Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Ranchers v bison-huggers

THE most original political book of early 2015 is not formally about politics at all. Instead “The Battle for Yellowstone” by Justin Farrell, a young scholar at Yale University, ponders venomous rows that have shaken Yellowstone National Park in recent decades, and why they are so intractable. The rows turn on such questions as wolf re-introduction, bison roaming-rights and snowmobile access to that lovely corner of the Rocky Mountains. It is nearly half a century since biologists first asked Congress to re-introduce wolves into Yellowstone, so that they might usefully eat some of the elk then lumbering about in over-large herds. Getting to the point of releasing wolves in the mid-1990s involved executive actions and directives from six presidents, debates in dozens of congressional committees, 120 public hearings, more than 160,000 public submissions to federal wildlife bosses and at least $12m-worth of scientific research. Pro- and anti-wolf types drew up competing technical reports about the value of wolves as “apex predators”, economic costs to cattle ranchers, tourism benefits and elk ecology. This techno-rationalist arms race bought no peace: the wolf-wars blaze as fiercely as ever. Yellowstone’s wild bison trigger ferocious rows, too, each time they amble outside the national park. Let them roam, cry fans of these last genetically pure survivors of the vast herds that once filled the West. Stop them, bellow ranchers who fear the bison will infect their cattle with brucellosis, a nasty disease. Tottering stacks of brucellosis research have not resolved the dispute. Since 1997 more than 5,000 volunteers—many of them young, affluent outsiders, some adopting such “forest names” as Chipmunk, Grumble or Frog—have catalogued countless allegations of bison-bullying outside park boundaries, but changed few minds about the rights and wrongs of it. As for snowmobilers and their right to roar along Yellowstone trails when winter descends, millions of dollars have been spent on lawsuits in Wyoming and Washington, DC since the late 1990s, backed by studies of engine-noise, exhaust-pollution and wildlife behaviour. Some wrangling continues. All this puzzled Mr Farrell, a sociologist at Yale’s school of forestry and environmental studies, whose book is due out this summer, under the full title “The Battle for Yellowstone: Morality and the Sacred Roots of Environmental Conflict”. He spent two years asking folk in and around Yellowstone why they are so cross. Beneath debates about science and economics he found arguments about morality and the proper relations between humans and nature—though those involved often do not, or will not acknowledge this. In short, all sides purport to be weighing what is true and false, while really arguing about right and wrong...more

Rhea Suh leaves Interior to become president of NRDC on Jan. 1

Rhea S. Suh will soon be leaving the Department of the Interior to become the head of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), one of the largest environmental advocacy groups in the world. As of Jan. 1, 2015, she will officially take on the role making her the third president of the organization in its 44-year history. Additionally, as a Korean American, she will also be the first non-white woman to lead an environmental group of this magnitude. “It has been an unparalleled privilege to work for [President Barack Obama] and Interior Secretaries Ken Salazar and Sally Jewell,” she said at a press conference in September. “Now, I’m honored to join NRDC, our nation’s intrepid defender of clean air, safe water, and wild places.” While Suh was working for the Department of the Interior, she oversaw a $12 billion budget and approximately 70,000 employees. As the daughter of two Korean immigrant parents, she was born and raised in Boulder, Col. where she developed a love and appreciation for the outdoors. Suh decided to pursue her interests further when she studied environmental science and education at Columbia University. She graduated in 1992 and also went on to get her master’s in education at Harvard University. Since then she has working for notable environmental groups and initiatives including the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, which have all played roles in her becoming the head of the NRDC...more

NASA - Delaware-size gas plume over NM

The methane that leaks from 40,000 gas wells near this desert trading post may be colorless and odorless, but it’s not invisible. It can be seen from space. Satellites that sweep over energy-rich northern New Mexico can spot the gas as it escapes from drilling rigs, compressors and miles of pipeline snaking across the badlands. In the air it forms a giant plume: a permanent, Delaware-sized methane cloud, so vast that scientists questioned their own data when they first studied it three years ago. “We couldn’t be sure that the signal was real,” said NASA researcher Christian Frankenberg. The country’s biggest methane “hot spot,” verified by NASA and University of Michigan scientists in October, is only the most dramatic example of what scientists describe as a $2 billion leak problem: the loss of methane from energy production sites across the country. When oil, gas or coal are taken from the ground, a little methane — the main ingredient in natural gas — often escapes along with it, drifting into the atmosphere, where it contributes to the warming of the Earth. Methane accounts for about 9 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, and the biggest single source of it — nearly 30 percent — is the oil and gas industry, government figures show. All told, oil and gas producers lose 8 million metric tons of methane a year, enough to provide power to every household in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia. As early as next month, the Obama administration will announce new measures to shrink New Mexico’s methane cloud while cracking down nationally on a phenomenon that officials say erodes tax revenue and contributes to climate change. The details are not publicly known, but already a fight is shaping up between the White House and industry supporters in Congress over how intrusive the restrictions will be...more

FDA on the farm - regulating irrigation water

Complaints from farmers nationwide have encouraged the Food and Drug Administration to take the almost unheard of act of revising landmark food safety laws that were scheduled to take effect soon, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service food safety expert. The act was signed into law by President Obama in 2011, but growers now have a second opportunity to provide input that might change the language on specifics before it is enacted. “The new federal regulations would set standards for the growing, harvesting, packing and holding of produce for human consumption,” Dr. Juan Anciso, a horticulture specialist at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Weslaco, said. “Of great concern to producers in the Lower Rio Grande Valley were those rules that dealt with irrigation water, because they irrigate from the river and there are microbes in it.” According to the proposed rules on irrigation water, the FDA wanted to set an upper limit of 235 colony-forming E. coli cells per 100 milliliters of water, he said. Irrigation water sampled to have more than that would render the produce inedible and trigger a mandatory remedy for the water source. While such rules might be workable for well water, they could not be fairly applied to surface water from the Rio Grande and canals that deliver it to fields, Anciso said. Instead of arguing whether 235 units made for good or bad irrigation water, Anciso and others from Texas and California presented scientific research showing that E. coli counts varied widely in water, but most importantly that after five days in a field, those E. coli counts dropped dramatically...more

Transfer Of Federal Lands - video

Published on Feb.28, 2014.

