Saturday, November 09, 2013

Culprit in Mysterious NM Elk Deaths Found

A hunter stumbled upon a bizarre sight on a 75,000-acre ranch north of Las Vegas, N.M., on Aug. 27: the remains of more than 100 dead elk. Livestock deaths are not unusual, but so many animals dying off, and doing so in what seems to be under 24 hours, was puzzling to scientists. Officials with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish investigated the mysterious elk deaths and ruled out several possible causes for the elk deaths, including poachers, anthrax, lightning strikes, epizootic hemorrhagic disease (an often-fatal virus known to affect deer and other ruminants), botulism, poisonous plants, malicious poisoning and even some sort of industrial or agricultural accident. "We couldn't find anything [toxic] in their stomachs and no toxic plants on the landscape," said Kerry Mower, a wildlife disease specialist with New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, as quoted by the Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper.  Through science and further testing of elk tissue samples and water samples, the real killer has finally been found: pond scum. Or, more specifically, a neurotoxin produced by one type of blue-green algae that can develop in warm, standing water. A bloom of this alga can be devastating to wildlife. "In warm weather, blooms of blue-green algae are not uncommon in farm ponds in temperate regions, particularly ponds enriched with fertilizer," according to a classic toxicology reference book, "Casarett and Doull's Toxicology: The Basic Science of Poisons" (McGraw-Hill Professional, 2013). "Under these conditions, one species of alga, Anabaena flos-aquae, produces a neurotoxin, anatoxin-A, which depolarizes and blocks acetylcholine receptors, causing death in animals that drink the pond water. The lethal effects develop rapidly, with death in minutes to hours from respiratory arrest." In other words, the elk herd suffocated to death, unable to breathe...more

The long journey of the Gila trout

by Katie Mast
A caravan of mules and horses follows a stream-side trail lined with spring-green cottonwoods and alders through New Mexico's Gila National Forest. Some of the mules carry two metal boxes secured to their sides with thick purple webbing, and each box houses roughly 75 fish in water that sloshes throughout the five-mile trek. One set of panniers weighs roughly 150 pounds and can throw off the mule's balance at the trail's river crossings. "If you're behind them, you can tell it's not easy," says Jill Wick, a trout biologist with the state's Department of Game and Fish.

While the experience is cumbersome for the mules, it's nothing short of bizarre for the threatened Gila trout, a small, freckled, golden fish that has been pushed to the brink by introduced game fish. Its existence now depends on a carefully orchestrated, human-assisted loop tacked onto its lifecycle.

Each spring after the Gila trout spawn, members of the trout recovery team travel to the headwaters of the Gila River in the state's southwestern corner. Wearing waders and heavy backpacks with 24-volt battery systems, they shock the water and collect a variety of young and older stunned fish that rise to the surface to use for captive breeding.

This abduction is stressful for the fish, triggering an adrenaline rush and changes in blood chemistry. So the biologists doctor the panniers' water with medicine, aerate with oxygen and carefully regulate the temperature. At streams up to five miles from roads, the fish ride out on mules. Deeper into the wilderness, they fly out suspended from a helicopter's belly in a large metal box.

The final leg of this unusual journey is a 400-mile truck ride on Interstate 40 to a hatchery in Mora, N.M. The trout's offspring eventually help rebuild populations in new mountain streams, but after two years of well-fed life, the trophy-size adults are too big to return home. At 22 inches, they couldn't survive in the trickle that fills the headwaters, so they are returned to lower elevations near the river's main stem.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Obama grasps for climate legacy as second-term agenda crumbles

President Obama has a chance to craft a second-term legacy on climate change even as the rest of his agenda runs aground in Congress. Gun control legislation is dead; immigration reform is on life support; and reaching a fiscal deal with Republicans appears to be a long shot. To make matters worse, what was supposed to be his signature first-term achievement — ObamaCare — is suffering from a disastrous rollout. But there’s one thing that’s going right for Obama: Executive action on climate change is moving full-speed ahead at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). “He may be able to do more through climate change [rules] because the EPA has the authority,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) told The Hill on Thursday. The most far-reaching piece of Obama’s climate plan is carbon emission standards for the nation’s fleet of existing power plants, by far the largest single source of industrial carbon emissions. The EPA is also writing standards for new plants. “I think climate change, immigration reform are both sort of legacy issues,” Blumenthal said. “The measure of his presidency will be whether he has left changes in law and regulation, but also a heightened awareness, which I think he has been doing.” Princeton University professor Julian Zelizer said the push on climate change through executive action could shape Obama’s legacy — but only to a point. “There are limits to what it will mean to his presidency,” said Zelizer, who teaches history and public affairs. One problem facing Obama is that some of the new EPA regulations might not be settled by the time he leaves office. “[Administrative actions] don’t have the same kind of impact in defining a president as big legislative accomplishments and they are more susceptible to being overturned,” Zelizer said. “The next president can change them. That’s always the problem.”...more

 “He may be able to do more through climate change [rules] because the EPA has the authority,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) told The Hill on Thursday.

And how did EPA/Obama get this "authority"?  Congress gave it to them.  If Obama is able to define his legacy this way, its because the Congress delegated this authority to the Executive Branch.

600,000 bats killed at wind energy facilities in 2012, study says

Over 600,000 bats were killed by wind energy turbines across the United States last year, with the highest concentration of kills in the Appalachian Mountains, according to new research. In a paper published Friday in the journal BioScience, University of Colorado biologist Mark Hayes used records of dead bats found beneath wind generators, and statistical analysis, to estimate how many bats were struck and killed by generator propellers each year. "Dead bats are being found underneath wind turbines across North America," Hayes wrote. "This estimate of bat fatalities is probably conservative." The new estimate is among the highest yet for generator-related bat deaths. Previous studies have calculated mortality rates of between 33,000 and 888,000 a year. The bat deaths were calculated on a per megawatt basis, and the highest rates were associated with East Coast generators in the Appalachian Mountains -- Buffalo Mountain, Tenn., and Mountaineer, W.Va. Hayes said his estimates were conservative for several reasons. Little information on bat mortality was available for wind generators along the Sierra Nevada ranges and Rocky Mountains, he wrote, and scavenging animals likely carried away a percentage of dead bats before they could be counted. Hayes also said that if a range of bat deaths were listed by a facility, he used the lowest one for his calculations...more

Now imagine if the headline was "600,000 bats killed at oil & gas facilities" or "600,000 bats killed at mining facilities"...all hell would be breaking loose.

