Saturday, August 24, 2013

Fate of ‘Big Mountain Jesus’ to be Determined by Federal Appeals Court

The fate of an iconic Jesus statue perched along a ski run at Whitefish Mountain Resort on Big Mountain will be determined by an appellate court following a Missoula judge’s ruling that the figure, which occupies a swatch of federal land on the ski hill, does not raise any First Amendment issues. The notice of appeal was filed Aug. 22 by the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc., which will contest the ruling before the Ninth District Court of Appeals in San Francisco. The group argues the statue violates the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution’s prohibition on Congress making any law regarding an establishment of religion. The Jesus statue was installed by a local chapter of the Knights of Columbus in 1955 after the group’s members applied for a special-use permit. The Knights of Columbus Council No. 1328, whose members maintain the statue and lease the site, say the Jesus statue honors local veterans who served in World War II. When the troops returned to Northwest Montana, they told stories about religious shrines they encountered in the mountains abroad, and some of the veterans were instrumental in developing the ski resort on Big Mountain. A memorial plaque near the Jesus statue, which stands at the upper reaches of Chair Two, details that history. But FFRF disputes the veracity of the story, and argues the notion that the statue honors veterans is a ruse to maintain a Catholic shrine on public land. In a June 24 court order, U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen wrote that the statue “neither offends nor inspires,” and ruled that the Flathead National Forest could re-issue a 10-year permit allowing it to remain on the mountain...more

Forest Service taking back federal funds

The U.S. Forest Service plans to take a portion of the timber payments it has promised or paid out to 22 states, citing federal budget cuts. Collection letters from Forest Service Chief Thomas Tidwell went out to governors around the country Monday, saying money would be taken from funds used for habitat improvement and other national forest-related projects that put people to work under the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act. Oregon stands to lose the most in the move, with nearly $4 million in reductions. That would leave the state with about $3.4 million under that program. California would lose nearly $2.2 million, leaving it with about $1 million for the program. Idaho is set to lose $1.7 million, Montana nearly $1.3 million and Alaska, about $930,000 - nearly half the total allotment it had been expecting. Earlier this year, Tidwell sent letters to 41 states, asking for the return of $17.9 million in timber payments used to pay for schools, roads, search and rescue operations in rural counties and conservation projects...more

Boardwalk Violinist vs. City Hall: Challenging Ocean City's Noise Ban - video

Ocean City, Maryland is known for a bustling boardwalk that's packed with the sights, smells, and sounds of summer. The city's leaders, however, felt the noise was becoming too much to bear and approved an ordinance prohibiting anyone from being audible from more than 30 feet away while on the boardwalk. Mayor Rick Meehan tells Reason that the goal was "to ensure that everybody had an opportunity to enjoy Ocean City." But that wasn't how William Hassay saw it after being hassled by cops. Hassay has been entertaining passersby for almost 20 years by playing his violin for tips. "I was told I would be cited and that I would be subjected to face jail time," he says...more

Reason TV

Friday, August 23, 2013

Food police lose fight to outlaw rare beefburgers after judge rejects claim they are a health risk

Beefburgers cooked rare can remain on restaurant menus after a judge rejected claims by food watchdogs that they are a health risk. A wine bar and restaurant chain had been told to stop serving the burgers unless they took certain safety precautions. The ruling by Westminster City Council, backed by the Food Standards Agency, would have set a precedent across the country. But the company – London-based Davy’s – appealed against the decision and district judge Elizabeth Roscoe backed its policy. She said: ‘There is a balance to be struck between ensuring the safety of the public and allowing them the freedom of choice that they would wish and have a right to expect.’...more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1083

Eck Robertson - Arkansas Traveler

Eck Robertson is famous as the first person to record a commercial country music record. This he did, in company with fellow fiddler Henry C. Gilliland, on June 30 and July 1,1922, for the Victor Talking Machine Company in their New York studios. Eck and Gilliland, a Civil War veteran from Altus, Oklahoma, after entertaining veterans at the 1922 Old Confederate Soldiers' Reunion in Richmond, Virginia, decided to go to New York for the express purpose of making records. Gilliland, a former justice of the peace, knew an influential lawyer there named Martin W. Littleton. After their first night in New York, the two men stayed with Littleton who provided them with grand tours of the city, including a visit to the Steinway piano factory, a visit Eck remembered fondly forty years later. The image of Gilliland and Eck touring New York, attired respectively in full dress Confederate uniform and flashy western "regalia" (satin fuchsia shirt with pearl studs, wide-brimmed black hat, leather cuffs and pants tucked into high-topped boots) and undoubtedly carrying fiddle cases, would be striking even today. Eck and Gilliland recorded "Arkansas Traveler"and "Turkey in the Straw''on June 30th,with Gilliland playing the melody and Eck a high harmony. The next day Eck returned alone, this time recording "Sallie Gooden" and "Ragtime Annie" solo, and two additional tunes accompanied by a studio piano player. Two tunes from these sessions, "Sallie Gooden" and "Arkansas Traveler," were released in April, 1923, thus becoming the first commercial record ever released by a country musician. Eck stayed in New York ten days, finally returning home to Vernon, Texas, full of memories and stories. Source:

AQHA Cloning Lawsuit Update

The American Quarter Horse Association
August 22, 2013

Judge Mary Lou Robinson has issued a final judgment in the cloning lawsuit in which she awarded close to $900,000 in attorney fees to the plaintiffs in addition to entering an injunction requiring AQHA to immediately begin registering clones and their offspring.

