Friday, March 20, 2015

Lawmaker calls Bundy supporters 'thugs,' urges BLM to seek justice

Phil Taylor, E&E reporter

Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and his armed supporters who protested the Bureau of Land Management's roundup of Bundy's cattle last April broke the law and should be brought to justice, a Minnesota congresswoman said this morning.

Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) pressed BLM Director Neil Kornze on what the government has done to deter illegal grazing on public lands and to protect agency employees who have been threatened by anti-government violence.

"Mr. Bundy and his band of armed thugs are dangerous. They have committed acts that are criminal by threatening federal employees," McCollum told Kornze during a hearing this morning of the House Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee on BLM's $1.2 billion fiscal 2016 budget request. "They should be held accountable. They should be prosecuted."

McCollum, who is the panel's top Democrat, also cited a report from last May that two hooded men drove up next to a BLM employee on Interstate 15 in Utah, brandished a gun and held up a sign saying, "You need to die."

"What steps have been taken to stop this misuse of grazing without a permit and threatening federal employees who are just doing their jobs?" McCollum asked.

The question put Kornze in a bind, as Interior Department officials for several months have been deferring to the FBI and Justice Department to handle the government's response to the Bundy standoff.

As BLM approaches the one-year anniversary of the standoff on agency lands surrounding Bundy's Bunkerville, Nev., ranch, some conservationists are intensifying calls for the government to bring the rancher to justice.



Former BLM employee set to plead guilty in fraud case

A former Bureau of Land Management employee was set to plead guilty on Wednesday to defrauding the government by abandoning his job in Virginia and returning to Montana to work for the Chippewa Cree Tribe. Larry Ray Denny of Box Elder was due in federal court in Great Falls for a change of plea hearing before U.S. District Judge Brian Morris. The former deputy state director for the Bureau of Land Management’s Eastern States office in Springfield, Virginia, was indicted in July on charges of wire fraud, false claims, theft of government property and falsely representing outside income. Defense attorney Penelope Strong said in court filings that Denny intends to plead guilty. Former BLM Eastern States Director John Grimson Lyon faces a March 23 trial over accusations that he covered for Denny. He faces charges of wire fraud, false claims and theft of government property. Prosecutors said Denny continued to receive $112,000 in annual salary and benefits after leaving his federal post in July 2012, claiming health problems. He did not report about $49,000 in income he received from the tribe on a federal financial disclosure report, prosecutors said. He faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the most serious charge, wire fraud. From July 2012 through March 2013, the BLM paid Denny for 550 hours of regular work, 461 hours of sick leave, 389 hours of annual leave and 72 hours for federal holidays, the indictment said. An investigation found that during the time Denny was reportedly dealing with health issues, he visited various golf courses and traveled to Las Vegas, Arizona and around the state, according to prosecutors. In 2012, Lyon gave an “exceptional” job performance review to Denny that entitled him to a $3,200 cash award. Lyon’s public defender, Evangelo Arvanetes, did not immediately respond to a telephone message from The Associated Press seeking comment. The government is seeking $112,000 in restitution in the case.  AP


And just think, by being out of the office he probably did less damage to the public than other BLMers who will get away scot free.

Rhodes facing scrutiny from BLM, Mohave County

The Mohave County Attorney's Office is investigating a complaint that extensive roads have been illegally cut on federal land in the Red Lake area, allegedly by Kingman Farms owner Jim Rhodes. Steve Auld, investigator for the county, said he's working jointly with the Bureau of Land Management to investigate the complaint. He said new roads were bladed on BLM property, and there's evidence of destruction and removal of U.S. Geological Survey markers that were put in place about 100 years ago to designate sections of federal land. "There's been reports of missing markers and we found some of them had been disturbed," Auld said Tuesday. "We were out there and the roads appear to be on the wrong side of the survey monuments. We found a tractor operator putting a dirt berm on what appears to be BLM land. It's pretty evident it's associated with Kingman Farms, but we don't know who did it." Auld said it's primarily a BLM issue, and the county got involved because it received the initial complaint and looked into it. Kingman rancher Bill Nugent said one has to go through proper channels with the BLM to apply for permission to put in new roads. Environmental and dust issues must be addressed, he said. Nugent has existing roads going to various drinking tanks for his cattle, and they've been in place for 50 to 60 years on land that didn't belong to the BLM at the time. Last year, a BLM ranger saw one of Nugent's workers go 2 feet off the right of way to repair an existing road and cited him. Nugent was told to contact BLM prior to doing any roadwork in accordance with regulations. He complied with the regulations and BLM concurred with his plan, dropping the citation...more