Obama taps former Reid aide to head BLM

Neil Kornze, a Nevadan raised in Elko, was nominated by President Barack Obama on Thursday to become director of the Bureau of Land Management. Kornze, 35, has been with the BLM since January 2011, and most recently was principal deputy director. Previously he worked for eight years on the staff of Sen. Harry Reid, starting as a correspondent and eventually rising to become the Nevada Democrat’s senior policy adviser on public lands. At the BLM, Kornze has been associated with the expansion of renewable energy development on the public land...more

Game of drones - PETA & hunters

“New product lets sportsmen know when drones are near,” a recent Outdoor Hub headline proclaimed. “Technology firm DroneShield has created a device that is capable of detecting nearby unmanned aerial vehicles, also known as drones.” Why would you need to know? “People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) announced the launch of their long-planned drone program,” the article reports. The DroneShield device will pick up acoustic signatures to alert hunters “worried about harassment from environmental and activist groups.” So what’s a hunter to do once he’s been alerted to incoming high tech harassment? The reaction from some readers, that this represented a great target practice opportunity, was hardly surprising. But while the law on flying surveillance drones, particularly over private property, is something new that the article called “a very complicated gray area,” those who have been accused of shooting at drones have faced malicious property damage charges and been threatened with lawsuits. This is on top of tried and true low-tech tactics. The radical In Defense of Animals offers suggestions “to combat hunting in your area,” that is, tips to sabotage hunts, such as “play loud radios and spread deer repellent or human hair (from barber shops) near hunting areas.”...more

The Sugar Program is Central Planning

House and Senate negotiators are working out details of a big farm bill that may pass this year. No industry in America is as coddled as farming, and no industry is as centrally planned from Washington. The federal sugar program is perhaps the most Soviet of all. Here’s a sketch of the sugar program, which the supposedly conservative, tea party-dominated lower chamber may soon ratify:
  • Purpose. The federal sugar program is designed to enrich sugar producers, such as the wealthy Fanjuls, and rip off sugar consumers by keeping domestic prices artificially high. In recent decades, U.S. sugar prices have often been two or more times world prices. The federal government achieves that result by price guarantees, trade restrictions, production quotas, and ethanol giveaways.
  • Guaranteed Prices. The Department of Agriculture runs a complex loan program to support sugar prices. Essentially, the government promises to buy sugar from processors at a set price per pound. Processors can sell to the government, or they can sell in the marketplace if the (manipulated) market price is higher.
  • Trade Restrictions. Complex import barriers called “tariff rate quotas” help to maintain high domestic sugar prices. Imports are restricted to about one quarter of the U.S. market, and each foreign country (except Mexico) is allocated a particular share of imports.
  • Production Quotas. The government imposes quotas, or “marketing allotments,” on U.S. producers. The United States Department of Agriculture decides what total U.S. sugar production ought to be and then allots quotas to beet and cane sugar producers. Most sugar beet production is in Minnesota, Idaho, North Dakota, Michigan, and California. Most sugar cane production is in Florida and Louisiana.
  • Ethanol Giveaway. If prices fall below certain levels, the USDA is required to fire up a sugar-for-ethanol program to channel sugar away from the food industry.
The USDA is supposed to run the sugar program at no taxpayer cost, which makes the central planning even trickier. The agency must fiddle to adjust imports, quotas, and the ethanol giveaway to optimally fatten the wallets of sugar producers, while not allowing the domestic (manipulated) market price to fall so low as to impose taxpayer costs.
A possible wrench in the works of the current farm bill is that the sugar program is on track to cost taxpayers perhaps hundreds of millions of dollars this year (see here and here). So if conservatives in Congress vote for an unreformed sugar program this year, they would be not only voting for central planning, corporate welfare, higher consumer prices, harm to U.S. food manufacturers, and environmental damage, they would be voting for higher taxes as well.
The Congressional Research Service gives a brief overview of the central planning here. You can see that sugar beets are allotted exactly 54.35 percent of production (definitely not 54.34 or 54.36), and that federal planners have decreed that the just price (“loan rate”) for sugar cane is 18.75 cents per pound (not 18.74 or 18.76). 
The USDA has more on the program hereThis table shows that the Fanjuls’ Florida Crystals company received a quota in 2013 of exactly 910,521 tons. So 910,521 is certainly too little and 910,522 is absolutely too much. Now if only the planners at HHS had used such precision in designing the Obamacare website! 
For more on the sugar racket, see here and here.

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1145

Here's a 2013 bluegrass release, Blood On The Ground by Blue Moon Rising, from their Blue Side of the Moon CD.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Pearce, Lujan Grisham announce return of cattle to Cibola Forest

Washington, DC (November 7, 2013) – Today, U.S. Congressman Steve Pearce and Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham commended the U.S. Forest Service’s decision to allow ranchers to return cattle to grazing leases on one allotment in the state, and to partner with the New Mexico Range Improvement Task Force to review data to make a decision on the remaining allotments.

“I commend the U.S. Forest Service on choosing to correct their initial decision, which was not rooted in science,” said Pearce. “Reviewing the scientific data and allowing New Mexico’s ranchers to resume grazing on federal land is the right thing to do. This is a step in the right direction, and is the product of considerable bipartisan cooperation among my office, the Forest Service, the New Mexico Range Improvement Task Force at NMSU, the New Mexico Department of Agriculture, the NMSU Cooperative Extension Service, and the office of Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham. I look forward to seeing the remaining ranchers return to their grazing allotments soon. My office is continuing to work closely with the Forest Service and with ranchers on this issue, and stands by to assist New Mexico ranchers in every way we can.”

“I applaud the U.S. Forest Service’s decision, and am proud to have worked on a bipartisan basis to support New Mexico’s ranchers,” said Lujan Grisham. “While the Forest Service reviews the remaining grazing allotments, I will continue to work with partners and agencies at the local, state and federal level to protect this vital aspect of our state’s economy and culture.”

Earlier this year, ranchers were ordered to remove livestock from grazing allotments due to severe drought conditions. Ranchers raised concerns that the action was arbitrary, and would lead to severe economic hardship. Congressman Pearce has been working with ranchers and the Forest Service to reach a solution to the issue. The Forest Service agreed to work with the New Mexico Range Improvement Task Force to review scientific data on the allotments and determine whether the allotments could continue to support grazing. They have announced that data supports the return of cattle to the first allotment reviewed. A decision on the remaining 17 allotments is expected within the month.

What a farce this whole thing has been.  Range management by a weather map.  I understand the allotment owner was not allowed to bring all his permitted numbers back on the forest, and for now he's only good through April.  This is in spite of the fact the NMSU teams assessments show the allotment is more than capable of running his full permitted numbers.

Can Forest Service shift fire focus?

