Saturday, August 04, 2012

The Westerner's Radio Theater #042

Ranch Radio today brings you the 10/13/1946 broadcast of The All Star Western Theater with special guest star Tex Ritter.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Big Green lawsuits cause megafires, destroy endangered species

by Ron Arnold

Professional foresters have known for years that environmentalists are the forests' worst pest. Green groups' lawsuits block federal forest health improvements and catastrophic wildfire prevention measures, leading to destroyed communities, dead animals and forests and timber jobs exported to foreign suppliers.

Last Tuesday, House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings, R-Wash., convened an oversight hearing on the problem, titled, "The Impact of Catastrophic Forest Fires and Litigation on People and Endangered Species."

A single panel of four nongovernment witnesses laid out different perspectives on the hearing's major premise: For decades, environmental groups have used the Endangered Species Act, the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act to file dozens of lawsuits that block timber fuels reduction and thinning projects that would decrease the risk of wildfires that decimate species' habitat.

The issue doesn't register on many people because it's too technical. What are timber fuels? How could thinning prevent wildfires? Any number of past surveys show that the American psyche sees forests as either Disneyland or Chartres cathedral: clean, safe, well-managed playgrounds or temples for the faithful.

Timber fuels are anything in the forest that gets dry or combustible -- grass, brush, trees, dead or downed wood -- or whatever. Thinning is the removal of these things through such methods as logging, junkwood hauling, chipping and mulching, pile and controlled burn, livestock grazing to crop tall grasses in open forests, et cetera. Such management of the woods keeps them clean and safe.

However, the green faithful hate development, including firefighting roads, tree cutting in fire-prone stands, and water catchments to put out megafires. When imposed by lawsuit upon an actual forest, the Big Green Bible produces a Crispy Critters National Wasteland. Humor aside, such behavior should be a felony.

Committee Chairman Hastings made this point tellingly by placing a superscription over the hearing's briefing paper. It was a 2009 quote from Kieran Suckling, executive director of the Tucson, Ariz.-based Center for Biological Diversity.

Suckling said: "When we stop the same timber sale three or four times running, the timber planners want to tear their hair out. They feel like their careers are being mocked and destroyed -- and they are. So, they become more willing to play by our rules and at least get something done. Psychological warfare is a very underappreciated aspect of environmental campaigning."

Appeals court tosses out Hage judgment

A federal appeals court has thrown out a $4.4 million legal judgment that deceased rancher and Sagebrush Rebellion icon Wayne Hage had previously won from the federal government. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has reversed an earlier court decision that ordered the U.S. Forest Service to compensate Hage for infringing on his property rights. The descendants of Hage won a legal victory in the case in 2008, two years after his death and 17 years after the lawsuit was initially filed. The government challenged that ruling, which a three-judge appellate panel has now reversed on several grounds. Hage could have applied for a special permit to maintain the ditches that conveyed his water, so the claim that the government prevented him from doing so isn't "ripe" for federal court, the most recent ruling said. Building fences around streams also isn't a physical taking of property, because Hage hasn't demonstrated that he could put the stream water to beneficial use, the appeals court said. Water rights only allow the owner to use water that he can put to beneficial use, but the Hage family hasn't shown "there was insufficient water for their cattle on the allotments or that they could have put more water to use," the ruling said. The appellate court also overturned the award for rangeland improvements, ruling that Hage could have sought compensation directly from the agency instead of in federal court...more

Additional Firefighting Aircraft Head to Rocky Mountain Region

The U.S. Forest Service has requested two more Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System-equipped C-130 aircraft to help with combating wildfires in the Rocky Mountain area. The two aircraft from the 302nd Airlift Wing, U.S. Air Force Reserve Command, stationed at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., will supplement the two C-130s from the California Air National Guard's 146th Airlift Wing, currently operating from Boise Air Terminal, in Idaho. "There is a high potential for lightning forecasted as a low-pressure system begins moving through the area later this weekend," said Air Force Col. Jerry Champlin, commander of the 153rd Air Expeditionary Group. "We relieved the 302nd from MAFFS last week because of the favorable fire outlook. However, all the wings know not to get too comfortable at home during fire season." Since being activated June 25, the MAFFS fleet has released more than 888,981 gallons of fire retardant in more than 368 drops on fires in eight states in the Rocky Mountain area. MAFFS is a joint Department of Defense and Forest Service program designed to provide additional aerial firefighting resources when commercial and private airtankers are no longer able to meet the needs of the forest service...more

House Passes Drought Relief for Ranchers

Just hours before Congress jets off for summer vacation, members in the House of Representatives took a small step forward to help ranchers struggling to keep herds alive in the worst drought the country's seen in 25 years. The House passed a disaster relief bill Thursday by a margin of 223 to 196, although it's unclear if the Senate will even take up the bill after the August recess. The $383 million emergency legislation provides payments to cattle and sheep ranchers who have lost livestock in the drought and assists them with monthly feed costs, which have skyrocketed as grazing lands are scorched by the nationwide heat wave. The payments would reimburse ranchers for 75 percent of their losses and provide assistance to fruit tree and honeybee farmers...more

Tables turned on Humane Society

The Humane Society of the United States, an organization that does next to nothing for animal shelters but sues, badgers and lobbies politicians and businesses into adopting its radical animals rights agenda, is getting a taste of its own medicine. In a little-reported ruling by a judge in the District of Columbia earlier this month, the HSUS is facing allegations under RICO statues on racketeering, obstruction of justice, malicious prosecution and other claims for a lawsuit it brought and lost against Ringling Brothers Circus' parent company Feld Entertainment, Inc. After winning the case alleging mistreatment of elephants in its circuses brought by Friends of Animals (later merged into HSUS), the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), lawyers at Feld filed a countersuit with a litany of claims ranging from bribery to money laundering to racketeering. The attorneys for the animal rights groups asked the judge to dismiss all of the claims, but most survived. So in early August, HSUS will be facing the music in a case that should attract the attention of hunters, ranchers, farmers and anyone impacted by HSUS' radical animal rights agenda. District judge Emmet G. Sullivan did dismiss allegations of mail and wire fraud, but he did so only because Feld didn't have standing to file this charge. His ruling all but set the stage for a class-action RICO lawsuit against HSUS for misrepresenting itself in its fundraising campaigns across the nation. For the first time, a group has fought back against the animal rights and environmental extremists who have been setting policy in this country for the past 20 years or more. Now, instead of getting rich off their lawsuits and fundraising schemes that misrepresent their efforts and accomplishments, they could be driven out of business. These groups have cost the farming and ranching industry jobs and raised the price of products we buy every day. They are behind the efforts to ban sport hunting across the nation...more


Drought Hits Navajo Nation Ranchers Hard

Windmill blades spin rapidly in the stiff wind above Justin Yazzie’s ranch in Whitehorse Lake, New Mexico, slicing through a clear blue sky smudged at the edges with darkening clouds. Those clouds, though often hovering on the horizon, will not bring necessary rain, said Yazzie, Navajo. “We don’t get rain anymore,” he said. “We just get wind and dust.” Yazzie, 58, has ranched this land since 1978, when he helped his father round up calves and brand them. He took over full time in 1995 when his father died. Five generations have raised cattle on this 4,800-acre plot of land leased from the Navajo Nation, but what once was a way of life now is becoming a dying industry. Yazzie knows this land like an old friend. He measures time by seasons, keeping track of the moisture and height of grass. “Thirty years ago, the grass was up to my knees,” Yazzie said, gesturing at his land, barren from decades of drought. In some places, the grass barely reaches his ankles; in other areas, all the vegetation is gone. Experts are calling weather patterns throughout the southwestern United States the worst drought in half a century, a so-called megadrought. Some experts and ranchers are calling weather patterns throughout the southwestern United States the worst drought in half a century, a so-called megadrought, or a 75-year drought—one that could last for decades or longer. National Geographic in 2007 warned of a “perfect drought” like one that hit the area in the 12th century. Others argue that drought conditions are hard to define in desert areas like the Southwest. The ranching industry boils down to one ingredient: rain, said Shane Hatch, an auctioneer at the Cow House in Kirtland, New Mexico, where Navajo ranchers from a 200-mile radius go to sell their livestock at the end of the season. “Feed grows where the water is,” Hatch said. “If there’s no water, there’s no feed.” For the past several years, Hatch has seen ranchers sell their livestock earlier in the season, and for a fraction of the price that the more robust animals can fetch. Sellers usually wait until September to take their livestock to auction, but drought conditions are forcing ranchers to sell in late July or August. “The weather is making a difference,” said Vicki Atkinson, a brand inspector for the New Mexico Livestock Board. “People are having to sell because they don’t have the grass or feed.”...more

