Friday, June 04, 2010

The Price of Admission - Wilderness Rape Trees

The second video from Truth On The Border is The Price of Admission - Wilderness Rape Trees

I would encourage you to see the full-sized version by going here.

Their first video, Trash On The Border, you can view by going here.

Obama Administration Hosts National Rural Summit on Rebuilding and Revitalizing Rural America

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today held the Obama Administration's National Summit of Rural America with agricultural leaders, farmers, ranchers, community leaders, and rural residents who shared their vision and ideas to rebuild and revitalize rural America. As the day began at Jefferson College, Vilsack discussed many of the challenges and opportunities facing rural communities throughout the country and he encouraged participants to think boldly about the future. Vilsack also detailed the Obama Administration's commitment to job creation in rural communities and made several announcements to support rural businesses and cooperatives.

* A new Memorandum of Understanding between USDA and the Small Business Administration to outline a collaborative approach to supporting small businesses in rural America.
* USDA is seeking applications to support rural microentrepreneurs and microenterprises, which will provide $45.1 million to encourage lending to start up business ventures. Funding is available from the Rural Development Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program.
* USDA announced $22.5 million for recipients in 45 states and Puerto Rico to receive business development assistance and pursue marketing opportunities for agricultural commodities through USDA Rural Development assistance under the Value-Added Producer Grant program;
* USDA announced $6.7 million grant and loan funding to recipients in 10 states that will promote job creation through USDA Rural Development's Intermediary Relending Program and the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program.

What a waste, and it ain't a "micro" waste either.

'Climate Climbdown'

The Royal Society of Britain is rewriting its official position on global warming. We'd say the consensus that man is causing the planet to heat is cracking, but there never was a consensus in the first place. Last December, the 350-year-old Royal Society, considered the top scientific institution in Britain, published the following statement: "It is certain that greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of fossil fuels and from land use change lead to a warming of climate, and it is very likely that these greenhouse gases are the dominant cause of the global warming that has been taking place over the last 50 years." But now, just six months later, the Royal Society, under pressure from skeptics, says it will publish a new "guide to the science of climate change" this summer. According to the London Times, "The society has been accused by 43 of its fellows of refusing to accept dissenting views on climate change and exaggerating the degree of certainty that man-made emissions are the main cause."...more

Lightning strike injures 8 in Yellowstone

A lightning strike injured eight people who were waiting to see the Old Faithful geyser erupt Tuesday in Yellowstone National Park. Officials say a single lightning bolt from a small storm struck about 4 p.m., injuring eight visitors who were standing on or near the boardwalk that circles the geyser. The incident was witnessed by hundreds of people waiting to watch the park’s most popular attraction. Bystanders had started CPR on a 57-year-old man when park staff arrived on the scene. The man, who was unconscious and breathing, was airlifted to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls. The Associated Press identified him as Harlan C. Idell Jr., 57, of Leesburg, Fla. “He indeed was struck by lightning,” park spokesman Al Nash said. “The others had impacts from being in that area where lightning struck. I am told that one guy who was sent to the hospital in Idaho Falls is going to be released this evening.” Seven other individuals were treated and released for complaints including shortness of breath, tingling or numbness...more

New Mexico embraces ecotourism efforts

New Mexico wants to join the ecotourism trend, promoting not only the state's natural beauty but also outdoor adventure, cultural heritage preservation and access to wild places. New Mexico's ecotourism venture was launched early last year but the actual pilot programs begin this summer around the Gila Wilderness near Silver City and Taos in northern New Mexico. Tourism is New Mexico's No. 2 industry, behind oil and gas production, and brings in an estimated $5.7 billion annually. And if ecotourism can be fairly described as nature-based specialty travel or wilderness experiences that enrich and educate, the state thinks it has something to offer. Outfitters, guides and others around New Mexico already have been doing ecotourism but "didn't know there was a name for it," said Sandy Cunningham of EcoNewMexico, which has a $250,000 contract with the Department of Tourism to develop the program. Smaller communities will benefit most from the state's effort, said Arturo Sandoval, president of the 19-year-old Center of Southwest Culture Inc., dedicated to preserving northern New Mexico's traditional land-based communities...more

Canada - Changes to cattle ear tags

Any bar-coded dangle tags still hanging from Canadian cattle's ears will officially become plastic jewelry effective July 1. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency, which was previously expected to de-list bar code tags as of Jan. 1, 2010, said Friday that the bar code tags will be de-listed July 1 in favour of radio frequency identification (RFID) tags. Starting July 1, all cattle must be tagged with approved RFID tags before they move from their current locations or leave their farms of origin. "Although this change may be an additional one- time process for some producers, the ability to easily capture information from the RFID tags will help all producers in the long run," said Darcy Eddleston, a Paradise Valley, Alta. producer and chairman of the Canadian Cattle Identification Agency (CCIA), in a joint CFIA/CCIA release. "We have worked with government to move forward on traceability and we believe that de-listing the bar-coded tag will advance traceability initiatives." Existing bar-coded tags should not be removed, but left on the ear. An RFID tag must then be applied to the same animal, the agencies said. Producers who haven't already done so must cross-reference that new RFID tag with the existing bar-coded dangle tag in the Canadian Livestock Tracking System (CLTS) to make sure all tag data and history on a given animal is maintained. That data includes all events uploaded by the producer against the tag...more

Print depicts the roots of rodeo

This year's Reno Rodeo limited-edition print is a step back in time, and that's exactly the way Reno Rodeo President Ray Callahan and artist Cathy Trachok wanted it. "My theme this year has been a saddle-broncs-and-sagebrush kind of thing, kind of going back to the roots," said Callahan, a rancher and fourth-generation Nevadan. The roots of rodeo sprang from the ranches of the Old West, when cowboys from the various ranches would enliven roundups and cattle drives with friendly competitions. Trachok, a Reno native and lifelong artist, has long had a love for Nevada's mountain and desert landscapes. She has also had a longtime desire to be the artist for the Reno Rodeo print. He showed Trachok a black-and-white photograph of a saddled bronc kicking up its heels, stirring up a cloud of dust, and tugging against a cowboy trying to gain control. He asked her if she could use the image as a starting point. And so she did, with great delight. "It was a black-white-photograph, so I got to play around with the colors that I wanted to do," she said. The end result shows Nevada mountains and sagebrush and a scene that has probably played out thousands of times on Nevada's range during the past 150 years...more

Oklahoma City to host 37th annual Prix de West art exhibition

Two Oklahoma artists are among the new artists invited to show their works at the upcoming Prix de West Invitational Art Exhibition and Sale at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Norman sculptor and University of Oklahoma artist-in-residence Paul Moore and Broken Arrow painter Mikel Donahue will exhibit artworks at the 37th annual show June 11-12 at the Oklahoma City museum. Donahue said disbelief was his first reaction at being asked to participate. "I called them right back after being invited,” the colored-pencil artist said during a recent telephone interview. "I really just wanted to make sure they knew who they had been talking to. Like all first-timers, Donahue will exhibit two paintings in the show. "Fall Work,” priced at $6,500, depicts a calf-branding scene at last fall's roundup at the historic Stuart ranch near Waurika, Donahue said. "I liked the way the smoke was gathering in the branding pen and that they had an actual fire to heat the irons,” he said. "They do branding the old, traditional way — 600 calves in a morning.” His other painting, "If These Walls Could Talk,” priced at $5,500, shows a young cowhand saddling up in front of an old sod-roofed log building at a friend's Wyoming ranch. "I liked the contrast of light and of the idea of young and old,” Donahue said...more

Song Of The Day #326

Ranch Radio will close out this weeks look at Emmett Miller and his influence on country music and artists with a triple play.

