Saturday, February 11, 2012

Friday, February 10, 2012

Feral swine running wild in eastern New Mexico

Prolific feral swine populations are ravaging eastern New Mexico range and farmland and creating an ecological nightmare, according to state and federal wildlife officials. An astonishing reproductive rate has seen hogs spread to 17 New Mexico counties in just seven years. Farmer and rancher Ted Rush of Quay County has hunted and killed more than 300 feral swine on his land. They rooted up his feed roads and destroyed thousands of dollars in milo and sorghum crops. “My wheat fields looked like they’d been bombed by the military, there were huge craters everywhere” Rush said. An increase in similar incidents could have a potentially devastating effect on New Mexico’s economy. Since Curry and Roosevelt counties do not have rivers and streams, which feral hogs depend on to keep cool, Curry County extension agent Stan Jones said he does not anticipate a huge problem in our area. State director of wildlife services Alan May disagrees. “A population of feral pigs is doing quite well in the sandhills of New Mexico living off livestock water troughs provided by ranchers” May said. Ron Jones, a wildlife specialist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said he utilizes abandoned windmill sites with running water to track the pig’s progress across the state. Jones said, “There are only two kinds of land owners in New Mexico — those who have feral pigs- and those who will.”...more

NM Sheriffs warned on rural cartel threats

New Mexico sheriffs are learning just how prevalent Mexican drug cartels are in New Mexico, how they operate and the best way to deal with them. The sheriffs recently took part in a conference near the U.S.-Mexico border to learn the cartels' place in our state. A Drug Enforcement Administration bust on Jan. 26 in the metro area revealed the cartel is in fact here. Fifteen people were indicted in that case and several properties in Albuquerque, Edgewood, and McIntosh searched. The most shocking arrest was that of Albuquerque firefighter Steve Chavez whom authorities said was selling drugs from the Sinaloa Cartel and moving the money through his bank accounts. During the border conference sheriff's learned that rural areas like Torrance County are most susceptible because it has major interstates but also back roads where drug smugglers may be able to transport their goods and hide...more

During the border conference sheriff's learned that rural areas like Torrance County are most susceptible because it has major interstates but also back roads where drug smugglers may be able to transport their goods and hide  

Keep in mind Dona Ana County has two interstates, many rural roads, an airport and a railroad.  This is also where Senators Bingaman & Udall want to designate 232,000 acres of wilderness, otherwise known as Bingaman's Bandito Boulevard.

Here is the KRQE TV news report: emailers go here


NM drug trafficking ring linked to Sinaloa cartel

Members of a major drug trafficking and money laundering Albuquerque organization recently named in an indictment had connections to the deadly Sinaloa drug cartel in Mexico, federal officials said Friday. Drug Enforcement Administration special agent Keith Brown said that the 15 men named in a 29-count federal indictment unsealed last week worked as a large-scale marijuana and cocaine distributor for the violent cartel. "This was a huge organization that had a lot of impact on drug sales in Albuquerque," said Brown. "These kinds of organizations are what feed the cartels." The indictment stems from a multi-agency, nine-month investigation into the major criminal empire that federal officials said also operated in parts of Texas and Florida. According to the indictment, the 15 men were part of a group that distributed cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana between May 2011 and January 2012. But Brown said authorities believe it had been operating for several years...more

Drug And Human Trafficking Violence Making Its Way Into Oklahoma City

OKLAHOMA CITY - They're the type of crimes you think of on the other side of the border -- in Mexico -- but beheadings and other drug-related violence are happening right here in the metro. Last fall it was Bethany teen Carina Saunders -- killed to send a message to girls involved in human and drug trafficking. Just last week we told you about an alleged house of prostitution busted on the city's southwest side where poker chips were exchanged for sex. Police say that shows an apparent tie to Mexican human trafficking rings. News 9 traveled to southern Arizona to see how big the problem with drug cartels really is and why we should be worried about it spreading into the metro even more. "I wear a bulletproof best at night. I'm scared," said Arizona farmer Scott Blevins. His land is a mile off of Interstate 10 between Phoenix and Tucson. He says the Mexican drug cartels are so dangerous he has to protect himself. That includes a Glock strapped to his ankle. Blevins said there's nowhere to hide. "It's running rampant throughout our nation. The drug cartels are imbedded in each one of our states." Chief Deputy Steve Henry with the Pinal County Sheriff's Department says it's nothing new. "What used to be a trickle has turned into a torrent. The violence in America, in Mexico, is here and it's not going anywhere anytime soon." Blevins knows all about the Saunders case. He researches crimes with the cartel's calling cards as a way to become more informed. He said, "it coincided with the beheadings, the dismemberments that have happened here and in California." Henry agrees. "The beheading in Oklahoma, we had a beheading in Chandler which is 19 miles from here. It was a drug cartel execution."...more  

Here is the full TV news report which everyone should watch: (email recipients go here)


Former DEA Chief: Hezbollah Eyeing Southwest Border, ‘Hell to Pay in the Not Too Distant Future’

The Iranian-supported Shi’ite terrorist group Hezbollah has spread its influence all the way to the U.S. border with Mexico, a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Iran’s influence in the Western Hemisphere heard on Thursday. Michael Braun, a former chief of operations at the Drug Enforcement Agency, said Hezbollah had developed relationships with the powerful Mexican drug cartels to “move their agenda forward.” He cited a plot, recently uncovered by the DEA, involving an Iranian operative in Mexico allegedly planning to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington, D.C. “Hezbollah are absolute masters at forming close relationships with existing organized crime groups around the world that helps them facilitate what they need to do to move their agendas forward,” Braun told following the hearing. “And if anyone thinks for a moment that they don’t have their eye on the southwest border and all of our country, then they couldn’t be more wrong.” In his prepared remarks Braun, who also served as interim director of the Department of Justice’s Drug Intelligence Fusion Center, said Hezbollah and other terrorist groups understand that the Mexican cartels are already operating successfully inside the United States...more

