Friday, May 20, 2011

Mountain lion killed after being spotted in Ruidoso residential area

A cougar was shot and killed by a New Mexico Game and Fish Department officer after being spotted in a Ruidoso residential neighborhood on Saturday. Officials were unable, after several tries, to chase the cougar out when it was reportedly found outside a Ruidoso home just several blocks from the White Mountain Schools campus. "We're seeing more and more lions show up in different towns throughout the state," said Leon Redman, the southeast area chief with the New Mexico Game and Fish Department. "In this particular case, the lion didn't show fear to humans," Redman said. "It was run off three different times and kept on returning." Phone calls and reports of mountain lions or other wildlife in populated areas go to the Game and Fish Department. Redman said there is "no doubt" that more than one mountain lion has been in Ruidoso in recent months. The department received a total of seven calls regarding cougars in the Ruidoso, Alto and Capitan areas in December 2010. In 2011, however, a Ruidoso-area supervisor for the department reported that so far 25 calls regarding cougars and six for bears have been logged. Other incidents regarding mountain lions include two attacks in separate instances, one resulting in the death of a Silver City-area man, in 2008...more

HT:  New Mexicans for Proactive Wildlife Predator Management

Congress sees NM border wilderness bill again

A bill to designate wilderness on public lands, including in the Organ Mountains, was re-introduced Thursday in Congress, New Mexico's senators announced. The legislation, S. 1024, has a different title but is the same version of a Do a Ana County wilderness bill that expired in the waning days of the 111th Congress last December, said Jude McCartin, spokeswoman for U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M. U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., also is sponsoring the most recent legislation, which would create some 241,000 acres of wilderness and another 100,000 acres of national conservation area in Do a Ana County. Currently no wilderness exists in the county. Bingaman, who plans to retire at the end of 2012, chairs the Senate's natural resources panel, which vets public lands bills. Thursday's legislation, called the Organ Mountains - Do a Ana County Conservation and Protection Act, will remain active through the close of the 112th Congress, also at the end of 2012. Under Bingaman and Udall's bill, wilderness designations would cover three main areas: the Potrillo Mountains in the southwest part of the county; the Organ Mountains west of Las Cruces; and a region around the Robledo Mountains, Broad Canyon and the Sierra de Las Uvas Mountains, located northwest of Las Cruces...more

Looks like Senator Bingaman and his lapdog, little Tommy You-Dull, will make another run at this.

I believe the legislation as a stand alone bill would have problems passing the Senate. I'm absolutely positive it will not pass the House. That leaves only one option - an Omnibus Public Lands Bill. They will package this bill with many others and hope they can generate enough support to pass it. Most of the action will probably come next year as the legislative session is closing down and the retiring Bingaman will lobby to get these bills through as part of his legacy.

It appears to be essentially the same bill that died in the last Congress, which means it is inadequate on border security and flood control, will harm the historic ranches in the area, and is a threat to the future growth of Las Cruces and Dona Ana County.

The text of the bill is not yet available from the Library of Congress, so I will withhold any specific comments until I can read the bill.

It's very apparent that Senator Bingaman realizes the Border Security issue is an impediment to his passing the bill. Take a look at the joint press release issued by the Senators here. Border Security is in the title, the release contains 662 words, and 371 of those words are about Border Security.

Line officers in the Border Patrol and retired Border Patrol officials will continue to oppose this wilderness bill for public safety and national security reasons.

In the end, we will see which is more important to Congress - the safety of the public or Senator Bingaman's "legacy".

Escalating Drug Violence in Northern Mexico Overwhelms Authorities

Northern Mexico’s drug war continues to claim victims, with more than 360 bodies discovered in mass graves just last week. In a separate incident, 13 people were killed in a shootout between Mexican marines and members of the Las Zetas drug cartel. Meanwhile, Mexico City announced that it has begun extradition proceedings against the Las Zetas cell leader accused in the February slaying of a U.S. federal agent. It plans to send the cartel leader to the United States for trial. The situation in Northern Mexico is devolving into chaos as unstructured, criminal cartels of thugs fight for control of the lucrative Northern Mexico drug route into the United States. The Mexican government is powerless to end the violence, which continues to escalate and creep toward the U.S. border. Overpowered authorities basically have abandoned the area, recognizing their inability to restore any sort of order to the area. More than 40,000 people have died in drug violence in Mexico since 2006, when President Felipe Calderon declared war on the drug cartels. Calderon has deployed 50,000 troops in an effort to quell the violence, with virtually no success. The situation now includes almost daily skirmishes between rival drug cartels and between cartels and authorities, including shootouts, grenade attacks, and kidnappings. Armed groups from all sides roam the streets of many northern Mexico towns, making them unsafe for residents...more

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Desert Pupfish Forces Border Agents to Patrol on Foot

Federal agents must abandon their vehicles and chase drug smugglers and illegal aliens on foot through 40 acres near the Mexican border because of a pond that is home to the endangered desert pupfish. It’s part of the agreement between the Homeland Security and Interior departments on how best to protect the ecosystem, frustrating lawmakers who say it also prevents agents from conducting routine patrols. "Drug cartels and other criminals could care less about these so-called memos of understanding, or whether they are trampling through a protected species" habitat, Rep. Rob Bishop (R.-Utah) told HUMAN EVENTS. “They would just as soon eat an endangered species as protect it,” Bishop said. The two-inch, bluish pupfish lives in the Quitobaquito Pond and spring channel in the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument west of Tucson, Ariz. Border Patrol agents are no longer allowed to drive motorized vehicles into the area unless the life or safety of an officer or cross-border violator (CBV) is in danger. “USBP may access any portion of Quitobaquito by foot or on horseback at any time necessary to patrol or to pursue and apprehend cross-border violators,” the memo says. There are strict conditions set on use of the horses as well, which must be given a “weed-free-feed” so that its feces do not contaminate the ecosystem of the park. If the horses are actually kept there, the Border Patrol must “avoid contamination of ground and surface waters by removing animal waste from areas where horses are housed and disposing of it at an appropriate waste facility,” the document says...more

These Normandy-style barriers just ten feet from the Mexico border were erected by the National Park Service to block border patrol vehicles from pursuing illegal aliens into the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. Agents are allowed to pursue on horseback, but only if the animal's diet consists of weed-free feed so that its feces cannot harm the ecosystem.

Species Extinction Rates Grossly Overestimated

A group of researchers agrees that Earth is facing a mass extinction event, but they are daring to overturn dogma on how fast species are disappearing. The researchers say they have discovered why current estimates are overblown, and they recommend a different way to calculate the rates. "We need to go back to revisit ... how those numbers are derived," Fangliang He, of Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China, said in a press briefing with fellow study researcher Stephen Hubbell of the University of California at Los Angeles. It is very difficult to determine the number of species that are going extinct, since in most cases it's hard for researchers to know when the species is down to its last remaining individual. Most estimates are derived from the rate at which members of a species would be discovered during a survey of their habitat. Researchers estimate extinction rate by simply reversing this species discovery rate in its habitat: The more habitat you lose, the fewer species you'd expect to discover. To prove a species is extinct, however, one has to find the last remaining example of that animal. And Hubbell and He explain that the amount of habitat needed to find the last individual is much larger than the amount needed to find the first. In fact, the researchers mathematically prove in their paper that the habitat loss required for extinction is always larger, usually much larger — up to 160 percent — than the area required for discovery of a species. The study was published in the May 19 issue of the journal Nature...more

Senate Energy Committee Considers Bills Introduced by New Mexico Senators

Three bills written by Senators Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall to benefit New Mexico were the subject of a Senate hearing today. A hearing marks the first step toward Congressional passage. One of the bills the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands considered today was the Río Grande del Norte Conservation Establishment Act, which would protect approximately 236,000 acres of public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management in Taos and Río Arriba counties by designating a combination of “conservation” and “wilderness” areas. The vast majority of the land – 214,600 acres – would be managed as a conservation area. Two other areas – the 13,400-acre Cerro del Yuta on the east-side and the 8,000-acre Río San Antonio in the west – will be managed as wilderness. The subcommittee also considered a bill Bingaman and Udall introduced to allow New Mexico to spend federal funds to cleanup abandoned uranium mines. Finally, the hearing examined legislation authored by the New Mexico senators to expand a program that provides young people with job opportunities, while helping to repair and restore the country’s public lands. The Public Lands Service Corps Act of 2011 expands on the existing Public Lands Corps by expanding the scope of corps projects to reflect new challenges such as climate change. Additionally, the bill would add incentives to attract new participants, especially from underrepresented populations, and pave the way for increased funding...more

NM Senator Tom You-Dull said:
“With today's hearing before Senator Bingaman's Energy Committee, we’ve made important progress in our work to pass three key pieces of legislation that will help protect New Mexico's people and culture,” Udall said. “Moving forward, we'll continue pushing for final passage by the full Senate.”
Since, according to You-Dull, these bill are "key",  I'm sure they will each get an individual vote on the Senate floor.