March 2012, Governor Herbert signed HB148, Utah's Transfer of Public Lands Act, which demands that the United States extinguish title to Federal Lands and turn them over to the state to manage by the end of 2014. There are a number or resources on the internet to get more background on the ACT and find out what other western states are doing at

This week on the County Seat we ask, What is the status of Transfer of Public Lands in Utah?

A number of organizations such as, National Association of Counties, The National Republican Committee, and a number of States have passed resolutions in favor of Transfer of Public Lands.

We also had an opportunity to talk to two professors from the University of Utah about the constitutional and political issues involved in a transfer of public lands.

Tune in to ABC4Utah Sunday Morning at 8:30 to dive into some of the finer points on the movement in the West demanding that the federal government keeps the promise it made to states at statehood.

Disasters and Triumphs: 10 Major Environmental Stories in Indian Country During 2014

A list provided by Indian Country Today.

San Luis Valley - The pioneering Trujillo family ranch near the Great Sand Dunes

Ranching and mining put food on the table for many diverse groups. Over the span of time, rich grass, abundant water and accessible passes have drawn herds and hunters to the northern San Luis Valley (SLV). Smithsonian archeologists Pegi Jodry and Dennis Stanford uncovered the remains of mammoth bison and a kill site where humans processed the animals 11,000 or so years ago northeast of the Great Sand Dunes. The Ute and other native groups in the region ventured to the rich SLV to hunt on an annual cycle. Some early settlers mistook the American Plains Buffalo for water buffalo and tried to domesticate them. Around 1600 early Spanish explorers and settlers reached the SLV. Searching for gold, meat and religious converts, a group of these vaqueros, impressed by a Ute display of bison hunting, set out to round up a herd of buffalo. They managed to stampede a herd of some 500 of the angry bison. Many men and horses were killed in this debacle and the idea of domestication was given up. Winter hardship broke down precarious good relations with the Ute and other natives. The need for food and shelter led to the commandeering of corn and enslavement of native people. For nearly a century the citizens of Spanish Mexico enslaved native people and some native groups enslaved Spanish people. The native slaves in the SLV decided they had enough and rebelled, driving the settlers down from the mountains and across the sand dunes to board make-shift rafts to escape south on the Rio Grande. Francis Torres, a Catholic Jesuit missionary, was
mortally wounded in the uprising. As he expired trying to make it to the relative safety of a raft, his dying vision was of the mountains to the east tinged a blood-like red in the light of the setting sun. In great pain he cried out, “Sangre de Cristo” (Blood of Christ) and the steep range was named. In the early 1800s New Mexicans began herding flocks of sheep up the Rio Grande for summer grazing. If you go for a soak at Stagecoach Hot Springs north of Taos and southwest of Arroyo Hondo you can see some of the steep and precarious trails up the Rio Grande Gorge these early ranchers took with their dogs and flocks. Mexican independence from Spain in 1821 and encouragement from the government led to the settlement of the SLV in the then-northern reaches of Mexico. Mexican sheep rancher, Teofilo Trujillo was born in Rio Arriba County in northern New Mexico around 1842. He moved north and began running cattle and sheep in the area of the Great Sand Dunes and Blanca Peak. Seeing the way the political tides were turning, Trujillo became an American citizen in 1848, right after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo made the SLV part of the USA. The Trujillos broke from the traditional agricultural practices of their forbearers: the majority of settlers from NM in the SLV lived and worked the land communally. They lived in adobe brick homes built around a central plaza, cultivated common land, and shared water resources. The Trujillo family founded an independent ranch away from other settlers...more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1343

Another 78:  Pie Plant Pete - Farming By The Fire.  Bet you know someone like that too.  You can learn more about these two by going to

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Editorial - Pope Francis Errs In Linking Church To Green Movement

Pope Francis' recent leftist statements should trouble Catholics and non-Catholics alike, but even more disturbing are the pope's latest declarations on the dramatic action needed to fight climate change.

The Vatican apparently now has been infiltrated by followers of a radical green movement that is, at its core, anti-Christian, anti-people, anti-poor and anti-development. The basic tenets of Catholicism — the sanctity of human life and the value of all souls — are detested by the modern pagan environmentalists who worship the created, but not the creator.

At its core, Big Green believes that too many human beings are the basic global problem. People, according to this view, are resource destroyers. Climate change, they say, is due to the overpopulation of Mother Earth.

The head of the Catholic Church should denounce — not praise — such anti-human thinking. It violates Pope John Paul II's famous letter reminding us that creative human beings are a resource, not a curse.

Instead, the pope unwittingly has linked arms with the people who have provided finance, intellectual credibility and applause for radical and immoral population-control policies including eugenics, millions of forced abortions and sterilizations, and one-child policies, all in the name of "saving the planet."