Song Of The Day #897

Today Ranch Radio brings you Johnny & Jack and their 1951 recording of Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide.  Johnny Wright was married to Muriel Deason, who he later gave the stage name Kitty Wells.  The duo's recordings ended when Jack Anglin was killed in a car wreck on his way to Patsy Cline's funeral.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

U.S. government sues New Mexico for damages in groundwater case

Clearly, it was jolting news the New Mexico Legislature's Water and Natural Resources Committee wasn't prepared for. During Monday's committee meeting, in the Barbara Hubbard Room at the Pan American Center Annex, lawyers representing the New Mexico Office of the State Engineer, Elephant Butte Irrigation District, and the city of Las Cruces, told the committee that a state Water Court hearing will be at 9 a.m. Wednesday, at the Third Judicial Court Complex, 201 E. Picacho Ave., and the future management of state's water supply could hang in the balance of the hearing's outcome. "Why hasn't this been front-page news?" asked a surprised Clinton D. Harden Jr., a state senator from Clovis. "This is one of the biggest things ever. Frankly, what we're looking at is under the camel's nose. This is an unprecedented legal claim to water." The lawyers told the committee the U.S. government is apparently trying to take over legal management of the state's water supply. The federal government has asserted claims for damages to groundwater in a natural resource damage case in New Mexico involving Chevron/Molycorp. The claim seeks for those damages to be awarded in the form of future water rights management. The federal government's lawsuit has caught the attention of the Western Governors' Association. "Claims by federal trustees of this nature are unprecedented and are of great concern to the Western states," said Pam O. Inmann, executive director of the Western Governors' Association, in a letter to Tom Vilsack, secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Ken Salazar, secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior. "...The ramifications of such legal position extend to the very heart of the Western states exclusive ownership and/or management and control of the groundwater resources within their respective boundaries."...more

Let's see what the City of Las Cruces says:

Jay Stein, a lawyer representing the city of Las Cruces, who has filed as an intervener in the case, said the outcome of the hearing could potentially affect the city's water supply. "In the pending water rights adjudication in state district court, here in Las Cruces, the court has turned to the United States' claims. Foremost among these is the issue of the United States' claims to "groundwater' or to "project water in the ground,' as they have termed it. These claims are not supported by any actual beneficial use of groundwater. Nor are they supported by state law which governs proceedings in the adjudication."These water claims are unqualified but potentially could amount to hundreds of thousands of acre-feet per year." City Utilities Director Jorge Garcia later added, "If the feds end up owning the groundwater, it would negatively affect any future water planning the city would want to do."

Let's see.  According to the Mayor and City Council its great for the feds to own over 80% of the land in the county, but its bad for the same folks to own or control the water?

They've assured all of us in their support of a 600,000 acre National Monument that we'll have plenty of input into a management plan but federal ownership of the water would "negatively affect any future water planning" of the city?

They've passed resolution after resolution asking the feds to protect the land but they are opposed to the feds protecting the water?

Come on Mayor, what's wrong with "democracy at work" when it comes to water?

They shouldn't worry.  I'm sure the NM Wilderness Alliance can produce a study showing federal ownership and protection of the water would bring us jobs and "a more robust economic future."

To be consistent, we need an Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument and a Steinborn-Miyagishima Water Wilderness.  

I'm that will bring us a bright future!

Western wildfire recovery likely to take years

A once-thriving Colorado neighborhood of homes and healthy trees has been reduced to a barren expanse of ash and debris. Across the state, a river prized for its trout, rapids and pristine water instead flows as an oily, black brew every time rain falls on nearby slopes charred by wildfire. In New Mexico, the Santa Clara Pueblo is seeking volunteers to fill sandbags for fear the American Indian village of 3,100 will be washed away by runoff from mountainsides left denuded by a blaze last year. Wildfires across the West are burning homes, businesses, bridges and other infrastructure necessary for everyday life — and the disaster isn't over when the wildfire is snuffed out and the firefighters go home. Erosion from seared hillsides buries roads in mud and pollutes rivers that supply tap water. The point was driven home earlier this week when a mudslide following heavy rain in Colorado's Waldo Canyon burn area temporarily closed U.S. 24 near Manitou Springs. Electricity, water and gas lines have to be repaired and recharged. Debris from burned-out homes has to be hauled away and new houses must be built. Even if the work starts while the fire is still burning, experts say recovery can take years and untold millions of dollars simply to make conditions livable again. n Colorado alone, insurers estimate that wildfires have caused some $450 million in damage to personal property, and that number is expected to grow. Nationally, the U.S. Forest Service is on track for another possible record with nearly $28 million spent so far on burned-area recovery work. The agency spent a record $48 million last year. In addition to Colorado and New Mexico, burned-area response specialists are working in Arizona, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming to finalize contracts for seeding and mulching, stabilize roads and trails, prep culverts for higher flows of water and put up warning signs...more

Is Salazar the New Holder?

Last month, Holder became the first sitting Cabinet member to be held in contempt of Congress. Pushing the administration’s agenda. Not cooperating with committee investigations. Jeopardizing American values and the rule of law. The charges against Holder aren’t unique to the attorney general. It brings to mind the question: Scandal-wise, congressional spotlight-wise, and perhaps soon headline-wise, is Interior Secretary Ken Salazar the new Holder? The Interior Department has become synonymous with evading congressional requests in the investigation of how the Obama administration bent scientific reports to support its drilling moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico after the BP oil spill. The department’s inspector general who was supposed to ensure oversight of that process is even being investigated herself on allegations that she tampered with a probe of the moratorium. In shades of the DOJ, the Interior Department has responded to committee requests for specific documents with blacked-out paragraphs and entire pages of redacted information, all while claiming to have answered the panel’s requests with “nearly 2,000 pages of documents.” And when five witnesses linked to the Gulf drilling moratorium were asked to testify before the Natural Resources Committee this week, the Interior Department refused to confirm that it would make those officials available to Congress despite multiple inquiries from the committee...more

Endangered beetle could affect Keystone XL pipeline

A federal agency's recent decision involving the endangered American burying beetle could cause up to a year's delay in construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, if the project wins federal approval, an environmental group said Tuesday. But a spokesman for pipeline developer TransCanada Inc., said that assessment was premature and that the company would be able to work around new rules concerning the beetle. On Tuesday, an official with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service confirmed the agency is not allowing researchers hired by pipeline TransCanada to trap and relocate the endangered beetles from the new path of the controversial crude-oil pipeline until the project receives federal approval. That's a change of procedure. Researchers hired by TransCanada were allowed to move hundreds of beetles from the initially proposed path through Nebraska's Sand Hills in the name of research. Mike George, state supervisor of the federal agency, said a lawsuit filed by anti-pipeline environmental groups last year prompted Fish and Wildlife attorneys to re-evaluate its practices. Now, he said, research projects on endangered species that require disturbing the species will not be allowed before major construction projects, like the Keystone XL, gain a federal permit. An official with the Center for Biological Diversity, one of the groups that sued the Fish and Wildlife Service last year, said the decision might delay construction of the pipeline by up to a year. That's because trapping and relocating American burying beetles can only be done in the spring and summer...more

Stop the research?  Why?  Another blatant example they don't care about the species...its about using the ESA to control land use.