Iran Launches Spanish-Language TV Channel

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has officially launched a Spanish-language satellite TV channel, saying it will be “a means for better ties between the people and governments of Iran and Spanish-speaking nations.” Hispan TV will broadcast news, documentaries, movies and Iranian films 24 hours a day. The channel had been on the air on a trial basis since October with a 16-hour daily program, The Guardian reported. Ahmadinejad also said during a ceremony in Tehran marking the launch: “The new channel will limit the ground for supremacy of dominance seekers,” an obvious reference to the United States and the West. He ended his speech in Spanish: “Vive America Latina!”...more

Obama to Return Major Donations Tied to Fugitive

Two American brothers of a Mexican casino magnate who fled drug and fraud charges in the United States and has been seeking a pardon enabling him to return have emerged as major fund-raisers and donors for President Obama’s re-election campaign. The casino owner, Juan Jose Rojas Cardona, known as Pepe, jumped bail in Iowa in 1994 and disappeared, and has since been linked to violence and corruption in Mexico. A State Department cable in 2009 said he was suspected of orchestrating the assassination of a business rival and making illegal campaign donations to Mexican officials. When The New York Times asked the Obama campaign early Monday about the Cardonas, officials said they were unaware of the brother in Mexico. Later in the day, the campaign said it was refunding the money raised by the family, which totaled more than $200,000.As recently as January of last year, one of Mr. Cardona’s brothers in Chicago, Carlos Rojas Cardona, arranged for the former chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party to seek a pardon from the governor for Pepe Cardona, according to prosecutors in that state. None was forthcoming.Last fall, Carlos Cardona and another brother in Chicago, Alberto Rojas Cardona, began raising money for the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee. The Cardona brothers, who have no prior history of political giving, appeared seemingly out of nowhere in the world of Democratic fund-raising, Democratic activists said. The money Alberto Cardona raised put him in the upper tiers of fund-raisers known as bundlers, according to a list released last month by the campaign. He and Carlos Cardona each gave the maximum $30,800 to the Democratic National Committee, and a lesser amount to a state victory fund. A sister, Leticia Rojas Cardona of Tennessee, donated $13,000 to the national committee, and another relative in Illinois gave $12,600, records show. There is no record of Pepe Cardona making a donation...more

U.S. expands Mexico travel warning

Spreading drug violence, kidnappings and carjackings in Mexico have led the U.S. State Department to increase the number of places it says Americans should avoid for safety reasons for the second time in less than a year. A travel advisory issued this week urged U.S. citizens to avoid all but essential travel to 14 states in northern and central Mexico, warning that U.S. citizens have fallen victim to drug-cartel related activity "including homicide, gunbattles, kidnapping, carjacking and highway robbery." In April, the State Department had issued a warning about 10 states. The latest advisory cites concerns about parts of Aguascalientes, Guerrero and Nayarit in central Mexico, and raises its advisory against non-essential travel to include Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Nuevo Leon, San Luis Potosi, Sinaloa and Zacatecas as well as Tamaulipas and Michoacan. The State Department also maintained an April warning against non-essential travel to parts of Sonora, south of Arizona, and central Jalisco state, where drug cartel violence has become more widespread. "Gunbattles have occurred in broad daylight on streets and in other public venues, such as restaurants and clubs. During some of these incidents, U.S. citizens have been trapped and temporarily prevented from leaving the area," the travel advisory said. "The location and timing of future armed engagements is unpredictable. We recommend that you defer travel to the areas indicated in this travel warning and to exercise extreme caution when travelling throughout the northern border region."...more

Idaho Senator: Ease Restrictions on Wolf Retaliation

Sen. Jeff Siddoway has had enough of wolves. On Thursday, the Senate Agriculture Committee voted to print a bill from the Terreton Republican that would expand ranchers’ ability to hunt wolves that kill their livestock. Siddoway cited his own experiences with battling wolves. In recent years, the eastern Idaho sheep rancher estimated he had experienced losses of between $30,000 and $50,000 because of wolves, even with a restitution program in place. “This bill is a direct result of those losses,” he said. The legislation would allow ranchers to use a variety of currently prohibited tactics to take out problem wolves within 36 hours of the discovery of a wolf kill. It would allow aerial hunts, along with the use of artificial light and live bait...more

Ranchers caught in the middle: Wildearth Guardians vs Grazing

“We’ve won every step of the way but we’re still fighting in court,” said Roxanne Knight in a recent interview about the six year fight to renew their grazing lease in northeastern Arizona. Roxanne and her husband, Galyn, have been waging a battle since 2006 with the non-profit environmental group WildEarth Guardians, formerly called the Forest Guardians and even though a late 2011 decision made by the Arizona Superior Court upheld a decision in their favor made by the State Land Commission, the Guardians have filed appeals. The Knights were told by their attorneys that the case could go on for another five or six years. “This is a precedent setting case that will affect grazing leases for all ranchers if we fail,” said Roxanne. “We wanted to celebrate when we won this recent decision, but the Guardians MO is to appeal, appeal, and appeal to wear people down. They wait until the last minute to file hoping to catch you off guard.” The Knights are a seventh-generation ranching family who have been leasing and managing state trust land since 1952. They’ve had the current contested lease since 1978. All of the Knights hold degrees in areas such as farm and ranch management, agribusiness, conservation biology and environmental resources.  They have kept detailed records on their grazing leases that include monitoring range conditions, rainfall data, grass species and percentages, and other environmental factors. The WildEarth Guardians is headquartered in Santa Fe, New Mexico with offices in Denver and Boulder, Colo. and Phoenix and Tucson.  On their website,, they state, “Livestock production is by far the most widespread destructive activity on the arid and semi-arid western landscape. Forest Guardians is working to eliminate livestock grazing on public lands…” “They said we were bad stewards of the land, but we’ve proven that’s not true and the courts have agreed,” said Roxanne. The Knights are able to use the grazing lease until the case is settled but if they lose if could put them out of business said Roxanne. “They don’t care, that’s what they want; to put us all out of business and close down the land to only wildlife.”...more

Ranchers take note:

They have kept detailed records on their grazing leases that include monitoring range conditions, rainfall data, grass species and percentages, and other environmental factors.
“They said we were bad stewards of the land, but we’ve proven that’s not true and the courts have agreed,” said Roxanne.  