For years, Davey Pitcher pushed federal foresters for permission to protect trees just outside of his family’s Wolf Creek Ski Area from the invasion of the spruce beetle. Even though local employees of the U.S. Forest Service thought it was a good idea and wanted to help, they never were able to clear the project through environmental and bureaucratic hurdles. When the West Fork complex of wildfires bore down on Wolf Creek this summer, foresters were there quickly with resources and fast decisions to handle the emergency, Pitcher testified Tuesday to a U.S. Senate committee. “What struck me was how differently the U.S. Forest Service performed when operating under rules that allowed decision-makers to apply resources in what had to be a timely manner,” Pitcher said. Pitcher is calling for a paradigm shift in Forest Service rules that would allow front-line foresters more freedom to lessen hazards before wildfires break out. Every summer, Congress and the Forest Service find themselves stuck in an intensifying wildfire dilemma that demands more money for firefighting, at the expense of fire prevention. This year, the Forest Service had to rely on $600 million in “fire borrowing” – raiding its budgets for recreation, logging and science in order to pay firefighters and contractors. U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., called Tuesday’s hearing of the Subcommittee on Conservation, Forestry and Natural Resources in order to look for solutions to the problem. “We need to take a saner approach, in which we put in the work on the front end, ahead of the fires,” Bennet said during the hearing in Washington, D.C. However, the White House budget for the Forest Service slashes the money available to treat hazardous fuels. Bennet worried the White House plan would leave enough to treat less than 700,000 acres – down from about 2 million today, and significantly less than the 9 million acres burned in recent wildfire seasons...more

So what did the Forest Service say?

Jim Hubbard, deputy chief of the Forest Service, said the budget cut is because money is tight and not because of a lack of commitment to clearing overgrown forests near towns. “The Forest Service very much agrees that hazardous fuels reduction is effective,” Hubbard said.

Its effective, but money is tight. Some think they aren't doing it because it is effective.


Environmentalists regret blocking Keystone XL pipeline

After a summer of lackluster protests and the failure to gain wide-ranging public support for the campaign, prominent liberal columnist Jonathan Chait called the Keystone opposition a “huge environmentalist mistake,” arguing that the focus on the pipeline project came in 2011 after environmentalists had been dealt a defeat on cap-and-trade policies. Chait criticizes environmentalist leader Bill McKibben and others for putting so much effort into fighting the pipeline that will do little to curb global warming. The real effort to cut carbon dioxide emissions, Chait writes, comes from the Environmental Protection Agency’s emissions limits on power plants. “Even slight gradations in the strength of possible EPA plans matter more than the whole fate of the Keystone pipeline,” Chait wrote last week. “And yet, McKibben and tens of thousands of his followers are obsessed with a program that amounts to a rounding error at the expense of a decision that really is the last chance to stop unrestrained global warming.” Chait’s argument got some push back from environmentalists, but the liberal writer isn’t alone is venting frustration about the environmental movement’s Keystone campaign. “Architecturally, a keystone is the wedge-shaped piece at the crown of an arch that locks the other pieces in place,” wrote four environmental activists representing U.S. and Canadian groups. “Without the keystone, the building blocks of an archway will tumble and fall, with no support system for the weight of the arch. Much of the United States’ climate movement right now is structured like an archway, with all of its blocks resting on a keystone — President [Barack] Obama’s decision on the Keystone XL pipeline.” “This is a dangerous place to be,” the activists added...wrote four environmental activists representing U.S. and Canadian groups. “Without the keystone, the building blocks of an archway will tumble and fall, with no support system for the weight of the arch. Much of the United States’ climate movement right now is structured like an archway, with all of its blocks resting on a keystone — President [Barack] Obama’s decision on the Keystone XL pipeline.” “This is a dangerous place to be,” the activists added...more

Conservation Groups Urge BLM To Increase Wildlife & Wild Places Protections In Southern New Mexico

A coalition of conservation, hunting, and outdoor recreation groups is calling on the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to beef up protections for wildlife and wild places in a proposed 20-year management plan for 2.82 million acres of federal public lands in Dona Ana, Otero and Sierra Counties. The groups submitted their comments (attached) in response to the BLM’s Tri-County Draft Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement. The groups believe that management actions proposed by BLM in the plan are not up to the task of protecting the area’s important resources against threats such as off-road vehicle use, oil and gas drilling, and climate change. In addition, they say that the BLM’s plan is handicapped by a lack of basic information about important resources under its control needed to make sound long-term management decisions. The groups pointed to Otero Mesa as an example of where the BLM’s plan falls short. In 2008, many of the same groups urged BLM to establish a 583,837 acre Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) to protect the unique wildlife, grasslands and wilderness of the greater Otero Mesa ecosystem. To protect those values, they recommended that the entire area be put off-limits to incompatible activities such as off-road vehicles, oil and gas development and mining. Instead, BLM proposed to set aside less than 200,000 acres as a new ACEC, with few new protections. The groups also criticized BLM’s handling of lands with wilderness characteristics in the plan. By law, the agency is required to maintain an inventory of blocks of land under its management that are fairly large, don’t have permanent roads, and hence might qualify for protection as wilderness. These areas are particularly important as wildlife habitat and for the opportunities they provide for outdoor recreation. NMWA identified more than 365,000 such acres in the three counties and provided that information to BLM. In its Tri-County plan, however, BLM claimed to find only 11,500 acres of land with wilderness characteristics in the entire planning area, and recommended that less than 1000 acres be managed to protect those qualities. Conservationists later learned that BLM lacks an up-to-date inventory of wilderness quality lands in the three counties. In addition to the comments submitted by the groups, more than 1200 New Mexicans submitted individual comments asking the BLM to strengthen the Resource Management Plan to protect Otero Mesa and Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks...more

Interior Secretery to tour Stornetta Public Lands

Supporters of a campaign to extend national monument status to a stretch of scenic southern Mendocino County coastline will host U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on Friday in hopes that seeing the property for herself will convert her to their cause. Jewell will be joined by acting Bureau of Land Management Director Neil Kornze in what advocates hope will prove a tipping point in their bid to expand the California Coastal National Monument so it includes the Stornetta Public Lands near Point Arena. “This is it,” said Merita Whatley, manager of the Point Arena Lighthouse and a leader in the Point Arena Merchants' Association. “We've been waiting for a year and a half, two years, for someone high up in the Interior Department to come see the lands and witness for themselves what we're talking about.” “This is, obviously, a hugely important project for Mendocino County,” Rep. Jared Huffman said, “where you have a tourist economy making up a huge part of the county's economic vitality, the branding that would come with national monument status, the additional visitations, not to mention the permanent environmental protection of this really important area.” The trip and “public listening session” at Point Arena City Hall is in part a result of repeated invitations by Huffman, a San Rafael Democrat whose district includes the land. Huffman introduced The California Coastal National Monument Expansion Act of 2013 in the House last spring, co-sponsoring with Rep. Mike Thompson, D—St. Helena. It also fits nicely into the new secretary's weeklong national tour to advance the Obama administration's conservation agenda, which Jewell outlined in a high-profile speech before the National Press Club last week...more