Embattled GSA Employees Got $44M in Undisclosed Bonuses

It pays to be a GSA employee. The embattled government agency 's employees are reaping 10 percent of the entire federal government's bonus checks which accounted for $44 million last year alone, according to House Transportation Committee Chairman John Mica, R-Fla. Mica, who is in charge of the House investigation, said bonuses totaled $44 million, with many bonuses worth $50,000 apiece. Some employees now under investigation received bonuses. One employee got a $79,000 bonus, for nearly $260,000 in total compensation. Lawmakers also said overtime payments were excessive. Mica cited one case where a worker with an $84,000 salary received $115,000 in overtime. "There's something wrong at GSA when you have to pay an employee $115,000 in overtime," he said. Though agency bonuses were worth 10 percent of all government bonuses, GSA staff makes up just 1 percent of the total federal workforce...more

New Jersey Town Rips Up Working-Class Neighborhood For Private Developers - video

Santos Cruz still remembers the first time he heard the demolition crews. "They came without any warning at 6 a.m. outside my home," he said in a recent interview with The Huffington Post. "The ground started shaking and there was a tremendous amount of noise. They knocked down all the houses they owned: It was like being in a war zone for a whole month." Cruz, 49, has lived in Mount Holly Gardens, N.J., for 23 years. Now, the local government wants him out. The clash between the township of Mount Holly and the working-class, mostly minority residents of this neighborhood of rowhouses has dragged on for 10 years. The township wants to give the land to a private developer. The residents want to remain in the homes they've owned for decades. And the prospect of an ending to the dispute has just gone a little further out of sight. In June, the township filed a Supreme Court petition to request a hearing on the decade-long redevelopment case. At stake are not only the legal implications of the Fair Housing Act, but also the fate of a township strapped for cash, residents uncertain about where they'll live and a neighborhood that has literally been torn apart by the local government...more

Blowing the whistle on the federal Leviathan

 by George Will

 The huge humpback whale whose friendliness precipitated a surreal seven-year — so far — federal hunt for criminality surely did not feel put upon. Nevertheless, our unhinged government, with an obsession like that of Melville’s Ahab, has crippled Nancy Black’s scientific career, cost her more than $100,000 in legal fees — so far — and might sentence her to 20 years in prison. This Kafkaesque burlesque of law enforcement began when someone whistled.

Black, 50, a marine biologist who also captains a whale-watching ship, was with some watchers in Monterey Bay in 2005 when a member of her crew whistled at the humpback that had approached her boat, hoping to entice the whale to linger. Back on land, another of her employees called the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to ask if the whistling constituted “harassment” of a marine mammal, which is an “environmental crime.” NOAA requested a video of the episode, which Black sent after editing it slightly to highlight the whistling. NOAA found no harassment — but got her indicted for editing the tape, calling this a “material false statement” to federal investigators, which is a felony under the 1863 False Claims Act, intended to punish suppliers defrauding the government during the Civil War.

A year after this bizarre charge — that she lied about the interaction with the humpback that produced no charges — more than a dozen federal agents, led by one from NOAA, raided her home. They removed her scientific photos, business files and computers. Call this a fishing expedition...more

Will points out the real problem underlying all these abuses:

In 1980, federal statutes specified 3,000 criminal offenses; by 2007, 4,450. They continue to multiply. Often, as in Black’s case, they are untethered from the common-law tradition of mens rea, which holds that a crime must involve a criminal intent — a guilty mind. Legions of government lawyers inundate targets like Black with discovery demands, producing financial burdens that compel the innocent to surrender in order to survive.

The protracted and pointless tormenting of Black illustrates the thesis of Harvey Silverglate’s invaluable 2009 book, “Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent.” Silverglate, a civil liberties lawyer in Boston, chillingly demonstrates how the mad proliferation of federal criminal laws — which often are too vague to give fair notice of what behavior is proscribed or prescribed — means that “our normal daily activities expose us to potential prosecution at the whim of a government official.” Such laws, which enable government zealots to accuse almost anyone of committing three felonies in a day, do not just enable government misconduct, they incite prosecutors to intimidate decent people who never had culpable intentions. And to inflict punishments without crimes.

The Biggest New Spying Program You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

What if a government spy agency had power to copy and data mine information about ordinary Americans from any government database? This could include records from law enforcement investigations, health information, employment history, travel and student records. Literally anything the government collects would be fair game, and the original agency in charge of protecting the privacy of those records would have little say over whether this happened, or what the spy agency did with the information afterward. What if that spy agency could add commercial information, anything it – or any other federal agency – could buy from the huge data aggregators that are monitoring our every move? What if it wasn’t just collection but also sharing? Anything that was reasonably believed to be necessary to “protect the safety or security of persons, property or organizations” or “protect against or prevent a crime or threat to national security” could be shared. Imagine the dissemination was essentially unlimited, not just to federal, state, local or foreign governments but also to individuals or entities that are not part of the government. It has already happened...more

Truck owner wants DEA to pay up after botched sting

The phone rang before sunrise. It woke Craig Patty, owner of a tiny North Texas trucking company, to vexing news about Truck 793 - a big red semi supposedly getting repairs in Houston. "Your driver was shot in your truck," said the caller, a business colleague. "Your truck was loaded with marijuana. He was shot eight times while sitting in the cab. Do you know anything about your driver hauling marijuana?" "What did you say?" Patty recalled asking. "Could you please repeat that?" The truck, it turned out, had been everywhere but in the repair shop. Commandeered by one of his drivers, who was secretly working with federal agents, the truck had been hauling marijuana from the border as part of an undercover operation. And without Patty's knowledge, the Drug Enforcement Administration was paying his driver, Lawrence Chapa, to use the truck to bust traffickers. At least 17 hours before that early morning phone call, Chapa was shot dead in front of more than a dozen law enforcement officers - all of them taken by surprise by hijackers trying to steal the red Kenworth T600 truck and its load of pot. In the confusion of the attack in northwest Harris County, compounded by officers in the operation not all knowing each other, a Houston policeman shot and wounded a Harris County sheriff's deputy. But eight months later, Patty still can't get recompense from the U.S. government's decision to use his truck and employee without his permission...more

D.C. beltway ‘UFO’ up close at air base - video

Remember the ‘UFO' that motorists spotted along D.C. highways back in June? The saucer-shaped object caused a stir in the area prompting many to call 911 and to post photos on Twitter. We later learned the mysterious object was an experimental, unmanned aircraft. The aircraft was delivered to the Patuxent Naval Air Station for testing, and on Tuesday, FOX 5 got its first close-up look at the drone. The Navy calls it the X-47B. This is what the future looks like. The Navy put the plane on a flatbed for its trip to Maryland, never guessing shutterbug drivers would put it on Twitter...more