Final claims now before judge in King Cove road lawsuit

The state’s lawsuit to force Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to rethink her denial of a road out of King Cove is approaching its crescendo. A motion for summary judgment and opposition to the state’s motion was filed March 9 by the Interior Department in the Alaska U.S. District Court on behalf of Jewell. The Aleutians East Borough, the City of King Cove and area Native groups — with the State of Alaska as an intervenor plaintiff in the case — filed a motion for summary judgment in early February. That was based on claims that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s environmental impact statement and subsequent record of decision regarding the proposed emergency route violate federal environmental law. The next step is likely a ruling on the case from Judge H. Russel Holland. The state and plaintiffs contest that Jewell also violated the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA, and the intent of Congress by denying the land swap needed to build the road. The plaintiffs are requesting Holland vacate the “no action alternative” Jewell selected from the EIS. Jewell went public with her decision on Dec. 23, 2013, to deny a swap of 206 acres in the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge for about 56,000 acres of state and Native village King Cove Corp. land on the Alaska Peninsula. The land exchange would have allowed the state to build an 11-mile gravel road to connect King Cove to Cold Bay and its 10,000-foot runway, from where large planes can safely fly those in need of urgent medical care to Anchorage, even in bad weather...more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1396

I've had a lot of "stuff" thrown at me the last couple of days, so this seems appropriate:  Houston Marchman - Gorilla Pit.  The tune is on his 2006 CD Key To The Highway

"You gotta learn to be fast, and learn to get low"

https://youtu.be/oRNOlAJ4eDA

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Technology for the Reduction of Particulate Matter Emissions for Residential Propane BBQs


How's that for an EPA title?

Perhaps this will help: It's all part of A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet.

Still need help?  Joe Roybal's title at BEEF Magazine may be clearer:  Is EPA looking to steal the sizzle from backyard barbecues?

What the hell is this?  Basically, EPA has awarded a $15,000 grant to the University of California Riverside for students to develop a "secondary filtration system" to keep grease from catching on fire and causing air pollution.

Read Roybal's blog post to learn all about this contraption.

In the meantime Charlotte Allen at the Independent Women's Forum says, "Get the government out of our bedrooms?  How about getting the government out of our backyards?" 

I was gonna suggest you not invite any EPA employees to your barbeque.  But that's probably not enuff protection.  I'll bet they've got a whole fleet of EPA Drones outfitted to detect illegal sizzling and if caught you will be fined for the first offense and lose your government permit to cook on your own property for any subsequent violations.  Talk about your Cruel and Unusual Punishment, that would be it.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Coalition challenges science behind Interior grouse protections

Scott Streater, E&E reporter

A coalition of the oil and gas industry, mining groups and local governments in four states is formally challenging some of the core scientific documents the Interior Department is using to protect greater sage grouse habitat covering millions of acres of public lands across the West.

Specifically, the coalition is challenging three reports under the Data Quality Act that the Interior Department is using to justify amending as many as 98 Bureau of Land Management resource management plans (RMPs) and Forest Service land-use plans to add grouse conservation measures.

These scientific reports produced in the last five years by BLM, the U.S. Geological Survey and the Fish and Wildlife Service are likely to be core documents FWS uses in deciding by September whether to propose listing the greater sage grouse for protection under the Endangered Species Act.

But the influential 2011 grouse management report by BLM's National Technical Team (NTT) of sage grouse experts and an FWS-commissioned report in 2013 by a conservation objectives team (COT) that outlined rangewide sage grouse protection goals are riddled with factual errors, the coalition alleges. So, too, is a 2010 report from USGS that the service "relied extensively upon" in order to justify its determination in March of that year that the grouse warranted federal protection, the groups said.