The two are tied together: they are winning in court because of the records they have kept. Are you monitoring your allotment?

EDITORIAL: Clean green fraud

In 2007, President George W. Bush signed a law declaring 36 billion gallons of ethanol would be used in gasoline by the year 2022. Though the move purportedly would help the environment, it’s no secret that the corn fuel mandate has more to do with politicians seeking Midwestern votes. There wasn’t a lot of thought put into the consequences of this unrealistic and pointless command handed down from above. As a result, each fuel refiner and importer has to meet a quota of “renewable” fuel that must be blended into proper petroleum products. For 2012, EPA decided the total amount needs to add up to 15.2 billion gallons. Companies that can’t meet the target on their own can purchase credits from renewable fuel producers. These credits are available on the EPA Moderated Transaction System, a trading scheme that lets companies that claim an abundance of “green” fuel to rake in the cash. It’s basically a government-run equivalent of the Chicago Climate Exchange that would have sold “carbon credits” had Congress enacted cap-and-trade legislation. Beginning in 2009, the Maryland-based firm Clean Green Fuel sold credits representing 21 million gallons of biodiesel on the EPA trading system. This company was a model of political correctness, claiming it dispatched employees to collect waste vegetable oil from 2,700 nearby restaurants so that it could be converted into fuel. According to EPA, however, Clean Green had no facilities to collect or convert anything. Court documents assert that Clean Green’s owner pocketed $9.1 million in cash, which he then used to collect quite a carbon footprint from more than two-dozen luxury and sports cars, including several Ferraris, a Lamborghini and a Bentley purchased with a check for $377,210. Court documents also show the owner’s wife enjoyed $81,950 worth of diamond jewelry...more

Study: Colo. oil-gas pollution tops expectations

Ozone-forming air pollution measured along the Colorado Front Range by scientists is up to twice the amount that government regulators have calculated should exist, according to a new study. The researchers pinpoint oil and gas development as the main source - a finding that could have broad implications for the petroleum industry across the Rocky Mountain region. The Front Range in recent years hasn't met U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards for ozone pollution during the summertime. A similar problem occurs in the growing gas fields of western Wyoming and eastern Utah during the winter, when conditions including bright sunshine, temperature inversions and snow on the ground help stimulate ozone formation. Starting in 2007, the scientists measured elevated levels of methane and other atmospheric hydrocarbons from atop a nearly 1,000-foot tower north of Denver. The tower is one of eight nationwide monitored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Unlike the other seven towers, the Boulder Atmospheric Observatory tower had been picking up unusually high levels of substances such as propane, butane and pentane...more

California’s Redevelopment Nightmare Coming To An End

In a landmark victory for private property owners in the Golden State, the California Supreme Court today upheld a statute abolishing the nearly 400 redevelopment agencies across the state. The court also struck down a law that would have allowed these agencies to buy their way back into existence. The final outcome of the case is that, in 2012, California’s decades-long redevelopment nightmare will finally come to an end. California redevelopment agencies have been some of the worst abusers of eminent domain for decades, violating the private property rights of tens of thousands of home, business, church and farm owners. The Institute for Justice has catalogued more than 200 abuses of eminent domain across California during the past ten years alone. In California Scheming: What Every Californian Should Know About Eminent Domain Abuse, the Institute for Justice exposed the enormous amounts of taxpayer money used to fund these illegitimate land grabs. In fiscal year 2005-2006 alone, redevelopment agencies’ revenues were an astonishing $8.7 billion. In other words, 12 percent of all property taxes in California that year were sent to these bureaucrats. As part of the state’s response to its fiscal emergency and to stop this drain on the state’s resources, the legislature passed, and Governor Jerry Brown signed, two laws: Assembly Bill 1X 26, which dissolves redevelopment agencies, and Assembly Bill 1X 27, which exempted agencies that agreed to make payments into funds benefiting the state’s schools and special districts. The California Redevelopment Association and the League of California Cities, among others, challenged both laws, arguing that they violated the California Constitution...more

Song Of The Day #770

Ranch Radio has another from the seventies:  Roy Clark and Thank God and Greyhound.  Maybe someday we can say the same to the feds.  The tune is on his 14 track CD Roy Clark - Greatest Hits.

Check back this afternoon

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Update on Goss takings trial. (they won)

Kara Goss Cochran wrote on the Wall for Federal Takings Case Sacramento Grazing Allotment.

Kara wrote: "The trail is over, and as SGA's lawyer explained to us, Sacramento Grazing Association has won.

The Judge did find that the water rights belong to SGA and that the water was taken from SGA.

As far as compensation for these takings, (to my VERY LIMITED understanding) that is to be determined at a later date.

There are more details to the Judge’s recommendation to be addressed by the Forest Service, the Governments lawyers, Sacramento Grazing Association, and SGA's lawyers, although I’m uncertain at this time of all those details.

Thanks to everyone who came to the trial to support our family, and also thank you for all the prayers and love. Praise God!"

