Saturday, September 18, 2021

Bureau of Land Management headquarters to return to Washington, DC

 Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced her plans Friday to return the Bureau of Land Management national headquarters to Washington, DC, after it had been relocated under the Trump administration.

The headquarters of the BLM -- which is part of the Interior Department and controls 245 million acres of federal lands -- was moved to Grand Junction, Colorado, during the last administration after having been in Washington for decades, with state-level offices spread across the country. As part of that Trump-era reorganization, the bureau moved some employees to the headquarters in Colorado, while others were moved to state offices.

That move, the Interior Department said Friday, "failed to deliver promised jobs across the West and drove hundreds of people out of the agency."

As part of the new plan detailed Friday, the current Grand Junction office "will grow and expand as the bureau's official Western headquarters," the department said.

Key leadership positions, including the bureau director, will be moved to the national headquarters in Washington "to ensure coordination with Congress, other federal agencies, and stakeholders that visit Washington, D.C.," according to the agency, while other senior personnel will work out of the Western headquarters...MORE

We knew this was coming. I'm surprised, actually, that it took 9 months to make the decision. 

Of interest, though, is the rationale(s) they would use to justify the reversal. What can this tell us about the new administration?

"failed to deliver promised jobs across the West and drove hundreds of people out of the agency."

When did it become the statutory mission of the BLM to create jobs?

"There's no doubt that the BLM should have a leadership presence in Washington, D.C. -- like all the other land management agencies -- to ensure that it has access to the policy-, budget-, and decision-making levers" ~~ Haaland

There is that jealousy again in "like other land management agencies."

In the end, budgets determine policy and many decisions, so clearly this is about money and BLM's access to it.

The headquarters transition will be conducted with a goal of minimizing further disruption to employees and their families. ~~ Haaland

The past several years have been incredibly disruptive to the organization, to our public servants, and to their families. ~~ Haaland

This is more about BLM prestige, acquiring larger appropriations and being "nice" to federal bureaucrats than it is about bringing efficient, effective and professional management to our federal lands.

New Mexico, Far West Texas seeing record number of unaccompanied migrant children

 The highly publicized migrant surge of 2019 brought a record number of unaccompanied minors to Far West Texas and Southern New Mexico. Fiscal year 2021 still has two weeks to go but has already far surpassed that tally.

Border Patrol agents since Oct. 1 have taken custody of 20,950 minors from Central America and elsewhere in the El Paso Sector. That’s more than the 16,159 encountered in fiscal year 2019.

Many of those kids are under the age of 12 and are being smuggled and subsequently abandoned at the border by members of transnational criminal organizations that have taken over much of the activity on the U.S.-Mexico border, according to the Border Patrol. 

Late last month, for instance, agents from the Ysleta station spotted 20 migrant children walking north of the border barrier near the Rio Grande levee and parallel canals.

“The poor visibility, swift currents and high-water levels posed a real danger to the children falling and drowning,” the Border Patrol said in a statement. “Agents identified all the UCs as being citizens of Guatemala. The youngest person in the group was a 12-year-old girl.”

Since then, border agents have come across numerous other groups of unaccompanied minors ranging in age from 5 to 17 years old.

What’s happening here is not unique to the El Paso Sector, which includes all of New Mexico. The Border Patrol says its agents this fiscal year have encountered 130,710 unaccompanied children along the entire Southern border...MORE

Friday, September 17, 2021

Beef breed approves gene-edited traits for animal registration

 The Red Angus Association of America (RAAA), a leading progressive breed organization for seedstock beef cattle in the United States, announced today they will provide herdbook registry of Red Angus animals carrying gene-edited traits for heat tolerance and coat color. Both trait approvals by RAAA emanate from specific genetic alterations designed and submitted by Acceligen, a technology company pioneering commercialization of gene-edited food animals. 

Acceligen has already bred and registered animals that express a trait known for better tolerance to tropical and sub-tropical heat. Black-to-red gene edits have also been made on multiple calves that will be born soon. These traits are a part of Acceligen's business portfolio that focuses on providing opportunities to the global cattle industry for better genetic management of animal well-being and health.

RAAA recognizes the efficacy of this advanced technology to provide its breeders with new opportunities along with an enhanced and expanded gene pool. Red Angus is the first beef breed organization to accept gene-edited animals into their registry, recognizing the potential benefits they can bring to the breed...MORE 

RW Hampton Receives Coveted Chester A. Reynolds Award


In the early 1950s, Chester A Reynolds, a Kansas City, Missouri, native and entrepreneur who was once the President of Lee Jeans, became concerned about what he considered the nation’s loss of Western heritage. So he began a campaign to create an institution that would honor the men and women who settled the American West. He later founded the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.

It’s understandable that RW would be abundantly humbled and honored, then, to be this year’s recipient of the prized Chester A Reynolds Award, which will be presented this weekend during the 61st Annual Western Heritage Awards. The festivities are just beginning in Oklahoma City, OK at the museum.

The Chester A Reynolds Memorial Award is one of the highest honors to be given during the awards ceremonies on Saturday. It is presented to those who exemplify the ideals of individualism, honesty, humility and integrity that are closely identified with the American West. The award recognizes individuals or groups who have demonstrated unwavering commitment to Western ideals and values. 

That’s RW for you!

By the way: RW is also a presenter at the event, and he is the voice behind the video presentations of the evening. There are also some pretty great folks that are going to be on hand for the ceremonies, including legendary actor Robert Duvall and Country Superstar George Strait (both will be given Lifetime Achievement Awards) as well as Country Superstar Reba McEntire, actors Rex Linn and Buck Taylor and members of the John Wayne Family. For more information, visit

Ranch Radio Song of the Day

I just noticed that a bunch of Ford's classics are not in my library. I had featured them before, but that was in the pre-YouTube version of Ranch Radio. Shotgun Boogie (1950) was Tennessee Ernie's biggest hit on the country charts, staying at No.1 for 14 weeks. Ford wrote the song - he was a hunter.