Taken together, the three reports "advance a one-sided narrative that is simply not supported by the full body of scientific literature and data," according to an executive summary outlining the three challenges that was researched and written by a team led by Kent Holsinger, a Denver-based natural resources attorney.

The coalition -- which includes the Denver-based Western Energy Alliance, the American Exploration & Mining Association, and a total of 19 counties in Colorado, Montana, Nevada and Utah -- asks Interior to "retract" the three reports "and their use in land use plan amendments and the upcoming listing decision" by FWS, the summary says.

"Alternatively, the agencies could issue amended reports that use sound analytical methods and the best data available while ensuring transparency and objectivity, and adjust their policies accordingly," it concludes.


Nation’s First Greater Sage-Grouse Conservation Bank

Senior Department of the Interior and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials joined Wyoming Governor Matt Mead today in announcing the launch of the nation’s first conservation bank for greater sage-grouse. The bank will manage a vast expanse of central Wyoming for sage-grouse, mule deer and other wildlife, allowing energy development and other economic activities to proceed on lands elsewhere in the state. At a ceremony in the State Capitol hosted by Governor Mead, Interior Deputy Assistant Secretary Jim Lyons, Deputy Director for the Service Jim Kurth and Jeff Meyer, Managing Partner of the Sweetwater River Conservancy, formalized the agreement creating the project, which will rank as the largest conservation bank in the country. At the heart of the project is the Pathfinder Ranch, a 235,000-acre cattle ranch located west of Casper near Pathfinder Reservoir that provides significant wildlife habitat for the greater sage-grouse and other native species. Originally purchased for wind energy development, the project was converted to a conservation bank and deeded to the newly created Sweetwater Conservancy with the encouragement of former Governor Dave Freudenthal, who was in the process of building Wyoming’s Core Area sage-grouse strategy. The conservation bank will launch with 55,000 deeded acres. As the demand grows, it could expand to 700,000 acres on other lands owned by the Conservancy. A conservation bank is a site or suite of sites established under an agreement with the Service to protect, and where feasible, improve habitat for species. Entities can purchase “credits” that result from perpetual conservation easements and conservation projects on the land to offset impacts occurring elsewhere...more

DHS released another 30,000 criminal aliens onto streets

Federal immigration officers released another 30,000 immigrants with criminal records last year, following the 36,000 it released in 2013, the government announced Wednesday — though it promised to take steps to cut down on the problem. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency that handles detention and removal of illegal immigrants, said it will no longer allow overcrowding to be the main reason a dangerous illegal immigrant is released, and will require a top supervisor to approve the cases of any serious criminals that officers want to release. Overall, ICE released 30,558 criminal aliens in fiscal 2014, which is down from the 36,007 criminals released a year before. The 2013 releases prompted an outcry, and the latest news that the releases continue is likely to renew the calls for ICE to get a handle on its actions...more

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day

Today we'll share a country duo: Jean Shepard & Ferlin Husky - What'll You Have.  The tune was recorded in Hollywood on April 12, 1954.

https://youtu.be/ZKSOXFiHs5s

Monday, March 16, 2015

Keep fossil fuels in the ground to stop climate change

by




The celebratory nature of the images testifies to the world of make-believe these people inhabit. They are surrounded by objectives, principles, commitments, instruments and protocols, which create a reassuring phantasm of progress while the ship on which they travel slowly founders. Leafing through these photos, I imagine I can almost hear what the delegates are saying through their expensive dentistry. “Darling you’ve re-arranged the deckchairs beautifully. It’s a breakthrough! We’ll have to invent a mechanism for holding them in place, as the deck has developed a bit of a tilt, but we’ll do that at the next conference.”

This process is futile because they have addressed the problem only from one end, and it happens to be the wrong end. They have sought to prevent climate breakdown by limiting the amount of greenhouse gases that are released; in other words, by constraining the consumption of fossil fuels. But, throughout the 23 years since the world’s governments decided to begin this process, the delegates have uttered not one coherent word about constraining production.