No, with Senator You-Dull, as with any politician in over their head, you have to pay more attention to what he doesn't say.  In this case, the plan is to bundle these "key" bills into one big package of bills for the Senate to vote on.  In other words, another Omnibus Public Lands Bill.

It's entirely possible Senator You-Dull can't pronounce the word Omnibus.  Yeah, that must be why he's not telling us the whole story.

National forest rules face controversial overhaul

What would be the first major overhaul since the Reagan administration of rules for planning the nation's 193 million acres of national forests and grasslands is entering the homestretch -- comments are now in, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture is promising a final rule by the end of the year. Yet considerable disagreement persists over how thoroughly the U.S. Forest Service should be planning to protect viable wildlife populations and watersheds that, originating deep in federal forests, provide half the water supply to residents of the West. The Forest Service in its proposed new rules aims at an "adaptive land management" strategy that will allow managers of the nation's 155 national forests to adjust for impacts such as climate change and the need to use forests as resources for not only timber but recreation, water supply, wildlife habitat, mining, wilderness and as building blocks of entire ecosystems. The rules focus not just on timber harvest, but forest restoration...more

Top scientists say Obama's Forest Rules leave water, wildlife at risk

More than 400 scientists, lawmakers and the nation's top conservation leaders today asked the Obama administration to set clear standards for water and wildlife protection in sweeping new rules that would apply to 193 million acres of national forest lands. The call comes at the end of a 90-day public review period, along with more than 300,000 comments from people across the country urging the administration to develop a stronger policy. A chief complaint raised by the scientists and environment groups is the absence of concrete standards for forest managers to follow, such as a minimum buffer of undisturbed land around rivers and streams or a mandate to maintain healthy fish and wildlife populations and their habitat. The leaders of conservation groups also noted that in its fine print, the rule lacks a clear commitment to apply the best available science. "Without measurable standards and effective monitoring, forest planning will too often fail to comply with the broader purpose and intent of the National Forest System and the National Forest Management Act," said a letter from 405 scientists. Last month, an analysis from the Society for Conservation Biology, an international scientists' association, raised some of the same concerns...more

Helicopter hazing of bison in Montana draws lawsuit

An environmental group is suing the U.S. Forest Service over plans to use a helicopter to drive bison from Montana into Yellowstone National Park. The Alliance for the Wild Rockies filed the lawsuit Wednesday in federal court in Missoula. State and federal agencies plan to start hazing up to 300 bison into the park next week to make way for livestock in the West Yellowstone area. The Helena-based alliance claims using a low-flying helicopter in the effort could harm grizzly bears in the area by causing them to panic and flee. Last week, the group filed a 60-day notice that it intended to sue over alleged violations of the Endangered Species Act. Wednesday's suit was based on different environmental laws that do not require advance notice of litigation. AP

EHV-1: Suspect horses in Albuquerque & Hobbs

The Office of the State Veterinarian is issuing notification that horses attending the National Cutting Horse Association’s Western National Championships in Ogden, Utah between April 30 – May 8, 2011 may have been exposed to the severe neurologic form of Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1). Horses that have been stabled with horses that attended the event in Ogden, Utah may also be exposed. Confirmed and suspected cases have been identified in several western states. Currently, there are 2 suspected cases in New Mexico; one case in the Albuquerque area and one case in the Hobbs area. All known horses that attended the event in Ogden, Utah are under a voluntary quarantine. At this time, we have not identified the location of all potentially exposed horses as reports are still being received. Owners of horses that attended the event in Ogden, Utah have been urged to contact their veterinarian, isolate their horse(s), monitor their horse(s) for clinical signs of EHV-1 and implement biosecurity measures immediately. It is recommended that owners take temperatures of their horses twice daily as horses often demonstrate an increase in temperature of 102°F or above prior to manifestation of clinical signs.
The Office of the State Veterinarian is recommending:
1) Rescheduling of all major equine events (gatherings of large numbers of horses) for at least the next 7-10 days. 
2) The only way to prevent the spread of EHV-1 is to stop the movement and commingling of horses.
3) Horse owners, who suspect their horse may have been exposed to EHV-1, should contact their veterinarian immediately.
4) The neurological form of EHV-1 is a reportable disease in New Mexico; hence suspect horses should be reported to the New Mexico Livestock Board straight away. 

Recent Texas drought losses at $1.5B

Preliminary figures show the worst drought in decades has amounted to $1.5 billion in recent agricultural losses in Texas and could easily surpass the single-year record, officials said Wednesday. The amount includes costs related to livestock and wheat, corn and sorghum crop losses from November through May 1, according to Texas AgriLife Extension Service spokesman Blair Fannin. Producers and ranchers are facing high input costs, including fertilizer and diesel fuel. Livestock losses of $1.2 billion are from costs associated with trucking in water and for supplemental feed since November. "This is a different beast than drought we've been through in previous years," Fannin said. If drought conditions persist into June, officials say losses will easily top the 2006 record of $4.1 billion in the state that is the nation's second-largest agricultural producer...more

Depression: Rare color photographs of the era that defined a generation

It was an era that defined a generation. The Great Depression marked the bitter and abrupt end to the post-World War 1 bubble that left America giddy with promise in the 1920s. Near the end of the 1930s the country was beginning to recover from the crash, but many in small towns and rural areas were still poverty-stricken. These rare photographs are some of the few documenting those iconic years in colour. The photographs and captions are the property of the Library of Congress and were included in a 2006 exhibit Bound for Glory: America in Color. The images, by photographers of the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information, shed a bleak new light on a world now gone with the wind. [link]

Pie Town, NM Fair & Rodeo 1940

Pie Town, NM Harvesting Corn 1940

Song Of The Day #578

Ranch Radio is in the mood for some more pickin'. But today we'll slow it down with Jim Nunnaly & Peter McLauglin playing a pretty tune called Gloria's Waltz.

Ultralight aircraft now ferrying drugs across U.S.-Mexico border

They fly low and slow over the border, their wings painted black and motors humming faintly under moonlit skies. The pilots, some armed in the open cockpits, steer the horizontal control bar with one hand and pull a latch with the other, releasing 250-pound payloads that land with a thud, leaving only craters as evidence of another successful smuggling run. Mexican organized crime groups, increasingly stymied by stepped-up enforcement on land, have dug tunnels and captained boats to get drugs across the U.S.-Mexico border. Now they are taking to the skies, using ultralight aircraft that resemble motorized hang gliders to drop marijuana bundles in agricultural fields and desert scrub across the Southwest border. What began with a few flights in Arizona in 2008 is now common from Texas to California's Imperial Valley and, mostly recently, San Diego, where at least two ultralights suspected of carrying drugs have been detected flying over Interstate 8, according to U.S. border authorities. The number of incursions by ultralights reached 228 in the last federal fiscal year ending Sept. 30, almost double from the previous year. Seventy-one have been detected in this fiscal year through April, according to border authorities. Flying at night with lights out, and zipping back across the border in minutes, ultralight aircraft sightings are rare, but often dramatic. At least two have been chased out of Arizona skies by Black Hawk Customs and Border Protection helicopters and F-16 jet fighters. Last month, a pair of visiting British helicopter pilots almost crashed into an ultralight during training exercises over the Imperial Valley...more

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Equine Herpesvirus (EHV-1) Headlines & Links

The AAEP Fact Sheet is here.

