many diseases, including poor appetite and weight loss. Death losses can occur. Some infected equine animals may exhibit few or no signs of disease. Those animals that survive the acute phase of infection may continue to carry the parasite, which has been identified as Theileria equi (formerly known as Babesia equi), for long periods of time. “Although equine piroplasmosis is not considered to be endemic in the U.S., cases have been detected on occasion,” said Dr. Bob Hillman, Texas’ state veterinarian and head of the Texas Animal Health Commission, the state’s livestock and poultry health regulatory agency. “In June, equine piroplasmosis was detected in Missouri, with a related case found in Kansas. In 2008, the infection was detected in Florida. These cases have been closed.” “As many as 15 tick species are capable of carrying and transmitting the blood parasite responsible for causing equine piroplasmosis,” Dr. Hillman explained. “At this time, we do not know which species of tick is responsible for transmitting infection on the South Texas ranch. Additional blood and tick samples are being collected and will be submitted for analysis to the National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa.” Dr. Hillman said there is no vaccine for equine piroplasmosis, and treatment generally is not effective against this tick-borne infection. To avoid spread of the disease, it is important to eliminate contact with ticks and to prevent the transfer of blood from one equine animal to another. “Equine owners may want to consult with their veterinarians for recommendations on preventing tick infestation,” said Dr. Hillman. “If equine animals exhibit signs of illness, a veterinarian should be contacted, so appropriate samples may be collected for laboratory testing. Currently, we have no indication that this tick transmitted disease has occurred at other sites in Texas, but maintaining vigilance for this blood parasite is necessary in determining the extent of this disease situation.”

One-Armed Bandit to perform at Bullfights

The Chickasaw Nation announces the World Championship Rodeo Bullfight Finals and Concert to be held in the Pontotoc County Agri-plex in Ada. Eight-time Specialty Act of the Year John Payne “The One Armed Bandit” will be on hand Friday, Oct. 23, and Saturday, Oct. 24, with his award-winning act. John S. Payne, the notorious “One Arm Bandit,” was born to a rancher in the oil-rich town of Shidler, Okla., April 4, 1953. On June 12, 1973, after grabbing a hot wire, 7,200 volts of electricity ran through his body for 10 seconds. With fingers nearly burned off, Payne fell 25 feet. His intestines were exposed and his left thigh burned to the bone. Payne received CPR and spent the next five weeks in the Tulsa burn center. He checked himself out of the hospital and started breaking a horse he had bought during his time in the hospital. Ranch life with four brothers taught Payne to “Get out of the way or get run over” and “Get tough or Die.” more

Indispensable tool of the trade

An apple just tastes better if eaten with a pocket knife one slice at a time, and I doubt if any farmer or rancher ever washes his pocket knife under a faucet. To this day cowboys on the ranches still use pocket knives sharpened as a razor to castrate bull calves and ear-notch ownership in left or right ears. Sometimes the hand will sit in the shade, against a fence and cut a chew off his Tinsley or Red Man plug. Shucks, there’s no dirt on that blade, it never touches the ground. When I grew up in the late 1930s and ‘40s every schoolboy carried a pocket knife to play mumble-peg during recess or lunch time. Now they get thrown out of school if found with even a tiny fingernail knife in a pocket. I truly understand the ruling by school administrators, but isn’t it sad. No tool is more important than a knife in agriculture. It is used to scrape battery terminals, cut binder twine and rope, or in an emergency puncture a bloated cow to let off the frothy gas. Before man invented the wheel he developed a stone knife with a point and a form of scraping more

'Big Die-off' wiped out many Texas-NM cattlemen

Back during the early 1880s, much of West Texas, the state Panhandle and outlying areas extending all the way across the state, and much of New Mexico, began to be overcrowded as well as overstocked. Grass, for whatever reason, seemed to be going out of business, disappearing, sagebrush taking its place. And more than a few cattlemen decided that this might be a good time to find a different occupation. And winter wasn't any easier. Cattle during this time of year --by instinct and need -- seemed to drift southward, on occasion for a hundred miles or so, usually seeking shelter in canyons and valleys, or simply dying somewhere along the way. Therefore, in order to keep the cattle from drifting such great distances, barbed-wire fences commenced arising. While most ranchers hesitated to string the wire, they also knew they had little or no choice. In 1882, the Panhandle Stock Association followed up with a barrier extending from the New Mexico line all the way to the Canadian River breaks in Hutchinson County, Texas. By 1885, these barbed-wire fences. generally known as "Drift Fences," extended from the Texas Panhandle across New Mexico and into Indian territory (Oklahoma). One result of all this was an effective barrier, one keeping northern cattle from drifting south onto the southern ranges. But starting late in December 1885, a series of wild blizzards ripped through northern Texas and most of New Mexico, driving vast herds of cattle and other livestock south until they struck the drift fences. So all these cattle huddled themselves against the fence line. But in the process, they often froze or smothered to more

Song Of The Day #160

Hank Thompson got rich singing songs based on nursery rhymes. Here he is singing Rub-A-Dub-Dub.