DC Breaking Local News Weather Sports FOX 5 WTTG

Hay prices skyrocket during drought - video

The hay shortage is so bad in Colorado prices are about $20 a bale, leaving many with horses and other barnyard animals struggling to feed them. “People who know my Creative Acres Rescue Ranch have been calling me to take their livestock,” said Maxine Mager. “But because I don’t have enough feed to take care of the animals I already have… I am having to tell them I can’t take in their animals.” Mager says ranchers in New Mexico are letting animals go because they can’t feed them, and because they are grazing on Federal Land she says the government is threatening to shoot them. In Colorado, at many feed stores on the eastern plains, like Agfinity in Brighton, they are only letting ranchers buy five bales of hay. “We can only get so much hay ourselves,” said Desmond Prince. “Since last year, many ranchers from Texas have been coming to Colorado to buy our hay, so between the drought and out-of-staters we are short.”...more

Video report:

Why have “Meatless Mondays” in schools? To reduce the threat of cow farts

Beef producers recently cried foul when the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced to its employees that it would be imposing a “Meatless Mondays” program in the department’s cafeterias. In an employee newsletter, the department ironically criticized beef and dairy production, two industries it’s supposed to be promoting. Because of public pressure, the department is now ditching the program . The USDA tweeted the newsletter had been posted "in error." With that victory in hand, ranchers and cattlemen would be smart to turn their attention to K-12 schools, as well as colleges and universities, as the “Meatless Mondays” movement is already infecting the world of government education. " Meatless Mondays" is a part of “The Monday Campaigns.” “The Monday Campaigns” is supported by several health-related organizations, universities and strangely, the Fox News Channel. “Meatless Mondays” has already spread to several major school districts, including New York City, Detroit, Baltimore, Miami-Dade, Oakland, as well as many others. It’s now being used by many colleges and universities, including Columbia, Johns Hopkins, NYU, Temple and Yale. But what’s the agenda? Less cholesterol? Fewer fatsos? Perhaps, but a " K-12 Tool Kit" lists several other benefits of “Meatless Mondays,” including:
Reduce carbon footprint: The UN estimates the meat industry generates nearly one-fifth of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions that accelerate climate change.


EDITORIAL: USDA action too little, too late

On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture declared 218 counties in 12 states as primary natural disaster areas due to damage and losses caused by drought, including western South Dakota, western Nebraska and eastern Wyoming. In addition, the USDA is opening some Conservation Reserve Program acres for emergency haying and grazing for drought-stricken ranchers beginning today, including some wetlands reserve land previously off-limits for production. We are, of course, grateful that the USDA has decided to open CRP acres to haying and grazing because of the drought. The USDA appears, however, to have merely complied with the rules of the program that allows it to open CRP acres for emergency haying and grazing after Aug. 1 if land is classified as "abnormally dry" under the U.S. Drought Monitor on July 19. Most of the United States, including South Dakota and nearby states, has been abnormally dry, if not abnormally hot, dry and dusty, long before July 19. Ranchers and state officials have been seeking permission from the USDA for haying and grazing on CRP land for many weeks without result. Today's release of CRP acres for emergency use is probably too little, too late for many West River ranchers...more

The editors at The Rapid City Journal go on to say:

Don't misunderstand our criticism; we support the CRP program. Landowners get payments from the government to take land out of production to guard against erosion and create wildlife habitat. It helps farmers and ranchers, and it's good for the environment. We question if the USDA followed the CRP program rules to the letter for environmental reasons despite the well-publicized drought conditions in the Dakotas and elsewhere. Many ranchers who could have used the CRP land have had to sell livestock early because of a lack of feed caused by the drought.

Horse puckey. 
The editors "question" whether there was a delay in releasing the CRP acreage for "environmental reasons"?  A program written by politicians is managed for political reasons?  What a shocker that is!
Did you really expect the feds to take control of 32 million acres and manage it well?
Just add an "A" to get an accurate description of this program - CRAP.

Ranchers utilize Facebook to share resources

Dry weather is effecting hay production in many parts of the country again this year. Clint Round, an insurance adjuster from Glenpool, decided to create a Facebook page to help hay buyers, sellers and haulers get connected. Round came up with the idea last August, after hearing about the problems buyers were experiencing in Texas and Oklahoma because of the drought. The drought has caused hay buyers to purchase weed-free hay which is more expensive. Shipping of hay prices also increases, making it harder on ranchers and farmers. Round and his brother, Casey, a rancher and horse trainer, worked together to get the page up and running. The two were raised on a ranch and wanted to do something to help. During the first few days of the launch, the page began attracting hundreds of postings daily and the word began to spread. Round said he was interviewed by just about all of the local television stations. One story that ran on a CBS affiliate was picked up by the network. Before long, people from California to New York were making posts on the page. The usage continued well into the winter, he said. One person showed interest in purchasing Hay Connection for commercial use. Round was not interested. He said the goal was never to make money, but instead help people who were going through a rough time. For more information, contact Clint Round (918) 557-7500 or email him at link

Brush Creek: A ranching history

George Wilkinson, John W. Love and Webb Frost are credited with being the first to bring domestic cattle into the Brush Creek valley from South Park in November of 1880. The cattle arrived at the start of a harsh snowstorm. Reports of that first cattle venture vary. Some sources suggest that only 30 of 400 animals survived until spring. Other sources report that although the cattle scattered for miles from the mouth of Brush Creek to Dotsero, all but one were recovered when the cowboys gathered the animals in the spring. Regardless, cattle ranching was here to stay. Wilkinson and Love eventually established large ranches on lower Brush Creek. Frost, credited with being “the real cowboy” of the trio, was a restless rancher. He homesteaded several parcels on East and West Brush Creeks, selling out and moving to a more remote location each time neighbors settled in. A rickety log wall below the switchbacks on East Brush Creek is the last remaining remnant of a parcel Frost homesteaded in 1913. Frost couldn't quit this country. In 1918, at the age of 62, he decided to seek new ground. He sold all of his property holdings, loaded his personal belongings into a wagon and headed west. He had barely crossed the Utah desert when his longing for the Brush Creek country drew him back. He purchased an unimproved ranch on lower Brush Creek and began establishing a new ranch. Some blame hard physical work for his sudden death in 1920. The tributary creek that runs through the property still bears his name...more

Song Of The Day #896

Hank Snow's 1955 recording of Chattin' With A Chick In Chattanooga is our tune on Ranch Radio today.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Corn for Food, Not Fuel

IT is not often that a stroke of a pen can quickly undo the ravages of nature, but federal regulators now have an opportunity to do just that. Americans’ food budgets will be hit hard by the ongoing Midwestern drought, the worst since 1956. Food bills will rise and many farmers will go bust.

An act of God, right? Well, the drought itself may be, but a human remedy for some of the fallout is at hand — if only the federal authorities would act. By suspending renewable-fuel standards that were unwise from the start, the Environmental Protection Agency could divert vast amounts of corn from inefficient ethanol production back into the food chain, where market forces and common sense dictate it should go.

The drought has now parched about 60 percent of the contiguous 48 states. As a result, global food prices are rising steeply. Corn futures prices on the Chicago exchange have risen about 60 percent since mid-June, hitting record levels, and other grains such as wheat and soybeans are also sharply higher. Livestock and dairy product prices will inevitably follow.

More than one-third of our corn crop is used to feed livestock. Another 13 percent is exported, much of it to feed livestock as well. Another 40 percent is used to produce ethanol. The remainder goes toward food and beverage production.

Previous droughts in the Midwest (most recently in 1988) also resulted in higher food prices, but misguided energy policies are magnifying the effects of the current one. Federal renewable-fuel standards require the blending of 13.2 billion gallons of corn ethanol with gasoline this year. This will require 4.7 billion bushels of corn, 40 percent of this year’s crop.