Some in San Francisco See Red Over a Green Shrub

In order to protect and restore an endangered species, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service sets aside “critical habitats” in places such as the wilds of Alaska or the pine forests of Louisiana. Now, the agency has targeted a few hundred acres in the heart of this city—including the backyards of some homeowners. That is drawing fire from some residents who, despite government assurances, fear the proposed protections could constrain land use. Under the proposal, about 270 acres of land mostly in parks would be designated as critical habitat for the Franciscan manzanita, a low-growing evergreen shrub thought to have been extinct here since the 1940s until a single example was found in 2009. Still, many residents have expressed concern that creating the habitat may curtail recreational activities such as hiking and dog walking. “We don’t have enough open space for all the recreation needs of city residents as it is,” Mary McAllister, a retired-medical school administrator, wrote in a public comment regarding the proposal. “We cannot afford to lose huge swaths of this precious resource to become a manzanita garden.”...more

Its about damn time. 

Talk about NIMBY, it really fits in this case.

We need more, much more of this.  Let them get a big dose of what rural folks have been putting up with for over 40 years.

Some Endangered Species Actually at Low Risk

Who hasn't seen the iconic global warming image of a sad, skinny polar bear floating on an ice chip, threatened with extinction from habitat loss and the rapidly changing Arctic ecosystem? But at, author Jackson Landers argues that the polar bear is one of five species whose extinction risk is actually a myth. The Nanook of the North has survived multiple warming cycles in the past 600,000 years, Landers writes, and only eight of its 19 subpopulations are in decline. Other predators that are thriving despite reports of their imminent demise include the Komodo dragon and Southeast Asia's Clouded leopards, Landers said. On the enormous end of the scale, humpback whales represent a conservation success story, with an estimated 80,000 of the giant beasts swimming the seas, Landers reports. There were probably 125,000 whales before their numbers were decimated due to whaling. Finally, Landers knocks down an urban myth that praying mantises are endangered in the United States. In truth, none of the 20 species of these amazing insects are at risk of extinction. Source

Court Strikes Down Controversial Federal Land Use Plan

Today the United States District Court for the District of Utah struck down significant parts of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) Resource Management Plan for the Richfield Office, putting the brakes on a Bush-era management scheme that prioritized motorized recreation over all else. A coalition of conservation groups led by the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) and Earthjustice had challenged the plan (the “Richfield RMP”) in an attempt to bring balanced management to Utah’s spectacular public lands. Specifically, Judge Kimball: Reversed BLM’s off-road vehicle (ORV) trail designations because BLM failed to minimize the destructive impacts of ORV use on streams, native plants, wildlife soils and irreplaceable cultural sites and artifacts, as required by law. Directed BLM to complete intensive, on-the-ground surveys for historic and cultural resources before authorizing ORV use. Held that BLM’s failure to designate the Henry Mountains as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern—which would have given heightened protection to its bison herds and large expanses of remote, spectacularly scenic lands—violated federal law. Ordered BLM to reevaluate information supporting the designation of Happy Canyon and the spring areas of Buck and Pasture Canyons for protection under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act...more

Looks like the BLM should just stand back and let the damn judge manage the area.  

Utah scientists double Yellowstone magma estimate

University of Utah scientists recently determined that there’s twice as much magma below the Yellowstone super volcano as they found in a 2004 study. But that doesn’t mean it’s about to blow. Rather, it’s a testament to improved data from seismic tomography, a technique in which earthquakes are used to paint a picture of the world beneath our feet. U. scientists recorded the precise time and location of more than 4,500 quakes in the constantly active park and measured the time it took for those seismic waves to reach the surface. Slower times mean the waves are likely passing through hot magma. "It’s important to note that the magma reservoir isn’t actually getting any bigger," said Jamie Farrell, a postdoctoral fellow at the U. "The implications are: 1. We understand the system better than we did before. We understand how the volcano works, how it’s built underground, and 2. We can use this data to understand the potential for future hazards." Yellowstone National Park is a huge bowl-like caldera left over from the last massive volcanic event in the region, which is currently situated over a hot spot in the Earth’s mantle. Its magma reservoir — about 7 percent full of magma (or underground lava) located between 4 and 10 miles deep — is now thought to be about 80 kilometers long and 20 kilometers wide, after data was crunched from roughly 4,500 earthquakes...more

Gov. appoints panel to examine Wyo. forest health

Gov. Matt Mead has named a diverse panel representing the timber products industry, government and environmentalists to examine how to improve the health of Wyoming's forests and report back with recommendations by next fall. Mead said he wants the 19-person group to recommend ways to prevent wildfires and reduce their severity. He also seeks recommendations for innovation in the timber industry. "The health of our forests is critical to local economies in Wyoming as well as to wildlife the forests support," he said in a release Wednesday. The task force is to meet for the first time before the end of this year and report back with recommendations by next fall...more

5 of 11 Colo. Counties vote "yes" on secession

Weld County Commissioner Sean Conway said the 51st state movement is halted — at least in his county — but there were positive benefits from the secession campaign. "Weld County voters said this is an option we shouldn't pursue and we won't pursue it," Conway said Tuesday night. "But we will continue to look at the problems of the urban and rural divide in this state." Weld County voters Tuesday soundly rejected the 51st State Initiative 58 percent to 42 percent. But in five of the 11 counties where the secession question appeared on the ballot, the measure passed by strong margins. In Kit Carson County, 52 percent of voters directed county commissioners to explore secession and 48 percent voted against. In Washington County, 58 percent were for the initiative and 42 percent against. Phillips County went 62 percent for and 38 against; Sedgwick went 57 percent against and 42.9 percent for; Cheyenne County voters cast 62 percent of ballots for and 37.7 against; and in Yuma County, 59 percent of the vote went for the breakaway and 41 percent against. In Moffat County, the question failed, with 54.8 percent voting against secession. In Elbert County, 74 percent of voters said "no" to the idea of breaking away. In Lincoln County, 55.5 percent voted against. The ballot question, intended as a straw poll, asked residents whether their county commissioners should takes steps to secede from the Centennial State...more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1144

Here's another 2013 release, Dale Watson - Cowboy Boots.  The tune is on his El Rancho Azul CD.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Deming, NM - ‘You Could Never Anticipate This Happening in the United States of America’

What began as a simple traffic stop ended in a humiliating and nightmarish ordeal for a New Mexico man. It won’t come as a surprise to most people why the man has now filed a federal civil rights lawsuit.