Francis is reportedly preparing a lengthy encyclical message for early 2015 to the world's 1.2 billion Catholics on the need for decisive action on climate change. He may even be preparing a U.N. speech on the topic.

Earlier this year, he said: "The monopolizing of lands, deforestation, the appropriation of water, inadequate agro-toxics are some of the evils that tear man from the land of his birth. Climate change, the loss of biodiversity and deforestation are already showing their devastating effects in the great cataclysms we witness."

The science behind this is bunk...

How Obama's immigration plan is expected to roll out

President Obama's new set of immigration policies could affect as many as 5 million people, including the possibility of a three-year reprieve from the threat of deportation for parents of children with legal status. The new year will see those policies coming into effect, potentially creating dramatic changes for those who are in the U.S. illegally. Also ahead in 2015 are important shifts in how agents will enforce immigration laws to focus more on deporting people with lengthy or violent criminal records and less on people whose only crimes are immigration offenses. The new approach will end the dragnet system that enlisted police in blowing the whistle on immigrants. These policies won't apply to most of the 11.2 million living in the country illegally. And don't expect this to roll out without a fight. Republicans in Congress already have vowed to try to undo the new policies. "This is a serious breach of our Constitution. It's a serious threat to our system of government," House Speaker John A. Boehner said as the plan was unveiled. But practically speaking, there is little they can do. Republican governors in states affected by the new deportation policies have called out the lawyers. At least 24 states have filed suit to block the plan, and that case is expected to play out in the courts throughout 2015.
Here's a look at the plan and what we can expect...more

Farmers brace for labor shortage under new policy

Farmers already scrambling to find workers in California — the nation's leading grower of fruits, vegetables and nuts — fear an even greater labor shortage under President Barack Obama's executive action to block some 5 million people from deportation. Thousands of the state's farmworkers, who make up a significant portion of those who will benefit, may choose to leave the uncertainty of their seasonal jobs for steady, year-around work building homes, cooking in restaurants and cleaning hotel rooms. "This action isn't going to bring new workers to agriculture," said Jason Resnick, vice president and general counsel of the powerful trade association Western Growers. "It's possible that because of this action, agriculture will lose workers without any mechanism to bring in new workers." Although details of the president's immigration policy have yet to be worked out, Resnick said the agricultural workforce has been declining for a decade. Today, the association estimates there is a 15 to 20 percent shortage of farmworkers, which is driving the industry to call for substantial immigration reform from Congress, such as a sound guest worker program. "Hopefully there will be the opportunity for comprehensive immigration reform," said Karen Ross, secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture. "That's the right thing to do for this country." California's 330,000 farmworkers account for the largest share of the 2.1 million nationwide, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Texas comes in a distant second with less than half of California's farmworkers...more

New Republican-led panel will focus on energy and environment

House Republicans next year will use a new oversight subcommittee to examine the Obama administration’s energy and environmental policies. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), future chair the powerful House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, announced that he would form the new panel to watch over the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as the departments of agriculture, energy and interior. Responsibility for those agencies previously fell to two panels — one that focused on energy and the other on regulatory affairs. Chaffetz appointed Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) to head the new subcommittee. “Each of the incoming chairs brings valuable knowledge and experience to the subcommittees they have been selected to lead,” the congressman said in an announcement. Lummis’s appointment will likely cause environmentalists to cringe. Earlier this year, the Republican lawmaker sponsored legislation to overhaul the Endangered Species Act, arguing that the law relies on faulty science and strips property owners and states of valuable land and water rights...more

With Bishop at Resources and Chaffetz at Oversight, Utah will be ruling the roost on environmental issues.

Forest Service betrays its heritage, assaults water rights

By Tony Francois
For the Capital Press

As many American farmers and ranchers are aware, these days the U.S. Forest Service is no friend to privately held water rights.

Right now, for instance, the agency is proposing broad new restrictions and controls on groundwater rights in and near national forests. These mandates would apply wherever the exercise of water rights would affect forest resources (a vague concept that allows regulators maximum discretion to pick and choose which water-rights owners they will target).

Under the proposals, when property owners need a permit from the Forest Service, they could be forced to surrender groundwater rights as the price of receiving it. And water-rights holders will be subject to onerous construction, operating, and reporting standards for wells and water pipelines — which many smaller groundwater users will have difficulty meeting.

Many private property owners have weighed in against what amounts to a sweeping attempt to transfer private water rights to public ownership or control.

To the extent these regulations would lead to the confiscation of water rights without compensation, they violate the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment. Water rights are a form of private property, after all. But there is another basic problem — and fundamental irony — as well: The proposed rules are in tension with the historic mission of the Forest Service itself.

Indeed, the agency’s current adversarial stance toward private water rights represents a 180-degree reversal from its original purpose and objectives. It is time to restate those objectives — and to demand that the agency recommit itself to them.

In this context, there are two important facts to keep in mind about the national forests and the Forest Service.

First, by the time they were established, most of the land within them that was available for farming had been settled and was under private ownership, and the water resources necessary for agriculture had already been largely developed and subject to privately held water rights.

Second, one of the principal purposes of the establishment of national forests was to ensure that these water resources, which had been previously developed, could be effectively used by farming communities — by “securing favorable conditions of water flows,” as the founding statute put it.

Tony Francois is an attorney with the Pacific Legal Foundation. He authored PLF’s comments to the U.S. Forest Service in opposition to the agency’s proposed new mandates on owners of groundwater rights.