Other countries seem to have a better grasp of market forces and common sense. Brazil, another large ethanol producer, uses sugar instead of corn to make ethanol. It has flexible policies that allow the market to determine whether sugar should be sold on the sugar market or be converted to fuel. Our government could learn from the Brazilian approach and direct the E.P.A. to waive a portion of the renewable-fuel standards, thereby directing corn back to the marketplace. Under the law, the E.P.A. would first have to determine that the program was causing economic harm. That’s a no-brainer, given the effects of sharply higher grain prices that are already rippling through the economy.

Heinrich & Lujan vote "No" on Bill to Help Prevent Catastrophic Wildfires, Improve Forest Health, Protect Local Communities

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 1, 2012 - Today, the House Natural Resources Committee passed H.R. 6089, the Healthy Forest Management and Wildfire Prevention Act of 2012, with a bipartisan vote of 28-19. Introduced by Colorado Members Scott Tipton, Doug Lamborn, Mike Coffman, and Cory Gardner, the bill would reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires, address factors that contribute to insect infestation, and restore forest health by prioritizing and implementing hazardous fuels reduction projects on federal land. “Mismanagement of our public lands has fostered unhealthy, unnatural forests and contributed to the buildup of hazardous fuels that intensify wildfires, contribute to the spread of insect infestation, and risk the health of the environment, water supplies, and surrounding communities. I commend the Colorado delegation for putting forward legislation that will allow States and the federal government to work together to prioritize and expedite wildfire prevention projects so that we can improve forest health and reduce the risk of destructive wildfires,” said Natural Resources Chairman Doc Hastings (WA-04).
The Healthy Forest Management and Wildfire Prevention Act of 2012 would authorize both the Governor of a State and the Secretary of Agriculture or Interior to designate areas of federal land that are at high-risk of catastrophic wildfire. The Governor or Secretary then may propose expedited forest management projects relating to hazardous fuel reduction, forest health, and economic development to address threats to forest health, public safety, and wildlife habitat presented by the risk of wildfire on public lands.
“With increased local control, states can better protect their communities, species habitats, water supplies, and natural areas with preventative action to mitigate the conditions that lead to unhealthy forests and devastating wildfires. This legislation aims to restore forests to healthy conditions, curbing the spread of bark beetle, protecting the natural environment, and limiting the dangerous conditions that have fueled our state’s most devastating wildfires. Additionally, it upholds all valid and existing rights on applicable lands and preserves the current protection framework for wilderness areas and national monuments,” said Rep. Scott Tipton (CO-03).
“The deadly Waldo Canyon Fire makes clear we can and must do more to prevent wildfires. This bill replaces outdated forest management regulations with smarter, more effective tools to ensure the public’s safety. I believe healthy forest management is everyone’s responsibility. This bill would give those who live in and near our national forests a greater voice in those plans,” said Rep. Doug Lamborn (CO-05).
“Over the past several months, destructive wildfires have showed how urgent the need is for a change in the way we manage our national forest lands. I am pleased to join my colleagues from Colorado and the Committee on Natural Resources in supporting the Healthy Forest Management and Wildfire Prevention Act. We have to allow our communities to move away from dangerous prescribed burns, and this bill will give local officials more forest management tools to better mitigate the risk of out of control wildfires. This is crucial to saving our forests and our communities from devastating wildfires,” said Rep. Mike Coffman (CO-06).
“The damage caused by the recent wildfires in Colorado was no doubt magnified by the beetle-kill epidemic, which provided plenty of fuel for the flames. In order to move forward, it is essential that we better manage the health of our forests. Congressman Tipton's Healthy Forest Management Act puts in place a plan that will accomplish just that, and I am proud to support him in this effort,” said Rep. Cory Gardner (CO-04).
Printable PDF of this document

Contact: Jill Strait, Spencer Pederson or Crystal Feldman 202-226-9019

Forest Service report on Whitewater Baldy Complex

The report of the Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) Team is available here.

HT:  T.W. Mares

Horse owners, clubs urge governor to support horse slaughterhouse in New Mexico

A group of horse owners and clubs is urging the governor to support a proposed horse slaughterhouse in Roswell, saying the closing of domestic facilities five years ago has caused “needless suffering under the cruelest of conditions.” The New Mexico Horse Council, which represents more than 200 horse owners and 30 horse clubs, sent the governor a letter, saying an informal survey of its members showed 94 percent favor humane slaughter. “Horses deserve better than to be abandoned, starved, or transported long distances in overcrowded trucks to slaughter in foreign countries,” the letter from council President Rusty Cook said, noting rescue facilities are unable to care for all the unwanted horses. Martinez spokesman Scott Darnell said the governor received the letter, but her opposition to the facility has not changed. Meantime, Valley Meat Co. owner Rick de los Santos said he has hired an attorney and is working with Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., and Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., to push for action from the USDA on his application to convert his former cattle slaughterhouse into a horse slaughter plant that would package meat for sale overseas. Cook estimates some 1,000 horses are shipped through New Mexico to Mexico every month for slaughter south of the border. She said the proposed slaughterhouse in Roswell should be supported. “Not only would it help to solve the current overpopulation of horses, but it would provide considerable economic benefits to our state in the form of jobs and production of usable products such as meat, dog food, and glue for sale in both domestic and foreign markets,” she wrote to the governor...more

Finally, some sanity on this issue.

California weighs giving away more CO2 permits

In an effort to dissuade companies in key industries facing new carbon costs from leaving the state, California is considering giving them millions of dollars worth of additional free greenhouse gas allowances, state's air regulator said on Monday. California's cap-and-trade program seeks to emulate tactics used in the European Union and Australia to address emission "leakage" - a term describing the exodus of employers from a state or country in order to sidestep environmental costs. The California Air Resources Board (ARB), the regulator of the forthcoming program, held a workshop in Sacramento on Monday where it discussed plans to give away more free permits to prevent leakage in "trade-exposed" industries like cement production, oil refining and food processing. Over the first three allowance auctions, which begin in November, the state will sell 48.9 million allowances and give away 53.8 million allowances, according to ARB. Any company deemed to have either a high, medium or low risk of leaving the state will receive all the allowances they need to comply with the program during the first two-year compliance period, from 2013-2014, rather than have to buy the permits at regular auctions...more

"free greenhouse gas allowances"

They go to great lengths to keep from saying two things: free markets and it ain't working.

They may call it "leakage" in Europe, but here its called "flight".

Talk about a great example of over regulation and high taxes, between June of 2006 and June of 2011, Ca. lost 1,009,400 jobs and net outmigration was 1.2 million people

And that was under a so-called Republican governor who apparently spent more time pokin' the maid than he did governing.  Arnie was also the prime exponent of Ca.'s cap and trade.  Thank heaven we didn't do this on the national level.

Song Of The Day #895

Today Ranch Radio brings you Eddy Arnold and his 1951 recording I Wanna Play House With You.