The incident began on Jan. 2 as David Eckert was leaving the local Walmart in Deming, N.M. He reportedly failed to make a complete stop at a stop sign, prompting police to pull him over.

The officers asked him to step out of the vehicle and claim the man appeared to be clenching his buttocks, Eckert’s attorney, Shannon Kennedy, told TheBlaze. It is unclear why police removed him from the vehicle in the first place. However, because the cops believed he was clenching his buttocks, they took it as reason to suspect him of hiding narcotics in his anal cavity.

Police officers detained Eckert while they sought a search warrant for an anal cavity search.
“What is so strange about this case is they held him with no evidence,” Kennedy said. “They seized him to collect evidence, to go on a fishing expedition on someone’s body.”

Upon securing the warrant, Deming police officers took the man to an emergency room, but hit their first snag when a doctor refused to perform the anal cavity search because he believed it to be “unethical.”
So police tried again at the Gila Regional Medical Center in Silver City, N.M., where doctors agreed to the search.

KOB-TV outlined the disturbing series of events that occurred next, details confirmed by medical records and official documents provided to TheBlaze by Eckert’s attorney:
1. Eckert’s abdominal area was X-rayed; no narcotics were found.
2. Doctors then performed an exam of Eckert’s anus with their fingers; no narcotics were found.
3. Doctors performed a second exam of Eckert’s anus with their fingers; no narcotics were found.
4. Doctors penetrated Eckert’s anus to insert an enema. Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers. Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool. No narcotics were found.
5. Doctors penetrated Eckert’s anus to insert an enema a second time. Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers. Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool. No narcotics were found.
6. Doctors penetrated Eckert’s anus to insert an enema a third time. Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers. Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool. No narcotics were found.
7. Doctors then X-rayed Eckert again; no narcotics were found.
8. Doctors prepared Eckert for surgery, sedated him, and then performed a colonoscopy where a scope with a camera was inserted into Eckert’s anus, rectum, colon and large intestines. No narcotics were found.
Kennedy told TheBlaze these are undisputed facts from medical records, not claims made by her client.
As he was being detained and probed, Kennedy said Eckert never gave doctors his consent to perform the procedures and protested his treatment, which all arose from the simple traffic violation.

The entire ordeal lasted for roughly 12 hours.

That ain't all folks, check this out:

Kennedy also said the search warrant — in which there were legal concerns anyway — was carried out illegally because it was only valid in Luna County, N.M. The anal cavity search and other procedures were performed at the Gila Regional Medical Center, in Grant County.

Further, she said the search warrant was only good through 10 p.m., but medical records show the preparation for the colonoscopy started at 1 a.m. the next morning. In theory, even if the search warrant were completely legal and compliant, it was no longer valid.

The War on Drugs is stupid and we have some, shall we say, less than intelligent cops enforcing it.  

Until someone holds up a white flag on this war, better practice your butt posture before you go to Deming.  No clenching or your evening could be ruined.  

Is clenching your buttocks sufficient probable cause to issue a warrant that gives the government the right to insert a device in your "anus, rectum, colon and large intestines"?  That's what the failed War on Drugs has brought us.


How federal abuse can last for generations

by William Perry Pendley

...Beginning in the late 1960s, Mr. McIlroy’s grandfather, W.C. McIlroy, complained that Job Corps students were trespassing on and littering his property, damaging his fences, and destroying his hay. His objections went unanswered. In 1971, he died and his son, W.L. McIlroy, took over the farm only to discover that the Forest Service had drilled a well on his property. He protested, but Forest Service officials said the well, used as a water source for Job Corps facilities, was on federal land. Over the years, a string of Job Corps directors, Forest Service rangers and Forest Service officials repeated that statement, over the family’s protestations.

In 1973, unbeknownst to W.L. McIlroy, the Job Corps used heavy equipment to tear down a 100-year-old levee built just upstream of the farm at the confluence of Mulberry River and Fane’s Creek to protect the farm and the site of the Job Corps facility. The result was flooding and erosion downstream, alteration of the bed of the Mulberry River owing to silting and deposits of eroded rock, and destruction of 10 acres of the farm. Subsequent actions by the Forest Service, which included removing fill, laying culverts and pouring concrete, only exacerbated the problem: The water widened the channel across the farm to Mulberry River.

In 1998, Mr. McIlroy, who had taken over the farm from W.L., discovered part of his fence had been flattened, a sewage-effluent line installed over it and across 50 to 60 yards of the farm, and Job Corps sewage effluent discharged from his property into the Mulberry River. Subsequently, he discovered the Forest Service installed a “temporary” water line that ran a quarter-mile across his land and blocked entry to his farm. The Forest Service also continued to use the water well — even though a later federal survey proved the well was on the farm; trespassed with heavy equipment onto the farm to blade dirt and drag drainage ditches; built a service road across the farm to access the well and the sewage-effluent line and poured concrete on the road when it eroded; used parts of the farm for heavy-equipment training, digging down to creek rock, causing serious erosion, destroying fences, and resulting in the loss of escaping livestock; and dumped concrete and construction waste on its property near the farm, effluent from which washed onto the farm.

In January 2013, a Forest Service official “document[ed] the encroachment on [the McIlroy’s] property.” Nonetheless, the Forest Service refused to compensate Mr. McIlroy or remove those encroachments. Under the Federal Tort Claims Act, which permits recompense when the government’s employees commit torts, Mr. McIlroy filed an administrative claim. He will sue if it is denied. Meanwhile, he wonders whether his Scottish clansmen in the days of William Wallace ever saw greater abuses by “the king’s men.”

William Perry Pendley, an attorney, is president of Mountain States Legal Foundation and author of “Sagebrush Rebel: Reagan’s Battle With Environmental Extremists and Why It Matters Today” (Regnery, 2013).

Can you imagine what would happen if you trespassed on federal land, drilled a well and installed a water line?  Then used heavy equipment all over "their" property?  I'm pretty sure you would end up in jail.  Just hope its not in Deming.