Ten horses with EHV-1 in California

Colorado has 3 confirmed cases of fatal horse virus

Colo. implements travel restrictions for horses following equine herpesvirus outbreak

Deadly Equine Herpes Virus on the Rise In Arizona

1 confirmed horse herpes case in Washington

Montana: 35 horses attended Utah event, owners worried

Oregon horse owners on alert for virus, 18 attended event

EHV-1 Virus Puts Utah Horse Events on Hold

Idaho officials investigate horse virus, 2 horses dead

"Credible reports" indicate six states & Canada involved in EHV-1 outbreak

Breeder's Invitational Postponed

Horse sickness alarming Western states

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar dismisses complaints on drilling permits

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Tuesday defended the pace of permitting of deep- and shallow-water drilling before the Senate Energy Committee and said that continued complaints amounted to nothing but Washington "noise." "I account for the noise that goes around this issue as simply the kind of noise that you see here in Washington, D.C.," Salazar said. The confrontation over permitting numbers came on a day in which the full Senate turned its attention to gas prices, oil company profits and energy policy, closing with Senate Democrats, on a 52-48 vote, falling short of winning the 60 votes needed to proceed with a bill to remove $21 billion in tax incentives and deductions for the five largest oil companies over the next 10 years. From the moment the administration imposed a moratorium on deepwater drilling in the aftermath of the BP oil spill last year, Gulf Coast lawmakers, especially form Louisiana, have attacked the moratorium, and, when it was lifted, what they came to call a "de facto moratorium," a "permitorium" or "slowmatorium." Salazar testified that the administration is determined to get back to drilling "in a way that's safe and protects the environment" and that "we are just not about talking the talk, we are about walking the walk in terms of drilling in our country."...more
"I account for the noise that goes around this issue as simply the kind of noise that you see here in Washington, D.C.," Salazar said.

That Salazar is really something. I mean the guy can actually see noise.

Now if he could only smell oil. I'm thinkin' he might be smellin' the local Coors brewery in a little over a year.

Interior’s Solution to Oil and Gas Development is to Drill Less

Today, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources held a hearing with regards to the Outer Continental Shelf and domestic oil and gas production. Secretary Ken Salazar testified before the Committee on a framework for “efficient and responsible” drilling. Unfortunately, Secretary Salazar, much in line with the Administration’s misguided policies, promoted those principles that will ultimately raise the price of energy for manufacturers and consumers alike. Those pillars that were endorsed by Secretary Salazar include, but are not limited to: (1) amending the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920 in order to reduce the time for oil and gas leases; (2) extending the time that the Department of Interior has for reviewing exploration plans submitted by companies; and (3) imposing fees on companies with non-producing oil and gas leases. The Interior is pushing for policies that are ultimately counterproductive and will not solve the current predicament of high energy, with little relief in sight. The policies that the Interior highlighted as their “wish list” show that the Administration is out of touch with the American consumer and the needs of the manufacturing community, who consume a third of our nations’ energy...more

If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there'd be a shortage of sand - Milton Friedman

Editorial: Don't Let Alaska Oil Pipeline Shut Down

Lack of oil volume due to administration bans on new Alaskan drilling may force the shutdown of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, denying us even the tens of billions of barrels left in already developed fields. The Trans-Alaskan pipeline is dying, another casualty of the Obama administration's war on domestic fossil fuel energy and its deliberate effort to drive up energy prices to make so-called "green" energy alternatives more attractive. It was built to handle the oil produced on Alaska's North Slope at Prudhoe Bay and was a marvel of American engineering and exceptionalism. When oil exploration began in Prudhoe Bay, 60 miles east of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, more than three decades ago, environmentalists claimed it would yield only a "few months' supply" of oil and would wreck the ecosystem. Prudhoe Bay turned out to be the largest oil find ever in North America. It has in fact supplied an average of 9%, and as much as 12%, of our daily consumption since its inception and is among the most environmentally sensitive oil operations in the world. Caribou frolic and play by the pipeline, and the herds have thrived. At its peak, the pipeline carried 2 million barrels of oil a day, 3% of the world's crude, to the port of Valdez 800 miles away, taking just three days to do so. As oilfields do over time, Prudhoe Bay's output is declining, even though there's plenty of oil left. But it soon may not be enough to keep the Alaskan pipeline open. With the pipeline carrying just a third of its peak volume, the pressure drops, so the crude takes five times as long to make the journey and sometimes arrives at a mere 40 degrees — vs. the normal 100 degrees. Slower flow puts the pipeline at higher risk of corrosion and clogs. Ice threatens ruptures along the route. More oil would keep the pipeline from shutting down. It's a national tragedy that just to the east of Prudhoe Bay are an estimated 16 billion barrels of oil in ANWR, in an area just 1/20th the size of Washington, D.C...more

Depletion of the Colorado River: A Supply-Side or a Demand-Side Problem?

At a recent symposium held by the Center for American Progress, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar seemed to welcome decreasing water levels in the Colorado River, gleefully reporting that the decrease of 20% would cause conservatives to finally join them in addressing climate change. He quipped, “The seven [western] states ... are a bastion of conservatism. They recognize ... that the water supplies of the Colorado River are directly related to the changing of the climate.” But are decreasing water levels in the Colorado River related to climate change or are they caused by an increased demand for water from a growing population living in desert-like environments?...To address this issue, I and my colleagues from the United States Geological Survey decided to use another NWS network–NWS first-order weather stations. These are hourly observations made by trained observers employed by the NWS and replaced by an automated network (ASOS) in the early 1990s. Thus, the record we used is continuous (virtually no missing data from 1951 through 2006), and the observing practices are standardized. Our results showed that for the entire year, most stations actually showed the frequency and duration of droughts was becoming shorter! Overall, we found that the variability in drought occurrences can be explained by an increased frequency in El Niño events and positive trends in precipitation since the 1970s, and these results are consistent with trends in streamflow for the southwestern United States. Writing in the Journal of Geophysical Research, we concluded that “little evidence of long-term positive trends in [drought] length in the southwestern United States is apparent.”...more

Feds unveil plan to combat bat-killing fungus

The Interior Department launched a national plan Tuesday to combat a mysterious disease that has killed more than a million bats in the eastern and southern United States and is spreading west. The disease, called white-nose syndrome, is caused by a fungus. The disease has spread to 16 states, from New Hampshire to Tennessee, and three Canadian provinces. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said the new plan provides a road map for more than 100 federal, state, and tribal agencies and scientific researchers that are tracking the disease and attempting to combat it...more

Now that we have a national plan, the bats are goners for sure.

Wild horses wouldn't be wildlife in Nevada

Wild horses - symbols of the American West that receive protections from the federal government - would have less standing than mollusks when it comes to Nevada water law under a measure that seeks to deny mustangs and burros status as wild animals. The six lines contained in the measure define the term "wildlife" as "any wild mammal, wild bird, fish, reptile amphibian, mollusk or crustacean found naturally in a wild state, whether indigenous to Nevada or not and whether raised in captivity of not. The term does not include any wild horse or burro." Under state law, holders of water rights must show "beneficial use" of the valuable resource before a permit is granted by the state engineer. Benefiting wildlife is one such allowable use. Wild horse advocates say if the bill passes it will deprive the animals access to water across the harsh desert landscape. Backers of the bill deny that claim. They argue that the bill's intent is to keep the federal government from obtaining new water rights specifically for horses in the future, and force the federal government's hand to deal with too many horses on the range. AB329 received bipartisan support in the Assembly, passing 35-7. It's up for hearing Friday before the Senate Natural Resources Committee...more

Let's look again at AP writer Sandra Chereb's lead paragraph:
Wild horses - symbols of the American West that receive protections from the federal government - would have less standing than mollusks when it comes to Nevada water law under a measure that seeks to deny mustangs and burros status as wild animals.

Sandra, do you really consider that to be a fair and objective paragraph? One day they are "symbols of the American West" but tomorrow they will be treated lower than a "mollusk"? Thing is, they are livestock by anyone's definition and should be treated as such. The only thing they are symbols of is poor management by the federal agencies.