Daughter hailed a hero for lifting up BMW to free her father pinned under the luxury sedan

A fast acting 22-year-old has been hailed a hero after she lifted up a car weighing a ton and a half to save her father, who became crushed under his BMW 525i. Lauren Kornacki swept in to save her father, Alec, when a jack slipped as he worked under the car on July 29, at the family’s home in Glen Allen, Virginia. Lauren, a recent University of Mary Washington grad, happened to be on her way out the door when she saw her father pinned under his luxury car. Finding her father unconscious, the terrified daughter let out a primal scream and yelled to her mother, Liz, to call 911. Lauren, a former basketball player, then knelt down and mustered up the strength to lift the weighty vehicle and free her father. ‘It flashed like, 'I'm going to lose my dad. His eyes were open; he wasn't responding to me. I knew I had to get his heart beating again, and I had to get him breathing,’ Lauren, who was trained in CPR from her job as a lifeguard, told local TV news station, WWBT...more

Drought may spur a drop in oil production

The booming oil and natural gas fields might be stifled by an oppressive drought that’s restricting access to water and pitting the energy sector against farmers and homeowners. According to a CNNMoney story, Neal Dingmann, an analyst at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey in Houston, said drilling could decline by 5 percent in small- to mid-size companies due to drought conditions. More than 60 percent of the United States is suffering from drought conditions, and as a result, farmers are turning down contracts to sell water and restricting energy companies’ access to it. “We’re having difficulty acquiring water,” Chris Faulkner, CEO of Breitling Oil and Gas, told CNNMoney. Drillers use millions of gallons of water in the hydraulic fracturing process, which injects sand, water and chemicals underground at high pressure to release trapped oil and natural gas from shale formations. Less water means less drilling, analysts say...more

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

EDITORIAL: Fracking flop

The anti-affordable energy crowd has suffered another setback. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Wednesday released the results of extensive testing that found nothing toxic in the water in Dimock, Pa. That’s the town where the anti-drilling documentary “Gasland” filmed dramatic images of a homeowner lighting his tap water on fire. The film blamed the strange occurrence on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a procedure that uses a pressurized mixture to extract natural gas from shale rock formations. It argued the process had polluted the nearby ground water. Liberals were so thrilled by the hit job that they awarded it a special jury prize at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. According to the EPA’s study, drilling is the not the root of the problems in Dimock. The agency sampled the well water at 61 homes and found health concerns in only five of them. The substances found include arsenic, barium and manganese, all of which are naturally occurring.inconvenient truth for self-styled environmental activists who’ve been protesting fracking operations is that natural gas’ abundance in the United States is a threat to trendy energy sources like wind and solar. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, domestic natural gas production increased 24 percent between 2006 and 2011. As more gas was extracted from the ground, prices dropped 72 percent, making it far less expensive for consumers to heat their homes during the winter and power their appliances throughout the year. For the affordable energy industry, fracking is critical because it makes it possible to draw natural gas and oil from difficult rock formations. Without it, large pools of untapped energy would be kept off-limits. That’s exactly what anti-progress liberals want. Cheap, abundant, affordable and sensible choices like coal, natural gas and petroleum encourage energy independence based on domestic production...more

Waterless Natural Gas Fracking Method Unveiled

A planned shale gas drilling project in New York state has drawn global attention for its aim to make use of a waterless form of hydraulic fracking – a new technique designed to reduce the pollution associated with controversial natural gas drilling processes. According to an industry report, the project is focused on using a technology that pumps a thick gel made from propane into the ground as opposed to using traditional methods of hydraulic fracking that make use of a mixture of water, sand, and chemicals to extract natural gas reserves from deep shale formations. Unlike traditional technologies, the gel from the new liquefied propane gas (LPG) fracking method reverts to vapor while still underground, and as a result returns to the surface in a recoverable form. According to its developer, Calgary-based GASFRAC Energy Services (TSX:GFS), the gel also holds advantages over water-based methods in that it does not carry the chemicals used during the drilling process back to the surface...more

Union Boss Says Green Jobs Are Bull**** video

Another undercover operation by Project Veritas, which is led by investigative video specialist James O'Keefe, has revealed what labor unions truly believe about the billions of dollars that go toward the alleged "greening" of our energy usage.  They're "bull****"  Those were the words that came out of the mouth of John Hutchings, a legislator for New York's Broome County, who is also a construction market representative for the Laborers International Union for upstate New York. He is also an executive officer of the Central New York Labor Federation, AFL-CIO, according to his bio...more

Obama’s Right—in a Perverse Way—about Government Playing an Important Role for Small Businesses

President Obama recently got himself in hot water with his “you didn’t build that” remark, which trivialized the hard work of entrepreneurs.
But he is right—in a perverse way—about government playing a big role in the life of small businesses. Thanks to a maze of regulations, the government is an unwelcome silent partner for every entrepreneur. And we’re not talking small numbers.
Read More

Death Creates Shovel-Ready Jobs, But Senate Passes Bill To Increase The Punishment For It

Yesterday, the Senate passed a bill (S. 3412) to raise the estate (death) tax from 35% to 55%. But, why are the Democrats trying to create a harsher punishment for dying, anyway?

And, is it a death tax – or a death penalty? To follow Justice Roberts’ Obamacare logic, it’s only a tax on people who choose to die.

With Obamacare, liberals argue that everyone uses health care, so everyone should have to buy it. By that logic, everyone uses death, so everyone should have to pay for the cost of it. Or, maybe, everyone should be required to buy death insurance.

But, what exactly are people who die being punished for?

Well, for one thing, they stop paying taxes – and liberals want to provide a disincentive for anyone to do that. Death is their last shot at looting and pillaging what you worked your whole life to earn. But, with an Obamacare-esque death insurance mandate, the government would keep getting a revenue stream from you long after you're gone.

And, dead people are free from government control and coercion. No wonder liberals are waging a war against religion.

Still, unlike the Stimulus, every death actually does create a shovel-ready job. So, why do they want to punish it? And, are grave diggers independent contractors? Do they work for small businesses?

The bill the Senate passed doesn’t just boost the death tax – it also greatly expands the number of people and businesses subject to it. (Liberals are always preaching about being more “inclusive,” you know).
According to House Joint Committee On Taxation analysis, the number of people who will have to pay this 55% (post mortem) would skyrocket:
  • 12 times more taxable estates would have to pay the 55% tax,
  • 9 times more small businesses would have to pay the 55% tax, and
  • 20 times more farming estates would have to pay the 55% tax.
Look, I know you can’t take it with you – but, can’t you at least give it to the people you love?

Drought prompts request to suspend ethanol law

Livestock and poultry producers formally asked the Obama administration Monday to suspend the nation’s renewable fuels standard because it is causing “severe economic harm” as corn prices surged to a record. A coalition including the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and National Pork Producers Council, sent a petition to the Environmental Protection Agency asking for a waiver “in whole or in substantial part” the output requirements under the Renewable Fuels Standard for 12 months. “An unsustainable situation has been created by the drought combined with the lack of cushion in corn supply due to the tremendous demand from ethanol producers,” Tom Super, a spokesman for the National Chicken Council, part of the coalition, said Monday on a conference call with reporters. “We believe that the RFS is causing severe economic harm during this crisis.” The drought that sent corn prices to a record is devastating meat producers, and the demand for grain used to make ethanol is reducing available supplies to make food, the livestock groups said. The current mandate requires refiners to use 13.2 billion gallons of the biofuel this year and 13.8 billion in 2013. It’s “time to wean” the ethanol industry off government mandates, J.D. Alexander, the president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, said on Monday’s call...more

Corb Lund's new album inspired by cowboys, ranchers and family history

Three years ago, Corb Lund began a long struggle to produce his seventh studio album. "I was just hitting a wall after the sixth record," the 43-year-old country artist said in a recent interview. "I was really stumped for awhile." For the first year and a half of the album-writing process, Lund spent time living in Las Vegas, New York and Austin. He then retreated to the northern Alberta log cabin he built with his aunt and uncle. After he finished writing the songs, Lund brought them to a recording studio in Edmonton. His touring band, Corb Lund and the Hurtin' Albertans bass player Kurt Ciesla, guitarist Grant Siemens and drummer Brandy Valgardson, spent only two weeks recording the songs for the album, aptly named "Cabin Fever."...more

Wyoming denies Forest Service a permit to move prairie dogs

State wildlife officials have denied a request by the U.S. Forest Service to move as many as 2,000 prairie dogs in northeast Wyoming. The plan was unpopular among ranchers on the Thunder Basin National Grassland in Converse, Weston and Campbell counties. The ranchers say prairie dogs are destructive to rangeland. The plan called for moving prairie dogs near homes to an area in northern Converse County where the animals couldn't be poisoned or shot. Aaron Clark, chairman of the Game and Fish Commission, says commissioners consider the views of landowners before granting such permits. He says nearly every landowner where the prairie dogs were to be reintroduced was against the idea. Forest Service officials say they will likely resubmit their relocation plans next year. AP