Horse Trainer To Be Tried Third Time In Colt's Death

A Texas horse trainer faces a third trial in a New Mexico animal cruelty case stemming from the 2005 death of a colt allegedly struck with a whip handle. The Las Cruces Sun-News reports that Dona Ana County prosecutors are reviving the case against 43-year-old Greg Collier of Lubbock and that his next trial is to begin Feb. 12. Two juries previously weren't able to reach verdicts. One jury deadlocked in 2008 on a felony charge. The second deadlocked in 2009 on a misdemeanor. A judge ruled that Collier couldn't be retried because a statute of limitations had passed, and the state Court of Appeals ruled that a retrial would constitute double jeopardy. The New Mexico Supreme Court in March overturned both of those rulings. AP

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1143

Continuing with our 2013 releases, here's Mike Aiken's recording of Coal Train from his CD Captains & Cowboys.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Remember, Remember the Fifth of November

Good evening, London. Allow me first to apologize for this interruption. I do, like many of you, appreciate the comforts of every day routine -- the security of the familiar, the tranquility of repetition. I enjoy them as much as any bloke. But in the spirit of commemoration, thereby those important events of the past usually associated with someone's death or the end of some awful bloody struggle, a celebration of a nice holiday, I thought we could mark this November the 5th, a day that is sadly no longer remembered, by taking some time out of our daily lives to sit down and have a little chat. There are of course those who do not want us to speak. I suspect even now, orders are being shouted into telephones, and men with guns will soon be on their way. Why? Because while the truncheon may be used in lieu of conversation, words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth. And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn't there? Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression.
And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission. How did this happen? Who's to blame? Well certainly there are those more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable, but again truth be told, if you're looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror. I know why you did it. I know you were afraid. Who wouldn't be? War, terror, disease.
There were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense. Fear got the best of you, and in your panic you turned to the now high chancellor, Adam Sutler. He promised you order, he promised you peace, and all he demanded in return was your silent, obedient consent. Last night I sought to end that silence. Last night I destroyed the Old Bailey, to remind this country of what it has forgotten. More than four hundred years ago a great citizen wished to embed the fifth of November forever in our memory. His hope was to remind the world that fairness, justice, and freedom are more than words, they are perspectives.
So if you've seen nothing, if the crimes of this government remain unknown to you then I would suggest you allow the fifth of November to pass unmarked. But if you see what I see, if you feel as I feel, and if you would seek as I seek, then I ask you to stand beside me one year from tonight, outside the gates of Parliament, and together we shall give them a fifth of November that shall never, ever be forgot. -- V for Vendetta
The year is 2020 and the world is plagued by environmental plight. Great Britain is ruled by a totalitarian corporate state where concentration camps have been established to house political prisoners and others deemed to be enemies of the state. Executions of various undesirables are common, while other enemies of the state are made to "disappear." And, of course, the television networks are controlled by the government with the purpose of perpetuating the regime. Most of the population is hooked into an entertainment mode and are clueless.

V is a bold, charismatic freedom fighter who seeks revenge against the government officials who tortured him and disfigured his face. He urges the British people to rise up and resist the government. V tells them to meet him in one year outside the Houses of Parliament, which he promises to destroy. And as November 5 approaches, V's various resistance schemes cause chaos and the people begin waking up to the tyranny around them.

V organizes the distribution of thousands of Guy Fawkes masks, resulting in multitudes, all wearing the masks, marching on Parliament to watch the destruction of Big Ben and Parliament. Unfortunately, V does not make it to the finale. He is killed and dies in the arms of Evey, a young girl he befriended and whose eyes he opens to the reality of the world around her. Accompanied by the "1812 Overture," Parliament and Big Ben explode as thousands watch, including Evey. When asked to reveal the identity of V, Evey replies, "He was all of us."

With the film V for Vendetta, whose imagery borrows heavily from Nazi Germany's Third Reich and George Orwell's 1984, we come full circle. The corporate state in V conducts mass surveillance on its citizens, helped along by closed-circuit televisions. Also, London is under yellow-coded curfew alerts, similar to the American government's color-coded Homeland Security Advisory System.

In speaking of the graphic novel upon which the film was based, the director James McTeighe said, "It really showed what can happen when society is ruled by government, rather than the government being run as a voice of the people. I don't think it's such a big leap to say things like that can happen when leaders stop listening to the people."

Clearly, as I show in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, we have reached a point where our leaders have stopped listening to the American people. However, what will it take for the government to start listening to the people again?

We are -- and have been for some time -- the unwitting victims of a system so corrupt that those who stand up for the rule of law and aspire to transparency in government are in the minority. This corruption is so vast it spans all branches of government -- from the power-hungry agencies under the executive branch and the corporate puppets within the legislative branch to a judiciary that is, more often than not, elitist and biased towards government entities and corporations.

We are ruled by an elite class of individuals who are completely out of touch with the travails of the average American. We are relatively expendable in the eyes of government -- faceless numbers of individuals who serve one purpose, which is to keep the government machine running through our labor and our tax dollars. Those in power aren't losing any sleep over the indignities we are being made to suffer or the possible risks to our health. All they seem to care about are power and control.

For more information and background, see Gunpowder Plot and Guy Fawkes Night, with the usual caution of using Wikipedia.

Judge won't delay Kootenai logging project

An on-again, off-again logging project in the Kootenai National Forest may be going ahead after a federal judge refused to delay it during the appeal of a lawsuit that claims threatened grizzly bear habitat would be harmed. The project, which calls for logging more than 900 acres and burning 2,140 acres, is based on sound science and should not harm the bears' habitat, U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy wrote in his order Thursday. "In fact, given the evidence, studies and analysis marshaled by the agencies, it could be postulated that enjoining the project is more likely to irreparably harm the grizzly bear than allowing the project to proceed," Molloy wrote. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had issued a two-week block on the Grizzly Project while Molloy was considering the Alliance for the Wild Rockies' request for an injunction during the appeal of its lawsuit. The conservation organization's appeal challenges a previous ruling by Molloy allowing the project to proceed. The group originally sought an injunction from the 9th Circuit, saying the project would likely be completed before the appellate court had a chance to weigh in. But the 9th Circuit judges ruled the group first had to make the injunction request to Molloy. Molloy denied the request in his Thursday order. If the project goes ahead, the conservation group will again ask the 9th Circuit to block it, Alliance for the Wild Rockies executive director Mike Garrity said Friday...more

The eviros must have no case at all, as Molloy is one of their friendly judges. 

And all that over 900 acres.  Not only is the logging not happening, but there's the enviro lawyers (who are probably operating off government funds from a previous lawsuit), the direct cost of the fed lawyers and the taxpayer funded judges and courts.  Add to that the lost timber, the environmental damage and in too many cases, lost homes and lives.  Clearly, Congress needs to grant the same authority to waive law to the Secretaries of Ag and Interior as they have granted the Secretary of Homeland Security.

The language for Homeland Security was in the REAL ID Act of 2005, which amended the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 as follows: 

“Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall have the authority to waive all legal requirements such Secretary, in such Secretary’s sole discretion, determines necessary to ensure expeditious construction of the barriers and roads under this section.”