Miller recorded Anytime three times: 1924 & 1928 for Okeh, and 1936 for Bluebird. Eddy Arnold had a big hit with the tune in 1948 and is our first selection today (Also recorded by Patsy Cline, Jimmy Dean and many pop singers such as Dean Martin)

Miller recorded I Ain't Got Nobody in 1928 for Okeh and in 1936 for Bluebird. Bob Wills & Tommy Duncan also recorded it in 1936, but today we give you Asleep At The Wheel & Don Walser performing the song.

Our final selection is Merle Haggard's live performance of Big Bad Bill Is Sweet William Now. Haggard also had a studio recording of the tune, but it was the live performance where he gives the tribute. My date and place of recording differs from what Haggard says, but who am I to disagree with the great Merle Haggard.

The Battle For Arizona

The trackers mustered at Tex Canyon Road, 20 miles north of the Mexican border, on the afternoon of March 27. There were border-patrol agents, six search-and-rescue units from the Cochise County sheriff's department and dogs trained to track escaped inmates from nearby Douglas State Prison. Several ranchers were also there, many of them descendants of the Germans and Irish who came to the San Bernardino Valley a hundred years or more ago. Back then, the ranchers settled here in part to feed the U.S. troops stationed at the border. One military mission in those days: prevent the chaos of the Mexican Revolution from spilling into the Territory of Arizona. Now another period of powerful unrest in Mexico had brought a different kind of war to the valley, and the ranchers were mindful that the violence might have claimed one of their own, a man named Rob Krentz. When Krentz's daughter Kyle heard that her father was missing, her first thought was, How do you lose a guy that big? Krentz, 58, was a bear of a man--when he played football in high school, his nickname was Captain Crunch--but throughout southeastern Arizona, those who knew Krentz say his heart was the biggest thing about him. The trackers couldn't find Krentz before nightfall, so they waited for a border-patrol helicopter, which spotted his ATV 10 miles from his house just before midnight. It was hidden in the trough of a swale, its running lights still on. The helicopter's thermal imager showed the heat signature of his slain dog, according to a relative of Krentz's. Beside the dog was Krentz himself, his body too cold, dead too long to register a thermal reading...more

Agua Prieta officials help search for man who killed Rob Krentz

Did the man who shot and killed a Douglas rancher flee to Agua Prieta? Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever says yes, but Agua Prieta officials say no. Agua Prieta police released to News 4 a crime scene photo showing footprints. It's widely believed the footprints belong to the man who killed Rob Krentz back in March. Cochise County detectives say the tracks led south into Agua Prieta. In April, a picture of Armando Chacon Gonzales, also known as Alejandro Chavez Vazquez, was released by the Cochise County Sheriff's Department as an investigative lead in the homicide. They say he is a suspect in several burglaries. Agua Prieta police have been looking for him. Vicente Teran, mayor of the border city, says, "Nobody knows him. He's never been here, and I'm pretty sure he's not here." Teran, a rancher himself, desperately wants to help U.S. authorities. He says he would be the happiest mayor around if he could turn over the suspected killer. Less than 24 hours after the murder, they began their investigation and questioned over 100 people at the police department. Alfonso Novoa, the police chief, says they have searched records, archives, and are even offering a $10,000 reward for information on the man who murdered Rob Krentz...more

Mexican officials deny claims Krentz's killer is in Mexico

Mexican officials in Agua Prieta deny claims that Douglas Rancher Robert Krentz's killer is in Mexico. Agua Prieta's mayor and police chief also deny reports they're working closely with top U.S. investigators. They say they have not spoken with American officials in more then a month. Nine On Your Side's Steve Nunez sat down with Mayor Vicente Teran and his Police Chief Alfonso Novoa. Novoa tells us his officers have questioned more then 100 people. Teran says they've even offered a $10,000 reward, and no one has come forward. Nunez asked: "What do you say to those who say why should we trust Mexican officials that they've done everything that they can to find Krentz's killer?" Teran responded, "Let me tell you something, how can we trust Americans to say he came to Agua Prieta and he didn't come. We are here. We are involved in our cities and like I tell you we feel bad about the rancher and family." Novoa claims he has not heard from U.S. officials in more then a month. He laid out what he believes to be the facts he's investigating including a photo of a footprint he says was taken at the crime scene, a photo of a man he says is the prime suspect, and a photo of the type of gun he says was used to kill krentz. Nunez asked: "Do you blame the American officials for not sharing all of the information with Mexico?"...more

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Obama admin. holds meetings on 'Great Outdoors'

On the edges of a vast landscape that measures in the millions of acres and stretches north through a wilderness area and a scenic national park, ranchers and environmentalists have been able to agree on a lot lately. The work done to preserve land in northwestern Montana's "Crown of the Continent" was made the shining example Tuesday of what the Obama Administration hopes to achieve with its new "America's Great Outdoors Initiative." The conservation effort has focused on voluntary land sales of 310,000 acres from a large timber company, deals to retire mining and oil projects and conservation agreements with ranchers and land owners in developing homemade plans for a working landscape in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. The varied interests behind the effort also agree the Obama Administration should make sure its new initiative doesn't force land conservation ideas from big cities down the throats of rural residents. "Urban-based conservation movements have really only succeeded in alienating the very best allies: our ranchers, our loggers, our sportsmen and our farmers," said Melanie Parker, who lives in the scenic Swan Valley and has played an integral role in getting loggers and environmentalists in the area to talk with one another...more

I also found this interesting:

The administration's new initiative comes as Republicans and others criticize the contents of an internal Interior Department memo and other records that show the administration was considering the potential for presidential monument declarations in nine western states. Those declarations, last done in Montana under former President Bill Clinton, remain a very sore point for some westerners. Leading Democrats said the monument declarations are not part of the agenda. "I am opposed to the administration creating monuments," said Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., who holds an influential role in the Senate. "This is bottom up, that was top down."

If Baucus is opposed you won't see Obama designate any monuments in Montana. Same would be true for New Mexico should Bingaman take a similar stance.