It's available on his 12 track CD All-Time Greatest Hits.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A shortened The Westerner

Other demands were made on my time. I'll return tomorrow with a full slate of links and The Song Of The Day.

BLM won't fight grazing ban on Idaho allotment

Federal land managers won't fight a judge's order to bar a rancher from grazing sheep on public land in western Idaho to protect the region's wild bighorns. In a filing Monday, the Bureau of Land Management agreed to live by U.S. District Judge Lynn Winmill's ruling last Wednesday that forbid rancher Mick Carlson from letting his sheep graze near Partridge Creek along the Salmon River. Winmill's order was only temporary and a hearing had been scheduled for Nov. 2. The BLM now says it wants the court date canceled. Winmill wrote that Carlson's grazing could cause irreparable harm to bighorns, which wildlife managers say catch deadly diseases from their domesticated cousins. Idaho's bighorn population has dwindled by half since 1990 to 3,500 after mass die-offs. In their filing, BLM managers wrote they would conduct a new environmental analysis before deciding on the future of the Partridge Creek grazing allotment. AP

So which is it? Either the BLM couldn't overcome the legal objections in the judge's opinion which means they prepared an insufficient analysis, or the DOJ has caved to the enviro's. In either case, the BLM looks bad. It would be interesting to know what the DOI position was, as the DOJ may or may not follow it's clients wishes.

We may be looking at a return to the Clinton years. You know, when the enviro's would file suit, the administration would settle, and the enviro attorneys would collect their fees and go file suit somewhere else.

BLM wild horse ranch plan draws fire

Some Madison Valley landowners are voicing concerns about a plan to place up to 1,500 wild horses on a ranch north of Ennis. A lawyer representing several clients in the Ennis area says 1,500 horses would be far too many for the 15,000-acre Spanish Q Ranch to support. And a rancher has questioned what impact wild horses would have on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. In a letter dated Oct. 12, Big Timber attorney Jim Lippert argued to the BLM that given the climate in Madison County, every horse living there would need five acres per month to give it enough food to graze on. At that rate, 1,500 horses would quickly run out of grass, he said. “A more reasonable number of horses ... would be 250 horses,” he wrote. “The land could sustain this number of horses without damaging the land, and I would not have to refer to this program as ‘warehousing’ wild horses.” Overgrazing, Lippert wrote, would also hurt wildlife like the elk that graze on private land. Lippert said in a phone interview his numbers come from speaking with “an old time resident.” But a survey by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, a federal agency, also suggests a 15,000-acre Ennis-area ranch would support hundreds, not thousands, of horses. Numbers provided by Carrie Mosely at the NRCS in Bozeman show a ranch the size of the Spanish Q could support a maximum of 375 horses during the seven-month growing more

I guess in certain instances, overgrazing is fine with BLM and the enviro's.

Did Utah blink in Snake Valley talks?

About halfway through secret four-year negotiations on how a reluctant Utah could share the Snake Valley aquifer with Nevada, a Silver State official and a Las Vegas water utility threatened they could take the matter to court or to Congress, memos and e-mails show. The correspondence, released under an open-records request from the Great Basin Water Network, illuminates Nevada's no-surrender insistence that Snake Valley water be split 50-50, even though Utah officials believed that impossible. The documents also appear to undermine recent assurances from Mike Styler, executive director of the Utah Department of Natural Resources, that the proposed water-sharing agreement is as good for Utah as it is for Nevada. It's not, critics have said repeatedly at public meetings and in comments submitted to the Utah Division of Water Rights since the August announcement of a draft deal with Nevada to plumb the west desert. "It might be an exaggeration to say we got rolled, but we surely backtracked," said Steve Erickson of the Great Basin Water Network. "I was surprised the state backed down on all those positions and that they're advocating this agreement so adamantly when once they were opposed to them." Many critics have denounced the agreement as a giveaway to Las Vegas at the expense of an aquifer that can maintain equilibrium only with its current water more