Laura Schneberger

Cherokee saddle maker to craft saddles for worthy Veterans' cause

Leach Saddle
Not too long ago, Cherokeans Doug Woods and Bob Leach were discussing a program which they had heard about on a satellite radio show. The program, called 'Horses for Heroes' (or H4H) Cowboy Up, is run by New Mexico rancher Rick Iannucci. In 2007, Iannucci had heard about a program at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. where disabled soldiers were placed in therapeutic horseback riding programs as a means of helping returning veterans cope with the stress of integrating back into civilian life. He felt that while this was a great idea, he also felt that the Veteran's Administration and other government agencies have not been able to handle the large number of returning soldiers, nor the variety of problems that occur when soldiers come home from overseas deployment. Iannucci, a decorated former Green Beret and U.S. Marshal, operates the Crossed Arrows Ranch, south of Santa Fe, New Mexico, and he feels that the life of a working cowboy is very similar to the life of a soldier. With that thought in mind, he started the Horses for Heroes Cowboy Up Program. Cowboy Up, though, says Iannucci, "is not about just getting on a pony and riding around an arena.
Rick Iannucci
The cowboy culture is almost a parallel to the warrior culture. When these (veterans) came back from Iraq and Afghanistan, they were lost in a lot of ways." So, just what is this "Horses For Heroes - Cowboy Up!" program that Iannucci has developed? It is a free program, open to veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom-Afghanistan who have sustained physical injuries or combat trauma (PTSD) during their time serving our country. The time the veterans spend at the Crossed Arrows Ranch is "hands on" with the horses from the day they arrive, beginning with groundwork and progressing to riding, as well as participating in other aspects of life on the ranch, including working cattle and, more importantly, experiencing camaraderie with cowboys who are veterans themselves. Horses For Heroes is a non-profit corporation, totally funded by donations, and is the only program of its kind that is endorsed by, and partnered with,The Military Order of the Purple Heart - New Mexico, and the New Mexico Cattle Growers Association and its member ranchers. When Bob Leach and Doug Woods heard about the H4H Cowboy Up program, they investigated it further, and, finding that it indeed appeared to be as great as it sounded, they contacted Rick Iannucci to find out if he could use any "horse equipment" at the ranch. Iannucci told Leach that the program could sure use some good working saddles, and Leach - a retired law enforcement officer who crafts saddles as his "retirement job" - said he would make three Wade saddles for the program. The Wade saddle, named for Oregon cowboy Clifford Wade and named by another cowboy, Tom Dorrance, is built for the working cowboy, and is constructed for comfort and a full day in the saddle. It's rugged, stout and tough - truly a working saddle...more

The Himalayas and nearby peaks have lost no ice in past 10 years, study shows

The world's greatest snow-capped peaks, which run in a chain from the Himalayas to Tian Shan on the border of China and Kyrgyzstan, have lost no ice over the last decade, new research shows. The discovery has stunned scientists, who had believed that around 50bn tonnes of meltwater were being shed each year and not being replaced by new snowfall. The study is the first to survey all the world's icecaps and glaciers and was made possible by the use of satellite data. Overall, the contribution of melting ice outside the two largest caps – Greenland and Antarctica – is much less than previously estimated, with the lack of ice loss in the Himalayas and the other high peaks of Asia responsible for most of the discrepancy. Bristol University glaciologist Prof Jonathan Bamber, who was not part of the research team, said: "The very unexpected result was the negligible mass loss from high mountain Asia, which is not significantly different from zero."...more

Earth's Polar Ice Melting Less Than Thought

Nearly 230 billion tons of ice is melting into the ocean from glaciers, ice caps, and mountaintops annually—which is actually less than previous estimates, according to new research by scientists at the University of Colorado, Boulder. If the amount of ice lost between 2003 and 2010 covered the United States, the whole country would be under one-and-a-half feet of water, or it'd fill Lake Erie eight times, researchers say. Ocean levels worldwide are rising about six hundredths of an inch per year, according to researcher John Wahr. While vast quantities of ice melting into the ocean is not exactly good news, Wahr says, according to his team's estimates, about 30 percent less ice is melting than previously thought...more

Drones over U.S. get OK by Congress

Look! Up in the sky! Is it a bird? Is it a plane? It’s … a drone, and it’s watching you. That’s what privacy advocates fear from a bill Congress passed this week to make it easier for the government to fly unmanned spy planes in U.S. airspace. The FAA Reauthorization Act, which President Obama is expected to sign, also orders the Federal Aviation Administration to develop regulations for the testing and licensing of commercial drones by 2015. Privacy advocates say the measure will lead to widespread use of drones for electronic surveillance by police agencies across the country and eventually by private companies as well. “There are serious policy questions on the horizon about privacy and surveillance, by both government agencies and commercial entities,” said Steven Aftergood, who heads the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists. The Electronic Frontier Foundation also is “concerned about the implications for surveillance by government agencies,” said attorney Jennifer Lynch. The provision in the legislation is the fruit of “a huge push by lawmakers and the defense sector to expand the use of drones” in American airspace, she added. According to some estimates, the commercial drone market in the United States could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars once the FAA clears their use. The agency projects that 30,000 drones could be in the nation’s skies by 2020...more

I told you.  Just imagine the FS, BLM, USFWS, NPS & EPA with their own fleet of drones.

Feds oppose strip mine near Utah's Bryce Canyon

Federal biologists say a strip mine at the backdoor to Utah's storybook Bryce Canyon National Park will wipe out the southernmost population of sage grouse, even as their agency resists a broader effort to protect the bird across the West. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is among three federal agencies that have registered opposition to the lease of 3,500 acres of public range land sought by a coal mine that got its start on 440 acres of private land. The mining is under way about a dozen miles from a corner of Bryce Canyon National Park, a high plateau of southern Utah prized for its clean air, wildlife and sparking night skies. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has set the stage for a group of Florida investors known as Alton Coal Development LLC to expand onto the surrounding public range lands. The BLM tentatively approved a lease sale open to all bidders last fall. The project's draft environmental study has drawn opposition in recent weeks from the Fish & Wildlife Service, the National Park Service and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. While the Fish & Wildlife Service doesn't have the staff or money to seek broader protections for the sage grouse, “our goal is to protect existing populations,” said Amy Defreese, an agency ecologist based in Salt Lake City. Officials said other candidate species rank higher for protection. That position was upheld Friday by a federal judge who dismissed a lawsuit brought by environmental groups seeking Endangered Species Act protection for the ground-foraging bird. The National Park Service objects to the dust, nighttime lights and machinery noise of around-the-clock mining in an area so quiet that measuring devices fail to register natural sounds...more