Tune that up to fit logging projects and we're ready to go. There is also language limiting exclusive jurisdiction to federal district courts which should also be included in any new law.

Call it the Federal Initiative (to) Restore (the) Environment, or FIRE Act and insert it in the next round of budget/debt ceiling negotiations.

Restoring reasonable management to federal land is more important to our health and safety in The West than a border fence that doesn't work.

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1142

From time to time at Ranch Radio we honor those modern-day artists who maintain the traditional sound...or who I like for one reason or another.  This week we'll be looking at 2013 releases.  Here's Bob Manning & The Honkytonk Roadshow with Clownin' Around from his CD All Night Radio.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Jewell knows elk scat in Tetons. How about D.C.?

A Salt Lake Tribune reporter shoved a smartphone in the face of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to show her a picture of animal scat on a trail in Grand Teton National Park. “Is this bear poop?” the reporter asked. He told Jewell that he thought it was. And after seeing all the grizzly bear warning signs, he’d turned around and walked out. Jewell could tell the scat came from an elk, moose or large deer. “No, you could have kept on your hike,” said Jewell. The former CEO of REI and the avid hiker, climber and paddler recounted that tale in her first major press conference last week at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The story showed she is well-versed in the creatures that roam the 500 million acres she manages. In her first six months in office, Jewell has been criticized for not hitting the ground running, for not having an independent plan of action for her tenure. Joel Connelly, a wise old columnist for the Seattle Post Intelligencer, wrote a column in August that asked if Jewell was “locked in the cabinet” by the Obama administration. He quoted former interior secretaries Cecil Andrus and Bruce Babbitt, who urged Jewell to get into the mix of problem-solving. “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,” Andrus told Connelly. But Jewell’s approach to national monuments — the same as predecessor Ken Salazar — probably won’t make Andrus happy. She told Congress to pass the dozens of wilderness and land-protection bills that have backed up since 2010 or expect that President Obama will use the Antiquities Act to designate monuments himself. Andrus has said Obama should designate the Boulder-White Clouds and not wait for Congress. Republican Rep. Mike Simpson has worked for more than a decade to get more than 300,000 acres of the area protected as wilderness, only to have both Republicans and Democrats stop it. In her efforts to encourage local collaboration, Jewell, perhaps unwittingly, gives opponents to Simpson — including motorized recreation groups and big-wilderness advocate and Gershwin Prize-winning singer-songwriter Carole King — motivation to blow up the issue. “We won’t be focusing our energy where there is a whole lot of conflict,” Jewell said...more  

It ain't elk scat she has to watch out for in DC. No, I believe its called:


BLM renews Grand Staircase grazing study

A long-stalled environmental review of grazing in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is set to resume more than 12 years after a rangeland management plan was supposed to have been completed for this dry, though biologically and culturally varied, landscape. The grazing issue has a tortured history on the 1.9 million-acre monument in southern Utah, pitting environmentalists against ranchers and their supporters in Garfield and Kane counties. Both sides have criticized the Bureau of Land Management for either failing to protect a fragile land owned by all Americans or pushing livestock off the range and undoing a revered Utah tradition. Now the agency is trying to finish a job that it was given 17 years ago when President Bill Clinton established the monument, reigniting debate with both sides still firmly entrenched. Clinton’s proclamation recognized livestock as a continuing presence on the Grand Staircase, Kaiparowits Plateau and Escalante canyons, but it also ensured grazing would be subject to "applicable laws and regulations." The monument’s 1999 management plan is silent on the controversial subject of grazing, and officials have been kicking that can down the road ever since in the face of lawsuits and failed planning and collaboration efforts. On Friday, the BLM is expected to post a notice of intent in the Federal Register, announcing the launch of an environmental review with the goal of producing a grazing-management plan, otherwise known as an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). "A grazing plan needs to pay attention to more than just ‘grass utilization’ and how much forage there is," said David deRoulhac of the Grand Canyon Trust. "BLM processes need to include all kinds of stakeholders and not just permittees. Grazers affect all kinds of values, such as wildlife, ecosystem health and recreation." Local officials and grazing interests, however, contend the trust and other conservation voices don’t deserve a seat. "Their objective is to eliminate grazing from the monument," Garfield County Commission Chairman Clare Ramsay said. "All they would be doing would be to legitimize their position. We are the elected officials." The monument currently harbors 82 grazing allotments supporting 102 permit-holders who used a total 11,000 animal unit months, or AUMs, last year. Conservationists believe this landscape is too arid to support grazing at current levels and the monument’s nonagricultural assets, such as biotic soils, native plants and ancient rock art, are being sacrificed for the sake of a 19th-century enterprise. "Ranching is a negligible part of the economy of southern Utah, particularly in Garfield County. It’s barely measurable," said Jon Marvel, executive director of the Western Watersheds Project. "The politics of Utah is such that BLM has been afraid to complete a grazing plan even though they know that grazing is incompatible with that arid landscape."...more

Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker turns lens on next farming generation

 A new feature film called Farmland, which is now in post-production, follows U.S. ag's next generation, examining the lives of farmers and ranchers in their 20s in various regions across the country. Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker, James Moll, made the film and released an advanced trailer to promote it. “I make documentaries because it’s a thrill to explore new topics and meet people that I might not otherwise cross paths with,” said Moll. “While making Farmland, I found myself immersed in a community of some of the most hard working, passionate people I’ve ever met.  This film isn’t just about what it’s like to be a farmer, it’s about a way of life. It’s also about a subject that affects our lives daily.” The U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance, which is made up of 80 farmer — and rancher-led organizations, provided support and funding for the film, which is geared to give viewers a firsthand glimpse into the lives of young farmers and ranchers, their high-risk and high-reward jobs and their passion for a way of life that, more often than not, is passed down from generation to generation...more

Ranchers applaud release of ferrets

About 30 black-footed ferrets that are natural predators of prairie dogs have been released in Colorado by wildlife officials, which is welcome news for ranchers who say the prairie dogs are destroying prime rangeland. Biologists have bred thousands of black-footed ferrets in captivity, but they are not a self-sustaining species in the wild. That could soon change. “These are killing machines,” said Pete Gober, who coordinates the black-footed ferret release program for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “They are wild animals that just have one thing in mind – killing prairie dogs.” In 1967, the black-footed ferret was listed as endangered and protected. Colorado law prohibited any state role introducing endangered species without legislative approval. However, state law was relaxed this year to let ferrets be released on private land under new deals with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The federal agreements allow the release of endangered species such as the black-footed ferret onto private land without holding the landowner responsible for incidental deaths. Neighboring landowners also are protected if they do not intentionally kill the wild ferrets. On Wednesday, Pueblo ranchers Gary and Georgia Walker set their ferrets free and watched as they scrambled away. Since 2000, the number of acres of their ranch land north of Pueblo West destroyed by prairie dogs has tripled to 10,000 acres of the 60,000-acre ranch...more