AQHA will file a motion to stay the enforcement of the judgment pending the outcome of the appellate process. In the interim, AQHA has started the process of incorporating the court’s rules to accept the registration of horses produced by cloning as set forth in the final judgment.

On the subject of actual damages, while the jury found that AQHA violated anti-trust laws, they awarded no damages to the plaintiffs despite the plaintiffs’ demand for $5.7 million in damages.

“Although the jury’s verdict found that our Association’s decision to refuse to register clones and their offspring was in violation of antitrust laws, we strongly believe in the right of our members and our directors to make such registration decisions on their own. We also believe in this case that there has been no violation of antitrust law” said AQHA Executive Vice President Don Treadway. “Therefore, AQHA will continue to take any and all necessary legal steps in seeking to have the final judgment entered by the court in favor of the plaintiffs reversed.”

In addition to filing a motion to stay the enforcement of the judgment pending AQHA’s appeal, AQHA will also file a motion for judgment as a matter of law in which AQHA will request the court enter a take nothing judgment in favor of AQHA based upon the fact that the jury’s verdict was not supported by the evidence entered at trial.

Should the court deny AQHA’s motion for judgment as a matter of law, then AQHA will proceed with the appeal of this ruling by filing a notice of appeal. This will begin the appellate process as the case heads to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, Louisiana.

“It is clear from the phone calls, e-mails and posts by our members that they are very disappointed in the verdict” said AQHA President Johne Dobbs. “They continue to be against registering clones and their offspring for a number of reasons, and they object to this verdict as it represents a complete shift away from the sire-dam paradigm upon which all of our rules and processes are based, and which have governed our association for nearly 75 years. We appreciate our membership’s support, and want them to know that we will continue to fight for their right to determine the rules that govern their association”

“We have received many questions regarding insurance coverage in this case,” said Don Treadway. “Like many responsible corporations, AQHA proactively carries insurance and has a policy in the present case. We will keep the membership updated regarding developments in this case.”

For more information about the cloning lawsuit, view the Cloning Lawsuit Resources pages



Las Cruces, NM (August 22, 2013) – Today, U.S. Congressman Steve Pearce made the following comment on the Fish and Wildlife Service’s recent determination that a female Mexican wolf, known as F1108, had been shot and killed legally, while in the act of attacking cattle on private land. “I commend the US Fish and Wildlife Service on its decision to clear the New Mexico rancher who acted legally, in protection of his livestock,” said Pearce. “I appreciate their speedy and thorough investigation into this matter, and their respect for the law.” “However, we must not forget that the wolf program remains a major problem for New Mexicans,” Pearce continued. “This rancher is only in the clear because he didn’t act until after the wolf had inflicted injuries upon his animals—had he chosen to prevent those injuries, this story would have ended differently. Too many ranchers live in fear for their families and their livestock, or in fear of legal repercussions if they act to protect them. This incident only reiterates the terror that wolves cause for New Mexicans, and calls attention to the need to rethink this costly and dangerous program.” After millions of dollars spent and over a decade of efforts, the Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Program is an outright failure, with populations unable to come close to the recovery goals laid out by the US Fish and Wildlife Service—even as wolf populations elsewhere have thrived. Congressman Pearce has been a consistent opponent of continuing to pour money into an unsuccessful experiment that jeopardizes the lives and livelihoods of countless New Mexicans. Congressman Pearce believes that the management of the wolf population should be turned over to the state government.

Press Release

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Fish and Wildlife Service finds Mexican wolf killed on private land legal under the Endangered Species Act

    On June 25, 2013, a New Mexico rancher notified the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) that a female Mexican wolf – F1108 – had been shot and killed while in the act of attacking cattle on private land. The Service received notification within 24 hours of when the shooting occurred. 
    The 1998 Rule that established the Nonessential Experimental Population of the Mexican Gray Wolf in Arizona and New Mexico (Rule) provides that, on private land anywhere within the Mexican Wolf Experimental Population Area, livestock owners or their agents may take (including kill or injure) any wolf actually ‘‘engaged in the act of killing, wounding, or biting livestock.’’  The Rule does require that evidence of livestock freshly wounded or killed by wolves is present, and that the take is reported to the Service’s Mexican Wolf Recovery Coordinator or a designated representative of the Service within 24 hours.
    F1108 was translocated with her mate as a pregnant pair into a temporary mesh pen at McKenna Park in the Gila Wilderness on April 27, 2013.  The pair self-released from the temporary pen on or about May 4, 2013.  Shortly after release, her mate left the area and was recaptured on May 11, 2013 and returned to the Service’s Sevilleta Mexican Wolf Management Facility. 
    F1108 localized in the vicinity of the pen.  The necropsy performed as part of the investigation after  F1108 was shot confirmed the she had a litter of pups.  Wolf biologists believe that pups were born soon after her self-release. The Service’s Mexican Wolf Program provided supplementary feeding to F1108 to assist her in raising pups. She remained localized for several weeks, and may have been denning, although there were no observations of any pups.
    F1108dispersed from the area on June 10, 2013, and did not return.  If F1108 had pups it appears most likely that the pups died prior to her dispersal.  It is also highly doubtful that any pups could have survived for more than several days after her departure.  Approximately two weeks later, F1108 was killed by gunshot on private land outside of the Gila Wilderness. 
    The shooting of F1108 was investigated by the Service, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, and U.S. Department of Agriculture – Wildlife Services.  The investigation found evidence of wolf bite marks on a cow, and that the attack on the cow occurred on private lands. After a comprehensive and thorough investigation was completed, the Service's Office of Law Enforcement concluded that the take of Mexican Wolf F1108 on private land was legal under the provisions of the Experimental Population Rule, and therefore not a violation of the Endangered Species Act.  Press Release