6-year-old boy survives mountain lion attack at park

What started as a family vacation, quickly took a turn for the worst after a six-year-old boy is attacked by a mountain lion in Big Bend National Park. "We weren’t on a trail or down in the woods we were on a sidewalk between the restaurant and hotel," explains Rivers Hobbs’ father, Jason. The Hobbs family drove in from Austin, hoping to enjoy the outdoors in Big Bend National Park. But their vacation was cut short. "It snuck up on me," claims 6-year-old Rivers. “It” was a mountain lion, sneaking up on Rivers just feet from the Chisos Mountain Lodge where they were staying. "It had a hold of his face...the cat was clamped on his face. I reached down and got my knife out and stabbed the cat in the chest and it let go at that point," Jason says. David Elkowitz with the Big Bend National Park tells CBS 7 this was actually the second attack of the day in the same area. Elkowitz said the mountain lion tried to attack another family but was fended off by a backpack...more

Cattlemen Grill EPA on Propose CAFO Regulations

Last October the Environmental Protection Agency issued a proposed rule under Section 308 of the Clean Water Act, which allows them to get information from point sources. The proposed rule would be sent out to all confined animal feeding operations either across the country or in what they termed "focus watersheds." It would require those individual operations to electronically upload a laundry list of information about their operation to an electronic database held on EPA's website that would be accessible to anyone across the globe. "The problem with this rule is one we think it goes beyond the EPA's authority to make such a broad request," National Cattlemen's Beef Association Deputy Environmental Counsel Ashley Lyon said. "Number two, is the privacy issue. We are very concerned that putting the location of every single CAFO in an easily searchable database on EPA's website not only increases the attacks by environmental extremists on our operations but even terrorists from other countries." The Department of Homeland Security has determined that the agricultural infrastructure is one of the seven critical infrastructures in the U.S. that is susceptible to terrorist attacks. Ellen Gilinsky of the EPA met with cattle producers in Nashville, Tenn., at the 2012 Cattlemen's Convention to discuss the proposed rule under Section 308 of the Clean Water Act. . Gilinsky said EPA received a number of comments on the proposed rule prior to the closing of the comment period on Jan. 19. She said the agency understands the cattle industry's biosecurity and privacy concerns...more

BLM: Around 45 Navajo families living on BLM land without permission

About 45 Navajo families live on Bureau of Land Management land south of Bloomfield without permission. The families are unable to hook up to water and electrical services because they are living in unauthorized areas. And negotiating a land swap between the federal government and the tribe could take years because the exchange requires input from the local and state BLM offices, the Navajo Nation and the general public, said Dave Evans, the manager for the BLM Farmington District Office. Unauthorized occupancy was discussed Wednesday during a meeting of the BLM's Farmington Resource Advisory Council. The 10-member council provides the BLM input on resource and land management issues on local public lands. American Indian families settling on public lands near Navajo Nation borders is an issue throughout New Mexico, Arizona and Utah. For the BLM Farmington Field Office, the issue is isolated to lands south of Bloomfield along U.S. 550, Evans said. This land often is referred to as "the checkerboard" because it is a mix of federal, private, tribal and state lands. "Families are in our offices on a daily basis ... concerned that they cannot get water and electricity in their homes," said Maureen Joe, an assistant field manager for the BLM's Farmington Field Office. Often, a cluster of around six Navajo families settled in an area and built homes themselves, only to find later that one or two of the homes are built on federal land and are therefore unable to hook up to utilities, Joe said. "Oftentimes you have a home that is 50 feet away from a water line and can't tap into it," said Gary Torres, manager of the BLM Farmington Field Office. Often, a cluster of around six Navajo families settled in an area and built homes themselves, only to find later that one or two of the homes are built on federal land and are therefore unable to hook up to utilities, Joe said. "Oftentimes you have a home that is 50 feet away from a water line and can't tap into it," said Gary Torres, manager of the BLM Farmington Field Office...more

A simple solution to sheepdog encounters?

Officials are betting that unnerving encounters with dogs guarding sheep in the high country could be reduced or eliminated through a public-education program to occur before flocks head for the hills in July. The plan emerged from a meeting this week involving the La Plata County Living With Wildlife Advisory Board and representatives of the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, the agencies that oversee livestock grazing on public land. “I was impressed with the presentation of the agencies as well as the heartfelt and knowledgeable response of our board members,” Maureen Keilty, chairwoman of the wildlife board, said Wednesday. “I think we have a good focus and that our plan can be a model for public education.” Among the elements of the informational plan: A booth at the Durango Farmers Market where volunteers would explain the history of livestock grazing, the inherent nature and training of sheepdogs, and suggested trail etiquette on the part of hikers and mountain bikers. A public forum at which stakeholders would give their point of view. The composition of the panel isn’t set but could include a rancher, a Forest Service or BLM representative, an advocate for wildlife and someone to speak for the trail-using public...more

Native mesquite gets a serious look for landscapes

The mesquite tree is a Texas icon — or a Texas curse, depending on your point of view. Blamed by generations of ranchers for ruining pasture and range land in Texas, mesquite brush now covers more than 56 million acres, according to the Texas Almanac. Before European settlement, mesquite was present, but in far fewer numbers. We know this from written accounts of the first Texas explorers, such as Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca. Mostly confined to areas of deep soil on hillsides near seasonal creeks, mesquites grew as medium-size, single-trunk trees 30 to 40 feet tall with even broader canopies. Native Americans greatly valued mesquite. The abundant seed pods are high in sugar and can be processed into a nutritious flour or fermented to produce an alcoholic drink. Early Spanish settlers found even more uses for the tree. In arid parts of Texas, mesquite is often the only tree large enough to provide useful lumber. Mesquite wood is hard, dense and strong. It makes sturdy beams for buildings and long-lasting fence posts; mesquite planks were used for the doors of mission churches and their altars. Carved mesquite wood shows its beautiful red-brown color in bowls, cooking utensils, furniture and flooring. The scraps burn hot and long, giving coals perfect for cooking...more