The symbol of the American West is the cowboy, and that is who Nevada is trying to protect with this law.

Young male wolf killed in eastern Oregon to reduce livestock losses

State wildlife biologists trapped and killed a gray wolf early today on an eastern Oregon ranch near Joseph, where wolves killed livestock last month. The young uncollared male wolf was part of the Imnaha pack, which has killed at least four domestic animals so far this year on private grazing land near Wallowa Lake. Now numbering about 14, the pack killed domestic livestock in the same area in May 2010. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife intends to remove a second uncollared wolf from the pack and has issued 12 "caught in the act" permits to ranchers, said agency spokeswoman Michelle Dennehy. The permits allow cattle producers to shoot a wolf that they see in the act of biting, wounding or killing livestock...more

Obama Administration to Honor ‘Green’ Schools That Teach ‘Environmental Literacy’

Next year on Earth Day, the Obama administration plans to announce which U.S. schools have been selected as “Green Ribbon Schools,” a designation that will “honor” schools for “creating healthy and sustainable learning environments” and for “teaching environmental literacy.” The Green Ribbon Schools program was announced in late April, but details on how schools will be picked or what the honor entails have not been released. Jo Ann Webb, spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Education, told that the program is still under development...more

The feds are terrible at teaching "literacy" of any kind. This too will fail, but you parents should keep an eye out for the greenie stuff being fed to your kids - more accurately referred to as propaganda.

Define Organic And Sustainable To Me

Of course, everyone engaged in agriculture is for sustainable agriculture; everyone I know is part of a multi-generational operation or has plans to create one. What’s more, I support anyone who can market a product effectively, and organic obviously has a very viable and real niche. But, it’s become fashionable for San Francisco-style representatives, Hollywood celebrities and pseudo-intellectuals who’ve never spent a day raising food, to champion these causes because they think it somehow imparts to them a moral and ethical validity. Perhaps someone ought to tell them the truth, which is that modern agriculture has made incredible strides in achieving the goals they actually espouse. Tell them also that the food system of 50 years ago, just like the productive capacity of nearly any other industry, is clearly inadequate to feed the world of today and tomorrow. It seems this world has 10 charlatans like Prince Charles and Al Gore for every one Bill Gates and Norman Borlaug. That’s a ratio that certainly isn’t sustainable if we are to feed the world safely and efficiently...more

Feds say predators kill small number of cattle; Ranchers say it still means lost profits

Farmers and ranchers said Tuesday that predators like coyotes are a huge problem, despite a federal report that found the number of cattle killed by the animals was minimal. Officials at the National Cattlemen's Beef Association said the cattle losses, even if they seem small, usually represent the profits they would have made that year. Dustin Van Liew, director of federal lands for the group, said predation to livestock, specifically their cattle, represents a significant problem for ranchers and farmers out west. A report on cattle deaths released Thursday by the National Agricultural Statistics Service found that predatory losses cost ranchers more than $98 million. Nationwide, 5.5 percent of all cattle and calf losses are due to predators, the study found. In Wyoming, officials attributed 9.5 percent of the cattle and calf losses to predators. Of those, wolves accounted for nearly 19 percent, and bears almost 16 percent. Van Liew said Wildlife Services, a division of the Department of Agriculture, provides some funding associated with predatory control on wildlife, with "sometimes something like half to two-thirds of funding is contributed by private citizens, like farmers and ranchers."...more

Helicopter hog hunt measure goes to Perry

The House gave final approval Tuesday to a measure that would allow ranchers to rent out seats on helicopters used to hunt feral hogs and coyotes on their property. The House accepted Senate changes to the bill on a 141-1 vote. The measure now heads to Gov. Rick Perry for his signature. The Senate added an amendment that gave more authority to Texas Parks and Wildlife to prevent those deemed unsuitable as gunners to shoot the animals, said the bill’s author, Rep. Sid Miller, R-Stephenville. Miller has said the feral hog and coyote populations in Texas are large and destructive. An estimated 1.5 million feral hogs have caused about $400 million in damage to crops, property and fences per year...more

Song Of The Day #577

Either Ranch Radio or OpenDrive messed up on Monday, because the link was to the wrong song. Then on Tuesday I couldn't get into my account at all. They appear to have things back up and running.

Many need a pick me up during the middle of the week too. So today let's have Swingin' Wednesday. Once again here is Mark Cosgrove picking John Henry.

Texas Border City Sees Increase In Young Smugglers

There is no doubt that crime in Mexico has a huge influence on Americans living on the border. Yesterday we showed you the effects it was all having on some ranchers in Eagle Pass. Today we show you that even educators there are seeing students trade in their books for bundles of drugs. Annette Garcia was in Eagle Pass and has the story. Millions of dollars in drugs will make it across the border each year.
The ones who get the job done stand to earn big profit. But recently those smuggling in the marijuana and cocaine here aren't who you might imagine. They're children, some as young as 13 years old. Americans offered 300 or 400 dollars, sometimes more, to move a load. “It was kinda startling to find out they weren’t doing small quantities it was big loads.” Eagle Pass ISD officials say the feds called a meeting in March to discuss the trend. According to border patrol, 98 juveniles were arrested last year for smuggling and 56 arrested so far this year. “We put all our principals on alert our security our police department.” It’s a wave of young smugglers Maverick County had never seen...more

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Critics say Obama bails on science in forest rules

The Obama administration's proposed new rules for protecting clean water and wildlife on the United States' nearly 200 million acres of national forests go against the president's pledge to let science be the guide, conservation groups and two former Clinton administration officials said Monday. The administration made a "clear commitment" to make conservation policy based on sound science when it took office, said Jane Danowitz of the Pew Environment Group. The comments came in a teleconference from Washington, D.C., marking the end of a 90-day public comment period on new rules governing administration of the National Forest Management Act. The U.S. Forest Service expects to come out with final rules by the end of the year. Also participating was Jamie Rappaport Clark, a Defenders of Wildlife executive and former U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service director. Clark said forest supervisors being given unprecedented discretion under the new rules need strong standards and guidelines to resist the political pressure they regularly face in making decisions on managing their lands. Jim Furnish, a former deputy chief of the Forest Service, said the proposed rules tell local forest supervisors to consider science but leave them room to ignore science when making decisions on protecting clean water resources, fish and wildlife habitat, and endangered species...more

See the comments on the planning rule by the National Association of Forest Retirees at SOS Forests.

An excerpt from their comments:

...However, we believe that the overall content of the proposal is overly ambitious, overly optimistic, complex, costly, and promises much more than it can deliver. Rather than providing a simplified, streamlined process for developing and amending plans, we fear that the opposite will result. This is especially troubling in what are likely to be difficult times for funding of federal programs of all kinds. Without addressing the overarching issue of the fundamental purposes of the national forests in this age of controversy, it is unlikely that any of the current controversies involving the use of the national forests will be resolved by this proposal. This issue must be addressed by Congress and is timely given that the last significant consideration of this subject occurred in 1976 with passage of the National Forest Management Act. And even this did not fundamentally address the issue of the purposes for the national forests. In the meantime, the proposed planning regulations establish new purposes for the national forests, such as dealing with climate change and providing “ecosystem services,” and management for “ecosystem restoration,” for which there are no statutory authorities.