The great wolf debate comes to Yakima

With two wolf packs totaling about a dozen animals and more expected in the coming years, Washington state is grappling with a proposed wolf management plan. Authors of the plan called the process that produced it wrenching and polarizing. In short: a flashpoint issue. When it comes to attitudes about wolves, there seems to be no middle ground. Hunters are afraid wolves will decimate elk and deer populations. Ranchers fear the state’s newest alpha predator will wreak havoc on their livestock. Conservationists worry that hunters and ranchers will shoot the wolves despite state or federal protections. A recently released draft management plan by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife sets minimum standards for downlisting and delisting wolves in Washington, where they are federally protected in the western two-thirds of the state and state-protected across all of Washington. It provides guidelines for moving wolves to keep their populations at sustainable and manageable limits, dictates how and when wolves may be scared off or killed, and outlines how the state will balance the wolves’ needs with the desires of sportsmen who pay hefty fees to hunt the very deer and elk the wolves more

Six buy Badlands dream property

Scott Lippert of Williston and five others went home owning some dream property in the Badlands after the breakup of a big Little Missouri River ranch at auction Monday. The owner, Dean Myers, a North Dakota native and successful Atlanta developer, sold his 4,400-acre Southern Cross Ranch, figuring he'd had a good run and it was time to move on. The heavily advertised sale drew about 100 spectators and about 50 bidders, some checking in by phone and Internet. The per-acre price ranged from $550 for some crop and pasture miles west of the Badlands ranch, up to $1,625 an acre for 242 acres of irrigated river bottomland. Less than three hours after it started, Myers had $4.4 million in his pocket - just about $1,000 an acre average - and buyers like Lippert owned a piece of the Badlands. Vern Fortak, a Wyoming rancher, was who auctioneers were watching as the strongest possibility as a whole-ranch buyer, but Fortak said a phone call from Wyoming two hours into the sale discouraged the idea that the man he hoped would run it would move up to the Badlands. "It's too far away for anybody in our outfit to come up and run. I thought the price was in line, fair but not overpriced," he said. For a little less, he might have bought it anyway, he more

'Split Estate’ is a must-see film for Western Slope residents

When “Split Estate,” a new documentary on the effects or oil and gas drilling on the lives and property of homeowners, farmers and ranchers who do not own their mineral rights, was previewed in Glenwood Springs, a representative of EnCana Oil & Gas complained that the material was dated, and that the film tells “only one side of the story.” But “Split Estate” makes no pretense of being “fair and balanced.” Told from the perspective of people from Garfield County, Colo., and San Juan County, N.M., who lost their health, their homes and their dreams as a consequence of drilling, this film is about the powerlessness of surface owners who don’t own their mineral rights when energy companies come to drill their property. Most of the health problems, according to the property owners, are the result of either air pollution from nearby wells, or water pollution, especially from hydraulic fracking. Despite evidence to the contrary, the industry continues to maintain that the fluids used in fracking are benign, and that drilling poses no threat to drinking water sources. The individual stories of split-estate owners are interwoven by the film with a theme of environmental degradation, as a rural area is transformed into an industrial park. The film artfully balances the individual narratives of split-estate landowners with visual images of a ravaged landscape dominated by endless drilling pads, evaporation ponds, roads and industrial more

CNBC, Reuters fall for climate hoax Video

In a dramatic shift, the Chamber of Commerce announced Monday that it is throwing its support behind climate change legislation making its way through the U.S. Senate. Only it didn’t. An email press release announcing the change is a hoax, say Chamber officials. Several media organizations fell for it. A CNBC anchor interrupted herself mid-sentence Monday morning to announce that the network had “breaking news,” then cut away to reporter Hampton Pearson, who read from the fake press more

Outside Agitator

In his book with Josh Mahan, Tree Spiker: From Earth First! To Lowbagging: My Struggles in Radical Environmental Action Roselle takes us on a journey from the days when he was the young virgin joining in on a series of progressive movements and, while at it, drinking, smoking the good herb and hoping to maybe get laid – from 1970s Yippies/Zippies/Hippies; to occupying the Nevada Nuclear Test Site the very day of a scheduled test; to major efforts to preserve the remnants of our Ancient Forests; to uphill struggles to end the trade in illegal tropical logging; to the current campaign to end the atrocity of Mountaintop Removal (MTR) coal extraction. Always entertaining, Mike also lived up to the other part of the incomparable Winona LaDuke’s late father Sun Bear’s maxim by finding out just where he could plug in and be useful. If it meant running a mimeograph machine, Mike did it. If it meant washing every dish in the sink, he did that. If the younger Yippies felt that Abbie Hoffman was getting a swelled head and not following grassroots protocol, then Mike was there to dump his once-idol Abbie in the hotel swimming pool. If it meant climbing the flagpole at Miami’s Flamingo Park during the 1972 GOP Convention and replacing Old Glory with the Viet Cong Battle Flag, well… Mike was always ready to answer the call. Soon, Mike wasn’t only joining up with groups of like-minded folks; he was co-founding some of the more radical action groups we’ve seen. He provides an engrossing tale of the founding of Earth First! and the Buckaroos behind more