Great Outdoors Initiative forum held in Helena

Federal officials got an earful Wednesday at a listening session in Helena on how to better protect open lands and get people, especially children, into the great outdoors as part of President Barack Obama’s Great Outdoors Initiative. Jay Erickson with the Montana Land Reliance called for renewal of conservation-easement tax incentives, which could give ranchers more reason to keep from subdividing their property. Bob Sanders with Ducks Unlimited wants to focus attention on preserving the wide open native prairies of Eastern Montana and the Dakotas, which he called “one of the most productive areas on Earth.” The five men were among about 200 people who crowded into two banquet rooms at the Red Lion Colonial Inn in Helena, as one of four listening sessions held only in Montana this week on the president’s initiative. Robert Bonnie, a senior adviser to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, said the sessions were enlightening to the dozens of federal officials attending them. Vilsack, John Jarvis, director of the National Park Service, and Nancy Sutley, chairman of the White House Council for Environmental Quality, were among top federal officials who attended Tuesday’s session. Ellen Simpson with Montana Wood Products and others also said that if the government wants more people to use the outdoors, they need to make it easier to get into the forests. “We need to open, not close, access to people,” Simpson said...more

A Gun For Grandpa

Chicago is deciding whether to prosecute a great-grandfather and Korean War veteran under its handgun ban. He refused to be a victim, and now there's one less armed thug roaming the streets. What's the problem? If the 80-year-old vet living on the city's West Side didn't have the gun the city said he shouldn't have, he and his 83-year-old wife and 12-year-old great-grandson might have joined those victims of gun violence about whom gun-control advocates constantly chirp. The vet obtained the gun in violation of the city's handgun ban after a prior incident in which the couple was robbed at gunpoint by three armed intruders. So when Anthony Nelson — a parolee with a record of drug and gun arrests — tried breaking into their East Garfield Park home, they were ready. Nelson fired twice at the as-yet-unnamed homeowner, who walks with a cane but retained enough of his military marksmanship to drop the intruder with a single gunshot to the chest. Yet in some quarters, instead of being hailed as a hero, it's the homeowner who's being considered a threat and the armed predator a victim of gun violence. When asked if the 80-year-old would be charged for violating the city's gun ban, Mayor Richard Daley, who recently threatened to put a gun up the posterior of a reporter questioning the ban's effectiveness, said: "I don't know. Thank you very much." Of course, if the homeowner didn't have the gun, he might not be alive to be charged...more

Sacred bone whistle headed back to Idaho tribe

A sacred whistle, a wooden stick, a button, a shell and a rounded cork possibly from the 1700s are on the verge of being returned to the Nez Perce tribe after spending decades in a forgotten, anonymous crate in a warehouse. University of Idaho anthropologist Leah Evans-Janke says it was one of those fortuitous discoveries that happen sometimes in archaeological collections: Somebody opens a dusty old box, not knowing what's inside. While Evans-Janke, collections manager at UI's Alfred W. Bowers Laboratory of Anthropology in Moscow, Idaho, says the discovery isn't earthshaking, it's "the greatest feeling in the world is meeting with the tribe, and handing the items back over to them, and knowing things are coming back to where they should be - kind of tipping the balance in the universe to where things should be." The 20-year-old federal Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act requires that human remains, funerary and sacred objects, and objects of cultural patrimony are to be returned to lineal descendants and culturally affiliated American Indian tribes...more

Navajo Nation mourns passing of Code Talker

Lemuel Bahe Yazzie, a member of the Navajo Code Talkers who confounded the Japanese during World War II by transmitting messages in their native language, has died. He was 91. Navajo Nation officials said Wednesday that Yazzie, who lived in Whitecone, Ariz., died at his home last Friday. Tribal President Joe Shirley Jr. ordered flags on the Navajo Nation to be flown at half-staff from June 3-6 in honor of Yazzie. Yazzie joined the Marines in September 1944. He served with the 4th and 6th Marine divisions as a radio telephone operator until March 1946. He returned to northern Arizona and was a machinist, rancher and ordained minister. Yazzie is survived by six children, 26 grandchildren and 52 great-grandchildren along with his two brothers and three sisters. Yazzie's funeral is scheduled for 9 a.m. Saturday at the Tse'Bii Osteel Bible Church in Whitecone. AP

Ian Tyson inspired by students' 'powerful song'

Ian Tyson doesn't just collaborate with anybody. Sure, the 76-year-old country-folk music icon broke into the business with his former wife Sylvia Tyson in the '60s, and Ian & Sylvia became giants of that era's folk movement. And, in recent years Tyson has also performed with the CPO and recorded with Corb Lund. But working with grades 1 and 2 students from the arts immersion school Calgary Arts Academy? Nobody saw that coming. Even so, Tyson's latest recording, A Song For Spirit, is a worthy and touching folk anthem and we owe it all to a blinded bird. And to Paul Rasporich, the teacher who made the project happen. Rasporich was inspired when he learned about the story of Spirit, a downed golden eagle that was taken to the Alberta Birds of Prey Foundation in 2007 after it had been shot and left for dead on a gravel road near Lethbridge. The foundation, dedicated to rehabilitating injured birds of prey, nursed Spirit back to health, but the eagle was to reside with the organization permanently because gun shot pellets had left it blind...more

Song Of The Day #325

Emmett Miller, the minstrel singer who performed in black face, first recorded Right Or Wrong in 1929. In 1936 he recorded the song again adding the yodel type phrasing. One year later Bob Wills & Tommy Duncan recorded the song. I think you'll see Miller's influence on their version.

AP Impact: US-Mexico border isn't so dangerous

It's one of the safest parts of America, and it's getting safer. It's the U.S.-Mexico border, and even as politicians say more federal troops are needed to fight rising violence, government data obtained by The Associated Press show it actually isn't so dangerous after all. The top four big cities in America with the lowest rates of violent crime are all in border states: San Diego, Phoenix, El Paso and Austin, according to a new FBI report. And an in-house Customs and Border Protection report shows that Border Patrol agents face far less danger than street cops in most U.S. cities. The Customs and Border Protection study, obtained with a Freedom of Information Act request, shows 3 percent of Border Patrol agents and officers were assaulted last year, mostly when assailants threw rocks at them. That compares with 11 percent of police officers and sheriff's deputies assaulted during the same period, usually with guns or knives. In addition, violent attacks against agents declined in 2009 along most of the border for the first time in seven years. So far this year assaults are slightly up, but data is incomplete...more

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Congressman hosts Hidden Gems forums

U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) is soliciting feedback from constituents this week in Summit and Eagle counties on the Hidden Gems wilderness proposal, which he has been asked to sponsor. The Hidden Gems wilderness proposal aims to designate about 342,000 acres of forest land in western Colorado as wilderness, including 20 square miles of Basalt Mountain. The proposal has sparked protest from fire officials as well as recreational users, such as snowmobilers and mountain bikers, who are not allowed in federally designated wilderness. The campaign is being led locally by Carbondale’s Wilderness Workshop. Polis kicks off the in-person town halls tonight at the Boulder Public Library, at 5:30 p.m. On Thursday evening, he will be in Edwards at Battle Mountain High School. And Friday afternoon he’ll be at the Community Auditorium at Colorado Mountain College’s Breckenridge campus...more

How refreshing. A Congressman actually holding public forums on a wilderness proposal BEFORE it is introduced as legislation.

Wonder why Senator Bingaman didn't conduct a similar process before introducing his bill?