Compare this to any other treaty-making process. Imagine, for example, that the Biological Weapons Convention made no attempt to restrain the production or possession of weaponised smallpox and anthrax, but only to prohibit their use. How effective do you reckon it would be? (You don’t have to guess: look at the US gun laws, which prohibit the lethal use of guns but not their sale and carriage. You can see the results on the news every week.) Imagine trying to protect elephants and rhinos only by banning the purchase of their tusks and horns, without limiting killing, export or sale...

And the answer is, as always, just a little more government control:



 I believe there are ways of resolving this problem, ways that might recruit other powerful interests against these corporations. For example, a global auction in pollution permits would mean that governments had to regulate just a few thousand oil refineries, coal washeries, gas pipelines and cement and fertiliser factories, rather than the activities of seven billion people. It would create a fund from the sale of permits that’s likely to run into trillions: money that could be used for anything from renewable energy to healthcare. By reducing fluctuations in the supply of energy, it would deliver more predictable prices, that many businesses would welcome. Most importantly, unlike the current framework for negotiations, it could work, producing a real possibility of averting climate breakdown.

Too Many Wild Cards in the Climate Game

By Viv Forbes

Climate alarmists claim incessantly that all bad weather is caused by man’s use of hydrocarbon fuels -- oil, gas and coal.

They insist that man-made carbon dioxide is the trump card in the climate game. Their computerised models of doom assume ever-rising levels of carbon dioxide which will trump all natural climate controllers.

Unfortunately for their credibility, since at least the year 2000 global temperatures have trended level despite significant increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide.

The sun is the primary source of almost all of Earth’s heat. It is becoming increasingly clear that this gigantic heat generator, with its varying cycles and emissions, is the Joker in the climate game.

Then there are the massive oceans, whose vast heat capacity and ever-changing currents and oscillations also regularly trump the steady but tiny influence from man’s industry.

In order to explain the failure of their carbon-centric forecasts, the alarmists have thrown several other wild cards into the climate game. These include heat losses into the deep oceans and unexpected variations in earth’s cover of ice, snow, soot, particulates and volcanic dust.





Editorial: An odd sense of priority from the Department of Interior


The Department of the Interior appears to have its priorities crooked. 

The new priority of Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell’s rangeland fire strategy is to better protect sage grouse habitat. 

That’s an important priority. Settlers once said they saw millions of the birds. Now the numbers might be as low as 200,000. It might be listed as an endangered species. 

What’s unclear is what the new priority means when fire managers have to make choices. The priority ranking has been protecting human life, protecting private property and protecting public resources. Now there’s the new one to protect sage grouse habitat. 

One Bureau of Land Management official had suggested that it could mean that private property could be moved below protecting sage grouse habitat/public resources. We asked the press office at the Interior Department in Washington, D.C., if that’s how it will work. 

No, they told us. The statement they sent said it “does not re-prioritize the protection of the ecosystem over the safely of the public and our firefighters.” It’s just another critical fire management priority for managers to consider. 

Maybe that makes sense in Washington. But in Oregon, at least, it doesn’t work to just keep adding priorities. You have to know how you value them. 

If you are a federal fire or land manager, you have to make choices about how you use resources. It’s probably not going to be as razor-edged a drama as: “We can save the sage grouse nest or we can save that home. Which is it going to be, sir?” But it’s easy to imagine that there will be decisions similar to that. 


                                                  READ ENTIRE EDITORIAL 


Discovering America’s Public Lands, City by City

With more than 80 percent of families living in urban areas, finding safe, open spaces to enjoy time outdoors can be a challenge for many Americans. Children, especially, are spending less time playing outside than ever before. But when children get the chance to explore the outdoors and experience nature in America’s unparalleled public lands and waters, they can learn an appreciation that will last a lifetime. It’s our responsibility to give them that chance. That’s why last month President Obama issued a call to action to get all children to visit and enjoy America’s great outdoors. And today, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell launched the 50 Cities Initiative to engage the next generation of outdoor stewards. The initiative, which supports the Department of the Interior’s (DOI) goal of 1 million volunteers on public lands each year, will increase awareness, support, and participation in outdoor programs in 50 U.S. cities. So far, DOI has announced 11 cities, which were recognized for their impressive existing engagement efforts and extraordinary potential. Additional cities will be announced over the next two years -- with 25 total selected in 2015, and another 25 in 2016...more