Bill sets higher burden of proof in cow crashes

Drivers who hit livestock on Nebraska roads should have a higher burden of proof in showing that farmers and ranchers are to blame, a state lawmaker said Wednesday. Sen. Ken Schilz of Ogallala said he wants to require motorists to show "specific acts of negligence" when they file lawsuits against a cattle owner. Current Nebraska law says judges and juries cannot infer that livestock owners were negligent just because the animals escaped. The law does not require evidence of specific negligence. "As a cattle feeder myself, I know how important it is to maintain good fences," Schilz told the Legislature's Judiciary Committee. "But there are many times when cattle escape without the negligence of the owner." Schilz, who runs a cattle operation along Interstate 80, said cattle can jump fences, push down fences and unlock gates on their own...more

Song Of The Day #769

As Ranch Radio peeks into the 70s, here's Charlie Pride and his 1970 recording of Is Anybody Going To San Antone. The tune is available on his 20 track CD Essential Charlie Pride and many other collections.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Wolves in the San Luis Valley? Reg'l Forester Says No

There has been some recent speculation that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service intends to reintroduce wolves in the San Luis Valley to help manage elk and other species. It is important to set the record straight: the Forest Service in fact has no plans and no intent to reintroduce wolves in the valley. The confusion about the Forest Service's intent arose from a draft plan to manage overabundant elk populations affecting vital wildlife habitat on the San Luis Valley's National Wildlife Refuges. The draft plan references a suggestion by some members of the public that the Forest Service consider wolves as a potential management tool. By law, the Forest Service is required to analyze the comments and suggestions we receive; we do not, however, believe that wolf reintroduction is the appropriate management strategy for this area. We have instead put forward three other options including public hunting, which we believe will help ensure that the wildlife refuges in the San Luis Valley continue to provide high quality habitat for elk and other species — as well as recreational and economic benefits for local communities...more

Forest Service Regional Director Guertin saying the Forest Service has "no plans and no intent" to introduce wolves is a pretty strong statement.  However, no one should take comfort from this as it is the Fish & Wildlife Service, not the Forest Service, who designates critical habitat for the wolf. 

Guertin goes on to say:

We encourage members of the public and our partners to review and comment on this important draft plan as we work to finalize it over the next two years.

I find it interesting that the public is still commenting on a draft plan that won't be finalized for two years and yet Guertin already knows the final decision.  This tells us two things.  First, it's a good example of how much credence the FS gives to public comments.  And second, Guertin has just set himself up for a nice little lawsuit from the wolf advocates.

With Uncle Sam's help, Americans return to the farm

Dan Pugh wishes he had a bigger tractor and his wife Laura worries about their chickens in the winter weather. But as new farmers putting down roots in rural Missouri, the Pughs are counting on more rewards than regrets in trading their city lives for the country. A better quality of food and life are among the factors that caused Dan, 47, to leave a career in sales last year and move Laura, 48, and their two young children to 50-acres of rolling pastureland they call Honey Creek Farm. The Pughs will plant their first crop of organic spinach and lettuces in the next few weeks on ground they tilled behind the barn they converted into a two-bedroom home. They are shopping for sheep and hogs. And though their first hives of bees mysteriously died, Laura is determined to develop a successful honey operation as well. "The whole food and farming system is so out of whack," Dan Pugh said. "We want better and we can do something to help other people eat better." For those who remember the American TV series, call it the "Green Acres" effect. Fueled by an economic downturn that has curtailed the upward mobility of many corporate jobs, general dissatisfaction with suburban stresses and growing discontent with what they see as the ills of industrialized agriculture, thousands of families across the United States have left suburban cul de sacs and headed to the countryside - forging a new demographic of family farmer. The U.S. government is not only monitoring the trend, it is encouraging it - backing loans for land purchases and operating expenses as well as grants for seminars and workshops to train people how to be farmers. Government-backed loans to new farmers have more than doubled in the past decade...more

I'm sure Pugh needs a bigger tractor, but I think he should grow his damned old organic spinach on his own dime.

Why are we subsiding folks to get in a business that is already subsidized?

Cattle Industry Upset Over FS Planning Regs

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association continues to raise concerns to the U.S. Forest Service about the detrimental impacts its proposed forest planning rule would have on federal lands ranching. Joe Guild, a rancher from Nevada and chairman of NCBA’s Federal Lands Policy Committee, says the Forest Service should walk away from the proposed forest planning rule and work with cattlemen on a plan to manage the land and its resources while sustaining a productive ranching industry. NCBA Past President Bill Donald, a rancher in Montana, says cattlemen oppose the requirement to maintain viable populations of species of conservation concern. He said there is no scientific consensus on what level of any given population is viable or how it is to be managed. "It deals with a lot of species that are not covered under the Endangered Species Act now," Donald said. "As a matter of fact all species, not even vertebrates, so fungus and mold and all of those type of things. They can designate those species in need of conservation and once that happens it can virtually shut a permitee off the land."...more

Forest policy affects acequias

Northern New Mexico's Acequia del Llano de San Juan Nepomuceno is the kind of place where sweeping federal policy changes get up close and personal. It's the kind of place Paula Garcia, executive director of the New Mexico Acequia Association and president of the Mora Land Grant, will be thinking about as she reads the new federal forest management rules unveiled Thursday by U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. Garcia wants to know if the rules will help or hinder traditional communities with ties to the national forests dating back centuries. "More environmental regulations can mean more red tape for traditional communities," she said. "That's what creates a lot of tension. Even though the rules are well intentioned, that's what creates hardship on the ground." The Acequia del Llano de San Juan, which is older than the U.S. Forest Service, brings water to about 100 families. But when ditch commissioners from Llano de San Juan and four other ditches in the area needed to make repairs in 2009, they ended up in a tiff with Carson National Forest officials. Portions of the ditches and their diversion structures are on Carson National Forest land. Garcia claims the Forest Service wanted the commissioners to get a special use permit, something never previously requested. The process was time-consuming, stalled much-needed repairs and, Garcia believes, was unwarranted. Decisions like those "affect people's lives," she said. "Without the repair work, the people would have gone without their irrigation water. This is where these policies that on paper don't look so bad can have huge impacts on the ground."...more