EPA effort puts ecosystem at risk

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe said Monday that a federal agency's efforts to limit prescribed burns that are used to preserve tallgrass prairies actually is putting the ecosystem in Oklahoma at risk. Working with a Kansas senator on a bill that covers Tulsa, Washington and Osage counties, the Oklahoma Republican accused the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of pitting two separate and unrelated issues against each other. "The EPA's efforts to limit prescribed burns in this region fail to take into account the fact that they play a key role in protecting our tallgrass prairies,'' Inhofe said. "This bill will provide a simple solution that balances our states' environmental and economic needs.'' Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., who introduced the legislation, called the Flint Hills Preservation Act, would protect landowners' ability to use fire as a tool to preserve the tall-grass prairie ecosystem. Each year, ranchers, landowners and conservation groups use prescribed fires to mimic the seasonal fires that have shaped the tallgrass prairie for thousands of years. Prescribed burning is an essential management practice for protecting the ecosystem, and it helps ranchers keep pastures free from invasive species, its advocates say...more

Drill, Maybe, Drill

Extending existing oil leases as the president has proposed accomplishes nothing if the White House's environmental handcuffs won't let them be used. Lucy wants to hold the football for Charlie Brown again. When President Obama said during his Saturday radio address that "we should increase safe and responsible oil production here at home," the operative words were "safe and responsible." We will drill if it's safe for polar bears, caribou and West Texas lizards, and if it doesn't contribute to the "climate change" myth. Similar words were used to justify the seven-year moratorium on offshore drilling off both coasts, in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and in the seas off Alaska following last year's Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf, even though no other wells were found to be unsafe. The Associated Press reported with a straight face that "Obama is directing his administration to ramp up U.S. oil production." In fact, what he proposed is extending existing leases in the Gulf of Mexico and off Alaska and holding more frequent lease sales in a federal petroleum reserve in Alaska. Using those leases is quite another matter...more

Oregon issues wolf kill permits to 8 ranchers

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has issued permits for eight ranchers in Wallowa County to kill wolves caught in the act of attacking livestock. The department said last week that the ranchers are all in range of the Imnaha pack, and have already used non-lethal methods to protect their herds, such as special fences, range riders and removing bone piles. The Imnaha pack has been blamed for 10 livestock attacks since last year. Two other wolf packs in Oregon have not. After two cattle were killed last week, the department said it would kill two young adults from the Imnaha pack in hopes of discouraging the others from preying on livestock. The "caught in the act" permits are in compliance with the Oregon Wolf Conservation Plan. The permit allows the holder (or an appointed agent) to kill a wolf seen "in the act of biting, wounding or killing livestock" on private property they own or legally occupy. If the permit holder kills a wolf, the incident must be reported within 24 hours to the agency...more

Proposal To Limit Fire Retardant Use Released

The U.S. Forest Service is releasing a proposal to limit the use of fire retardant in areas that are home to threatened plants, fish and animals.The draft environmental impact statement follows a ruling last year from U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy, who ordered the Forest Service to look more closely a the possibility retardant kills endangered species.Public meetings are set across the nation, including one in Missoula May 26th. "The use of fire retardant, in concert with firefighters on the ground, allows the Forest Service to safely protect landscapes, resources and, most importantly, people's lives," said Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. "Research and experience demonstrate that aerially applied fire retardant, used in an appropriate manner, reduces wildfire intensity and the rate of spread, which increases the effectiveness of our fire suppression efforts on the ground."Most wildfires are managed without the use of fire retardants. From 2000 through 2010, aerially applied retardant was used on about 8.5 percent of wildfires on National Forests System lands, and over the last ten years, on lands managed by the Forest Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, and the states, only one of every 5,000 retardant drops has impacted waterways...more

New, federally-mandated light bulbs will cost $50 -- each

Two leading makers of lighting products are showcasing LED bulbs that are bright enough to replace energy-guzzling 100-watt light bulbs set to disappear from stores in January. Their demonstrations at the LightFair trade show in Philadelphia this week mean that brighter LED bulbs will likely go on sale next year, but after a government ban takes effect. The new bulbs will also be expensive — about $50 each — so the development may not prevent consumers from hoarding traditional bulbs. To encourage energy efficiency, Congress passed a law in 2007 mandating that bulbs producing 100 watts worth of light meet certain efficiency goals, starting in 2012. Conventional light bulbs don't meet those goals, so the law will prohibit making or importing them. The same rule will start apply to remaining bulbs 40 watts and above in 2014. Since January, California has already banned stores from restocking 100-watt incandescent bulbs...more

Dueling land commissioners: Ray Powell vs. Pat Lyons

The current commissioner of the State Land Office and the former commissioner are going after each other. Ray Powell says Pat Lyons didn’t properly care for state trust land during Lyon’s recently completed 8-year tenure. Lyons says Powell is an anti-business zealot who ignores the record-setting revenues generated on Lyons’ watch. It’s an old-fashioned feud matching two men who — between them — have run New Mexico’s State Land Office (SLO) for the last 18 years. The job of the commissioner is to manage the millions of acres of land granted to the state by the US Congress — which make up roughly 12,000 square miles. The revenue generated by the trust is essential to funding the state’s public education system. But each man has a decidedly different management style — and philosophy...more

Here is the Capitol Reports video, Powell vs. Lyons:

Supporters of Amish farmer rally at Capitol

Four weeks after the government moved to shut down Amish farmer Dan Allgyer for selling fresh, unpasteurized milk across state lines, angry moms who made up much of his customer base rallied on the Capitol’s grounds Monday to demand that Congress rein in the food police. The moms milked a cow just across the street from the Senate and served up gallons of fresh milk, playfully daring one another to drink what, if sold across state lines, would be considered contraband product. “The FDA really screwed up this time. They got between a mom and a farmer,” said Mark McAfee, who runs Organic Pastures Dairy Co. in Fresno, Calif., which under his state’s laws he legally sells at 400 markets, but which he cannot ship across state lines without running afoul of the Food and Drug Administration...more

Here is the Washington Times' video footage of the event. Check out the T-Shirt which says "PASTEURIZE THE FDA INSTEAD".

Oregon Man Kept Diary As He Froze To Death

Setting out with $5,000 cash and no cell phone, 68-year-old Jerry William McDonald made his one-way trip to the foothills of the Cascade Range in Oregon in his blue 1997 GMC truck, likely not knowing he would be driving to his long, cold death. The body of McDonald was found by a U.S. Forest Service survey crew last Thursday, about 60 miles east of the state capital of Salem and only three miles from the town of Marion Forks, deep in the Oregon woods. With his body, the crew found a 1970s calendar edited to represent 2011 - and the man's diary after being snowed in on February 14th. According to McDonald, he drove his truck into the woods on Feb. 7 and made camp, then woke up one day to find himself in the middle of a very heavy snowstorm. Weather records show that the area he was in was hit with multiple heavy snowstorms, confirming his diary entries as true. McDonald started logging his days on his calendar. He noted the first day, "Snow." He was prepared in case of an emergency and had packed food and a gallon of water, but is wasn't enough for his long entrapment. He died on April 15, according to the Linn County Sheriff's Department -- the day of his last entry -- of hypothermia and starvation. McDonald ran out of food a month before that. On March 16, he noted: "No Fo" for "No Food." After that, he did not mention his hunger or lack of food. Oddly, police say McDonald made no attempt to travel on foot. Perhaps he believed he was far from civilization - however he was only three miles from the closest town...more

Literary prize to be awarded for agrarian prose

May 15, 2011


 Richard M. Thorson family to award $500 to winning author, Knuckledown Press to publish book
(Fargo, N.D.) - Knuckledown Press, an independent Midwestern literary small press, began accepting submissions May 15, 2011, for the Richard M. Thorson Literary Prize for Agrarian Prose, which is awarded annually for a previously unpublished manuscript of literary fiction or creative nonfiction with an agrarian setting. The Richard M. Thorson family will award $500 and Knuckledown Press will grant a publishing contract to the winning author.

What is "agrarian prose?"

“It might be about the rural way of life generally, or about farmers and farming specifically, but it might just be about how living out of town means living wild, and how nature—even cultivated land—is a spiritual force to be reckoned with,” said Ryan C. Christiansen, publisher for Knuckledown Press. For the contest, Christiansen said the editors are looking for works that are “agricultural and rural, mostly honest, plain, and natural, sometimes rustic, native, or wild, but rarely peaceful—and never pure.”