USDA confirms H1N1 in Minnesota pigs

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says at least one pig from Minnesota has tested positive for the H1N1 virus, the first case of a pig contracting the virus in the United States. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement Monday that USDA officials have begun to reach out to international organizations and are emphasizing that H1N1, also known as swine flu, cannot be contracted by eating pork products. The USDA's National Veterinary Services Laboratories confirmed the presence of H1N1 after an initial test suggested that as many as three pigs may have had the virus. USDA officials say the infection of a so-called show pig doesn't indicate an infection of commercial herds because show pigs are in separate segments of the swine industry. AP

Food safety programs alter farming

With food safety regulatory change on the horizon for U.S. producers, Rabobank recently found that approximately 40 percent of farmers have begun to alter their farming practices and methods. According to a new Rabobank Farm & Ranch Survey, of those making changes, 64 percent are keeping better records, which is the first step toward better food safety. In March, President Obama created the Food Safety Working Group to upgrade food safety laws, which govern the supply chain from gate to plate. With this in mind, U.S. producers are beginning to take steps before new laws are in place. After keeping better records, other changes included researching information about better food safety practices by subscribing to topical publications (32 percent) or networking and meeting with other farmers (26 percent). Additionally, farmers are beginning to make changes to facilities (23 percent) and to processes (21 percent) more

Monday, October 19, 2009

NM Ranchers Worry About Water Protection Proposal

Thousands of miles of New Mexico rivers and streams would gain special protection under the federal Clean Water Act as part of a proposal being pushed by Gov. Bill Richardson and environmentalists. But ranchers worry the plan is a backdoor effort to stop grazing on public land. State environment officials have spent more than two years refining a proposal to designate rivers and streams in wilderness areas across the state as so-called "outstanding national resource waters" to protect them from degradation. No one disputes the need to protect New Mexico's water, but ranchers see the plan to designate waterways across such a broad swath of wilderness — far from pollution and cities — as another ploy by environmentalists in a decades-long battle to halt grazing on national forest lands. "This whole thing with the Clean Water Act, it's just a front. They want our land, they want our water, period," said Carlos Salazar of the Northern New Mexico Stockman's Association. The designation would allow existing activities, including grazing, to continue in wilderness areas provided landowners follow practices to ensure water quality remains high. But ranchers say the proposal is ambiguous and would establish new layers of bureaucracy that would harm New Mexico's rural economy. "People are very worried," said Caren Cowan, executive director of the New Mexico Cattle Growers' Association. "Given that the wilderness areas are already protected from everything but grazing and recreational activities, what are we going to protect it from?" more

Another blessing of wilderness designation. Next will come applying this or a similar water rule to National Conservation Areas, Areas Of Critical Environmental Concern and any other legislative or administrative designation you can think of. Then will come state lands, game refuges, etc. This will set a terrible precedent and is nothing more than a back door approach to implementing instream flow.

Wild horse plan rekindles cattle grazing debate

A new federal proposal to manage wild horses is rekindling debate over another fixture of the Western range: cattle. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar last week proposed moving thousands of mustangs to preserves in the Midwest and East to protect horse herds and the rangelands that support them. Many horse defenders and others who had been working to save the romantic symbols of the American West and might have been expected to welcome Salazar's solution instead stampeded the other way. They want Salazar to remove livestock to make room for the mustangs and argue that cows are the real threat to the range and native wildlife. "Any proposal to improve horse and burro management in the West should include removal of domestic livestock from public lands to make way for horses and burros and wildlife," said Mark Salvo of WildEarth Guardians based in Santa Fe, N.M. He said too much forage is allocated to livestock in the arid West. Wildlife ecologist Craig Downer of Nevada accused Salazar, a former rancher, of acting on behalf of those who view mustangs as taking scarce forage away from their cattle herds. Dan Gralian, president of the Nevada Cattlemen's Association, said livestock overgrazing no longer is the problem it once was and cattle don't cause more damage to the range than horses. He said 2.5 million to 3 million head of livestock graze on public lands, down from 20 million cows and 25 million sheep in more

Rancher payments may help wolves

Hoping to ease Washington ranchers’ concern about gray wolves, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife is proposing what might be the most generous compensation in the West for livestock losses to the newly returned predators. Under the preferred plan out of five alternatives in a 249-page draft environmental impact statement released last week, a livestock producer would be entitled to the full value of livestock considered likely prey that are killed by wolves on grazing sites of at least 100 acres and half the full value on smaller sites. For animals considered less likely prey, compensation would be double the full value of the animal on larger grazing sites and the full value on smaller sites. The proposal defines livestock as cattle, pigs, horses, mules, sheep, llamas, goats, guarding animals and herding more

Can Democrats Use National Security to Win on Climate Change?