Park Service Sitting On Half-A-Billion Dollars Of Concessions Obligations

Across the National Park System, there is an estimated half-a-billion-dollars of obligations owed concessionaires who run lodges, restaurants, and even some activities, for the National Park Service.
It's a sum that, while Park Service officials say is manageable, has seemingly stifled concessions competition in some parks and led the agency to divert tens of millions of dollars from some parks to others to reduce the debts. At Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, the outstanding amount is more than $57 million. At Glacier National Park in Montana, it's $22 million. At Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, it's nearly $100 million. At Yellowstone National Park, the sum is $21.5 million.  Those figures are built into the existing concessions contracts, and not owed immediately, but could come due at the end of the current pacts. The ramifications of carrying such large sums on the books has been most evident at Grand Canyon National Park, where the Park Service has failed to see robust competition for its South Rim concessions...more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1395

Its Swingin' Monday and we have Music City Doughboys - Not My Kinda Baby.  The tune is on their 2013 CD Music City Doughboys

https://youtu.be/We3v-QsI94c

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

Photography is a contact sport

by Julie Carter

There haven’t been too many years in my life I didn’t have a camera in tow wherever I went. The difference in then and now is the cost of the film and developing which became a non-issue in 2002 when I bought my first digital camera. That turned up the “volume” on my love for taking pictures of life.

You cannot spend any time at all photographing anything there is to photograph and not soon find a correlation between the clicking sound of the camera lens and the special meaning of the moments frozen in time.
Burk Uzzle, who you may or may not know, (I didn’t) is a renowned photo journalist with a 60-year resume from the backside of a camera. He made a very profound statement that sums it all up for me. “Photography is a love affair with life.”

That love affair will take you places you would have passed by, offer greetings to people that may have gone unnoticed and more than frequently put you in places that quite possibly put life and limb at risk. And sometimes, there is even “contact” unbecoming to poise, propriety and concern for life itself. My “moments” in photography that defy common sense are only different from those of other photographers in that they had me for the main character.

I once took a head-on from a running horse in an arena. It wasn’t my first rodeo, literally. It was just my first time to find myself in the unintended path of 1200 pounds of horse (and his rider) trying as hard as I was to not collide, resulting in a broadside hit with great momentum. Knocking me into the air, camera flying, I landed on my back gasping for air. And all I could think was: 1. Is my camera hurt? And 2. I have to get up. I do NOT want mouth-to-mouth from that handle-bar mustached EMT. The latter was a great motivator and I bounded (hypothetically) to my feet amidst a flurry of concerned cowboys that hurried to help me.

I often carried a small camera in my pocket while horseback working cattle. With it came opportunity for those shots of cowboys pouring coffee from an enamel pot over a campfire, carrying a branding iron from a fire or driving the herd down a long draw. More often than not, those shots that were not rescued to film were because to be an active participant in the action of the moment, it was required that all hands be on deck, on the reins or on a rope. The ones that got away were like those times that a horned cow was making every attempt to punch holes in my horse, or when that bull made a lunge at my 4-year-old son’s horse and I saw guardian angels at work.

Adventures vary with geography and subject matter. Photographing high school sports brings its own tense moments of finding oneself in the middle of a sideline tackle or the unintended target of a ball pass gone bad.

Last summer I ventured out to get some sunset photos. I was driving the back country roads just looking for things to shoot with my camera when I saw this old homestead with all the parts of a perfect picture. An old barn, weathered-wood buildings and a collection of old cars, trucks and farm equipment. No one was around, no home in sight. So I stopped the car, still on the county road and I began shooting photos thinking perhaps snakes would be my only adversary in this serene setting.

Shortly a pickup came barreling down the road as fast as the two-track would allow and at the same time a Shetland-pony sized dog came loping up to me, teeth and tongue all showing. The guy in the pickup slides it to a stop and hollers at the dog. "Jake, come here.”

I walked over to the pickup with a greeting and introduction of myself, explaining that I was only photographing the old cars and assuring him I would be no bother. He said that was fine, he was just checking as he’d had problems with vandals trying to steal the old vehicles.