Nevada Guv says Forest Service must work with counties on road closures

Governor Jim Gibbons today sent a letter to the U.S. Forest Service regarding its proposed plan to potentially close miles of roads in Elko and White Pine counties in Northern Nevada. “Closing these roads limits public access to publicly owned land,” Gibbons said, “Part of the uniqueness of Northern Nevada includes ranchers, farmers and others living in isolated areas. Part of what we love about Nevada is the open space where we can go camping, hiking, fishing and hunting. These roads exist because they are needed and they are utilized.” The U.S. Forest Service issued a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Mountain City, Ruby Mountains and Jarbidge combined Travel Management Plan in Elko County and a portion of northern White Pine County. Under the DEIS, many miles of rural roads in Northern Nevada would be closed resulting in many “roadless” areas in Elko and White Pine counties. The plan will have devastating economic, cultural and social impacts to these areas. Governor Gibbons requested the U.S. Forest Service grant the request of the Elko County Commission for a six (6) month extension of the comment period to address the proposed Travel Management Plan DEIS as it is currently written. “The federal government must start listening to the people,” Gibbons said, “The voice of Nevadans must be heard. The federal government must work with our local governments first.”...more

It's also refreshing to see a Governor siding with local residents and local government instead of the feds. The Guv's letter can be viewed at the link provided.

5 deadly days for wolves

Fifteen gray wolves from five different packs were killed in Montana for preying on livestock between May 17 and May 21, making it one of the deadliest five-day stretches for Canis lupus this year. So far this year, 64 wolves have died, with the majority — 44 — being shot by federal agents for preying on livestock. The others were killed by cars or property owners or died from unknown causes. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials also have authorized the shooting of at least 18 more wolves from five packs. If successful, that will bring the total to 82 dead wolves in Montana so far this year. “It seems a little heavy handed, when at last count there were only 524 wolves in Montana and a lot more cows,” said Jesse Timberlake with the conservation group Defenders of Wildlife. Liz Bradley, a Missoula-based wolf management specialist for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, readily acknowledges that the state is acting more aggressively this year on control actions because more wolves are on the landscape than have been here in the past decade. It’s part of an ongoing upward trend; in 1999, when about 80 wolves were spotted on Montana’s landscape, 19 were killed for wildlife depredation. Ten years later, with more than 500 wolves in the Treasure State, that number rose to 145 wolves. “More wolves in more places equals more conflicts,” Bradley said. “We’ve seen that trend over the years. We’re still trying to use preventive methods to reduce conflicts, but there are places that hasn’t worked.”...more

Jury Verdict: Living with grizzlies in the Next West

A mid concerns over whether guns being allowed in national parks will increase grizzly bear killings, a Wyoming jury has set an important standard. The jury found Wyoming hunter Steve Westmoreland guilty of illegally killing a grizzly bear while hunting in 2009. Westmoreland had claimed self-defense, a common practice among hunters who have killed grizzlies in the national forests around Yellowstone and Teton national parks for decades. Teton County Attorney Steve Weichman, who prosecuted the case, told the Jackson Hole News and Guide that the jury's conviction was one of the first of a hunter claiming self-defense. Dick Knight, the biologist who studied Yellowstone's bears for two decades, spent thousands of hours around wild grizzlies. He was long a critic of self-defense claims, chiding hunters who went into grizzly habitat with a high-powered rifle expressing fear of bears...more

1st Amendment, YouTube meet on public lands

New media such as Web-based news outlets and technology such as high-performance consumer video cameras are challenging land managers and media producers alike as officials try to decide who should pay for commercial filming and photography permits on public lands. Both the National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service have policies that require some photographers and videographers to obtain permits, depending on circumstances. While those covering “breaking news” are exempt from obtaining permits, as contemplated in the Constitution, government bureaucrats, not news editors, are deciding what meets that definition. The issue recently came to a head in Idaho when U.S. Forest Service officials denied Idaho Public Television permission to film a group of students in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. The Forest Service later relented after intervention from Idaho Gov. C. L. “Butch” Otter. In Jackson Hole, film and video producers say the permit requirements pose an unnecessary burden on smaller operators that might not have the cash to pay the processing charges and daily fees, which can amount to thousands of dollars for just a few days of filming. Where filming a documentary previously required lots of equipment and personnel, today’s filmmakers can achieve similar results with a single hand-held camera and a tripod, without many of the resource and visitor impacts associated with bigger crews...more

CBD Petitions Forest Service to Protect NM Forest from ORV Abuse

For the second time in two years, the Center for Biological Diversity today petitioned the Santa Fe National Forest to suspend motorized vehicle use on the “Los Utes” road. The Los Utes road, which is located on the Jemez Ranger District near the Dome Inventoried Roadless Area, has seen recurring vandalism and unauthorized motorized vehicle use as recently as this spring. The U.S. Forest Service has refused to control the problems despite a 2009 Center petition requesting additional protections, and despite the Center having presented evidence of ongoing vandalism and unauthorized motorized use at the May meeting of the New Mexico off-road vehicle board. “We’re not going to allow the Forest Service to simply walk away from its duty to protect public lands and habitats,” said Cyndi Tuell of the Center for Biological Diversity. “It’s time for the agency to step up to unruly off roaders and protect the wildlife and the places that are cherished by the public.” release

CBD files suit on endangered species and livestock grazing

The Center for Biological Diversity today sued the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect an endangered species, the Chiricahua leopard frog, from livestock grazing in the Fossil Creek watershed in the Mazatzal Mountains of central Arizona. Approximately 290 cows were released into the Fossil Creek Range Allotment last September, and grazing is ongoing there now. Last year, the Coconino National Forest approved grazing by nearly 500 head of cattle in the 42,000-acre range allotment straddling the Mogollon Rim between Camp Verde and Strawberry. A Forest Service study showed that degraded range conditions due to past grazing and ongoing drought could not support the approved grazing levels, and that adverse effects to the watershed were likely to result from more grazing. The complaint filed today in U.S. District Court in Tucson states that the Forest Service violated its management standards by allowing grazing levels in excess of what agency science shows to be the capacity of the land. The Fish and Wildlife Service also violated the Endangered Species Act by failing to identify how many Chiricahua leopard frogs would be harmed or killed by livestock grazing — and by failing to limit that harm and mortality – as cows trample and dewater streams and release

Fire forces evacuations in Jemez Mountains

Here is the KOB-TV video report:

In a later edition KOB-TV reported:
i just got a briefing with the latest numbers from this fire - and it is growing fast- its now about 700 to 800 acres. it's doubled in size since 6- o'clock this evening. earlier today crews were able to battle the fire with some heavy aircraft. we saw at least 1 chopper and 3 air tankers making run after run over the fire burning next to fenton lake. evacuations have been ordered for the 7 springs community and the area around fenton lake. the fire has not burned any structures. crews will be fighting through the night to try and get some containment. people evacuated are hoping the fire stays away from cabins near fenton lake. "there are cabins in there hopefully they haven't gotten any but its still hitting new stuff it keeps coming up black." fire officials say they think an an abandoned camp fire may be to blame... over the memorial day weekend rangers came acros around 7 campfires that weren't properly put out after campers left. again the communities of fenton lake and 7 springs have been evacuated- so far around 70 people... fenton lake state park is temporarily closed. an emergency shelter has been set up at the jemez valley schools campus...