It's also no coincidence that, in recent weeks, Democrats have been stressing this security angle as they stump for carbon legislation. As Lisa Lerer reports in Politico today, that's precisely why John Kerry, rather than Barbara Boxer, has become the face of the Senate climate bill—as the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee he can (the theory goes) more credibly make this pitch to colleagues. Environmentalists, in turn, are hitching up with veterans' groups —this week, Operation Free is sending Iraq and Afghanistan vets on a 21-state tour to talk about how climate change could impact American security. Now, is this a viable strategy for 60 Senate votes? Who knows? The security frame does poll pretty well: Clean Energy Works recently commissioned a poll in Arkansas, of all places, that found overwhelming support for cap-and-trade (55 percent to 37 percent) when the oil-dependency/security pitch was stacked up against the right's "cap-and-tax" mantra. On the other hand, from a policy perspective, relying too heavily on national-security arguments could create a few knots. Bolstering energy security and reducing greenhouse-gas emissions are, after all, two distinct goals that can sometimes come into more

Big Labor, Green Jobs

Looking for help as they drown in a sea of political irrelevance, labor heavyweights like the Teamsters, the AFL-CIO, and the Service Employees International Union have reason to believe the Obama administration will throw them a green lifeline. President Barack Obama has promised to use his office to fundamentally transform America’s energy economy, transitioning Americans away from fossil fuels and creating millions of so-called green jobs in the process. The new green economy Obama routinely invokes holds some hope for private sector unions to slow, if not even halt and reverse, their stunning declines. Obama pledged during the campaign to spend $150 billion to create green jobs, and his administration promises to spend billions more on a host of infrastructure upgrades and other energy-related stimulus projects. Attempting to capitalize on that environmental commitment, organized labor is latching on to the green jobs movement with gusto. In August, a coalition of labor unions joined with environmental organizations to launch a 50-stop tour visiting 22 states to pressure Congress to pass cap-and-trade legislation. What is organized labor’s incentive for going green? For unions, it seems a lot less about saving the planet than about saving (or at least enriching) themselves. With the federal government pledging to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on energy related projects, labor sees a chance to grab a significant portion of that money as well as to ensure that future green energy manufacturing and other green collar employment are union more

Jaguar team ceases work amid disputes, big cat's death

The team formed to help the endangered jaguar survive in Arizona and New Mexico has ground to a standstill. The Arizona-New Mexico Jaguar Conservation Team has struggled for years because of standoffs between environmentalists and ranching interests and perceptions of bias in the team's leadership. But perhaps the knockout blow was the death this year of the last known wild jaguar in the United States. The team, formed in 1997, has ceased activities altogether, canceling two meetings this year because of the ongoing criminal investigation over the March 2 death of the jaguar known as Macho B. But long before Feb. 18, when the old jaguar stepped into a snare in the wilderness between Arivaca and Nogales, many participants had left the team, some questioning its commitment to helping an endangered species recover. The perception that it had become all talk and no action was captured by the nickname some use for the group — Jaguar Conversation Team. "It had very laudable objectives," said Warren "Bud" Starnes, a policy specialist for the New Mexico Department of Agriculture in Las Cruces. "But the enviros started pressing and pressing and pressing, trying to get maps of habitat. Then they started threatening lawsuits." more

Fighting Eminent Domain Abuse

Popular outrage over eminent domain abuse may have waned a bit since the Supreme Court’s poorly-reasoned Kelo ruling in 2005, but economic development takings remain incredibly unpopular throughout the country. Public opinion polls indicate that more than 80 percent of Americans oppose eminent domain for economic development, which is surprising when one considers the relative inaction on the part of state legislatures to meaningfully protect their citizens’ property rights. However, there are reasons to be optimistic. Brooklynites fighting the proposed Atlantic Yards development filed a lawsuit today challenging the legality of the Metro Transit Authority’s land handout to the private developer. In Texas, citizens will soon vote on widely-supported Proposition 11, which would amend the Texas Constitution to prevent area blight designations and condemnations, and prohibit takings for purposes of economic development. If it passes, which seems likely, Texas property owners will have some of the strongest protections against eminent domain abuse in the nation. But there is a lot of work to do. Many in this country are still largely defenseless against development takings, so the question arises: What can property owners do to take back their rights from revenue-hungry municipalities and rent-seeking developers? The law, as it stands, is against them in most respects, but there are legislative avenues worth pursuing. A few of the most politically-feasible more