BLM plan will halt local drilling, costing NM jobs

By Ron Griggs

Jobs. We all talk about them and New Mexico needs them.

New Mexico needs jobs, especially high-paying jobs. These jobs keep our sons and daughters here, and they stimulate our economy. But again the state of New Mexico is losing a chance at high-paying jobs.

The recently released Bureau of Land Management (BLM) draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) for the tri-county area that covers Dona Ana, Otero and Sierra counties defers action on fluid mineral leasing and development in the three counties. This effectively stops oil and gas drilling there for the foreseeable future. The BLM states that the primary reason for this action is concern over Otero Mesa. Yet the DEIS spreads that concern to all BLM managed lands in the three counties. That doesn't make sense.

Oil and gas revenues alone fund over a third of our state budget. Potash, copper and uranium mining also provide millions of dollars to our state and thousands of jobs to New Mexico citizens. The services New Mexicans need cannot be funded without utilizing revenues from these mineral resources, unless, as some suggest, we either raid the permanent fund or we raise taxes. Neither of these options is appealing or necessary.

Now though, just when we have a chance to improve our revenues and create jobs, our state is thumped again. This decision by the BLM potentially costs New  Mexico millions of dollars and Otero, Dona Ana, and Sierra counties lose out on jobs and opportunities.

Otero Mesa itself can be responsibly developed. Its environment and the underlying water can be protected. Oil and gas development can be successfully integrated with existing ranching operations. Oil and gas companies can again prove that they are able to work in demanding environments and effectively minimize the results of their presence.

Current plans for the Bennett Ranch area on Otero Mesa call for wells to be drilled on 640 acre spacing. There will be a road to the well site, a pipeline leaving the site and the christmas tree that controls the wellhead pressure. Modern drilling operations and casing programs are designed to protect water sources and to leave a small footprint. Operators no longer use 1940's technology or equipment. They can develop these valuable resources without harming the environment. 

Ron Griggs, a Republican, represents District 34 (Otero, Dona Ana and Eddy counties) in the New Mexico Senate. 

Officials Close Trail After Grizzly Encounter

The Bureau of Land Management has closed a hiking trail 45 miles northeast of Fairbanks after berry pickers encountered a grizzly. BLM spokesman Craig McCaa says the large bear approached a couple and their two small children as they picked berries Saturday night near their camp on the Table Top Mountain Trail, a three-mile loop in White Mountains National Recreation Area. McCaa that the father fired warning shots with his .44-caliber handgun but the bear continued its aggressive behavior. The family headed down the trail but the bear moved toward the man. He fired his last two shots at the grizzly. The man on Tuesday led BLM ranger Jonathan Priday to the site. They found no signs that the bear had been hit. AP

US judge clears way for Nev. tribe's mustang sale

A federal judge cleared the way Wednesday for a Nevada tribe to sell 149 mustangs over the objection of critics who claim the unbranded animals are federally protected wild horses that should not be auctioned off for possible slaughter. U.S. District Judge Miranda Du lifted an emergency restraining order she put in place last week temporarily blocking the sale of any adult horses without brands among the more than 400 recently gathered near the Nevada-Oregon line. After hearing conflicting testimony during a hearing in Reno Wednesday about whether the mustangs exhibited wild behavior, Du ruled the U.S. Forest Service acted appropriately in determining the Fort McDermitt Paiute-Shoshone Tribe is the animals' rightful owner and can't be stopped from selling them...more