Some wonder about safety of Utah trail

The results of an investigation into the death of a National Park Service employee at Timpanogos Cave National Monument are expected this summer, but a more pressing question looms. How safe is the trail? Rex Walker died May 20 after the trail vehicle he was using somehow veered off the steep cliff that abuts the 1½-mile trail from the visitors center to the series of caves at this Utah County attraction visited annually by as many as 80,000 people. Walker's death came a day after an 11-year-old girl on a school field trip experienced, and survived, a 100-foot fall from the trail. There have been five serious falls over the past seven years, according to Denis Davis, superintendent of Timpanogos Cave National Monument. In September 2006, a young girl stepped off the trail after being distracted. Two men, including a visitor from Russia, tried to save the girl, but the Russian man fell over a cliff and died. "We invite people here. We ask them to pay money to do a tour and that gives us a responsibility to make them as safe as possible," Davis said...more

Baby elk left at Forest Service office

Someone left a baby elk on the U.S. Forest Service's doorstep in La Grande in northeastern Oregon. Officials told The (La Grande) Observer that the baby elk probably was not abandoned, because mother elk regularly leave their babies hiding in tall grass or brush while they lead off a threat, such as a coyote, then return. "Removing a young animal from the wild greatly reduces its chances of long term survival in the wild," said Michelle Dennehy from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. "Never pick up or move a young animal unless you know for certain it was orphaned because you saw its mother die." Dennehy said ODFW returned the calf to an area near an elk herd in hopes that the calf will be fostered by another cow elk. AP

Song Of The Day #324

Ranch Radio today will introduce you to Emmett Miller, a black-face minstrel singer. His career peaked in the mid-twenties and was for the most part over by the early thirties.

He is of interest to us because of his hit songs and his influence on performers like Hank Williams, Bob Wills & Tommy Duncan and Eddy Arnold.

Miller first recorded Lovesick Blues in 1925. Three years later he recorded the song again and added the falsetto and yodeling which had such an influence on Hank Williams.

Here are Miller's 1928 version and Hank Williams version recorded 20 years later.

My version of Miller comes from a 1969 album that was issued for jazz collectors because of who was in Miller's band named the Georgia Crackers (Tommy & Jimmy Dorsey, Eddy Lang & Gene Krupa). Many of Miller's recordings are now available on a 20 track CD titled The Minstrel Man from Georgia.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Desert storm: Huge cloud of sand descends on Chinese village

Like a scene from a Hollywood disaster movie, a towering cloud of sand dwarfs the rows of uniform houses as it descends on a small village in central China. Residents hid inside their homes with their windows and doors locked shut as the dust storm swept through the region advancing 70ft a minute...more

Roadless rule stands for another year, ag chief decides

The Obama administration Friday extended for another year the moratorium on most logging and mining in millions of acres of remote and rugged backcountry sections of national forests. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said from Washington, D.C., he wants to continue to give decisions on projects in roadless areas a higher level of scrutiny while waiting for federal courts to resolve the legal issues. The idea of preserving roadless areas for wildlife habitat and clean water came out of the Clinton administration. The Bush administration tried to open them up to more logging and mining by giving states control. Conservation groups and the timber industry both welcomed the moratorium due to the continued questions over the legal standing of the policy. Once those are resolved, conservationists would like to see continued protections for roadless areas, while the timber industry wants more thinning projects to reduce wildfire danger and insect infestations. National forests in 39 states have a total of 58.5 million acres of roadless areas that have been formally placed on an inventory...more

Ore: 3rd wolf-killed calf; rancher has kill permit

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has confirmed the third wolf-killed domestic calf this month in northeast Oregon's Wallowa County. Spokeswoman Michelle Dennehy said Friday the kill was reported Thursday. Earlier this week, state officials issued permits to five area ranchers, allowing them to shoot wolves caught in the act of attacking livestock. 1 of the permits went to the rancher whose calf was killed Thursday. The Imnaha wolf pack has been in the area since spring. Dennehy says agencies and livestock producers have tried nonlethal deterrents such as removing any livestock carcasses, aerial hazing of wolves and watching livestock more closely. Wolves have been spreading through Oregon since crossing into the state from Idaho, where they were re-established by the federal government in the 1990s. AP

Charges against feds considered in deaths of wild horses

A Nevada district attorney is considering whether to file criminal charges against federal land managers who are accused by animal rights activists of mistreating wild horses in a roundup. Churchill County Sheriff Richard Ingram said his department began an investigation May 20 after an activist filed a complaint alleging that mustangs were abused and neglected at a holding facility. U.S. Bureau of Land Management officials confirmed that 83 of some 1,900 horses brought there in a government roundup have died. Activists unsuccessfully sued to halt the roundup of the animals from the range north of Reno, branding it as unnecessary and inhumane. The BLM maintains the Calico Mountains Complex roundup was necessary because of overpopulation of the herd, which is harming native wildlife and the range and threatening the mustangs with starvation...more

Wild horse sanctuary proposed

A Nevada rancher and a wild horse advocacy group have proposed creating a mustang sanctuary in the desert hills 160 miles north of Reno and have asked the Bureau of Land Management to release 1,700 captive horses into the sanctuary's care. The proposal comes from the nonprofit Return to Freedom, which runs a horse sanctuary near Lompoc, Calif., and the Soldier Meadows Ranch, a resort and cattle operation 65 miles north of Gerlach. The proposed public-private partnership would hold most of the mustangs on 5,200 acres of private, fenced pastures around the Soldier Meadows property. Jim Kudrna, owner of the Soldier Meadows Ranch and Resort, said if the government approves the sanctuary plan, his cattle operation will be changed to be compatible with a horse sanctuary. "We are also planning to bring in some historic breeds of livestock such as oxen, draft horses and other animals in addition to our high-quality beef cattle," he said. "Visitors will be able to see how the livestock have changed over the last 150 years. It should be a fun thing for the history-minded folks who visit our destination." The proposal suggests a reimbursement rate of $350 per wild horse per year, $131 less per animal than the BLM is now paying for mustangs in long-term holding facilities...more

Fish invaders causing dramatic downturn in birds

Biologist Linda Beck stands in water halfway to her knees, gazing out on a lake strangely empty of waterfowl. Cormorants, pelicans, gulls and terns by the millions once wheeled and shrieked above Malheur Lake while ducks bobbed and dove for insects. Now, the lake and sky are eerily empty. "I mean, there are no birds," said the 35-year-old fish biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, splashing to dry ground on the north shore on a recent afternoon. "We still should be seeing some birds." There's a one-word explanation for the dramatic downturn in waterfowl on the shallow 50,000-acre lake 30 miles south of Burns: carp. Their ranks have exploded over the course of decades -- and nothing, not even a succession of wholesale poisonings, has beaten them back for long. Carp out-compete the waterfowl for Sago Pondweed, aquatic invertebrates, insects and other food. They also root on the lake bottom, stirring up sediment and diminishing the sunlight necessary for the growth of lake grasses. "It's a giant carp pond," said Bob Sallinger , spokesman for the Audubon Society of Portland. "That lake is basically a dead lake."...more