U.S. Supreme Court won't hear game farm appeals

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal by Montana game farm operators over a citizens' initiative they claim amounts to an unlawful taking of their property. The news means there can be no captive shooting of deer or elk in Montana. Game farm operators earlier this year appealed a state Supreme Court ruling that said Initiative 143 does not constitute the unlawful taking of private property. Robert Lane, chief legal counsel for Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, said the country's high court declined the case within the past several days. He said the Supreme Court's ruling leaves in place the Montana Supreme Court decision on I-143. That initiative was approved in 2000 by a majority of Montana citizens. It effectively ended the game farm business in Montana, primarily by outlawing the fee shooting of captive more

The Supreme Allied Commander of Corn

I think his view is, not going to run for president again, not going to get one of the gigantic jobs he was interested in in the federal government, so might as well take a new course." Well, in February, Clark found one: front-man for the ethanol industry. When a group of investors in ethanol made from rice straw approached Clark in 2007, he was intrigued. "I said, ‘Oh, I remember ethanol, I mean, I campaigned in Iowa,' and they told me before I went to Iowa, you've got to like ethanol," he said. "So I'm not against it in principle, I mean, tell me about it." Clark tried selling the idea to his partners in his "little investment bank in New York"--Rodman & Renshaw, the full-service private equity firm that he joined after the campaign--but they weren't interested. Renewable energy deals were too much of a risk; the cash flow had dried up entirely. Then, in late 2008, Clark met Jeff Broin, CEO of Sioux Falls-based POET, the largest ethanol producer in the world (and Growth Energy's animating force). Clark, who is something of a techno-geek, visited one of Broin's research labs and was impressed by the scientists running around in white coats, working on the next generation of cellulosic biofuels. He asked Broin to bring him on board. "I'm happy to talk about ethanol, I'm a big believer in this thing, but I'm a businessman!" Clark exclaimed, pounding the table for emphasis. "I want to actually build things that hire people and change America, not just talk about it." Broin decided to give him a chance--the industry had image problems, and having a four-star general out singing its praises couldn't hurt more

Uncle Sam coming at family farmers with fist full of cash

I doubt the president of the U.S. ever milked a cow, ringed a hog, pulled a calf or knows which end of a horse gets up first; however, he has a uncanny sense of direction in the field of agriculture. Yesterday, changes in the weather were the biggest headache for farmers. Today, its changing farm policy. We elect a president every four years and enact a new farm bill every five years. And, despite national and international attention, the glow of a Nobel, an economic crisis, a rancorous health care debate, education and energy, this remarkable man is making remarkable moves in agriculture. Directing taxpayer millions to hungry kids instead of millionaire farmers shifted the debate. Millionaire farmers are squealing like stuck hogs. The secretary of agriculture and the attorney general dusting off the stocker and packer act of 1921 have corporate biggies in a cold sweat. And, Uncle Sam is coming to the aid of beginning family farmers with a fist full of cash. According to the column "Credit programs aim to reverse trends" appearing in the October edition of the Progressive Farmer, Farm Service Agency loan numbers are up 896 percent from a year ago and total loan volume is up 1,271 percent as of Aug. 1. Well, la di dah! It appears Mr. Obama is well on his way to earning the Nobel of the Range -- a cowboy more

Yes, and I'm sure he'll make a beer that really does taste great and is less filling. What a load of crap. He deserves the Nobel of the Outhouse and should be awarded a dunces cap, not a cowboy hat. I'll bet those numbers are up because more producers than ever now qualify for FSA loans. FSA is the "lender of last resort" and it's those "remarkable moves in agriculture" that have put our producers in that condition.

Agricultural Act Passes Senate, Moves onto President

On Oct. 8, 2009, the United States Senate passed the final version of the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010 (H.R.2997). The House of Representatives approved the bill the previous day. This bill provides funding for the USDA for fiscal year 2010 and contains two provisions of interest to the horse industry. GAO Study of Horse Welfare The conference agreement accompanying this bill directs the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study the status of horse welfare as it relates to the closing of horse slaughter plants in the United States. The agreement requests the GAO to issue a report by March 1, 2010, on the current state of horse welfare in the US since horse slaughter facilities were closed. The GAO is instructed to consider how the horse industry has responded to the plant closings in terms of horse sales, exports, adoptions, and abandonments. In addition the GAO is instructed to review the impact the closures have had on farm income and state and local government organizations. USDA Inspection at Plants The bill also contains a provision prohibiting any funds from being used by the USDA to inspect horse meat for human more

Farmington man struck by lightning rides again

Just a little more than a month after being struck by lightning in a fluke storm that killed his horse and nearly killed him, 23-year-old Carl Leigh is back in the saddle again, thanks to a generous donation by family members. He was told by doctors not to ride, but with determination and the donation of a new horse, Leigh is back doing what he loves. On Aug. 24, Leigh was struck while riding on County Road 5580. The strike killed the horse, burned Leigh's legs and head, put a bullet-sized hole in the saddle and a 6-inch hole in his hat. He doesn't remember anything about the incident. He was riding along one moment and the next thing he knew he woke up in the hospital, he said. Doctors didn't expect Leigh to survive, but he defied the more