Cliven Bundy enters 2015 unbowed, still grazing cattle in disputed lands

Unbowed and unapologetic, Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy is still running his cattle on disputed grazing land eight months after his highly publicized standoff over public lands, but that doesn’t mean his feud with the federal government is over. In a tense confrontation that generated international headlines, the 68-year-old Mr. Bundy won that round last spring: Bureau of Land Management officials agreed to leave the property and release his impounded cattle after hundreds of armed supporters descended on the Southern Nevada ranch in April. He says he hasn’t seen any sign of federal agents since. “[W]e’ve really enjoyed some liberty and freedoms out here,” Mr. Bundy told the Las Vegas Review-Journal last month. “Since the standoff, we haven’t seen one BLM vehicle on any of these country roads around this ranch. We haven’t seen one BLM ranger. We haven’t seen one [National] Park Service ranger. We haven’t really seen any undercover-type people,” he said. “We haven’t seen snipers on top of our hills. We haven’t seen high-tech communication equipment. We haven’t seen any of those things.” Still, the victory came at a high cost. Mr. Bundy, a newcomer to the media spotlight, was vilified in the media and lost the backing of many prominent conservatives after he said at an April press conference thThe BLM did not respond to a request for comment on the status of its dispute with Mr. Bundy at deadline. Meanwhile, the FBI is reportedly conducting a criminal investigation into possible weapons violations and intimidation tactics against federal agents that occurred during the standoff at the Bunkerville ranch. And Mr. Bundy’s son, Ammon Bundy, says the federal government is treating him as a “domestic terrorist,” which is what Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called Cliven Bundy and his supporters at the height of the April standoff. Ammon Bundy said he was detained and questioned Nov. 1 by the Transportation Security Administration when he and his daughter tried to board a flight from Phoenix to Salt Lake City. He followed up by having a background check conducted at Cabela’s, a federally licensed firearms dealer, which came up as “delayed.” A day later, the FBI lifted the “delayed” status, enabling him to buy a gun, he said in a post on the Bundy Ranch website...more

Young wolf mistaken for coyote shot

State wildlife officials have confirmed that a young female wolf was shot and killed in Beaver County, the first documented killing of a wolf in Utah in several years. The men were hunting coyotes when they shot and killed the animal Sunday night near the south end of the Tushar Mountains. They found a collar on it, and wildlife officials said the collar was first attached to the animal for identification and tracking purposes in January 2014 in Cody, Wyoming. The northern gray wolf was about 3 years old, and officials are terming the killing a case a mistaken identity. The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources said reports of wolf sightings are on the rise in Utah, but biologists have so far been unable to confirm if there are any breeding pairs or an actual pack. In 2010, two wolves were killed after attacking Utah livestock. Most of the sightings have been in counties that border Idaho and Wyoming...more

Saving girls wins medal for BLM firefighter

Justin Hanley, a U.S. Bureau of Land Management firefighter employed at the Miles City Field Office, was recently awarded the Carnegie Medal for Heroism for saving two young girls from drowning in the Yellowstone River in August 2013. The presentation was held Dec. 13 in conjunction with a “Toys for Tots” event at the local Eagles Lodge. The two sisters presented the medal. The Carnegie Hero Fund Awards the Carnegie Medal to individuals in the U.S. and Canada who risk their lives to an extraordinary degree saving or attempting to save the lives of others. Some recipients are awarded the medal posthumously, having died in their rescue attempt. Hanley saved Chava L. and Shoshana L. Berry from drowning in the Yellowstone River at Miles City on Aug. 4, 2013. Sisters Chava, 14, and Shoshana, 10, were wading along the bank of the river when the current pulled them in to deeper water and carried them downstream. Hanley, who lived nearby, responded and ran several hundred feet along the bank to a point just beyond the girls. He entered the water, and the strong channel current pulled on him, but he reached the girls at a point about 250 feet from the bank. He held Chava, who was inert, with one arm and then grasped Shoshana with that hand. Using his free arm, Hanley stroked back toward the bank, the current continuing to take them downstream. Fatigued and suffering abrasions, Hanley reached the bank with the girls at a point about 700 feet downstream from where he entered the river...more

This Oil Map Answers The First Question Everyone Asks When Turmoil Hits The Middle East

When turmoil hits the Middle East, one of the first questions everyone asks is: "How much oil is at risk?"  Before prices crashed again, oil was actually rallying for a little while on Monday. News outlets and energy pundits were quick to attribute the early upward moves to Libya, where a rocket attack caused an oil storage tank fire.  In JP Morgan Funds' monthly guide to the markets, David Kelly and his team offer this map showing what percentage of the world's liquid energy is produced by each country or flows through a waterway in the Middle East...more

USDA chief pulls back beef checkoff proposal

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack scrapped a proposal to establish another beef checkoff on top of the existing beef checkoff program. The Missouri Cattlemen’s Association is pleased with Sec. Vilsack’s decision to listen to the outcry from the nation’s cattle farmers and ranchers. “The secretary asked for comments and responded appropriately to the concerns expressed by those of us who invest our dollars into the beef checkoff program. MCA considers this announcement to be good news,” said MCA President Jim McCann, who is a cattle rancher from Miller, Missouri. The new checkoff would have functioned under the Commodity Promotion, Research and Information Act of 1996. The Beef Promotion and Research Act of 1985 governs the current beef checkoff. MCA expressed “vehement” opposition to the creation of a new beef checkoff under the 1996 Act...more

Immigrants entering country illegally becoming more aggressive, Border Patrol official says