The literary prize is named after Richard M. Thorson (April 26, 1915 - June 1, 1981), who grew up on a farm in Colfax township in Kandiyohi County, Minn., where he attended rural school. In the fall of 1937, he attended the Riesch American School of Auctioneering in Austin, Minn., and the following spring, he started working as an auctioneer. Besides auctioneering farm sales in the region, Mr. Thorson managed the Belgrade, Minn., sales barn, helped to operate his home farm, and managed the Farmers Livestock Shipping Association. He was president of the Lake Prairie Rural Telephone Company and a director for the Belgrade Cooperative Association. He was an avid outdoorsman. “Members of the Thorson family are pleased to honor their forbearer’s legacy with this prize,” Christiansen said, “and Knuckledown Press is excited about the opportunity to bring literature about rural life to readers everywhere.”

For more information about Knuckledown Press and how to enter the contest, visit the press’s web site at

Mimbres children's author to read at library

Award-winning Mimbres author, Beth Hodder, will read from her books, The Ghost of Schafer Meadows and Stealing the Wild from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday May 21 at the Silver City Public Library, 515 W. College Ave. Hodder will sell and personally sign books during the reading. The Ghost of Schafer Meadows was the winner of a 2008 Independent Publisher Book Award, and Stealing the Wild was published in 2010. Both books aimed at middle grade readers provide a glimpse into contemporary life at Schafer Meadows, in Montana, a U.S. Forest Service wilderness ranger station that has remained much as it was in the early 1900s. Hodder worked for more than 25 years for the Flathead National Forest in northwest Montana. Her husband, Al Koss, was the wilderness ranger at the Schafer Meadows Ranger Station for 13 years. Hodder and her husband live in Mimbres and Montana...more

Kristin's Cattle Drive

Is this EPA Approved?
When most people think of cattle drives, John Wayne or the movie "City Slickers" might come to mind. But did you know that real cattle drives still happen? News Channel 8's Kristin Dickerson recently helped some ranchers push Texas longhorn cattle across the Kansas prairie. A small group of people paid money to tag along, all in an effort to get a piece of the historic American West. The American cattle drive started in the late 1800s. Millions of cattle were driven hundreds of miles from Texas, through Oklahoma, to the railheads in Kansas for market. Today these cattle drives still happen, but on a much smaller scale. Twice a year, around 80 head of Texas longhorns are pushed 35 miles from their winter to summer pastures. It's an old fashioned cattle drive that starts at the Moore Longhorn Ranch outside of Bucklin, Kansas. Joe Moore, his wife Nancy, and their son Laramie invite 10 (paying) guests to come along to re-live that experience, and play cowboy. Aki came from Japan, where she grew up watching American westerns on television. "I still cannot believe that I see that in person. It is amazing," Aki said. Era is from Finland. She's two months into an 8 month trip around the world. Mike came from Shreveport, Louisiana, to fulfill an item on his bucket list...more

Mexican drug cartel suspected after 29 decapitated in Guatemala

Gunmen working for Los Zetas, considered Mexico's most violent drug cartel, murdered at least 29 farmworkers over the weekend in a community in northern Guatemala near the Mexican border, officials said. The bodies were found Sunday at the Los Cocos ranch outside the city of La Libertad, located about 630 kilometers (391 miles) north of Guatemala City, National Civilian Police, or PNC, deputy chief Gerson Oliva said. About 200 heavily armed men belonging to Los Zetas' Z 200 cell arrived in Los Cocos on Saturday night and attacked the farmworkers, PNC investigators said. Initial police reports said the victims died in a shootout, but investigators later revised their report after gathering evidence at the crime scene. The massacre occurred early Sunday and the victims were beheaded by the gunmen, the PNC said. The unidentified farmworkers were employed at Los Cocos, which was owned by Haroldo Waldemar Leon Lara. Leon Lara was murdered Saturday on the outskirts of Flores, another city in Peten. He was the brother of Juan Jose Leon, a Guatemalan drug trafficker who operated in the eastern region of the country and was murdered along with 10 other people by Zetas gunmen in March 2008...MORE

Monday, May 16, 2011

EHV-1 Virus - Letter to Equine Veterinarians from the President of the American Association of Equine Practitioners

EHV-1 Virus - Letter to Equine Veterinarians from the President of the American Association of Equine Practitioners

by Wendy Miller on Monday, May 16, 2011 at 5:13pm


Currently, there are numerous reports of equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy (EHM) affecting horses and farms across the U.S. and Canada. This outbreak appears related to initial cases at a cutting horse show in Ogden Utah, which was held from April 29 - May 8. Horses at that event may have been exposed to this virus and subsequently spread the infection to other horses. While the true extent of this disease outbreak is uncertain, there is clearly a very significant elevated risk of EHM cases at this time. At this time control of the outbreak is critically dependent on biosecurity. Laboratory submission of nasal swabs and whole blood samples collected from the exposed horse can be utilized for virus detection and isolation. Please consider testing any suspected cases.The EHV-1 organism spreads quickly from horse to horse but typically only causes neurological disease sporadically. However, in an outbreak of EHV-1 neurologic such as we are experiencing now, the disease can reach high morbidity and case fatality rates. The incubation period of EHV-1 infection is typically 1-2-days, with clinical signs of fever then occurring, often in a biphasic fever, over the following 10 days. When neurological disease occurs it is typically 8-12 days after the primary infection, starting often after the second fever spike. In horses infected with the neurologic strain of EHV-1, clinical signs may include: nasal discharge, incoordination, hind end weakness, recumbency, lethargy, urine dribbling and diminished tail tone. Prognosis depends on severity of signs and the period of recumbency. There is no specific treatment for EHV-1, although antiviral drugs (i.e. valacyclovire) may have some value before neurological signs occur. Non-specific treatment may include intravenous fluids, and other appropriate supportive therapy; the use of anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) is strongly recommended. Currently, there is no equine vaccine that has a label claim for protection against the neurological strain of the virus.Horse-to-horse contact, aerosol transmission, and contaminated hands, equipment, tack, and feed all play a role in disease spread. However, horses with severe clinical signs of neurological EHV-1 infection are thought to have large viral loads in their blood and nasal secretions and therefore, present the greatest danger for spreading the disease. Immediate separation and isolation of identified suspect cases and implementation of appropriate biosecurity measures are key elements for disease control. In order to assist you and your clients further, visit online here for Frequently Asked Questions, resource information from the AAEP, USDA, state and provincial animal health departments, and other related information regarding this outbreak and the disease.For additional questions, please contact Keith Kleine, AAEP director of industry relations, at (800) 443-0177 or,William Moyer, DVM2011 AAEP President

via Wendy Miller on Facebook.

US cattle inspectors leave Mexico amid drug war

Wearing a grey-felt cowboy hat, long-sleeve ivory-colored shirt and freshly laundered jeans, Dr. Arnoldo Gutierrez begins his daily rounds by walking into a dusty pen baking in the South Texas heat. "Hey, hey! Let's go!" he hollers. "C'mon, Whitey. Come here, Red." Gutierrez's "patients," addressed by their color, are more than 100 head of nervous cattle freed from a truck that just arrived from Mexico, crossing the international bridge over the Rio Grande at Laredo. The U.S. Department of Agriculture veterinarian is looking for obvious signs of lameness, open wounds, appropriate castration and parasites carrying potentially deadly disease. For years, these inspections have been conducted before cattle cross the border, but the war raging among drug cartels in Mexico has prompted the U.S. to move some of its operations north. The change, instituted over the past year at three of the 11 ports along the U.S.-Mexico border, is drawing concern from some cattle raisers, who fear infections long eradicated in the U.S. but still showing up in Mexico will spread before inspection. Federal authorities say the cartel violence necessitated the change, and they have implemented safeguards to ensure that rejected cattle reaching the U.S. won't prompt any outbreaks...more

If it's true, as Obama says, that the border is as safe as its ever been, then why are his employees deserting the area for their own safety?