Court upholds convictions of animal activists

A federal appeals court in Philadelphia has upheld the convictions of six animal-rights activists in a New Jersey harassment case. The six members of Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty were convicted in 2006 of using their Web site to incite threats and vandalism against employees of Huntingdon Life Science in Franklin Township, Somerset County. The group posted home addresses and other information about the workers on the site. Each activist was sentenced to six years in prison. Three remain in federal custody. The Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled there was enough evidence to convict them of violating the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act. The trial was believed to be the first to use the statute, which was enacted in 1992. AP

Silver City Museum to host 'Gila' book signing

The Silver City Museum will host a book signing with local author Nancy Coggeshall, author of "Gila Country Legend: The Life and Times of Quentin Hulse," at 2 p.m. today at the Museum Annex, 302 W. Broadway, two doors down from the museum. In the book, recently released by University of New Mexico Press, Coggeshall tells the story of the larger-than-life rural Western rancher whose reputation spread well beyond the rugged Gila Wilderness he called home. Drawing on oral history, archival sources and her personal association with Hulse and the Gila, Coggeshall brings this unique New Mexican to life. Coggeshall describes Hulse and the book on her Web site, "A product of New Mexico's Southwest, Quentin Hulse (1926-2002) lived and worked from the bottom of Canyon Creek in the Gila River country on the northern border of the Gila Wilderness. The force of his character and personality impressed people so deeply that stories about this legendary rancher, packer, guide and hound man were told even in Tasmania and Baghdad. His photograph appeared on a tourist postcard and souvenir novelty license plate in the 1950s. The Men's Channel broadcast footage of a 1962 lion hunt with him on New Year's Day 2005; boys were named for him and a song was written about him and recorded in 2003. more

Garth and his guitar

Millions of fans wish they could've seen Garth Brooks where it all started at Willie's Saloon in Stillwater, Okla. Come to Vegas and you'll get something like it. Forget the glitz, glam and pyrotechnics that typify your average Sin City show. Brooks is going to strip it down and take it back to the beginning. The man, his guitar and the songs he loves. "That's how it started in Willie's in '83, playing a show for tips," Brooks told The Associated Press on Thursday after announcing his residency at the Wynn Las Vegas resort's Encore theater. "You do your big arena show, then it's funny. You come back to that and it's come full circle." Those who have heard the show as Brooks rehearses think it's something special. The country superstar would love to take credit for the idea, but that all goes to casino owner Steve more

Cowboy Militia strikes partnership with Texas music

Cowboy Militia has teamed up with Ambiance Artists of Austin, Texas, in a cross-promotional relationship that benefits Texas music fans and Western aficionados alike. The affiliation will drive more country music fans to rodeo and Western wear - and vice versa - through partnerships with five hit-making Texas country music artists, including the Josh Abbott Band, Whiskey Myers and bands fronted by Kyle Bennett, Charlie Shafter and Rich O'Toole. "We play shows in Dallas, San Antonio, Houston and Austin, but it's the little rural communities or rodeo towns where we really fit in," says Ambiance co-founder Bruce Kalmick. "The markets we really focus on are rural - those people are attainable and they remain fans for a longer period of time." Texas music, or alternative country, began in the 1970s with Willie and Waylon but resurged in the late 1990s and has exploded in nationwide popularity as Pat Green and others have crossed over into more

Rural blogs harvest truckloads of urban fans

Ree Drummond's days are spent wrangling her four children, washing jeans, chipping dried manure from boots and “frying calf nuts.” The Oklahoma cattle rancher's wife details her rural trials and tribulations – as well as photos of her rugged husband, known only as Marlboro Man, and recipes for caramel apple rolls – on her blog Slickly photographed with legions of fans, The Pioneer Woman is arguably the mother of all farm girl blogs. With lively posts on everything from home schooling and country recipes to kitchen gardens and babysitting pot-bellied pigs, farm girl blogs are gaining devotees, most of them dreaming of a “simpler” life. Living alone in the Oklahoma panhandle, a blogger named Jeanie raises cattle, horses, pigs, poultry – and shrimp. The 34-year-old divorcee recounts her rituals on, now a hit on the online barbecue circuit. Men are keenly interested in her smokehouse and wild game recipes – Jeanie hunts and considers herself “a fair markswoman.” more