Indian Casinos Serving Sizzling Steaks From Navajo Steers

Navajo ranchers are a hard-working lot, sitting tall in the saddle keeping an eye on roving range cattle—and now that hard work is starting to pay off. Quality grass-fed beef has now found its way into the newly-opened Twin Arrows casino, and other Indian gaming operations are taking a closer look at this Native-raised prime product.   “We’re an independent people, but we’ve worked together on this project,” says Gene Shepherd (Navajo), foreman of the 60,000-acre Padres Mesa Ranch on reservation land in Chambers, Arizona.  His site is called a demonstration ranch because it acts as a training model for others to study. Ranching families have long struggled to make a living by raising livestock often sold to cattle brokers who bought Native calves as cheaply as possible. The current mission aims to raise high quality beef and then get it bought at a price that’s fair for all the work necessary to get it to market. One of the ranches observing the prototype lessons is 14R in the New Lands area (Nahata D’zhil) where 81 permit holders share 360,000-acres of grazing land under the leadership of ranch president Al Pahi. (New Lands is a section of the reservation set aside for Navajos relocated from Hopi partitioned lands). “We show relocatees good ranching practices to elevate the standards of raising cattle,” says Pahi.  “We’ve got 14 range units, about 25,000 acres per unit, where permittees are allowed up to 30 head of cattle,” he says, adding: “Our beef grazes naturally and feeds on a particular type of sage shrub that brings lots of protein and other nutrients as well as adding special flavor to our meat.” Because Indian-owned casino restaurants have a growing need for quality meats—and because there are about 20 gaming facilities in Arizona with more across the border in New Mexico, the new Native  American Beef Marketing Program aims to sell fairly-priced Navajo-raised beef to Native-owned casinos to feed hungry tourists...more

NSA gathered thousands of Americans’ e-mails before court ordered it to revise its tactics

For several years, the National Security Agency unlawfully gathered tens of thousands of e-mails and other electronic communications between Americans as part of a now-revised collection method, according to a 2011 secret court opinion. The redacted 85-page opinion, which was declassified by U.S. intelligence officials on Wednesday, states that, based on NSA estimates, the spy agency may have been collecting as many as 56,000 “wholly domestic” communications each year.  In a strongly worded opinion, the chief judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court expressed consternation at what he saw as a pattern of misleading statements by the government and hinted that the NSA possibly violated a criminal law against spying on Americans. “For the first time, the government has now advised the court that the volume and nature of the information it has been collecting is fundamentally different from what the court had been led to believe,” John D. Bates, then the surveillance court’s chief judge, wrote in his Oct. 3, 2011, opinion. Bates’s frustration with the government’s lack of candor extended beyond the program at issue to other NSA surveillance efforts. “The court is troubled that the government’s revelations regarding NSA’s acquisition of Internet transactions mark the third instance in less than three years in which the government has disclosed a substantial misrepresentation regarding the scope of a major collection program,” Bates wrote in a scathing footnote. The Washington Post reported last week that the court had ruled the collection method unconstitutional. The declassified opinion sheds new light on the volume of Americans’ communications that were obtained by the NSA and the nature of the violations, as well as the FISA court’s interpretation of the program. The release marks the first time the government has disclosed a FISA court opinion in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. The lawsuit was brought a year ago by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a privacy group...more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1082

Here's some more good fiddle music with the East Texas Serenaders performing Acorn Stomp.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wolves pay for death of Idaho sheep

A wolf pack that roams the south end of Teton Valley, Idaho, has been all but wiped out after a bizarre sheep stampede that’s been blamed on the wild canines. U.S. Department of Agriculture officials have killed 13 wolves from the Pine Creek Pack, which occasionally ventures into western Wyoming in the area of Teton Pass, said Todd Grimm, Idaho director of the federal Wildlife Services program, which kills predators that cause damage. “We had already removed 12 by the time this incident had taken place,” Grimm said. “And we’ve got another one since then.” “I can’t believe how many wolves we’ve got in there,” he said. Of the 13 trapped and euthanized wolves, four were adults or sub-adults, Grimm said. Nine of the wolves killed were pups, he said. The pack’s demise was already underway when two wolves thought to be Pine Creek members ventured into a 2,400-head sheep herd early Saturday morning. The herd, owned by the Siddoway Sheep Company of St. Anthony, Idaho, was bedding down on Caribou-Targhee National Forest land between Pole Canyon and Fogg Hill, about 5 miles south of Victor. Running downhill in a panic, about 165 sheep from the Siddoway herd were killed, trampled and smothered in their terror. Two wolves, which were witnessed by a herder at the scene, killed about another dozen sheep. The final tally: 119 lambs and 57 ewes dead. Price tag: $20,000. In the weeks leading to the sheep pileup, the Pine Creek Pack had been actively preying on the Siddoway sheep, Grimm said. “We’ve confirmed 10 other kills in that area this year,” Grimm said...more

Look at it  this way:  Obama and the feds are the wolves and we're the sheep.  Are we heading for a similar pile up?

Idaho's director of Wildlife Services says, "I can't believe how many wolves we've got in there."  Could certainly say the same about the feds.

So where is that little piggy with the brick house?


Still having health issues, plus a new drug that's giving me fits. Not much news while Congress is out of town, so posts may be few and far between.

Sally Jewell: Locked in the Obama Cabinet?


The nomination of Recreational Equipment Inc. boss Sally Jewell as U.S. Secretary of the Interior, earlier this year,  seemed like a breath of fresh air for a department charged with both protecting and exploiting vast swaths of the American earth.

Jewell was a highly successful CEO who grew Seattle-based REI, an accomplished outdoors explorer, and a civic activist genuinely committed to getting America's increasingly sedentary youth out into God's great out-of-doors.