Feds, state both have plans in place to deal with gray wolves in Idaho

The on again, off again saga of listing, delisting gray wolves from the Endangered Species Act is on again, at both the federal level and, as a backup, in the state of Idaho as well. On May 4 Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced that gray wolves would be taken off the endangered and threatened wildlife list in Idaho, Montana, and parts of Oregon, Washington and Utah. His action came in response to a bill that passed Congress requiring that gray wolves be delisted. Following the 2011 legislative session, Gov. Butch Otter signed House Bill 343, an emergency clause bill that would give the governor executive power for the state to declare gray wolves a problem thus enabling the state to take action against wolves. Otter was encouraged to sign the bill as insurance in case the federal delisting was challenged or, in fact, overturned. Three conservationist groups, Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Friends of the Clearwater, and WildEarth Guardians have in fact filed suit in federal court in Montana asking that the delisting be reversed...more

Prince Charles’ misguided attack on modern agriculture

This week we can add Prince Charles to the list of those who have convinced themselves that there’s nothing wrong with agriculture that turning the clock back about a half century wouldn’t solve. On a visit to Washington, D.C. last week (home of one of the world’s most famous organic gardens), the Prince of Wales “spoke passionately about organic and sustainable farming” to Georgetown University students. In his speech at the Future of Food Conference, Prince Charles criticized U.S. government subsidies for large-scale agriculture and encouraged more government and business support for organic and environmentally-friendly food production. Charles said rising hunger and obesity problems around the world are an “increasingly insane picture” and proposed that production agriculture use fewer chemical pesticides, artificial fertilizers and antibiotics. He also criticized industrial pollution and global dependence on oil...more

Mopping up the raw-milk mob

Federal agents watched the home closely for a year, gathering evidence. Then, in a pre-dawn raid, armed members from three agencies swooped in. No, this is not a retelling of the lightning U.S. commando attack in Abbottabad, Pakistan, that killed terrorist leader Osama bin Laden. Rather, the target of the raid late last month by U.S. marshals, a state police trooper and inspectors from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was Amish farmer Dan Allgyer of Kinzers, Pa. His so-called “crime” involved nothing more than providing unpasteurized, or raw, dairy milk to eager consumers here in the Washington area. The sting operation against Mr. Allgyer’s Rainbow Acres Farm has touched a nerve around the country and across the ideological divide. Mr. Allgyer’s customers - including a soccer mom I know - are outraged. Former Sen. Fred Thompson, Tennessee Republican, took to Twitter recently to blast the raid, calling it a waste of time and resources and mockingly suggesting the FDA would do better to shut down the “many unlicensed lemonade stands” operating around the country. Author David Gumpert, writing at the left-of-center environmental website Grist, wondered whether those who took part in the raid felt “remorse or shame” over this “official effort to deprive people of food.” On May 11, Rep. Ron Paul, Texas Republican, introduced H.R. 1830, the Unpasteurized Milk Bill, which would end the FDA’s ban and permit the sale of raw milk across state lines...more

Mexico town's mutant pointy boots create a craze

The customer known only as "Cesar of Huizache" had an odd request for shoemaker Dario Calderon: He showed him a cell-phone photo of a sequined cowboy boot with pointy toes so long, they curled up toward the knees. He wanted a pair, but with longer toes. "I thought 'What's up with this dude?'" Calderon said at his shop in Matehuala, a northeastern Mexican city of farmers and cattle ranchers accustomed to a more stoic cowboy look. The boot in the photo measured 60 centimeters (23 inches) "but we made him a pair that were 90 centimeters (35 inches) long." The mystery man from Huizache, a nearby village, wore his new boots to Mesquit Rodeo nightclub, where he danced bandido style with a handkerchief hiding his mouth and nose. Then he disappeared. The next thing Calderon knew, it seemed like everyone wanted the bizarre, half-Aladdin, all-Vegas pointy boots, from little boys attending church ceremonies to teenagers at the discos. Nobody knows where Cesar's photo or the fad came from, since he was known to cross back and forth between Mexico and the U.S. But once it hit the sedate city of 90,000 people and auto-part and clothing factories about 18 months ago, it spread to nearby villages and showed up as far away as Mississippi and Texas, where some DJs at rodeo-themed nightclubs say it peaked a year ago and now has gone out of style...more

Stay away from those "rodeo-themed discos", no matter what they are wearing.

100,000 cattle evacuating Lake Manitoba as water rises

The Winnipeg Free Press reports cattle producers have started to move cattle as water rushes into Lake Manitoba at a rate of 25,000 cubic feet per second. As the water continues to rise, producers will move cattle to government-owned pastures in Saskatchewan and Alberta or rent land elsewhere. John Johnson, an area rancher told the Winnipeg Free Press it will cost him about $100 per head in land and transport expenses. It's expected to take between nine months and a year before the land settles enough for cattle to return. Farmland used to grow hay will take three years to return to pre-flood yields. The lake is expected to crest in mid-June and will take a month before receding...more

Song Of The Day #577

It's Swingin' Monday on Ranch Radio and our selection is wild instrumental version of John Henry by the bluegrass picker Mark Cosgrove.

The tune is available on his 10 track CD Sweet Reason.

Police buy software to map suspects' digital movements

Britain's largest police force is using software that can map nearly every move suspects and their associates make in the digital world, prompting an outcry from civil liberties groups. The Metropolitan police has bought Geotime, a security programme used by the US military, which shows an individual's movements and communications with other people on a three-dimensional graphic. It can be used to collate information gathered from social networking sites, satellite navigation equipment, mobile phones, financial transactions and IP network logs. According to Geotime's website, the programme displays data from a variety of sources, allowing the user to navigate the data with a timeline and animated display. The website claims it can also throw up previously unseen connections between individuals. "Links between entities can represent communications, relationships, transactions, message logs, etc and are visualised over time to reveal temporal patterns and behaviours," it reads...more

It won't be all that long until the military declares some of this software as "surplus" and make it available to your local law enforcement agency.