Approval of pipeline delayed

Construction of a $3 billion gas pipeline from Wyoming through northern Utah and Nevada to Oregon has been pushed back amid work to protect cultural sites and endangered species. Houston-based El Paso Corp. initially hoped to begin work on the 42-inch Ruby Pipeline this spring. The federal Bureau of Land Management said it hopes to approve the project in early July, after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission works out agreements with each state along the route to protect historic and cultural sites. The pipeline will run 675 miles from Opal in western Wyoming to Malin, Ore., crossing parts of Rich, Box Elder and Cache counties as well as Nevada. FERC has drafted agreements with the state historic preservation offices in Utah and Wyoming and should have agreements for the other two states soon, said Mark Mackiewicz, manager of the project for the BLM in Utah. Meanwhile, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working on a plan to protect endangered species. The BLM can approve the project following approval of the various agencies, Mackiewicz said, perhaps in July. Some environmental groups oppose the pipeline. The route crosses too many undeveloped lands when the pipeline could be built along highways and other developed corridors, said Katie Fite, with Hailey, Idaho-based Western Wastern Watersheds Project...more

Anti-whaling activist pleads guilty but denies assault

New Zealand anti-whaling activist Peter Bethune appeared in a Tokyo court this morning facing five charges related to his boarding of a Japanese whaling ship in the Antarctic earlier this year. Bethune is charged with trespass, vandalism, obstructing commercial activity, being armed with a weapon and, most seriously, assault causing injury. The assault charge stems from allegations Bethune threw tubs of rancid butter onto one of the whaling ships and in the process slightly injured a Japanese crewman. Bethune pleaded guilty to four of the charges but denied the assault. If convicted he faces up to 15 years in jail. The charges arose after Bethune tried to make a citizen's arrest on the whaling ship's captain and was also trying to serve him with a multi-million-dollar damage bill. Bethune was the captain of the powerboat, the Ady Gil, that was destroyed in a confrontation with the Shonan Maru 2 in January...more

Ex-BLM manager who was charged with sex abuse commits suicide

A former field manager of the Bureau of Land Management's Kanab office who was scheduled to stand trial next month on charges of child sex abuse shot and killed himself Thursday after police arrived at his door with a warrant for a new charge. Rex Lee Smart, 60, was charged Thursday with witness tampering. Kanab police arrived at his house to serve an arrest warrant and a search warrant for his computer, on the belief that he had sent e-mails to a witness. "Officers made contact with Mr. Smart and advised him why they were there. Mr. Smart stepped into an adjacent office in the home to retrieve his shoes. After only seconds, Mr. Smart was able to gain access to a handgun and fire one round, hitting himself," according to a statement from Kanab police...more

Backers say wilderness proposal ready for Congress

Supporters of the proposed Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act — a bill that would designate approximately 86,000 acres of new wilderness and protect an additional 218,000 acres from most new road construction along the Rocky Mountain Front — say the measure is ready for congressional consideration. However, critics of the proposal said the measure falls far short of adequately protecting what many people believe are some the nation's last best wildlands. Last fall, the Coalition to Protect the Rocky Mountain Front, the group spearheading the measure, set out to ease concerns of interested stakeholders by holding a series of public meetings around the region. The group hosted meetings in Great Falls, Helena, Choteau and Augusta to explain the details of the measure to the public and solicit feedback. Supporters said those efforts culminated in a re-worked draft of the bill that attempts to strike a balance between the concerns of area ranchers, landowners, conservationists, sportsmen and outdoor recreationists...more

20th annual Silver City rodeo kicks off

Here come the cowboys. They're from New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, Wyoming and California. Professional rodeo riders from all over the West will ride into Silver City today to take part in Silver City's 20th annual Southwest Horseman's Association PRCA Rodeo. "Rodeo is a major part of Silver City's heritage," said organizer Pat Bearup. "It's also a cultural thing all over the West. There's been a rodeo in Grant County for the past 100 years." Bearup is chairman of the rodeo for the Southwest Horseman's Association and vice president of the association, and has been organizing the rodeo for the past five years. It takes a year of planning, a core group of about 10, and about 100 volunteers to plan and pull off each year's rodeo, he said. "We couldn't do it without them.". About 10,000 people will come to the rodeo over the next four days. They'll come from all over the Southwest - and from further - with about half being from the Southwest region. Money raised goes to putting on next year's rodeo, making capital improvements to the arena and to charitable donations...more

Westward ho for Amish

Custer County Commissioner Jim Austin knew life was changing in his little corner of rural Colorado when they had to put up buggy crossing signs on Highway 69. "This is a farming and ranching community. We're used to our slow-moving vehicles. But a buggy?" the 68-year-old with a flowing white ponytail and turquoise earring asked. "Now that was something different." The unlikely arrival of the Amish to this former frontier town, population 560, was a gradual thing. First, there was the occasional horse-drawn wagon Austin would pass as he drove his school bus route. Then there was the growing number of men in long beards and women in crisp, white prayer caps who came to town for supplies. Before long, the supermarket installed a hitching post. It all started in the spring of 2002 when Enos Yoder, an Amish hay farmer and horse trainer from Iowa, first laid eyes on the green valley at the foot of the spectacular Sangre de Cristo Mountains three hours south of Denver. Yoder had come to deliver horses to a rancher and couldn't get the isolated, unspoiled beauty out of his head. His Amish community in Bloomfield, Iowa, had begun to feel too cramped for his tastes. The West, with its lure of cheaper land and open spaces, was calling. The Amish population in Colorado went from zero in 2002 to more than 400 in 2008, the last time anyone counted. More arrive each month. "I'm kind of partial to them because they are stewards of the land, which is consistent with my own heritage," said Austin, who is Native American. Coexistence is just a shrug in these parts. "They play by the rules, and they pay their taxes. They are hard-working, polite, quiet people who are excellent neighbors. What's not to like?"...more

Do fence me in

Sitting along a lonely stretch of highway in the Texas Panhandle, McLean isn't so small that you'd miss this hamlet in the blink of an eye. It would take probably five or six blinks to blow through this town, which has never recovered from being bypassed by Interstate 40. McLean's heyday coincided with Route 66's, when a seemingly endless stream of vehicles sped through. Each day, thousands of motorists drove by a large cinder-block building on the south side of the highway. Inside, a mostly female work force turned out brassieres for Sears. The bra factory shut down in 1970, a presage of the hard times that would come with the opening of the new four-lane several years later. "I think probably for the town of McLean, Route 66 being closed was worse," recalls Delbert Trew, a retired rancher. "Within a month or two after it closed, McLean lost 16 businesses. They were mostly filling stations and garages." The town limped along, and civic leaders such as Trew realized the battered economy needed help. "We didn't have anything to draw people, to advertise or brag about," Trew says of those lean years. He settled on a museum, which opened in the bra factory in 1990 with a theme so obscure that it stumped a contestant — a Texan, no less — on "Jeopardy." "The Devil's Rope Museum in McLean, Texas, is devoted to the history of this material," read the Daily Double answer. The contestant just shook his head. Host Alex Trebek provided the correct question: "What is barbed wire?" Barbed wire? You don't need to be on a game show to pose that question incredulously. Yet in the last 20 years, more than 100,000 people have ventured off I-40 and into McLean to visit this shrine to spiked strings of steel...more

It's All Trew: 'The West' full of myth, mystery

If I may squander a guess, I believe the term "the West" has generated more words or volumes of words than any other subject with which I am familiar. In reality the West is like a chameleon, always changing colors. It can be a geographical location like a territory, state, town or maybe a ranch. Sometimes it is merely a direction, like "out there" and at other times it means "anywhere west" of where the speaker or writer is standing at the moment. To many it is a period of time, like an hour, a year or maybe a generation. It can be a destination, a place to go to, or a place to be from. Others consider it a goal to be reached or the reason for failing. The West has been called a deity like a heavenly place or can be compared to hell. It can be a renewal of life or for many in the past, it was the end. No doubt there is a western direction existing on every continent, in every country, ocean and location in the world. But, only in America does the term have such distinctive form and fabulous myth and mystery. Of interest, many believe this vast and sometimes vague period of time only lasted 35 to 40 years. Others believe the West lasted only from the gold strike at Sutter's Mill until the massacre at Wounded Knee. Those of a cowboy-bent-of-mind believe the West is limited to the heyday of the cowboy which only lasted for 30 years or so...more

Song Of The Day #323

Ranch Radio missed swinging Monday because of the holiday. However we're sure after a three day holiday you need something to get your heart started. So we'll have a toe-tapping Tuesday with Mike Auldridge playing Swing Scene.