Undocumented migrants arrested in the Arizona desert increasingly mount resistance and behave more aggressively during detentions, Border Patrol agents working in the state said. "In recent years, undocumented immigrants' aggressiveness has increased and that is something we face when we patrol the desert," Art Del Cueto, president of the union representing Border Patrol agents in Arizona, told Efe. Del Cueto recalled that when he began his career as a Border Patrol agent 12 years ago, during his first arrest of illegal immigrants he alone stopped 80 people and all of them followed his instructions without objection. "Now, when we stop two or three people, often we find that, at least, one of them is aggressive," he said...more

Rodeo cowboy legend Alvin Nelson dies

Rodeo cowboy legend Alvin Nelson is being remembered as one of the best of his generation, an influence on younger riders and an innovator in the sport. Nelson, of Grassy Butte, a member of half a dozen halls of fame and North Dakota’s only world champion saddle bronc rider for 24 years, died Dec. 23 at a hospital in Rochester, Minnesota, according to Fulkerson Funeral Home. He was 80. His funeral is scheduled for Wednesday in Watford City, North Dakota. Nelson won the saddle bronc world championship in 1957 at Madison Square Garden in New York. He qualified for five Wrangler National Finals Rodeos, winning the saddle bronc riding average at the finals in 1961 and 1962, and also the all-around title in 1961 in Dallas. Nelson told the Minot Daily News in 2004 that he remembered his 1957 title well. “The rodeo lasted three weeks in September, and at that time, it was the world’s largest rodeo according to prize money, number of spectators and the number of contestants,” he said as he was preparing to be inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame. “There were eight rounds. I split third and fourth on the first horse, won the second round, split first and second in the last two rounds to win $4,234,” he said. “This was the most money ever won in the saddle bronc riding at any one rodeo at the time, and this record stood until 1980.” Nelson was a member of the “six pack,” a group of North Dakota bronc and bull riders who dominated the rodeo circuit in the 1950s. Nelson also redesigned the bronc riding saddle, moving the stirrups closer to the front to make it easier to spur the horse, according to Kevin Holten, executive director of the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame. “He was revolutionary,” Holten said. “He redesigned the bronc riding saddle, and everybody copied him from that time forward.”...more

A.J. Crawford; rich, shrewd, thrifty and promiscuous

A.J. (Abel Justus) Crawford, once a penniless sheepherder in the late 1800s, became a self-made millionaire who called Carlsbad home for more than 70 years. Today, many individuals, non-profit groups and projects in the surrounding area benefit from his generosity. Crawford came to the area with nothing. He had worked as a sheepherder in West Texas accumulating a small flock he took instead of pay. He later followed his brother, L.S. (Louis Stine) Crawford to Eddy (now Carlsbad). In the late 1890s Crawford grazed 5,000 sheep on beet pulp once the sugar beet factory was operational. It cost him 5 cents per animal per month. A Penasco Valley News article dated Oct. 28, 1910, told of Crawford selling 400,000 pounds of local wool. He had negotiated a price of 12.5 cents a pound that came to around $50,000. The wool purchased by C.H. Webb & Company of Philadelphia required shipment on 14 rail cars. In December 1917 Crawford opened the Crawford Hotel which was said to have an elegant and ornate interior. The Artesia Advocate dated Dec. 7, 1917, reported a $50,000 plus price tag. Other sources report it cost $100,000. He would later build onto that hotel and would later build other hotels in the West Texas area. Crawford had opened the People's Mercantile Company in June of 1910. After offering some of the 500 shares for $100 per share, he and his wife remained primary shareholders with 40 percent. Although his mercantile was in competition with the Joyce-Pruit Store, he established a bank partnership with the Joyce-Pruit Company. Not long after he sold his interest in the Joyce-Pruit Bank. He began building what was to become Carlsbad National Bank. "In the 1920s Crawford watched as the Joyce-Pruit Bank defaulted, while his bank continued to expand," wrote Dr. Jerry Cox in his book "Ghosts of the Guadalupes." Crawford became a dominant figure in the community's commercial activity with major interests in the region's ranching, retailing, real estate, hotels and banking, as reported each year in the Carlsbad Community Foundation Annual Report of Activities...more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1342

An old 78 recorded on March 1, 1933 by the Kentucky String Ticklers and titled Stove Pipe Blues.  That's Silas Rogers on the fiddle, backed up by Bunk Lane on piano and Oddis Burgher on banjo.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Farmers say Christmas trees make great goat snacks

Western Colorado goat farmers say Christmas trees make great snacks for their herds, and they're offering to collect them from homes in the Grand Valley. Nevelle Hopper of the Lil Moo Ranch said Friday the the trees are a natural de-wormer for goats, and pine needles have vitamin C. She says the goats enjoy eating them, too. Hopper's Lil Moo Ranch, the Top of the Hill Ranch and 5-R Ranch want undecorated trees that haven't been sprayed with any chemical. Hopper says the ranches will arrange to pick up trees or accept drop-offs...more

Little Jimmy Dickens hospitalized

Grand Ole Opry and Country Music Hall of Fame icon Jimmy Dickens is in critical care with an undisclosed illness after being admitted to a Nashville area hospital on Christmas. Dickens' wife, family and the Opry are requesting prayers from his friends and fans around the world, according to an press release sent out Sunday. Dickens turned 94 on Dec. 19. Dickens became a Grand Ole Opry member in 1948 and was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1983. Among his enduring classics are "Take An Old Cold Tater (And Wait)," "Country Boy," "Out Behind The Barn," and "May The Bird Of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose." He last performed at the Opry on Dec. 20 as part of his 94th birthday celebration...more

They're ruining the annual Possum Drop - My PETA-free Alternative

For most of the past 20 years, a live animal has been used in a small North Carolina town's annual New Year's Eve Possum Drop. But this year, following challenges from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the organizer says he'll no longer use a live opossum — instead, it'll be a road-kill opossum or perhaps a pot of opossum stew. The Brasstown event involves enclosing an opossum in a tinsel-covered plastic box and lowering it to the ground at midnight, then releasing the animal. PETA says the lights, noise and crowd can harm an opossum's nerves and health...more

You can't even drop a possum anymore.