I pointed to my very small car and with a grin, told him I had to quit my twilight junk hauling business because the car was too small for a profitable load. He laughed and while the dog was still trying to knock me down, he commented, "Jake won't hurt you, he will just bother you."

I told him Jake was indeed large enough to impress me. He laughed again, put the truck in gear and said as he drove away, “Have fun taking pictures.”

And so I did. Good sense has nothing to do with photography.

Julie can be reached for comment at jcarternm@gmail.com

The Great Screwworm War

Jockey and Irradiated Boxes
The Great Screwworm War
Castrated flies from the sky
By Stephen L. Wilmeth


            In the midst of bawling calves and confusion, an order was barked. “Get the clicker out of my pickup?”
            “Where is it?” was the immediate question.
            “It’s in the jockey box,” was the response.
            Only one person in the crew knew where to look. The rest looked around and winced. More than one mouthed in silent, wide eyed incredulity to an onlooker, “Jockey box?”
            Upon returning, the person who understood the request noted she hadn’t heard that term since she left Idaho. Smiles were exchanged and the mystery remained intact.
            Jockey boxes … what a colorful but absolutely apropos term from our past, but there were other things as well. Castrated flies are an example.
            Castrated flies
            A few of us can remember finding unique cardboard boxes scattered across the countryside. The boxes were approximately 4×4×6” and gray in color. Actually, they could have been brown, but, by the time we found them, they appeared gray. It seems the printing on them was red, but it could also have been black.
            We knew exactly what the boxes were.
             Their presence was the result of one of the great science projects in history. The importance could be best characterized by first hand experience with the horrors of screwworms.
It was in late spring that the scourge would descend. It was concurrent with calving and dry, nasty spring conditions. Every calf was susceptible to becoming a living depository of eggs laid around its attached navel cord (or open wounds) by female screwworm flies, Cochliomyia hominivorax.
Within 12-24 hours, the eggs would hatch and the larvae would crawl into the living flesh and commence eating. Any serum or blood flow would attract additional females. If left untreated, the animal would fall victim to subsequent generations and could die within a week to 10 days literally being eaten from the inside out.
In five to seven days, the larvae would drop out, pupate, and a succeeding generation would begin anew. The economic damage was horrendous. Texas alone reported over a million livestock cases annually prior to 1962.
Ranchers rode daily in their calving herds. Calves were roped and a benzol or a pine tar product would be applied to their exposed navels for protection until healing would preclude successful hatching.
My Grandpa Wilmeth’s material of choice was an aerosol can of benzol. He carried it in a leather boot attached to the saddle strings on the left side of his back jockey.
In the boot, he’d also have his ‘kit’. If the calf was not infected, a preventive application of the spray would be applied. If it was infected, we’d clean the worms out and spray it thoroughly. The material was red and the color served to flag the treated calves.
It wasn’t just calves, though, that suffered.
Those horned Hereford bulls that dominated the Southwest were also ready victims. One of the experiences that stands out so vividly in my memory was a bull that had been hooked under his right leg. I am not sure if I was with him when he found him or if I was along only after he had gathered him and was treating him in the corral, but Grandpa and I were up under him in the old wooden run-up that doubled as the only chute available. We had trapped him in there against the gate in front and a pipe stuck behind him so he couldn’t back out.
We crawled under the fence and him lying on our backs looking up trying to see into the wound in preparation of cleaning and treating it. Grandpa just couldn’t reach him because of the limited space, but I could. I’d seen it done and I knew what to do.
I went to work.
It was when I was digging those worms out with a shaped paddle made out of bailing wire that my mother arrived in the corral. It was the only time in my memory that she was ever in a corral, but she threw a fit when she saw what was going on. She was screaming at me to get out from under that bull, but my grandfather calmly looked me in the eye and told me to finish what I was doing.
“You’re just fine. Now … finish.”
And, we did with me spraying the aerosol material as best I could into the open wound and around the entrance. When we finally finished and turned the bull out of the run-up, we walked out of the corral with my mother continuing to give us both an earful. I don’t remember any words from Grandpa, and I would have been silent in those cases anyway, but I do remember he had his hand around my shoulders. That was the only time he ever did that.
I was proud, and … reassured.