The tune is on his great, 13 track CD Eight String Swing.

Stolen oil fueling Mexico's drug war

Mexico's violent drug cartels are getting into the oil business, tapping into underground pipelines and siphoning off tons of crude, gasoline and other fuels, some of which is ending up in the United States. The stolen fuel has created a huge income stream, as much as $715 million a year, that gangs can use to buy weapons, bribe officials and bankroll their bloody battle against the Mexican government, experts warn. They sell the fuel through their own gasoline stations; sell it to unscrupulous manufacturers or trucking firms in Mexico; use it to pump up profits at front companies owned by the cartels; or sell it to foreign refiners on the international black market. Last year, thieves stole an average of 8,432 barrels of petroleum products each day, enough to fill 39 tanker trucks. The thieves are leaving a trail of environmental devastation, with broken pipelines poisoning farm fields and leaking into Mexican rivers...more

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

Growing old with Willie Nelson

by Julie Carter

Haircuts don't generally make national news, but when Willie Nelson's braids hit the cutting room floor this week, newsfeeds went rampant with the report.

His fans have come to expect a touch of eccentricity from the legendary crooner, but he pulled off a shocker this time.

However, there is a generation of followers who find it somewhat humorous because we recall when Willie's hair was banker-short and shoe-black dark, and he wore a suit and tie to the stage. Tell that to a Willie fan under the age of 40 and a resounding "Nooooo, never," is their response.

Of course at the time, gas was 25-cents a gallon and America was giving birth to the decade of the "hippie."

He was only 7 when he wrote his first song, "Family Bible" and sold it for $50.

Turning 77 last month, Willie can again say "Funny how time slips away," another of the many songs he wrote that someone else made famous. In that same time period, he penned Faron Young's "Hello Walls" and Patsy Cline's rendition of "Crazy."

His gritty, roadhouse sound didn't fit into the traditional Nashville music style in the 1960s and it wasn't until he ditched Tennessee for Texas in the '70s, that his unique brand of outlaw country music took off.

Wearing a little more hair, looking somewhat like the Beatles-gone-to-Austin, Willie launched album after album defining himself in both lyric and title, like "Shotgun Willie" and "The Red Headed Stranger."

In a decade when Glen Campbell and Bobby Goldsboro were crooning the softer side of life, Willie, along with the like-minded and hard-partying Waylon Jennings, made an indelible mark on the Austin music scene.

He took it by storm when he teamed up with Waylon Jennings, Jessie Colter and Tompall Glaser for the Outlaw albums, answering a call to a honky-tonk era that had crossed over the rural-urban boundaries and shouted for some boot-stompin', whiskey-drinkin' music.

In the '80s, Willie sought to recreate that success by making more albums with industry greats.

The "Honeysuckle Rose" sound track album for the movie of the same name was a rowdy rendition of Willie's life "On the Road Again."

Willie and his down-home Texas buddies, including Western-swing fiddle legend Johnny Gimble, songwriter Hank Cochran and the sultry songbird Emmy Lou Harris gave the album a good-timin' vibe that has people, still today, humming the signature song every time they pull out on the highway.

Willie cranked out al-bums with Waylon Jennings, Ray Price, Roger Miller, Faron Young, Hank Snow, Webb Pierce and Kris Kristofferson.

With Merle Haggard in the "Pancho and Lefty" album, the duo gave musical notes to their bad-boy personas with a series of boozer-loser ballads that packed a wallop right up to the "Reasons To Quit" and "No Reason To Quit" double play.

Dubbed the "supergroup" of them all was The Highwaymen, Willie's 10-year gig with Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash. These four legends of outlaw country music recorded three major label albums and a number one hit penned by Kristofferson, called, of course, "Highwayman".

Willie has written more than 2,500 songs and recorded hundreds of albums. Aside from his brilliance as a song writer and musician, he's funny and charming with a charisma that emanates from the very core of his powerful and oftentimes rebellious nature.

From the 1985 Farm Aid benefit concerts that raised money for American farmers, to the Willie-Aid album, "Who'll Buy My Memories?" made to help him pay off his IRS debts, to his confession of smoking pot before his appearance on "The Larry King Show", Willie continued to perpetuate his personification of the country rebel.

Gray, grizzled and without the signature braids, Willie's unmistakable voice, the one that Nashville turned its back on a half a century ago, is still without equal in its uni-quely "just Willie" way.

The evolution of Willie. You don't have to be a Willie Nelson fan to recognize the legend in his story.

But it seems now, that it was only yesterday
Gee, ain't it funny, how time slips away.

Julie can be reached for comment at

It's The Pitts: On The Horns Of A Dilemma

by Lee Pitts

Auction markets solve a lot of our problems. Not only do they provide the best form of price discovery, they also give us a place to send our waspy critters. Like weary parents who celebrate when their bratty kids are old enough to send to school, (where they become the problems of some poor teacher), we celebrate when we finally get our wild cows corralled and the Gooseneck door is closed. When that trailer door is next opened the crazy cows, belligerent bulls and horny heifers become the problem of the courageous folks at the auction market. In many instances our bad actors do far more damage to the sale barn facilities than they bring in commission.

While cattlemen in northern climes may laugh at the lop earred, multicolored, horned cows of the great southwest, be advised that they are that way for a reason. These cattle have more enemies than their northern cousins and they use their horns as a weapon against pumas and people. Their hides are mobile air conditioners and their ears remind us that in many parts of cow country the best cow is a cross between two distinct species: the Bos Taurus and Bos Indicus. Laugh at their ears if you want ye northern cowpokes but plop down one of your good looking, hornless beasts in Fort Huachuca, Arizona, in the middle of summer and you’ll see what I mean.

Having said all that, it doesn’t mean that these cattle can’t be a challenge at the auction market. One of the most important services that sale barns provide is sorting our cattle into uniform lots for the buyers. Many times I have sent a mixed load of stockers to the local auction and when they were sold I hardly recognized them. I quickly learned as a young rancher that one talented person with a sorting stick may bring your biggest premium of all. But the person doing the sorting might get killed in the process!

Years ago I got to a sale the day before and went to hang out at the auction market where we’d be dispersing a big herd the next day. Being aware of my vast judging team experience and my encyclopedic knowledge of cattle the sale manager asked if I’d be willing to help, as he was a little short handed in the labor department. I puffed out my chest, said I’d be glad to share my knowledge and was promptly told to, “Get on a gate, open it when I tell you to and try hard not to mess things up.”