It's All Trew: Dusting off pages offers up the dirt on Times gone by

Kansas Historical Society archives contain every issue of the old Dodge City Times published in the 1870s and 1880s. Browsing the many articles contained within is interesting and educational as we learn about the common happenings of that time. The term "getting away from it all" meant an entirely different thing from today, as back on Sept. 6, 1879, the Times told of a posse capturing nine horse thieves who had stolen a herd of area ranch horses. Five of the thieves were captured, while four "got away in the Rattlesnake Sand Hills." The next issue of the Times stated the four thieves who got away were buried in the hills. The Times told of a man living beside the Canadian River who made extra money by guiding and hauling travelers who needed to cross the sometimes treacherous waterway. During a recent trip across the riverbed, in which the man hauled baggage on his buckboard pulled by two horses, the first crossing was without incident. When the man retraced his tracks a few minutes later, the team and buckboard sunk out of sight almost instantly, with the man barely escaping the quicksands. Later, when he attempted to probe the spot with a long pole in an effort to recover his buckboard, no trace of the equipment or team could be found. Another article explained that a spool of barbed weighed approximately 80 to 90 pounds and contained one-fourth mile of wire. A boxcar load of wire spools weighed some 22,000 pounds, or about 275 spools of barbed wire. This amount of wire would build a three-wire fence for a distance of 23 miles. Many ranches ordered 10 to 20 carloads of wire per more

Song Of The Day #159

Ranch Radio will get your foot tappin' this Monday morning with Carl Smith performing his 1951 Columbia recording (When You Feel Like Your In Love) Don't Just Stand There.

It's available on many of his collections, including The Essential Carl Smith (1950-1956) and, believe it or not, on his Don't Just Stand There: 20 Greatest Hits.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

Cowboy purchasing agent

Julie Carter

Sometimes the only required items for cowboys to fix anything are baling wire, duct tape and some old-fashioned sweat.

Occasionally, specialty items are required and that means assuming the role that in corporate America is labeled "Purchasing Agent."

In a corporate situation, that title would get you a corner office, but in the cowboy world, that gets you a pickup seat on the way to town.

One particular morning, Jess was faced with the 4-wheeler being out of commission. This vehicle was critical to his ranching operation because it was used daily to gather the roping cattle.

He dropped everything and headed to the NAPA store for a new battery.

There, he was told by the knowledgeable parts man that the exact battery he needed would be $75, but he kindly added that they were cheaper over at Walmart.

Ever frugal, Jess took his advice and headed that way.

At the Walmart battery department, located at the very back of the store, he was faced with a lady clerk.

She told Jess that in order to buy a new battery, it was store policy that he must trade in an old one.

Jess was parked out by the place in the parking lot where they sell the puppies and park the big rigs, but he dutifully walked all the way out of the store and the five miles to the back of the parking lot, making the return trip with his old battery in hand.

The lady clerk promptly uncrated a new battery, showed Jess the instructions in Arabic, Chinese, Spanish, French and finally American. Together they tried to decipher them.

As it turned out, in order to activate this battery, they needed a vial of acid, something to pour it in the battery with and a trickle charger.

Faced with this complicated problem, Jess asked what the charge would be for all this equipment. The total with tax was $119.

Quick with the math, Jess lugged his old battery back out past the "puppies for sale" and returned to the parts store.

There he discovered the NAPA man had forgotten to mention all the extra equipment that would also be needed for the NAPA battery, although he did not require an old one be turned in.

All said and done, the register rang up about $20 more than the total Walmart price. Jess added that to the price the six-pack it would take to help him recover from the entire experience.

And then there is Dan

One would think that if one were at work, minding one's own business, trouble wouldn't be any closer than one's plans for the weekend.

As per the aforementioned minding one's own business at work, Dan was tending his at the implement dealership that pays him to fix and sell things along with providing him with respectable employment.

High marks for a cowboy.

One day the Fastenal rep stopped by, as sales reps tend to do. This company peddles nuts, bolts and small, seemingly useless but somebody buys it, hardware. The dealership is a regular stop for the Fastenal guy.

However, likely in a plot to create an income stimulus, they sent a blonde.

As Dan reported it, "Her waist was this big (thumbs together, hands spread out about 10 inches), and her chest was about this big (hands spread out at arms length and Dan has very long arms).

His eyes grew bigger along with the description of the measurements.

With that, he admitted that he had bought a couple hundred dollars worth of bolts.

Carol, his secretary and buddy, came by and said, "Dan, you know we never sell bolts."

Dan replied easily, "We're fixing to start."

He reported that the shapely blonde rep went into the parts room with him, looked everything over, dusted off some of the things that had never in this lifetime been moved, and then told him the store looked to her to be pretty low on inventory. He ordered them all.

Now every time somebody comes into the store and up to the parts counter to get something, the store employees are required to ask the customer if they need any bolts with that.

Stop by the store and tell Dan you need some bolts, but only if the Fastenal rep is there to preview them.

Julie can be reached for comment at