I need to find a PETA-free place...maybe Amarillo.

There I could conduct the annual Amarillo Armadillo Drop.

"I wanna go home with the armadillo
Good country music from Amarillo and Abilene
The friendliest people and the prettiest women you've ever seen"

A good lookin' woman, country music and the world's first armadillo drop...who could ask for anything more?


Young BLM chief faced trial by fire in turbulent first year

Phil Taylor, E&E reporter

Neil Kornze didn't have to look far to find public lands growing up in Elko County, Nev. -- they backed up to his subdivision.

As a high school student, Kornze would travel across his home state by plane, looking down on expanses of sagebrush, salt flats and juniper-dotted mountains.

"Public lands were everywhere in Elko," Kornze said. "It's almost like asking someone to describe the air."

Now that he's director of the Bureau of Land Management, which oversees nearly 250 million acres in the West and more than two-thirds of the Silver State, those lands are under Kornze's care.

It's been a rapid rise for the 36-year-old, who in April was confirmed as BLM's youngest director. Kornze previously worked three years at BLM and several years for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

As director, Kornze has made tough calls over where to allow oil and gas development, grazing, and off-highway vehicles, and which lands to set aside for recreation, wildlife and solitude. He must balance the needs of rural towns dependent on grazing and resource extraction with the demands of some 300 million other Americans, each owning a tiny stake in BLM lands.

From the outset, he's faced one big test after another. Within days of his confirmation, Kornze's BLM faced an angry, armed mob as it tried to round up Cliven Bundy's cows in a Nevada desert. Weeks later, a Utah county commissioner brazenly flouted the agency's closure of a sensitive river canyon. Wyoming recently sued BLM over its management of wild horses.

"He was literally thrown into the fire," said Whit Fosburgh, CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, a sportsmen's conservation group.

But Kornze's no stranger to land conflicts given his upbringing in Elko County, a stronghold of the 1970s and '80s Sagebrush Rebellion, in which Nevada ranchers rose up against BLM's domain.

His Western roots run deep, with family in Idaho, Utah, Colorado and Nevada.

The Valles Caldera's grand experiment comes to an end

If the Valles Caldera National Preserve were a person, its epitaph would be: They tried.

What a preserve brochure called an "experiment in public land management" will end with the signing of federal legislation.

In 1997 owners of the Baca Ranch, aboriginal land of Jemez Pueblo and later a Mexican land grant, decided to sell. The 89,000-acre property might have been subdivided and sold but for the movement to keep it whole through a sale to the federal government.

The Baca wasn't just any chunk of real estate. Within its boundaries is the Valles Caldera, a gargantuan volcanic bowl created in the Jemez Mountains by violent eruptions 1.4 million years ago. The caldera's green meadows, streams and ponds are home to a variety of wildlife.

Congress bought the ranch for $101 million in 2000. Sens. Pete Domenici and Jeff Bingaman fashioned legislation that combined public and private, ranching and recreation in a national preserve governed by an appointed board of trustees. They were to maintain a working ranch but offer recreation, fishing and hunting while protecting the land and its creatures. And they had 15 years to make the property self-sustaining.

It offered something for everyone, and that was the problem.

From day one, the debate began: Ranching vs. Recreation. It was never clear whether the preserve was a ranch that allowed in hikers and hunters or a park with a ranch on it. Whatever the board decided, there was a chorus of second guessers and critics who were often at odds with each other.

For a couple of years, I had a ringside seat as the board's hired note taker. I watched the board step ever so carefully through the thorny underbrush of interest groups while toeing the senators' line. I listened to various parties (usually environmentalists) criticize the board, at times all but calling them morons, while others (usually ranchers) came hat in hand to seek grazing rights.

Trustees decided to focus first on the ranch and a grazing plan, but whatever choice they made, they were hampered by time and money, the usual enemies of grand experiments.

Before moving ahead, they needed environmental studies and an understanding of potential impacts of the various activities but lacked the budget to get all the studies done at once. And the folks conducting those studies operated on academic time, not real time.

Sherry Robinson is a New Mexico journalist who began her career in 1976 and has served as assistant business editor and columnist with the Albuquerque Journal, editor of New Mexico Business Weekly and business editor of the Albuquerque Tribune.

It didn't work because the powers that be didn't want it to work.  A trust run by a board to manage federal land?  The last thing they wanted was for that concept to work.  Look at the precedent that would set and the threat it would be to future land ownership/management by the feds.  No wonder that Heinrich, rushed to get it under the thumb of the Park Service.