Rancher: There Are No Cool Heads in Portal

By Ed Ashurst

    Irregardless of which side of the political spectrum you reside, Portal, Arizona is a beautiful place. Located in the mouth of Cave Creek on the eastern slope of the Chiracahua Mountains, it is not much more than a hole in a road, which continues west to the town of Paradise, and eventually ascends to the top of the mountain at a campground located at a spot called Rustler Park. The small populace of Portal is partially made up of retirees, wealthy enough to own a piece of the pricey land; not a few who could be described as liberal academics. A short distance up the canyon is The Southwest Research Station of The Museum of Natural History. This area, and the Chiracahua range as a whole, is the best example of neo-tropical bird habitat in the United States. It is the home of: the greater and lesser long-nosed bat, the famous trogon, the so-called “endangered” spotted owl, and hundreds of other rare species. It is bird watcher’s paradise. It is burning down.
    About a week ago, what is now being called Horseshoe Fire #2 was started by illegal aliens in the area of Burro Springs near the headwaters of Horseshoe Canyon. Border Patrol agents tracked four aliens to the very start of the fire. The first Forest Service fire fighters to arrive at the site observed the same tracks. Horseshoe Fire #1 was started near the same spot almost exactly a year ago, also ignited by illegal aliens. In the last 3 years alone no less than 11 fires have been started by illegal aliens in the Chiracahua Mountains and the adjacent Peloncillo Mountains. No less than 120 thousand acres have burned. The cost to the American taxpayers to fight these fires is nearing $70 million. The U.S. Forest Service itself admitted that Horseshoe Fire #1 cost in excess of $10 million to fight.
    The Three Triangle Ranch has a forest grazing permit in Horseshoe Canyon. In the summer of 2010 the Three Triangle manager was told by the Forest Service that his permit numbers were going to be cut to less than 200 head of cattle in a pasture that previously ran in excess of 400. Horseshoe Fire #2 is still burning out of control, consuming everything in its path, but in the first stages its primary fuel was grass, amply available due to under grazing on the Horseshoe allotment. The wind, blowing southwest to northeast, carried the fire at an astounding speed down Horseshoe Canyon and over a ridge into Sulphar Canyon (another under grazed allotment). From the mouth of Sulphar Canyon it skirted around the foot of the mountains by Sanford Hill going north to the very edge of Portal itself.
    Three Triangle Ranch cows saved the town of Portal. The Forest Service will claim that a fire break made by their bulldozers should get the credit, but in reality, as the fire reached the edge of town it burned into a corner of a large cow pasture, one of the few that had been heavily grazed, and it simply ran out of fuel.
    In 1994 there was a fire in the area near Rustler Park that became known as the Rattlesnake Fire. Prior to this fire, Forest Service employees had collected seeds from this area, and nurtured thousands of seedlings ready to plant. After the Rattlesnake Fire the Forest Service proposed a sale of burned timber to finance the planting of these seedlings in the area destroyed by the fire. The fight was on. The local environmental community, with the help of The Southwest Center for Biological Diversity and other eco-terrorists groups, sued the Federal Government to stop the timber sale. The court ruled in favor of the environmental community, but the Forest Service appealed and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals eventually overturned the original decision of the lower court, and ruled in favor of the U.S. Forest Service.
    Not long before this, the Forest Service had proposed a small 10 acre timber sale near the same area which immediately set off a firestorm of protest from the same group of enviros. Within a matter of a few days they were able to inspire thousands of letters of protest against the proposed timber sale. The word was put out that the Forest Service was clear cutting the entire Chiracahua range, when in reality the sale was not to exceed 10 acres. Hundreds of these protest letters were written on university letterhead paper and signed by many PhDs from all over the United States. In frustration the Forest Service cancelled the timber sale thinking it not worth the fight. The results of this mismanagement and hatred of loggers and cowboys has produced an unnatural forest that is virtually choking on its own excess of downed timber, undergrowth and unharvested grass, that is at best a time bomb waiting to be set off by a bolt of lightening or in this case, the match of a drug smuggler.
    The pendulum swings back and forth, with technique and practice going from one extreme to the other, and common sense often being overlooked. Our natural resources should be managed in a case by case manner with decisions being made by people with proven experience, (including permit holders), instead of being held hostage to the latest fad propagated by some PhD with no practical and hands on experience. The current method of managing fires is to let them burn from road to road or natural barrier to natural barrier. Fires, that twenty years ago would have been aggressively fought even in remote areas with destruction kept to a minimum, are now being allowed to burn over a greater expanse. The result is a forest habitat that is being nuked, with everything in its path being destroyed. Old growth timber on the Coronado National Forest is virtually gone as the result of fires. The enviros want to blame the loggers for this, but it is simply not true.
    As I write this on Sunday morning May 15, 2011 I sit on the porch and look north about 10 miles and observe Horseshoe Fire #2 still burning out of control. The first stage of the fire burned eastward from Burro Spring, carried by a strong wind, but now after several days of relative calm the fire has burned westward climbing to very highest peak in the Chircahua range. I watch the fire from where I sit and can see that it is now around the corner of the mountaintop burning on the west face of the mountain. It has also burned around to the east side of the very top of the mountain. This east side where one fork of the fire is actually located is the very headwaters of Cave Creek itself. It’s what a cowboy would call downhill and shady from where it is at the moment to the Southwest Research Station and a short distance on down the creek to Portal. Cave Creek comes into Portal from a different angle than the first stage of the fire which I mentioned in a previous paragraph. The town of Portal is not out of danger yet. I’ve been in this area from top to bottom gathering cattle and can tell you first hand that it is chocked with down timber, brush and grass, the result of decades of so called protection by our federal government. The people in Portal and the surrounding area need to hope that the wind doesn’t start blowing again west to east like it has all spring or the second stage of this fire could be worse than the first. As of the morning of, Saturday the 14th of May, the fire had burned in excess of 20,000 acres of some of the southwest’s best wildlife habitat, not to mention millions of dollars of potential timber sales and grazable forage and on Sunday morning the 15th there is no end in sight.
    Nobody around here is happy with the fire, not ever the Mexican outlaws who habitually pack their dope and other contraband over a trail that goes by Burro Springs and on north to multiple drop off spots, scattered from Portal all the way to San Simon or Bowie. Many residents in the area have quality radios and can listen to outlaw scouts who drive up and down Highway 80 between Portal and Douglas and relay information via radio to their narcotic packing counterparts. They transmit messages that contain the whereabouts of Border Patrol agents or anyone else who might interfere with the smuggling of their product. This last week these outlaw scouts were heard cursing the fire that they started, which now transcends the entire eastern slope of the Chiracahua range. They are being forced to send their contraband west to the Silver Creek area (the home of Roger Barnett) and on north across the western slope of the mountains.
    While all this goes on I’m sure our politicians will make hay laying the blame on each other and their respective political parties. The result of all this will be more bureaucratic quagmire completely void of common sense or solution, and the fire continues to burn the trogon and spotted owl out of house and home. The fire still looms uphill from Portal whose residents are still in danger of losing everything, and dozens of federal employees sit down at their base camp 6 miles east of Portal on Highway 80 staring up to the top of the mountain hoping the wind will stay calm. All weather forecasts call for the wind to return on Monday the 16th.
    While all this goes on, Janet Napolitano and our Campaigner in Chief assure us that our southern border is safer than ever. Try telling this to a trogon or spotted owl or perhaps a homo sapien living in Portal. They’re not playing it cool any longer and they won’t believe you.

HT: Hugh Hulob For another interesting read see Holub's An open letter to Barak Obama about the border.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

Instant cowgirl, just add 'try'

by Julie Carter

    It's been a long, windy road from youth rodeo to high school competition and on to college rodeos. But now, it's all behind her.
     Capitan, New Mexico cowgirl Staci Stanbrough has graduated from New Mexico State University College of Agriculture with Crimson honors and a trail of rodeo titles, belt buckles and championship saddles behind her as far as the eye can see.
     Staci is headed to grad school, but her college rodeo eligibility is up and her desire for more of the rodeo road is gone. She's retiring.
     She said the cost of fuel presents the first big reason to throw her hat in the closet and call it "the end." With no ranch to go home to and no cattle to work, she said her horses would have nothing to do.
     "So why not just sell it all as a package deal? Another family could be ready to go next weekend," she said with a laugh.
     Perhaps eBay, Craig's List or even Thrifty Nickel would bring her the buyer she wants.
     "Complete rodeo package for sale: 2006 Dodge pickup current on oil changes, runs like a dream. Behind it, pull your own four-horse Sooner trailer. All the lights and the air conditioner works.
     "Also in the package, one barrel horse, getting up there in age but she can still shag fanny and one gelding that can do it all - breakaway roping, goat tying and more.
     "Package comes complete with trophy roping saddles, barrel saddles, saddle pads, goat strings, rope can (including ropes, some old, some new), bell boots, splint boots, skid boots, mud boots, headstalls, tie downs,
bits, whips, spurs, hoof pick, vet wrap, Bute paste, and other vet supplies. "Also included: duct tape, bailing wire, W-D 40, horse brushes, flashlights, water buckets of all sizes, water hose, blankets, halters, zip ties, fishing poles, folding chairs, rain coats, tire iron, spare tire, hydraulic jack...and many more item.
     "P.S. Dog not included, must buy your own. Barry gets to stay with me."
     Staci didn't wake up one day and become a champion cowgirl or a Crimson scholar.
     What makes her a success is that she gives everything she does 110 percent.
     She graduated with the highest honors from the NMSU College of Agriculture, was named Outstanding Student, had a 4.0 gpa and was on the Dean's List for five years running. Staci didn't ever know what it was like to get a grade lower than an A.
     She excelled in the rodeo arena and her skills as an ambassador for the sport landed her other honors and titles with the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association.
     Staci Stanbrough has wasted not one minute of her life. She is an inspiration and role model, not just for those following behind her, but for those looking back at her.
     While this cowgirl is sincere about purging her life of rodeo for now, there are thousands of former hands, most not as successful as she, that know when it's in your blood, it never really goes away.
     Whether she ever steps foot in a rodeo arena again or not really doesn't matter. The point is, she has figured out the formula for success. Cowgirl "try" is not for sale.

Julie can be reached for comment at

Each year I give an original Curtis Fort bronze to the all around cowboy and cowgirl at NMSU.  To win the DuBois Award you must have scored the highest number of NIRA points in two or more events.

The winner of this years DuBois Award for female athletes is the same Staci Stanbrough that Julie writes about.  In addition to her outstanding academic record and her rodeo skills, her counterparts across the nation elected her as the Student President of the NIRA.  We've been very proud to have Staci as part of the rodeo program at NMSU.

The DuBois Award was presented ten days ago.