Tusklike mandibles protruding from the screwworm larva's mouth rasp the flesh of living warm-blooded animals.
From the border they came
The flies over wintered only in the most southern extremes of their United States range in southeastern California, southwestern and southeastern Arizona, southwestern New Mexico, south Texas and Florida.
The threat would reappear each year after the last frost when fly emergence took place and another leapfrog expansion northward commenced. Successive advancements would consume as much as 50-90 miles each generation. By October, there would be confirmation as far north as northeastern Kansas with reports all the way to the Canadian border.
As far back as 1938, work was done in Texas and the materials noted herein were proven to be effective for control if the extent of the treatment universe was domestic livestock. The problem was wildlife could not be covered and eradication was impossible. Something large scale had to be done if full elimination was to be successful.
 By 1961, the use of the sterile male program on a large scale was ready to be mustered. Research had shown that hatching could be disrupted if enough sterile male flies inundated the population. The results could be observed with as few as 38 sterile males per square kilometer. By increasing the population toward 100 sterile males, full control was manifested.
From a facility in Mission, Texas, large quantities of male flies were hatched and effectively castrated by exposure to radiation. The goal was to make sure that 80 viable, sterile flies per square kilometer were available across specified areas at calculated time intervals throughout the entire season. The harvest of male flies was 28,000,000 in July of that year. By October, the output was 75,000,000. The flies were boxed in the little cardboard containers and dropped from airplanes. The results were astounding.
By 1963, not a single case of screwworms was reported in New Mexico and Texas.
Arizona was declared screwworm free in 1964. California followed in 1965, but Mexico would prove to be a continuing problem. In 1971, Texas started reporting reoccurrences. With a Mexican government involvement, the United States began a stepwise eradication program in Mexico. In intervals, the pest was eradicated southward, and, by 1983, Mexico was free of the pest south to a point near the Yucatan Peninsula.
The facility in Mission stopped castrating male flies in 1981.
Boxes revisited
There should be one of those irradiated boxes in the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum, but I suspect there isn’t. In retrospect, they were immensely important in our history.
I can remember one box in particular. The year had to be either 1961 or 1962. It was on the flat just south from where Dusty now lives in the Mangus Valley. I was on Champ and we were going somewhere to do something that may or may not have been important. The box was lying where it hit the ground and cracked open. The flies, of course, were gone doing their important work.
I had just heard one of the planes that we knew dropped the boxes, but it had been further west and the box on the ground had likely been there for some time. I looked up, though, and tried to spot the plane.
Those were good days.
We might have gone to Cliff that afternoon for the mail. If we did, it was in the blue 1951 Chevy pickup. In the ways of my grandparents, it would have been clean and tidy. Nothing would have been in the bed if enough of us were along to have to ride there. If it was just me, I would have been up front with them talking. If there was a need for something in the jockey box, I would have opened it and retrieved it.
If you don’t know what a jockey box is, I am not going to tell you. The word will remain secret code to those of us who were western children of the ‘50s and ‘60s.
Like castrated flies, that’s just the way it works.


Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico. “Indeed, those were bonus days.”

Baxter Black - Vegetarian’s guide to cowboys

Many myths have been promulgated that have fostered a misunderstanding of cowboys by herbivores. It is incumbent on me to shed some light on this subject for my vegetarian readers.

MYTH #1) Cowboys are mean to cows:

This myth may be reinforced by the cowboy’s habit of roping cows for sport, branding their young and primping them like poodles at livestock shows. But in their defense, these practices are done without malice. Just sort of the usual predator/prey relationship. Like parents with children enrolled in organized sports.

MYTH #2) Cowboys are right wing political fanatics:

Cowboys are suspicious of politicians and, like most Americans, don’t vote either. They hold to a muddled Code of the West that forbids associating with known feminists but allows kissing your horse. Very confusing.

MYTH #3) Cows hate cowboys:

Cows have an IQ somewhere between a cedar post and a sandhill crane. It is unlikely that they lay awake nights plotting revenge. However, fate has made the cow and cowboy dependent on each other. The same unnatural relationship that exists between politicians and newspaper reporters or lawyers and criminals.