The thick air of Washington, D.C., can slow you down, however, and the political climate of dealing with the White House can be as tricky as the summit of a Cascade volcano sheathed in a lenticular cloud.

Conservation activists in both Washingtons, and points in between, worry that Jewell is off to a slow start.  So far,  it seems --  to steal the phrase of ex-Labor Secretary Robert Reich -- that she is locked in the Cabinet.

"I think 'This Town' just eats non-political people alive:  It's fine to be an outsider and bring a different perspective, but you still need to operate in the most political climate on the planet,'" said Marc Johnson of Gallatin Public Affairs, who worked for a great Interior Secretary, Cecil Andrus.

A trio of worries about Jewell, and ways out:

--Get out of the rut of photo opportunities:  In the eyes of the White House, jokes one who has worked there, a Cabinet secretary's role is like the owner of an auto dealership.  The job is to sell the model off the showroom floor, not participate in its design. Cecil Andrus, in an e-mail, was blunt on what Secretary Jewell needs to do:   "She has to quit playing to the PR trips and do a few substantive actions that will put her in control, and not the staff that now seems to be running things."  Or as Bruce Babbitt, as President Clinton's Interior Secretary, used to say:  "You gotta get into the field and into the mix of problem solving."

--Install your own people:  The best recent Interior secretaries, working politicians, brought trusted aides with them to the Interior building at 18th & C. Streets in Washington, D.C.  They shared the boss' agenda and could direct the bureaucracy. Jewell is badly in need of a consigliere, who has the boss' back, as well as what Johnson describes as "loyal, smart, capable people who can help navigate the politics of dysfunction." Politics ain't bean bag, in words of a famous political truism, especially in dealings with a White House that wants to run your department. "The bureaucracy will eat her up if she just responds to the daily ebb and flow of the Department of Interior and travels endlessly on the bureaucracy's agenda," warned Johnson.

--Connect with the President:  Obama does not have nature in his soul.  Neither did Bill Clinton.  Still, Babbitt was able to coax the 42nd president out of Martha's Vineyard into two poll-driven vacations in the Rockies.  Andrus hooked Jimmy Carter on fly fishing, and took him down the Middle Fork of Idaho's Salmon River. The Interior Department is on the outer reaches of the President's concerns.  The post doesn't have a lot of personal connection unless the Secretary is a political buddy of the POTUS.  Or unless the Interior Secretary is a strong-willed advocate. Stewart Udall, under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, was such an advocate.  We have a North Cascades National Park, in part, as a result.

--Set a bold agenda:  The land conservation stance of the Obama White House can be summed up in three words:  Don't bother us.  Don't ask us to protect anything unless there is unanimity behind it and no political cost. Even then, as we saw with the San Juan Islands National Monument, to process has taken pressure and seemingly lasted forever. In contrast, the Obama administration has been overly eager to open federal lands and offshore areas to oil and gas leasing.  It has done little to encourage extended reach drilling in which the land is not disturbed.


Otero Mesa on 'Too Wild to Drill' list

Otero Mesa, 12 million acres of wild grasslands primarily under the control of the Bureau of Land Management, appears on a list of 12 places deemed "too wild to drill," by The Wilderness Society. Society spokesman Jennifer Dickson said a new report titled, "Too Wild to Drill," includes the mesa as well as Chaco Canyon, also in New Mexico. "When Americans think of the great outdoors, we often envision wild places and open spaces, towering trees, rushing waterfalls and jagged peaks," she said. "We don't envision mazes of pipelines and roads, acre-wide well pads and drilling rigs. "While these sensitive lands are being threatened by oil and gas development, the oil and gas industry also leased 38 million acres of other federal lands, an area the size of the state of Florida. Millions more acres of private land also are being used for oil and gas development. Conservation must be put on equal ground with oil and gas development and ensuring the protection of the wild places highlighted in the report is one place to start." A proper balance between drilling and conservation already was achieved in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska, where the BLM protects more than 11 million acres of land critical for birds and wildlife, while keeping more than 70 percent of oil and gas deposits available to drilling, she said. "Recent polling shows that more than three quarters of Americans support protecting wild places that are 'too special to drill,'" Dickson said. "We also spent more than $646 billion on outdoor recreation annually, economic activity that depends on vibrant open spaces for hiking, camping, hunting fishing and other uses of our land." Other places on the list are the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, Arches National Park and Desolation Canyon in Utah, Greater Dinosaur Region and Thompson Divide in Colorado, George Washington National Forest in Virginia, Los Padres National Forest in California, North Fork of the Flathead River in Montana, and The Red Desert and the Wyoming Range in Wyoming...more