Northwest Alberta wolf bounty leads to howls

Some people living in High Prairie, Alta., are outraged over the local government paying a bounty on wolves in the area. "We're talking about pack after pack after pack that are not problem animals — that are being killed for profit," said Jocelyn Lloyd, who lives in the area about 400 kilometres northwest of Edmonton. Wolves can be a problem for ranchers and have been known to kill farm animals. To reduce the wolf population, the Municipal District of Big Lakes council put out a bounty on the animals. In two years, more than 300 wolves have been killed and a total of $87,000 paid out...more

Ranchers and environmentalists team up to save aspens

The big, old aspens on Monroe Mountain aren’t growing little aspens anymore, and it’s hardly just "tree-huggers" who are worried. The 175,000-acre mountain southeast of Richfield is the summer home of 972 cows and 1,496 sheep, plus a swarming elk herd that was nowhere to be seen before the 1980s. All three of those species rely on airy aspen groves where grasses and leafy plants thrive, but all three also eat aspen twigs and keep them from growing into new tree stands. Without a change, spruce, fir or sagebrush could take over, decreasing forage and forcing some livestock off the mountain — either by U.S. Forest Service rule or by simple lack of calories. A collaboration of environmentalists, ranchers and state and federal officials is working on a new grazing and forestry plan that, among other things, aims to give some places a respite from nibbling teeth so aspens get a head start toward the 7-foot height that generally means safety. "We’re 100 percent for it," said Greenwich-based rancher Rayne Bagley, who pays the Forest Service for the chance to run cattle on the mountain and meets monthly with the collaboration committee. "If we get the aspen back, it increases our feed." That’s the primary goal for ranchers, who want a system that gives them the same time or more to graze on the mountain. Other partners, including the Grand Canyon Trust and the Utah Environmental Congress, want aspens to persist as wildlife harbors or even just forest cover instead of dry scrublands...more

Song Of The Day #894

Pull Down The Blinds by Lattie Moore is Ranch Radio's tune today and you can find it on his 29 track CD  I'm Not Broke But I'm Badly Bent.

Update: It ain't you, I can't get it to play either. None of my songs will play so something's awry at OpenDrive.

Update: Its playing fine now.

Ranchers see conspiracy in big elk herds

Butte Valley rancher Bert Holzhauser said he believes state and federal wildlife agencies have been involved in a multi-year plan to build up elk herds in anticipation of expanding wolf populations. He said he's counted up to 300 elk, a favored food for wolves, on his property. Holzhauser said the elk have destroyed fences, crops and other property at his ranch and predicted, "It won't be long before they're all over the valley." As wolf populations increase, which he and others believe is inevitable under present policies, Holzhauser predicted they will kill elk and deer and "then they're going to start working on our livestock." Holzhauser was among several Butte Valley people urged to form a citizens group that can require local, state and national government agencies to work with them when developing plans affecting their lands and livelihoods during a meeting last week at Dorris City Hall. Dorris is about 5 miles south of the Oregon border on Highway 97, between Klamath Falls and Weed, Calif. The meeting was organized because of concerns aired by ranchers and farmers about damage caused by increasing numbers of elk and fears about the long-range impacts of wolves. Before and after the informal meeting, several Butte Valley ranchers said they have seen OR-7, a wolf that left a pack in northeastern Oregon, and other wolves in Klamath, Modoc and Siskiyou counties. At the meeting, Siskiyou County Sheriff Jon Lopey and Liz Bowen and Mark Baird, president and vice president of the Scott Valley-based Protect Our Waters, urged Butte Valley residents to work together to challenge and, if necessary, oppose regulatory agencies. "We're standing up and defending them because our way of life is being threatened," Lopey told a group of about 50 people. "I'm one of those sheriffs who believes there's still a Constitution."...more

Animal Ag Alliance cuts ties with Bank of America

Last month, the Animal Agriculture Alliance reached out to Bank of America with concerns about its public support of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and asked the company to sever its ties to the extreme animal rights group. The bank indicated it would not discontinue its HSUS affinity card program, so the Alliance has decided to end its relationship with its bank of 25 years.

Bank of America’s Agribusiness Executive emphasized in a phone conversation with Alliance CEO Kay Johnson Smith that the affinity card program with HSUS was not new and that HSUS received no preferential treatment. He emphasized his long-time connections with agriculture and his sincere commitment to supporting agriculture through numerous sponsorships, research and service.

Bank of America does not consider the $60 from each affinity card as a donation, but rather a “fee” paid to HSUS (and other affinity program participants) for bringing in new clients. When told that HSUS spends a great deal of money of disparaging campaigns, as well as legislative and legal attacks against farmers and ranchers, yet it spends less than one percent on direct animal care, he recognized that statistic. He then discounted it by saying people believe HSUS helps animals and they enjoy having a card with cats and dogs on it.

Ironically, the bank’s representative specifically pointed out that the most critical issue right now for agriculture is the constant pressure on people in the food business.

After this conversation and careful consideration, the Alliance has decided to terminate its relationship with Bank of America. The Alliance cannot continue a business relationship with companies that are contributing financially to extreme animal rights organizations that seek to eliminate the animal agriculture industry. The Alliance appreciates the support of its members and others in the agricultural community who took action on this issue. Thanks to those who voiced their concerns to Bank of America via social media, phone conversations, and mail. We will continue to speak up for America’s farmers and ranchers who continue to provide us with a safe, healthy, and affordable food supply.

press release

Monday, July 30, 2012

New breed of ranchers shapes a sustainable West

Normally, listening to a cattleman talk with reverence about managing grass and water, using terms like "holistic" and "sustainable," would be akin to hearing an environmentalist marvel about the horsepower in an all-terrain vehicle. It seldom happens. But a new breed of cowboy, like Jones, is changing how ranching is being done in the American West and might – just might – alter the dynamic in the "range wars" that have engulfed the region for more than a half century. Make no mistake: These are not new arrivals carrying out green techniques for the feel-good sake of being green. They are ranchers managing the land in benevolent and environmentally sensitive ways because they think it will help them survive – and make money. "As a matter of necessity, the old way of ranching is giving way to a new paradigm," says Bill Bryan, head of the Rural Landscape Institute in Bozeman, Mont. "For some, ranching was pursued in the past with an emphasis on raising beef at the expense of everything else. Raising animals for the dinner table isn't an activity that has to be at odds with the environment." Nor is this some New Age boutique movement – a few quixotic ranchers trying to be good stewards of the land while overseeing a few hobby cattle. Some of the biggest land-owners in the West are embracing elements of the practices, such as media moguls Ted Turner and John Malone, who oversee a combined total of 4.3 million acres – the equivalent of a couple small New England states. The movement also includes people from diverse philosophical and business backgrounds, from Peggy Dulany, a member of the Rockefeller clan, to former Wall Street hedge fund managers to caretakers for the Mormon Church...more

Does this sound like your place?

Traditionally, cows are turned out to graze largely unattended on vast open expanses, where they eat the vegetation until it is virtually denuded. This, in turn, can lead to greater dependence on costly hay, as well as antibiotics and pesticides.