Wolf collar fails on Imnaha's alpha male

alpha male being collared
The GPS collar on the Imnaha alpha male has stopped transmitting data, curtailing a text-message warning system that gave Wallowa County ranchers the heads-up on preying wolves. The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Department reported last receiving data from the GPS collar Jan. 25. The collar allowed state wolf biologists to periodically download via satellite fairly precise location data, which they used to alert ranchers to wolves in proximity. "That was important to us, when we had a wolf that we knew was habitually killing cattle, to be able to put him at a site," said Todd Nash, president of the Wallowa County Stockgrowers Association. "He had somewhat of a pattern, and you knew if he was coming you could better armor yourself." The Imnaha pack killed a yearling heifer Jan. 7 near Kinney Lake and probably killed a mule on Deadhorse Ridge a week later, according to the fish and wildlife department. The pack possibly bit and injured a mature bull discovered Jan. 8, according to a department report. State biologists investigated injuries to a sick cow a rancher euthanized Jan. 9, but ruled that case unknown or possible wolf attack, according to a report. Since Jan. 7, a range rider has patrolled the Wallowa Valley using VHF signals from collars on OR-4 and its mate, OR-2, to track the animals, the fish and wildlife department reported. The simple radio transmitter sends a real-time, continuous signal, but is less precise and does not store data to download. The 5-member pack killed as many as 20 livestock animals between spring 2010 and December 2011, according to department reports. The department targeted the alpha male, designated OR-4, and another year-old wolf for elimination until a court order stopped cold a hunt for the animals in October 2011. The stay order, issued by the Oregon Court of Appeals, remains in force while three conservation groups in court challenge state authority to kill wolves under the Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management Plan...more

East coast group ranks South Dakota least humane state

The Humane Society of the United States considers South Dakota the least humane state in the nation, partly because the state does not have a number of recommended farming restrictions. Farmers in the state say the idea that a Washington, D.C., group can legislate good ranching practices is absurd. "I think there are a lot of misinformed people that have never seen a cow and they have no idea," said Carl Sanders, a 34-year-old rancher from near Hot Springs. "They come up with all these grandiose ideas of what they think it should be." The state meets just eight standards on a 66-item list of humane animal policies released by the Humane Society of the United States, which ranked South Dakota 51st among the states and Washington D.C. in 2011. Montana, Wyoming and North Dakota are also among the bottom 10. North Dakota meets 13 standards and Montana and Wyoming each met 19. Nebraska meets 29 standards and Minnesota meets 24. Even though South Dakota does not meet the national humane society's standards, the state still considers itself animal-friendly, especially with farming and ranching policies, said state veterinarian Dustin Oedekoven. "Although our state law may not align with a national humane organization's legislative agenda, it works very well for South Dakota," he said. The Humane Society of the United States' checklist includes a dozen recommended animal-fighting restrictions, a half dozen animal-cruelty penalties, 18 hunting, trapping and sale restrictions and seven farm animal restrictions. The list also includes rules for horse protection, dog breeding, exotic pet ownership and animal research...more

Other rankings:
Colo        6
Arizona 19
NM      25
Tex       25
Okla    29
Nev     30
Utah    38

Group files lawsuit over trapping in New Mexico

Environmentalists filed a lawsuit Tuesday against wildlife managers over their decision last summer to lift a trapping ban in southwestern New Mexico where the federal government is reintroducing Mexican gray wolves. WildEarth Guardians contends the New Mexico Game and Fish Department and the state Game Commission are violating the federal Endangered Species Act by allowing trapping. The group is concerned trapping could compromise the wolf population that spans New Mexico and Arizona. “You can’t set a trap in the range of a Mexican wolf. Under the Endangered Species Act, it’s clear you can’t harm, harass or trap a listed species,” said Wendy Keefover, the group’s carnivore protection program director. The group is seeking a court order that would require Game and Fish Director Jim Lane and Commission Chairman Jim McClintic to exercise due care to avoid killing any Mexican wolves before authorizing trapping within the reintroduction area. Dan Williams, an agency spokesman, said the lawsuit has yet to be reviewed. The commission’s vote to lift the ban last summer was based partly on a federal study that found trapping accounted for only a fraction of documented wolf injuries and deaths in the reintroduction area. The researchers found that trapping — both by wildlife managers and others — accounted for less than 4 percent of wolf fatalities in the past 13 years. WildEarth Guardians’ lawsuit pointed to 14 individual wolves that were captured in foothold traps between March 2002 and February 2009. Seven of those wolves were injured, including two that required leg amputations, and two wolves died. Keefover said even a handful of trapping incidents involving wolves could affect the small population. Most of the trapping incidents were in New Mexico. In Arizona, foothold traps on public lands are prohibited...more

Rural Roosevelt County To Get Broadband

Farmers and ranchers in rural parts of Roosevelt County are finally getting broadband. The United States Department of Agriculture's state director traveled to Portales Tuesday to present a $12.3 million dollar certificate of obligation to the board of directors of the Roosevelt Telephone Cooperative for construction of a broadband system serving western Roosevelt County. When completed the broadband service will give farmers and ranchers in the area access to up-to-the-minute commodity and weather information. AP

But they can't balance the budget.