Wyoming delegation asks Jewell to exempt some states from BLM fracing rules

Wyoming’s congressional delegation asked US Sec. of the Interior Sally Jewell to exempt the state and others that already regulate hydraulic fracturing from the US Bureau of Land Management’s final regulations when they are issued. In an Aug. 19 letter to the secretary, the three Republican members of the delegation—US Sens. John Barrasso and Michael B. Enzi, and US Rep. Cynthia M. Lummis—said they appreciated Jewell’s favorable comments about Wyoming’s existing fracing regulation regime during a June 6 Senate and Energy Natural Resources Committee hearing. “We therefore request that you exempt Wyoming and the other states currently regulating hydraulic fracturing from BLM’s final rule,” they continued. “State regulations are a solution that is working for the people of our nation’s public land states. They should be supported, not supplanted, by the [Obama] administration.”...more

Cattle Rustling: Oklahoma and Texas up 40%

Cattle rustling is up almost 40% this year in Oklahoma and Texas.  State Impact Texas reported there are a number of reasons: °Cattle are worth more.  Ranchers have reduced herd numbers because of the drought, and the remaining cattle are more valuable. °Increased number of hobby ranchers.  Hobby ranchers tend to check on their herds less frequently, making them more vulnerable to theft.  Cattle are hungry, and can be lured in more easily.  Once again, due to the drought.  °The economy.  Recovery hasn’t occurred in many parts of Texas, and some are willing to rustle cattle...more

They left out one reason...see my next post.

Rise in Cattle Rustling Perplexes Texas Law Enforcement

The Giddings Livestock Commission holds its auction every Monday. Hundreds of cows pass through, brought in by their rightful owners to be sold to the highest bidder. But, every now and then, auction manager Larry Larry Schatte says, a contraband cow finds its way into the mix. “Probably about a year ago. This one guy, he’d usually bring in some cattle for his mom,” Schatte told StateImpact Texas on a recent auction day that the man would always bring in the same kind of cow, a specific type of cross breed. “And this one particular time he came in with a couple of long horns, and I thought it was kind of an odd deal,” he said. Turns out, it was. The cattle had been stolen from a ranch where the man worked. Stories like this are becoming more and more common. Ranchers saw a sharp jump in cattle rustling last year in Texas and Oklahoma. Over 10,000 cows and horses were reported missing or stolen. That’s an almost 40 percent increase from the year before. It’s a trend that’s surprised some in law enforcement. Doug Hutchison is a special ranger commissioned by the Texas Department of Public Safety to investigate cattle theft. He points out that -since the drought ravaged herds in 2011- there’s simply less and less Texas cattle to steal. “I was really starting to think that maybe we’d start to see a downturn, because these ranchers are watching so close to what they have with the downsizing of the herd, it’s a little easier to track,” said Hutchison...more

What is the primary cause of thefts?

Special Ranger Hutchison says those thieves are often desperate to feed drug addictions. “Not always, but I would say the majority of these cases are driven by the meth community. Cause they know it’s some quick cash,” he told StateImpact Texas.

War On Drugs = Cattle Theft

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1081

Kessinger Brothers - Done Gone. Recorded in February of 1929 on the Brunswick label. They, in reality, were not brothers. Clark Kessinger is the fiddler and its his brother's son Luches playing the guitar. This tune is Clark's tribute to fiddler Eck Robertson.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

No yolk. Uncle Sam may require $11.2B chicken cage investment

QUESTION: If a chicken rancher has 50,000 chickens and he has to pay $40 a hen for new roomier cages to meet a state mandate how much of the cost are consumers going to absorb? ANSWER: All $200,000. Chicken ranchers have until 2015 to comply with a law adopted five years ago by state voters barring the sale of eggs in California unless they are laid by chickens who are kept in cages larger than the conventional cage size of 67 square inches. Just how big those cages have to be has left a lot of chicken farmers scratching their heads. That’s because the 2008 Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act failed to specify an exact size. That has left farmers to try to answer a question as mind numbing as the old what came first question about either the chicken or the egg? Dianne Feinstein, the mother hen of the U.S. Senate, in May laid out a federal solution known as the Egg Products Inspection Act. It would create a standard for American chicken cages to replace the scattering of various laws that dictate different sizes in various states. A similar bill was introduced in the House by Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, and Kurt Schrader, D-Oregon. The bills would adopt the decade-old European Union standard calling for chicken cages to have 116 square inches complete with a required nesting box as well as place to perch and scratch. The proposed legislation would also prohibit the sale of any eggs that aren’t laid by chickens in roomier cages. As surprising as it may sound even though the Humane Society is behind the bill there are animal rights groups opposed to it. Organizations such as the Humane Farming Association are crowing up a storm about states’ rights and even claiming that besides pre-empting state laws it is a “direct assault upon egg laying hens” and voters. They also are madder than a wet hen because the Humane Society joined forces with the United Egg Producers.The two adversaries said the bill was introduced “to protect the economic interests of the egg industry.” United Egg producers represent 95 percent of America’s egg farmers...more

Ranchers eye restocking herds as pastures green up

Recent rainfalls across most of the nation’s key cattle grazing areas are greening up pastures and refilling farm ponds, fueling optimism among ranchers that they may soon begin the difficult process of rebuilding herds decimated by years of drought. The recent rains that have soaked the Great Plains and most of the nation’s cattle grazing region has spurred talk of rebuilding the herd. “We have had enough rain to at least change our attitude,” said Kansas cattleman Ken Grecian said. “We are not out of the woods by any means, but we are green again.” Grecian, who ranches northwest of Hays, said he culled during the drought about 40 percent of his herd, sending to the auction barn more than 150 cows and calves to stretch his grass as far as he could. His ranch can support about 350 cows in a normal season, but it may be years before he restocks his ranch to those herd numbers again. He now plans to keep the female calves from this year’s calf crop, rather than sell them in the fall...more