New Mexico Equine Vesicular Stomatitis Case Count Rises

More than 20 vesicular stomatitis (VS) cases have now been confirmed in New Mexico horses, according to a July 25 update from the New Mexico Livestock Board. The current outbreak began in late April when two horses in Otero County tested positive for the disease. "At present, there are in excess of 20 confirmed cases in New Mexico," the statement read. "Counties with (currently) confirmed cases include Rio Arriba, San Miguel, Sandoval, Socorro, Valencia, and Lincoln." In June State Veterinarian Dave Fly, DVM, announced in a statement that the state's livestock board had implemented movement restrictions in response to the numerous confirmed or suspected VS cases. The full list of restrictions is available online. In the statement Fly said the restrictions "will remain in effect until New Mexico is declared free of vesicular stomatitis."...more

Drought bill may carry mammoth farm bill into law

A comparatively low-priced disaster bill for livestock producers hit by the worst drought since 1956 may be the ticket to passage for a $500 billion farm bill now in limbo in Congress. Republican leaders in the House of Representatives scheduled a potential vote for next week on disaster relief. Farm and environmental lobbyists said the vote could create a path to enacting the farm bill although there was no agreement among House Republicans on the scope of the legislation. Two-thirds of the continental United States was under moderate to exceptional drought with 40 percent of U.S. counties declared agricultural disaster areas. While crop insurance will aid many growers, livestock producers with drought-stunted pastures face skyrocketing feed prices. Republican leaders are sitting on a five-year House farm bill that faces so much opposition that it could be defeated if put to a vote. Some Republicans say it needs more reform and more spending cuts. Democrats oppose the bill's $16 billion in cuts in food stamps for the poor. The bill would save $33 billion over 10 years but boosts crop support prices. While a stand-alone disaster bill was possible, some farm lobbyists said disaster aid could be wrapped into a one-year extension of the 2008 farm law, which expires on September 30. In either case, it could open the door for a House-Senate compromise on farm subsidy reform and enactment of a long-term bill this year, said lobbyists...more

Fla. man who lost hand charged with feeding gator

A Florida airboat captain whose hand was bitten off by a 9-foot alligator faces charges of feeding of the animal. Collier County Jail records show 63-year-old Wallace Weatherholt was charged Friday with unlawful feeding of an alligator and later posted $1,000 bond. His next court date is Aug. 22. Weatherholt was attacked on June 12th as he was giving an Indiana family a tour of the Everglades. The family said Weatherholt hung a fish over the side of the boat and had his hand at the water's surface when the alligator attacked...more

NM gun dealer Reese takes defense stand in firearms smuggling case

The prosecution has rested and Rick Reese has taken the stand in his own defense in the U.S. District Court in Las Cruces, N.M., a spokesperson for the embattled gun dealer and his family told Gun Rights Examiner by email yesterday. Arrested last August, Reese, his wife Terri, and their sons Ryin and Remington, are on trial for conspiracy, aiding and abetting smuggling of firearms, money laundering and making false statements to investigators, in a case where the government’s own evidence and testimony are raising serious questions about the appropriateness of the charges and the ordeal they have put the family through. “The prosecution rested their case on Friday,” the spokesperson wrote. “Rick took the stand after lunch and our defense attorney Bob Gorence started his questioning by asking Rick to explain his work ethics and how he got to be where he is and how he became successful. “We could see he clearly had difficulty and became very emotional talking about all he and his family had sacrificed to get to where they were before they were arrested,” the spokesperson continued, promising “Once this is over, I can hardly wait to tell you all the ins and outs of this tragic case. Until then, I have to be oh so careful in the information I report.” “I would have thrown [government informant Jose Roman] out of the store," the Las Cruces-Sun News reported Reese maintaining under oath. "I would not put my wife and sons in harm's way, ever."Additional trial details are being regularly reported in an outstanding series by the Tea Party Patriots of Luna County, who already filed several updates today on the cross-examination of the lead ATF agent in the investigation...more

Learnin' Proper

Song Of The Day #893

It's Swingin' Monday on Ranch Radio and here's Toni Price who's gonna Get The Hell Out Of Dodge.  Think I'll saddle up and go with her.  The tune is on her Born To Be Blue CD.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Dem lawmakers to announce bill limiting online ammo sales

Two Democratic lawmakers on Monday will announce new legislation to regulate the online and mail-order sale of ammunition. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (N.J.) and Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (N.Y.) said the new law would make the sale of ammunition “safer for law-abiding Americans who are sick and tired of the ease with which criminals can now anonymously stockpile for mass murder,” in a statement released Saturday. The lawmakers cite the recent movie massacre in Aurora, Colo. for spurring their bill. “The shooter who killed 12 and injured 58 in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater this month had purchased over 6,000 rounds of ammunition anonymously on the Internet shortly before going on his killing spree, according to law enforcement officials,” the statement reads. “The shooter used a civilian version of the military’s M-16 rifle with a 100-round drum magazine, a shotgun and two .40-caliber semi-automatic handguns commonly used by police officers.” Lautenberg and McCarthy, who will unveil their new proposal at New York’s City Hall say they intend to “make it harder for criminals to anonymously stockpile ammunition through the Internet.” Lautenberg and McCarthy are two high profile advocates of gun control legislation, but they face an uphill struggle in Congress...more

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

R.I.P. common sense

by Julie Carter

It has been at least ten years since I decided that people in this world couldn’t get stupider. Daily, I’m reminded of how wrong I was.

I’m not talking about a lack of intelligence or about ignorance –as in an unlearned state. I’m speaking of pure, unadulterated stupidity that has been coaxed, coddled and petted by at least one generation leaving no hope for the next.

I was mixing up a desert that required a cake mix and I noticed that on the back of the cake mix box the instructions are now in English and Spanish. The bilingual print includes a warning to not eat raw cake batter.

What? You mean the cake batter left around the edges of a mixing bowl has been a hazard to our health for 300 years and they are just now telling us?

A mother watched as her toddler climb the ladder on the playground set to come swooshing down the big plastic slide on a 90-degree summer day. The pained sounds from the child indicated it wasn’t a pleasant experience but instead of investigating, she coaxed her back up the ladder for another run at it.

This time the wails led her to search out the cause, only to find second degree burns on the child’s bare legs where the hot plastic had burned them. Her reaction was to not to wonder why she hadn’t checked it out beforehand, but to threaten and demand that “caution” signs be placed at the playground stating that the slide might be hot. Perhaps the notices will help her be a better parent.

Swing sets today include smaller bucket-type seats for toddlers. However, it was recently proven they are not practical for a teenager with too much time on his hands who thought he should wedge himself into it.

Circulation to his legs was immediately compromised causing swelling and the absolute fact he was not going to be able to extricate himself from the swing. A call to 911 and a few chuckling firemen later, he was on his way home. Hopefully the lad is a little smarter but no one is taking bets on it.

When I was a kid, we had an outhouse! Yes, the hole-in-the-ground, wood shed-over-the-top, splinters-in-your-hiney outhouse. And furthermore, you had to walk across a little plank bridge over a deep irrigation ditch with rushing ice-cold water to get to it. It was truly down the garden path.

There were no EPA and hazmat permits posted at the outhouse and there was no code enforcement or engineering on the bridge. And not once did it become an issue unless I was caught playing in the ditch water when I was told not to. The ensuing discipline is another of today’s missing elements.

My mother cooked, canned, churned, sewed, gardened, laundered and kept track of her four young outlaws, myself included. She pretended she wasn't worried when we all left the house horseback, headed for the pine-covered hills to play cowboys and Indians. 

She was both concerned and amused when we older two tried to lose the younger two. Maybe she never knew how close she came to having only two children left in her brood. Tough little buggers, those younger boys were.

How did we get from there to now, where “they” think we need to be warned about eating raw cake batter and mothers require a sign to tell them something might be hot on a blazing sunny summer day?

God help us all if the day ever comes this world has to go back to basic survival. There will indeed be a cleansing of mankind.

Julie can be reached for comment at