Montana ranchers see record cattle prices

The drive to the local feedlot from Scott Blain’s Joliet farm is 6.4 miles, but getting there takes the better part of the year. Blain rolled into Oswald Feedlot on Wednesday with calves in tow and maybe a few gray hairs poking from beneath his Case baseball cap after early worries of devastating drought and $200-a-ton hay. In May, the 34-year-old rancher considered partially liquidating his stock because he just wasn’t sure he could afford to feed them all. But the rain picked up, pastures filled with grass and Blain delivered his Minnesota-bound calves to the feedlot with his wife, Ellen and 2 1/2-year-old son Weston. “We got rain pretty much just in time,” Blain said. “The way it was looking in May, there was no hay, no pasture. We were getting ready to sell, starting with the oldest ones, the ones that were going to be sold this fall anyway.” Now cattle prices are higher than most ranchers can remember, with premium calves selling for more than $2 a pound, which has made cow-calf operations like Blain’s the success story of the year for Montana agriculture. Ranchers were teetering on the edge of economic disaster, but are now seeing strong payouts and lower than expected feed prices. Gross receipts for Montana cattle should be well over $1 billion for the fourth year in a row, with everyone from local feed dealers to shopping malls benefiting as the money makes it to Main Street. “It’s as good as we’ve ever had,” Blain said. The number of cattle in the United States is at a 60-year low and has been for more than two years. That small supply, coupled with rising foreign demand during the roughest part of the recession, pushed prices upward beginning in late 2009. By 2010, cattle prices were at record highs, and with the exception of a few dips, have steadily increased. Foreign buyers kept the U.S. beef economy in the black, as recession-minded American consumers passed on beef and went for lower-priced chicken and pork. From 2010 to 2011, U.S. beef exports, valued at $5.4 billion, increased 33 percent, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation. By 2012, exports had added $216.73 to the per-head value of U.S. cattle. Export demand has softened some, but the U.S. appetite for beef has steadily increased as the country slowly crawls out of the recession. In addition, cattle numbers declined in 2011 and 2012 as ranchers in drought-stricken parts of the United States liquidated. Though 2013 isn’t done, there’s reason to believe it will be the third straight year of drought-related sell-offs...more

Rustling still a costly reality

The effects of cattle theft did not fully dawn on rancher Candace Owen until she got a call in 2010 from a fellow rancher. It was a heads-up alerting her that some of her cows were missing their calves. The clue that something was amiss: Each cow was “tight-bagged," the term ranchers use to describe cows with sagging udders that have not been milked. Owen soon discovered that as many as 25 calves had been taken from her ranch in Red Bluff, Calif. She had been hit by cattle rustlers, characters that for most people exist only in history books and cowboy movies. Cattle rustling, it turns out, has never gone away. And it’s on the rise in California and nationwide. “It’s a terrible crime when you steal someone’s livelihood," said Owen, whose husband’s family has been ranching in and around Tehama County for generations. Last year, 1,317 head of cattle were reported stolen or missing in California, said Greg Lawley, chief of the state’s Bureau of Livestock Identification. That’s a 22 percent increase from what was reported before the recession. “We assume this is an outgrowth of cattle price rise," Lawley said. The rise in cattle theft in California is part of a national trend. In 2012, more than 10,400 head of cattle and horses were reported missing or stolen to the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association — a 36 percent increase from 2010. In many instances, a cow can sell easily for $1,000. Cattle prices have been increasing steadily, with prices hitting record highs in 2011 and 2012, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. “The thing with stealing livestock, and especially cattle, is you can get 100 percent of its value, especially with unbranded animals," Lawley said. In most cases, a brand is the only way to establish ownership. Unlike the old days, when stolen cattle were herded on horseback, today’s rustlers use trailers and trucks. “The speed of transport means you can load up a gooseneck trailer full of cattle and be in Colorado 24 hours later," Lawley said...more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1141

Its Swingin' Monday on Ranch Radio and here's Jerry Byrd's 1950 recording of Three String Swing.  The tune is on the Cattle cd Early Country & Hawaiian Steel Guitar.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

Chip away loan 

By Julie Carter

Sometimes money does make the difference. Cowboys in sports requiring a horse can always get a bit of edge with a little extra “green” when making the move to the big leagues.

Josh was roping quite well and his name was getting called often enough at the local ropings and jackpots. He rode a little mustang with a heart as big as he was and more try than any horse twice his size. But the little steed just didn’t quite have what it took to compete where the cattle were fast and the horses were bigger.

Asking around, Josh hoped for someone that might lend him a horse while he was in this hot streak of roping so he could stay in the hunt with the big name ropers headed to the finals.

That didn’t work out so he started asking everybody he knew if he could borrow some money to buy a horse. That fell flatter than the horse borrowing plan. Finally, someone told him to go to the bank.

Josh didn’t have any experience with banks except he knew they kept money there, so off he went. Asking the first guy he ran into at the bank if he could borrow some money to buy a horse, the man quickly referred him to the bank president.

The banker listened to Josh’s story, giving it some quiet thought.

How much money do you need to borrow to buy you a better horse?” he asked.

Josh answered quickly, “Well, the one I’m looking at that would take me all the way to the top is $40,000.”

The banker questioned him, with a little scowl forming on his brow. “Well now son, how would you go about paying back $40,000?”

As easily as he’d asked for the money, Josh replied, “If I start winning big, and I think I will, I'll pay it back right quick.”

“What if you don’t go to winning?” asked the banker.

Josh, ready with his reply, said, “I’ll just have to chip away at it.”

The banker pointed out to the cowboy that he didn’t have a steady job, he didn’t have any savings, and frankly, there was no reason in the world he should give him a loan.

“However,” he said. “I have never heard anybody tell me they would just chip away at paying a loan back. Go get the horse.”

A month or so went by and Josh sent $15,000 back to the bank. In another six weeks, he sent another $10,000. Then there was a long dry spell, but another $10,000 arrived at the bank.  And not long after, the last little bit of the loan arrived addressed to the attention of the bank president.

The banker followed Josh’s successes in the Rodeo Sports News. He told everybody that would listen that he had helped that cowboy out and was clearly the best of judge of character there ever was.

About two years later, this same banker answered his phone. It was Josh again, saying “Howdy. Remember me? I need me another one of them chip-away loans.”

The banker sighed as the thought ran through his mind that in the old days, all you needed was entry fee cash and a tank of gas.

Julie, a veteran of the chip-away plan, can be reached for comment at