Monday, August 19, 2013

Broncos losing their buck? Rodeo man worries weaker breeds are emerging

John Growney used to travel to ranches in Oregon and around the West on the lookout for cantankerous saddle horses he could turn into rodeo broncs. "I used to find 50 a year" to audition as potential saddle-broncs and bareback bucking horses, recalls the 65-year-old rodeo stock contractor. "Now, we never try out one." Horses that buck off cowboys are extremely tough to find these days on Western ranches, said the Red Bluff, Calif., businessman, during a break in festivities at the Chief Joseph Days Celebration here last month. Of necessity, Growney now breeds his own bucking horses. What happened to all those fire-breathing, ranch-bred cayuses that loved starting off a morning by pitching a cowboy into a corral fence? Growney says they were an invitation to lawsuits. Ranchers have changed their breeding programs. "They are breeding the buck away," Growney said. But Growney argues that there's an unfortunate genetic byproduct to the new breeding regimen: Some of the hardiness and stamina embodied in such horses may be vanishing as well. "When you build for stamina, it builds for an ornery cockiness," and a horse like that is inclined to buck, Growney said. Growney is probably correct that breeding the buck out of ranch horses will cost some incremental toughness, said Mary Woodworth, of the fifth generation Schadler Ranch, Inc., near Adel. Her family began ranching in Lake County in 1898, and "was known for having cranky horses" -- her term for snorty cayuses that liked to buck. "But cattle ranches no longer need the same kind of horses," continued Woodworth, 36. The advent of pickups and horse trailers have reduced the miles cowhands need to ride daily on horseback, she said. Many ranchers now prefer a smart horse that can "read" a cow and help sort cattle in a corral over one capable of carrying a rider 25 miles at a trot to check water holes and fences, she said. "That is not something that is needed anymore," Woodworth said...more

Art Evans 1922-2013

Arthur (Art) Hayden Evans, 90 of Cuchillo,NM, died August 13, 2013 in Albuquerque,NM due to complications from a broken hip. He was born October 18, 1922 to a Phoenix, AZ pioneer ranching family, AA(Gus) and Mildred Ethel Hayden Evans.  Art grew up on the family ranch north of Phoenix with his 2 brothers, sister, and cousins. He was involved in the livestock industry his entire life. In addition to working on the ranch from a young age he was also active in 4H and FFA. In 1940 he attended the organizational meeting of the Arizona Junior Cattle Growers Association and was elected the first president of that organization. He graduated from Peoria, AZ High School in 1940 and was working fulltime at the T Ranch when he met the love of his life, Wanda Ruth Giblin. They were married April 9, 1943 and began their 69 year partnership.
He served in the Navy during WWII. After the war he worked in the open pit mines at Bagdad, AZ, and was an Arizona brand inspector.
In 1953 Art and Wanda moved their family to New Mexico. The Tovreas ,large agricultural operators in AZ & NM, had bought the Ladder Ranch in Sierra County and they hired Art as foreman.  Art was foreman at the ladder until 1981 for three different owners. In 1981, Art & Wanda moved to Roswell where Art was promoted to manager of several of Robert O. Anderson’s ranches in NM and TX. He retired from Diamond A Cattle Company in 1991 and returned to the Ladder in 1992 as a consultant for the new owner, Ted Turner. His health forced him to retire, again, in 1995.
Art was always involved in many community organizations; Sierra County Farm Bureau President, NM Farm and Livestock Bureau Board of Directors, Sierra County Republican County Chairman, Chaves County Farm Bureau Board of Directors, Chaves County United Way Agriculture Division Chairman, NMSU College of Ag & Home Economics development council, NM Farm and Ranch Heritage Center Board, American Sheep Industry Council Board of director, President of the NM Wool Growers Association, and founding member of the Caballo Community Church.
Art is survived by his daughter April(Ray) Romero, Cuchillo, NM; son Mikel Ray(Cathy) Evans ABQ, NM daughter-in-law Fran Evans , Las Cruces, NM. Grandchilden, Anita Evans & Clark Gentry of Las Cruces, NM, Daniel(Ami) Evans, Deming, Kristy(Cody)Cummings, Cuchillo, Cheyenne (Tony) Squeiri of Mesa, AZ, Cassidy Evans & Shaun Baker Mesa, AZ, Mikel Cody Evans, France, Rachel Evans, Guthrie, OK. Great grandchildren: Riley Walker, Las Cruces, Jacob & Erik Evans, Deming, Shayly Cummings, Cuchillo, Jaxon Baker, Mesa, AZ.  Brothers Richard(Helen) Evans, Raymond(Marlene) Evans, sister Ruthe Cortes and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his son, Hayden Lee Evans and his wife Wanda Ruth Evans, and brother-in-law, Warren Cordes.
A memorial service will be held at the Caballo Community Church September 7, 2013 at 11:00 a.m.
A strong advocate for education  Art would be pleased with a donation to the Sierra County Farm & Livestock Bureau Ag scholarship fund.  c/o Dee Wear  2101 S. Broadway, TorC, NM 87901.