Advocacy group doubts quality of BLM data on rangeland

A Washington D.C.-based environmental group this week challenged the quality of Bureau of Land Management data on the health of rangeland allotments in 13 western states. The group, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, argues in a complaint it filed with BLM that the 2013 Rangeland Inventory, Monitoring and Evaluation report switched from more specific land quality classifications to the binary categories, “land achieving” and “land not achieving.” The data also didn’t distinguish between allotments failing the standards because of livestock grazing versus other causes. Previous reports classified BLM allotments on a spectrum that indicated whether the rangelands met all health standards and whether steps were taken to remedy standards not met. The PEER complaint asks BLM to rescind its fiscal year 2013 report and reissue one based on the historical categories. “BLM is obscuring the very information Congress and the public need to gauge success or failure of rangeland management,” said Kirsten Stade, who filed the complaint on behalf of PEER...more

Alaska court rules bison can roam freely on Kodiak Island

The buffalo can roam freely again on Kodiak Island. The state Board of Game had previously decided that free-ranging bison were considered "feral" when the animals strayed from state or federal lands. Then in 2007 the board authorized a hunt of escaped bison on Kodiak. But the late rancher Charles Dorman, who raised bison that were prone to roam on Kodiak Island, sued to stop the hunt. Dorman originally lost, but the state Supreme Court overturned a lower-court ruling against him Friday, the Alaska Dispatch News reported. The court said the board was wrong when it deemed the bison feral. Bison ranching on Kodiak is a relatively recent development in the centuries-long history of livestock rearing on the island. Russians brought the first cattle to Kodiak in the late 1700s, but ranchers lost dozens each year to the island's hungry, gargantuan bears. Then in the 1990s, the ranchers turned to bison as an alternative, according to Larry Van Daele, a regional supervisor for the state Department of Fish and Game...more

There were commie cows in Alaska?  Wonder if my buddy Ric Davidge knew this?  Actually, if the Ruskies brought them in the late 1700s, they must have been czarist cows, wrangled by Catherine The Great's cowboys.  That's much better than a herd of marxist mavericks.

Why are the feds harassing Navajo shepherds?

In late October in a remote area of Arizona called Black Mesa, federal SWAT teams dressed in military flak jackets and wielding assault rifles set up roadblocks and detained people as helicopters and drones circled overhead.

The response made it seem as though police were targeting dangerous criminals — terrorists, even. But they were actually detaining impoverished Navajo (Dine’) elders accused of owning too many sheep.

For the past month Hopi rangers and agents from the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) have been entering people’s land and holding them at gunpoint, with few warrants and little respect for due process. Community members say they live in fear because of this extreme intimidation in the Hopi Partitioned Lands in northern Arizona.

The Hopi tribe and the BIA say that over four dozen people have exceeded their permitted limit of 28 sheep per household, which will lead to overgrazing. Even if that were true — and many people doubt the claim — it would hardly justify the excessively intimidating approach to the problem. So far, three people have been arrested and more than 300 sheep impounded. Exorbitant fees are levied for people to recover their sheep, which the elderly Navajo residents depend on for their livelihood.

The residents of Black Mesa believe this most recent assault on their livelihood is being funded and instigated by the federal government through the Department of Interior and the BIA as part of an ongoing effort to maintain access to vast coal reserves on their ancestral homelands.

In September the U.S. government signed a settlement with the Navajo Nation to pay over half a billion dollars in compensation for the government’s mismanagement of tribal trust resources. At the signing, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell cited President Barack Obama’s desire to improve the nation-to-nation relationship between tribes and the federal government. While this public relations move made national headlines, the simultaneous harassment of Navajo elders and the deliberate effort to deprive them of their ability to remain on their lands did not.

Nevada Coyote Hunting Tournament Draws Large Participation

A group of local coyote hunters are drawing a lot of attention, turning the killing into a competition. Whoever kills the most coyotes wins. It's a controversial sport that has people questioning the ethics behind hunting contests. At 5 p.m. on Saturday, more than 30 teams of hunters gathered at The Wayside, a bar in the North Valleys to count their coyote kills. These guys have been on the hunt since the break of dawn. "Anytime you get one is pretty fun," said Sony Williamson, a participant said. "Usually, it's pretty hard to get one. It's not something you should go sit down and one comes in. It takes some practice and calling." Williamson has been hunting coyotes since he was 12 years old. "They're so plentiful, you'll never shoot them extinct or anything. They're really prolific," he added. In northern Nevada, coyotes are an unprotected species, which means hunters don't need a license to kill them. More than anything, they consider coyotes to be pests. "There's a lot of ranchers and cows and sheep," he added. "Coyotes really devastate the ranchers' livelihood and they kill at lot of deer and birds." It's why Jason Schroeder created a coyote killing tournament for avid hunters to conduct, what they believe to be, a population control. "It's the one thing that's great about the state of Nevada: we have the right to hunt, we have a right to bear arms," Schroeder said. "We love to hunt and this is what we do."...more 

Isn't America great?  Hope they blow the hell out of a bunch of 'em.  Watch the fur fly all over the state of Nevada!

Commentary: Ravens are the problem, not sage grouse

If Secretary Jewell really wanted to do something to help the sage grouse, she would take the raven off the Migratory Bird Treaty list, which in reality protects the raven. The number of ravens in Nevada and elsewhere has increased at least 600 percent. This is from their historic level, to where today there are more ravens than sage grouse.

The Department of Interior has studies which prove 80 percent of the sage drouse nests are being depredated. The studies also show the ravens are responsible for at least 50 percent of the nests depredated. Coyotes and badgers also ravage the nests of the sage grouse. Coyotes also kill a large number of the chicks, as well as many of the adult birds.

The ravens are now destroying the nests and eating the sage grouse eggs, yet the government insists on protecting the raven. It is hard for a species to hold their own or increase when the population is not being replaced by their young.

Secretary Jewell also stated the United States Fish and Wildlife Service has been working with environmentalists and officials in the Western States to find a solution to protect the species and its habitat without a formal listing. What a joke, the environmentalists all want the bird listed. They want to get rid of the miners and ranchers as well as other users of the public lands.