Gretsch introduces new Roots Collection acoustic models

Gretsch is proud to take players on a musical journey through nearly a century of great Gretsch history by introducing its Roots Collection of acoustic instruments. This exciting new family of banjos, mandolins, resonator guitars, ukuleles and Rancher acoustic guitars feature classically authentic Gretsch designs that transport players to a bygone era well before the company made its acclaimed 1950s entry into the electric guitar world. The Gretsch Roots Collection's five new banjo models feature solid modern craftsmanship and sparkling good-time sound and feel while authentically evoking the company's innovative banjo models of the early 20th century. From the 5-string, mahogany-neck Broadkaster Deluxe and Broadkaster Special resonator models and Dixie open-back model to the diminutively striking Clarophone Banjo-Ukulele and the guitarist-friendly Dixie 6 Guitar-Banjo, all provide a splendid Southern surfeit of outstanding sound, performance and value for established artist, seasoned player and eager student alike. The Roots Collection also heralds the return of the revered Gretsch New Yorker mandolin. Styled after the brightly ringing 1950s classic, a trio of modern-day models—the New Yorker Standard, New Yorker Deluxe and New Yorker Supreme—offer premium features with authentic vintage touches, full-bodied tone, smooth-playing performance and eye-catching design beauty...more

Texas Trails: Big Boom of 1882

The cycles of boom and bust, whether in the cattle industry or world economics, are always accompanied on one end by people who said they saw it coming all along. The signs were there, they say; anybody with one eye and half sense could have predicted it. On the other end, after the inevitable crash, the same people are busy explaining why it happened and who is to blame. It's that way now, and it was that way in 1882, when the beef market boomed as it had never boomed before. Frontier journalist Don Hampton Biggers lived through the cattle boom and bust of the 1880s. Of it he wrote: "The great boom of 1882 may be compared to an exciting election. In the beginning there were many enthusiastic wiseacres who knew all the time that the boom was sure to come, and that hereafter things would be thus or better; and when the crash came these same chaps were busy explaining why it happened." Biggers explained how by the time the 1882 cattle boom in West Texas occurred, the country and the wider world had heard stories about all the free grass available in the vast expanses of the West. With railroads opening up the area to travelers of all stripes, people descended on the area with visions of being a "cow person." Europeans, primarily from England, came to see for themselves this land of sunshine and grass, where the skies were not cloudy all day (during droughts, especially) and seldom was heard a discouraging word, mainly because there were few humans on the land, and thus very little speech of any kind. These investors and adventurers hit West Texas at a good time. Rainfall had been decent. Water and grass were sufficient, if not downright abundant. This was a land where many cows could graze until their hearts were content and they became fat enough for slaughter. The investors came, they saw, they bought. The boom was under way...more

Song Of The Day #768

 Oh no, Ranch Radio will be meandering around the 70s for the remainder of the week.  Let's see if we can't find some good ones and we'll start with Mel Street and his 1975 recording of Smokey Mountain Memories.

The tune is on his 20 Greatest Hits CD.

According to the FBI, Internet Privacy Is Now Considered To Be Suspicious Activity

When you use the Internet in a public place, do you prefer to have as much privacy as possible? Well, that makes you a potential terrorist. According to the FBI, Internet privacy is now considered to be suspicious activity. If you are out in public and you attempt to keep snoopers from peeking at your computer screen, then according to the FBI they should gather as much information about you as they can and they should report you to the authorities immediately. If this seems completely and totally ridiculous to you, then you are not alone. Millions of Americans have become deeply concerned about the constantly expanding definition of "suspicious activity" in the United States. Sadly, the federal government is now engaging in an all-out attempt to have us all spy on one another. All over America, the Department of Homeland Security is running ads promoting the "See Something, Say Something" campaign. They even had 8,000 stadium workers at the Super Bowl this year go through special training on how to spot potential terrorists. So the next time you see a hot dog vendor, keep in mind that he might also be part of a special anti-terrorism task force.The following are some quotes from a government document entitled "Potential Indicators of Terrorist Activities Related to Internet Café"...more

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Cowboy Dinner and Dance

Cowboy Dinner and Dance

Honoring Rural Families, Rural Traditions and our Rural Heritage
Cliff Fair Grounds - Cliff New Mexico
The Gila Livestock Growers Association (GLGA) and the Americans for the Preservation of Western Environment (APWE) are sponsoring the 4th annual Cowboy Dinner and Dance at the Cliff Fair Barn next to Cliff High School in Grant County NM, Saturday February 11, dinner starts at 6:00 pm and the dance at 8:00 pm.
Music by Joe Delk, Bucky Allred and The Delk Band featuring Neal, Mark and Byron Delk, Robert Flowers, Roswell; Roy Garcia, Las Cruces; Dee Ford, Alma; Ty Martin, Silver City; Michael Dean, Muleshoe, TX.    
Not too long ago, Saturday-night dances were a common occurrence at many rural locations throughout New Mexico.   Families, friends and neighbors coming together to share a meal, visit with one another and enjoy an evening of dancing.  We can certainly refer to those days as “the good ole days” and we want to show our younger generation what it was like and allow our older generation to remember the way it was.
All are welcome.  This is a fundraising event and we ask that you contribute what you can at the door but we don’t set an amount so in spite of economic circumstances, all can afford to attend.  All monies raised in this effort will be used to help educate the public on the impacts wolves have on rural communities and assist those impacted by these animals and the Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Program and support the preservation of our rural heritage.  We have had camp cowboys and young couples dancing with babies between them to older couples on our dance floor.  Cattlemen to CPA’s to youngsters with tattoos all are welcome.
The Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Program has evolved into an assault on our rural way-of-life by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) with the help and support of extremist non government environmental groups who have taken on the mantle of wolf advocates to the detriment of the human population in the region. 

Today, the people and communities in and around the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area, which encompasses the Gila and Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, are bearing the brunt of the impacts and economic and social cost the wolf reintroduction program.  Often rural people are forced to live with wolves on their ranches, in their yards and in their communities with little to no mitigation for problem habituated or livestock depredating wolves.
The Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Program has been grossly mismanaged by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and local residents are paying the price.  The program is a bust.  Ranches have been lost, local businesses are suffering and hunting in the Gila may never be what it once was.  Worse families are being put in danger every day.    The damage far outweighs any potential ecological or economic benefit such a destructive predator may possibly have in a rural community.
For contributions, please make checks payable to Gila Livestock Grower’s Association for “Preserving our Rural Heritage”.  Bring your check to the Cowboy Dinner and Dance or mail to Gila Livestock Grower’s Association (GLGA), HC 64, Box 30, Magdalena, NM 87825.  

Credit Card contributions can be made at via the paypal button.
We also try to have a silent auction as well so please feel free to donate an item to the auction when you come.  Desert is potluck so bring your best cake cookies or pie.