Wolves cause death of 176 sheep near Fogg Hill; Forest Service says stay out of area

U.S. Forest Service officials are asking people to stay out of an area where a large sheep kill was reported over the weekend. Jay Pence, Teton Basin District ranger, said the sheep kill could attract a lot of people hoping to see predators coming to feed on the carcasses. Ranchers and others are trying to deal with the situation, and visitors can hamper their activities. "There are a lot more fun things to look at than dead sheep," said Pence. Idaho Wildlife Services confirmed Monday that 176 sheep were killed during a wolf attack near Fogg Hill and the Pole Canyon area early Saturday morning. The animals belonged to the Siddoway Sheep Company and were grazing in the area about six miles south of Victor, according to a release from Siddoway. The attack, they said, occurred around 1 a.m. Todd Grimm, director of the Wildlife Services Program, said his office confirmed the depredation Sunday. Many of the animals died from suffocation, since some apparently fell in front of the rest, resulting in a large pile-up. “This was a rather unique situation,” said Grimm. “Most of the time they don’t pile up like this, but the wolves got them running.” Only one animal seems to have been eaten in the attack, according to the Siddoway release...more

$850K granted for wolf-livestock programs

New Mexico, Arizona and several other states will share $850,000 in grants from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for programs aimed at reducing conflicts between wolves and livestock. Game and fish departments in New Mexico and Arizona will receive $20,000 each to compensate ranchers for cattle and other livestock that are killed by wolves. New Mexico will get another $50,000 and Arizona will get $40,000 for conflict reduction measures. The grants total more than $155,000 for the two states and the San Carlos Apache Tribe. Federal officials say the funding will help the Mexican gray wolf recovery program...more

Facing challenges, N.M. chile industry hangs on

In the early 1990s, chile was king in New Mexico. The state’s favorite crop, in its many varieties, hit an all-time high in 1992 of 34,500 acres harvested. But that was before a landmark international free-trade agreement, NAFTA, took effect, gradually slashing tariffs on products moving between the United States and its closest neighbors. New Mexico chile farmers and experts recall that the state’s once-robust jalapeƱo industry took a sharp nosedive in the late ’90s, as farming of the crop shifted to Mexico. Some of the fresh green-chile farming, too, followed, though the decline hasn’t been as severe, experts said. About a decade ago, chile’s future in New Mexico seemed especially bleak, said Stephanie Walker, Cooperative Extension specialist at New Mexico State University. “We had chile flooding the market from all parts of the world,” she said. “Those were probably the darkest days.” Other competitors, such as China, ramped up farming of red chile, which has a much longer shelf life and hence can be shipped farther than green chile with no problems, experts said. The declining acreage in New Mexico continued throughout the 2000s. Last year, acreage harvested totaled about 9,600 – about a 70 percent drop from the record high. But some experts and farmers say the industry appears to have stabilized in recent years and may even be on the uptick. Still, some farmers of the crop said they still face a spectrum of hurdles, such as a shrinking pool of field laborers and continued pressure from foreign competitors, that create uncertainty about the future. Hatch-area grower Jerry Franzoy said stricter immigration enforcement by federal authorities has cut down on the number of Mexican immigrants who cross into the United States and get residency status – a pool of workers farmers have relied upon for labor-intensive chile crops. Franzoy said the shortage is worse this year for the chile harvest because onion harvesting has gone longer than usual...more

Navajo Nation rounds up horses on drought-stricken land

Navajo Nation rangers have rounded up numerous horses in northwestern New Mexico under an operation conducted as part of the tribe’s response to the continuing drought. A natural resources law enforcement official says least 248 horses were seized through Thursday and that additional horses were seized in operations late last week. According to the Gallup Independent, the horses are said to be either feral or belong to residents who lack grazing permits or have more horses than their permits allow. Grazing official Wilbur Murphy says horses unclaimed by residents will be sold to a buyer either for resale off the reservation or for transport to Mexico for slaughter for meat. The Navajo Nation has voiced support for a Roswell company’s plan to begin slaughtering horses for meat. AP

Wyatt Althoff

From: Brown, Jim []
Sent: Monday, August 19, 2013 12:06 PM

Wyatt Althoff, an NMSU Rodeo alumni, past away this weekend in a boating accident. He was a great competitor and champion, he won numerous college rodeos for NMSU, his greatest College Rodeo achievement was winning the 2008 NIRA All-Around World Champion title. Wyatt also won the 2008 DuBois Award, an award given to the highest points earned by an NMSU Rodeo athlete.

Wyatt will be deeply missed by all of us who knew him. Our thoughts, prayers and sincere condolences to all of his friends and family.

One of my great pleasure's through my involvement with the DuBois Rodeo Award was getting to know Wyatt and his wonderful family.  This is such a great loss.