Sale of ranch asking $136.25 million breaks Montana record, agent says


A prized and historic ranch in Montana that was listed this spring for upward of $136 million closed in the past week for close to its asking price—a record sum for the state.

Renowned for its bull elk hunting and trout fishing and featured in the 1992 movie "A River Runs Through It," Climbing Arrow Ranch spans roughly 80,000 acres—a footprint that’s twice the size of the New York City borough of Brooklyn—spread across four counties: Gallatin, Broadwater, Madison and Meagher.Climbing Arrow Ranch is "magnificent," Mike Swan, owner and managing broker of Swan Land Company, which handled the listing, told Mansion Global.

The property’s charms lay in its size, scale, history and legacy, he said, as well as the "incredible recreation and agricultural amenities it offers." That includes a herd of nearly 2,000 Black Angus cattle and "miles of private fishing waters that probably less than 100 people have ever seen."

The ranch is home to an owner’s residence, guest houses and employee accommodations, as well as barns, corrals, workshops, mechanic shops, sheds and calving facilities. It’s also within 45 minutes of downtown Bozeman, one the fastest-growing mountain towns in the West...MORE

California fires: General Sherman and other sequoias given blankets


Firefighters are wrapping fire-resistant blankets around ancient trees as blazes tear through California's world-famous Sequoia National Park.

Officials fear the fire could reach the Giant Forest, a grove of some of the world's biggest trees, within hours.

The forest hosts some 2,000 sequoias, including the 275ft (83m) General Sherman, the biggest tree by volume on Earth and about 2,500 years old.

The Colony and Paradise fires have been growing for a week.

More than 350 firefighters, along with helicopters and water-dropping planes, have been mobilised to battle the blazes.

They have wrapped several trees, including the General Sherman, with aluminium foil to protect them.

"It's a very significant area for many, many people, so a lot of special effort is going into protecting this grove," Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks spokesperson Rebecca Paterson told the LA Times.

By volume, the General Sherman is the largest known living single-stem tree on Earth and is estimated to be around 2,300 to 2,700 years old.

Experts say sequoia trees are very fire-resistant and have evolved to survive flames.

Sparked by lightning, the Paradise and Colony fires have been growing across rugged shrubland in the Sierra Nevada.

More than 7,400 wildfires have burned in the state this year, scorching more than 2.2 million acres...MORE

Thursday, September 16, 2021

4 in 10 fear having children due to climate change: global survey


An international poll of some 10,000 young adults has revealed that tomorrow’s leaders feel “betrayed” by elder generations when it comes to managing climate change.

Published in the Lancet Tuesday, it’s the largest study yet that measures young peoples’ response to environmental policy — or, rather, the lack thereof.

Responses from thousands of participants in 10 countries — Australia, Brazil, Finland, France, India, Nigeria, the Philippines, Portugal, the UK and the US — pointed to significant anxiety prompted by talk of climate change.

About 75% of those aged 16 to 25 concurred with the statement “the future is frightening,” while about 60% said they are “very” or “extremely worried” about climate change. More than 50% believe they have fewer opportunities than their parents at their age. Furthermore, some 40% are hesitant to become parents out of a fear they’ll bring a child into a sun-scorched, voided wasteland...MORE

No, their problem is they are living in an intellectual and moral wasteland today.

You need to learn to live with less...


President's day


High Meat Prices Are Helping Fuel Inflation, And A Few Big Companies Are Being Blamed


Scott Horsley

Prices for beef, pork and chicken have surged during the pandemic, and the Biden administration believes it knows who's partly behind it: a handful of big meatpacking companies that control most of the country's supply.

Beef prices alone jumped 12.2% over the last year, according to new consumer inflation data on Tuesday, making it one of the costliest items in the surging bills that consumers face today at the grocery store.

"It's just outrageous. I can't even understand how people are supposed to be able to pay that kind of money for basic stuff like ground beef," says Adam Jones, who raises Angus cattle in northwest Kansas. "We're not talking about filet mignon. We're just talking about being able to make spaghetti or being able to make tacos."

...The surge in meat prices is contributing to high inflation. The Labor Department reported Tuesday that consumer price index rose 5.3% in the 12 months ending in August. That's down slightly from June and July when inflation was running at 5.4% — but it's still near the highest level in nearly 13 years. Pork prices jumped 9.8% in the last year while chicken prices jumped 7.2%.

...The White House is responding by shining a spotlight on "Big Meat," as part of a larger campaign against what the Biden administration calls "anti-competitive" behavior by big business — even as meatpackers insist they are not to blame.

The administration is setting aside $500 million to help bankroll new meat processors to compete with the big four.

The Justice Department is also investigating alleged price-fixing in the chicken market. The No. 2 chicken processor, Pilgrim's Pride, pleaded guilty this year to conspiring with others to limit production and keep chicken prices artificially high.

But meatpackers reject the idea that industry consolidation is hurting ranchers or consumers.

"The present spread between live cattle and beef prices has everything to do with the law of supply and demand," says Shane Miller, group president for fresh meats at Tyson, the nation's largest beef and chicken processor.

Miller told a Senate committee this summer that the pandemic and other shocks have forced processors to slow down their slaughtering operations, so there are fewer cattle coming in and fewer steaks going out.

"This led to an oversupply of live cattle and an undersupply of beef, all while demand for beef products is at an all-time high," Miller said. "So it should not surprise any of us that as a result, the price for cattle fell while the price for beef rose."...MORE

Ranch Radio Song of the Day

Today we have Skeets McDonald with his recording of Remember You're Mine 1954. THE WESTERNER