The alleys that day were no place for a coward and I was put over the fence several times. The cattle weren’t crazy, just a tad bit independent, I’d say. I have one memorable cow to thank for introducing me to the solar system during those festivities. I am told it’s quite rare for anyone to see as many constellations of stars as I did that day, especially at three o’clock in the afternoon! That cow also taught me a valuable lesson: never get to a sale a day early. If you must, stay away from the auction yard.

The next day, after we had sold the cows, we sold the bulls. We ran them in as groups and on the very first pair the buyer wanted to avail himself of buyer’s choice. This put the auctioneer on the horns of a dilemma. Due to space limitations out back we’d expected to sell the bulls in groups but this guy was the biggest cow buyer and the auctioneer didn’t want to offend him. So he caved in which meant the ring men had to sort the one bull off in the ring and in doing so they put themselves in grave danger. Emphasis on the word “grave.” Then we sold the second bull to the same guy for $25 more! Sometimes it works that way.

The audience was like a bullfight crowd, seeming to love every second of the ring men’s dance with death that day. After the sale I asked one of the brave ring men if he wasn’t a little upset at the crowd for being so bloodthirsty. He looked up to the sky where a band of buzzards were making their daily rounds and said, “Those people on the seats came to see a show and they are just like those buzzards in many ways. They don’t care if the ring men or the cattle die, just as long as something does!”

Liagra - Obama's favorite drug

Dairy cow slaughter program announced

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) announced its tenth herd retirement program since 2003, accepting bids from May 28 through June 25. CWT, funded by dairy cooperatives and individual dairy farmers, said the decision was made after reviewing economic benchmarks including cull rates and cull cow prices. The most recent prior retirement program was conducted in the fall of 2009. "With beef prices very strong, and replacement cow and springer prices still relatively low, CWT has determined that it will consider bids up to, but not to exceed, $3.75 per hundredweight (of milk production)," said Jerry Kozak, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation, which manages CWT, in a news release. As was the case in 2009's herd retirement rounds, CWT has no set target for the volume of milk or the number of cows to be removed in this herd retirement...more

USDA wants to increase food stamp participation

The United States' food stamp program, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), is currently used by 39.7 million people each month, according to a US Department of Agriculture (USDA) news release. This number is likely to rise as the USDA is trying to increase participation in the SNAP program as part of the Obama Administration's larger goal reducing hunger and improving nutrition nationwide. According to the USDA news release, among the new resources designed to increase participation is a new sign retailers will display that proclaims "'We Welcome SNAP Benefits."' Additionally, the USDA is putting in place a SNAP retailer locator, which is an online search tool designed to help recipients locate the retailers closest to them that accept SNAP benefits. Among the retailers that will post the sign, according to Alan Bjerga's article in Businessweek online, is Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which is the largest grocer in the nation. Others joining Wal-Mart are Safeway Inc. and Kroger Co...more

Song Of The Day #322

Ranch Radio tries to not repeat songs, but today's Gospel tune seems to fit perfectly with our weeks tribute to Memorial Day.

The song is Mother I Thank You For The Bible You Gave by the Louvin Brothers.

You'll find the tune on their 8 CD box set Close Harmony on the Bear Family label.

Armed Mexican Pirates Terrorize Texas Lake

Mexican drug cartel pirates have made their debut on Falcon Lake in Zapata County, Texas. Texans have reported seeing armed boatmen on the lake, which hosts some of the largest bass fishing tournaments in the U.S. and shares a border with the northern Mexican state of Tamaulipas. Not unlike the infamous Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden, pirates on this lake have reportedly wielded high-powered rifles and automatic weapons. After several incidents in the past month, including armed robbery and attempted armed robbery, the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Zapata County Sheriff's Department are urging all boaters to stay out of Mexican waters. (The international border is in the middle of the lake.) "It's piracy," said Zapata County Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez. "It may not be on the high seas, but they are taking advantage of people on this lake by threatening and robbing them."...more

Illegal immigrants gravitate toward Arizona border

Along a rugged stretch of the Mexican border here in southern Arizona, U.S. authorities captured 687 illegal immigrants in a 24-hour period last week, three times the number captured near San Diego. During the past eight months, agents have apprehended 168,000 migrants along this sector of the border. The border crossers are so determined, and so impervious to a long-running buildup of federal agents and technology, that few here think President Obama's recent decision to dispatch 1,200 National Guard soldiers and $500 million will make much difference. Nogales is the heart of a 262-mile stretch of border defined by sharp rises, steep ravines and brutal desert heat. As border controls are tightened elsewhere, including through the construction of a border fence in parts of Arizona, California, Texas and New Mexico, Mexican migrants and smugglers have gravitated to the 90,000-square-mile area known by U.S. Customs and Border Protection as the Tucson Sector. "When you plug a hole in the wall, the water looks for another spot to flow through. Arizona is that spot," said Nogales police chief Jeff Kirkham, who reported that immigrants are "going over the wall, going through the wall or through tunnels." Others try to make their way though the remote desert where the high fence stops. Once across the border, they face a daunting trek that can stretch 30 miles or more in heat approaching 100 degrees. Agents staff checkpoints and crisscross the area, supported by millions of dollars worth of sensors, cameras, surveillance aircraft and computer technology. Since 2006, staffing of the Tucson Sector has increased 30 percent, to about 3,200 officers. But immigrants from across the globe keep coming over the border -- alone or in groups, sometimes guided by smugglers, sometimes arriving at official crossings neatly dressed and with fake papers. On a typical day, nearly 1 million people cross from Mexico into the United States, according to U.S. government figures. Roughly 270,000 vehicles cross the Southwest border every 24 hours, along with about 57,000 truck, rail and sea containers. Sixty percent of the Mexican fruit and vegetables entering the United States comes through Nogales...more

Sheriff deputies to accompany livestock scale inspectors

Livestock scale inspection begins July 26, in New Mexico, by New Mexico Department of Agriculture inspectors certifying scales. Given concern about border safety, inspectors in the Luna, Hidalgo and Grant County areas will be escorted by sheriff's deputies. Area members of the New Mexico Cattlegrowers Association met Wednesday night at La Fonda Restaurant to discuss concerns. "They are no less safe this year than last year, but the murder of Robert Krentz has brought it more into focus," said Caren Cowan, association executive director, said of the inspectors. There are 30 or more scales in the corridor -- south of Interstate 10 from Las Cruces to the Arizona border. Through the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security, law enforcement in the border area receives Operation Stonegarden money, partnering law enforcement with Border Patrol. "We're working with the Livestock Board and where they're using people to certify scales for shipping cattle, we'll be sending deputies so they can concentrate on their work instead of worrying about security," Luna County Sheriff Raymond Cobos said. Deputies work overtime paid through the Stonegarden program, so they won't be taken from regular patrols to escort inspectors. "It'll be good for deputies to get an idea of where these operations are. A lot of these are areas where we don't normally patrol," Cobos said. Cobos will be liaison/coordinator with the Hidalgo and Grant County sheriff's offices and the inspectors on this program...more