MYTH #4) Cowboys are a vanishing breed:

As long as 97 percent of the population eats meat, there will be cows and as long as there are cows, there will be cowboys. However, they are hard to see from the freeway.



Drought-Stricken West Gives Rise to Old World Cows

by Alisa Opar

The cows weren’t acting like cows.

In the remote reaches of Mexico’s Copper Canyon, miles from the nearest road or settlement, a moving speck on a steep rock wall caught Alfredo Gonzalez’s eye. “I thought, that couldn’t be a cow, maybe a goat,” the longtime ranch manager and animal scientist. “The canyon goes straight up and down. But when we looked with binoculars, there they were: Criollos walking on the canyon walls.”

Bingo. Criollos. Gonzalez and a former colleague from the Jornada Experimental Range, an ecological and agricultural research station in southern New Mexico, had traveled to this parched land south of the border in search of Criollo cattle. The bovines in that region are known as Raramuri Criollo, a name meaning “fleet foot” or “light-footed ones” in the language of the local Tarahumara people (no slouches themselves—made famous in the book Born to Run, they cover hundreds of miles of rugged terrain for fun).


Gonzalez was looking for cattle to bring back to the Jornada to start an experimental herd—one that could thrive in the Southwest’s arid and drought-stricken country, eating the woody plants that encroach on former grasslands and ranging far across the landscape. Climate models project that conditions will only get worse, and that carbon pollution could spur megadroughts before the end of the century. Recent drought caused cattle producers to trim their herds, as pastures shriveled and grain prices soared. Now add to that most commercial beef’s enormous water footprint—which is due largely to what it takes to grow cattle feed. By some estimates, alfalfa and hay production in the West uses 10 times the water consumed by the region’s cities and industries combined.


Raramuri Criollo seems like an ideal candidate to withstand such harsh, dry conditions. “These animals are the poor man’s cow,” says Gonzalez, explaining that Criollos are very economical to raise, and need mineral or no supplemental feeding or special care. Plus, he adds, they tolerate hot temperatures and forage in diverse habitats.

...Since 2003, when Gonzalez moved 30 cows and three bulls across the border, the Jornada herd has been expanding, with the aim of reaching about 200 head. Researchers at Jornada reported last month in the journal Rangelands that, compared to British breeds, Criollos forage across larger areas, travel much farther in general, spend less time near water, and remain active even in extreme heat. But lead author Dean Anderson, a research scientist at the Jornada, is quick to point out that there’s still much work to do. “Our research hasn't been through all seasons of the year, and all the types of years—wet, dry,” he says. “Still, it’s exciting what preliminary data points to.”

Criollos came to the Americas in the late 1400s on Christopher Columbus’s second voyage, and have since inhabited ranges from the northern Rocky Mountains down to Tierra del Fuego at the tip of South America. If Raramuri Criollos prove to be the hardy, desert-friendly, wide-ranging, woody-plant-munching bovines that they seem, Anderson says ranchers in arid climates may want to cross them with traditional breeds. The bovines Gonzalez purchased in Mexico have yet to be crossbred, but if their rugged traits turn out to be heritable, he and other ranchers may want to give drought-tolerant hybrids a try.

Even though they weigh in at about 750 pounds, compared to a 1,300-pound Angus or Hereford, Criollos may prove profitable, too. New Mexico State University agricultural economist Allen Torell recently calculated that Criollo ranchers in desert climates could make as much money as those raising traditional breeds. Torell says he was surprised by the results and, like Anderson, stresses that the research is still in the early stages.



A Shootout Over Eggs?

In the Old West, all things were possible. Shakespeare, NM, 1879. Ross Woods got the last breakfast eggs at the Stratford Hotel restaurant. Bean Belly Smith (you can’t make that up) was angry that the kitchen had run out, and maybe that Woods had been fooling around with Mrs. Bean Belly. The two men argued and went for their guns. Woods missed; Smith didn’t. At least Woods had a last meal. And a place in the Shakespeare Cemetery.  True West