The only people that can really improve the habitat are the users who are out on the land day in and day out. They are the ones who irrigate the meadows, plant alfalfa while increasing the habitat for the sage grouse. The people on the ground, who work for the BLM, could and would improve the habitat, however they are for the most part stymied by the higher-ups in Washington D.C.

Youngsters test their mettle in calf-roping competition

Youngsters who dare to test their horseback mettle and skill while chasing a running calf and whirling a rope will perform this week in the Tall City New Year’s Calf Roping Blowout at the Horseshoe. “It’s for the kids and old worn-out men like me,” said E.P. Birkhead, 78. For more than 60 years, he has been an avid enthusiast of horseback roping for youngsters and old-timers. Birkhead is among sponsors of the fourth-annual calf roping event — set for Tuesday through Thursday — that celebrates a tradition of the Old West that is extant today on ranches in doctoring calves for screwworms in the pasture, branding them at round-ups and roping them at rodeos. Roping is teamwork between the horse and the rider. “You’ve got to have a good horse, because he’s about 75 percent of it (calf roping),” Birkhead said. This week’s blowout begins Tuesday with tie-down calf roping and breakaway calf roping for youth and teens. Breakaway roping, which does not involve the tie-down aspect, is for girls and younger boys who opt not to tie-down. The tying-down feature involves flanking the calf after the calf is roped and using the “piggin’ string” to hold the calf still by tying a front leg to the hind legs. Roping events Wednesday and Thursday will be dedicated to Ultimate Calf Roping for seasoned ropers from youth through competitors of Birkhead’s age. Tuesday’s all-day roping competition begins at 9 a.m. A barbecue lunch and prayer service conducted by Texas-New Mexico rancher-roper Phil Stroud is planned for 1 p.m. Competition will be for age groups from 9-and-under to 19-and-under. Breakaway calf-roping is for girls of all ages and optional for boys age 13 or younger. Competitors in the Calf Roping Blowout are from across Texas, as well as Louisiana, Colorado, Mississippi and New Mexico, Birkhead said. Featured high-profile teen ropers Marcus Theriot, Westyn Hughes, Cooper Mathews and Ty Harris will compete in the 7 p.m. Match Ropers Tournament on Tuesday...more

General Store owner was year-round workaholic

Workaholics, take comfort. Your obsession – even at this time of year – has local precedence. Although let’s hope you’d draw the line at taking a full inventory on New Year’s Day. That’s exactly what happened every January 1 at the El Toro General Store during George Osterman’s 1922-1946 ownership. George had inherited a stern work ethic from his father, local homesteader John Osterman. Even so, after a short period of tenant farming on a remote area of Lewis Moulton’s Niguel Ranch – the site of today’s Laguna Niguel Regional Park – George and his wife Lois chose the seemingly more “cushy” job of running El Toro’s one and only emporium. The main reason for this career choice was the advent of their first son, George Jr., eventually followed by Joe and Jim. Running a store that served El Toro’s ranchers and farmers would support a much more family-friendly lifestyle than attempting to dry farm on isolated acreage. At least, that was the theory. As it turned out, George and Lois operated the store six days a week from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and were open for business half-days on Sunday. Moreover, middle son Joe, who grew up to write “Fifty Years In Old El Toro,” noted it didn’t always end there. “Someone often came by simply desperate for something which he or she had forgotten earlier, or to use the [store] phone” which, for many years, was the only phone in the area except for the one at Moulton’s ranch. But back to the dreaded New Year’s Day. Here are the recollections of George Jr.: “The lowlight of the year at the store was New Year’s Day. For us, on that single day, there was no Rose Parade, no football game except on the old Atwater Kent radio. This was Inventory Day. Every item in the store, spools of thread, yards of fabrics, pounds of nails. Everything had to be counted. It was a family enterprise. The doors were locked, the count went on. I learned to count by totaling up the penny candies. In a forest of pleasant memories of the store, something had to be bleak. The inventory was it!”...more

Cattlemen established his ranch in 1917

When Guy Scott Rachal established his Pecos County ranch in 1917, it comprised more than 38,000 acres on open range. He branded his cattle with an H-6, the brand used by his family in South Texas since the 1800s. Guy Scott Rachal was born Feb. 14, 1889, to A.P. and Dizena Peters Racheal at Karnes City. A.P. Racheal, also a native Texan and cattleman, was an old trail driver before operating ranches from San Antonio to Corpus Christi, according to the “Encyclopedia of Texas.” The Palo Pato Ranch, located on Agua Dulce Creek in Nueces County, served as the Racheal ranch headquarters. The Racheal family came to Texas from Louisiana in 1840. Guy Rachal (who changed the spelling of his last name) attended schools in Beeville and later attended the University of Texas, where he studied mining engineering. He finished at West Texas Military Academy in San Antonio and entered ranching with his father. As a boy, Guy started running a few cattle under his own brand on his father’s ranch. He ranched in Karnes County until coming to Pecos County in 1917. The Rachal Ranch in Pecos County, 32 miles southeast of Fort Stockton on the Sanderson road, was the sole range of registered Hereford cattle in the beginning. The cattle of about 100 head were offspring of the foundation stock from L.R. Bradley’s famous herd at Hereford (Texas)...more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1341

Its Swingin' Monday and we're dusting off some old 78s. Here's the Hackberry Ramblers with Pas Aller Vita.  The tune was recorded in New Orleans on Sept. 10, 1937 and released as Bluebird 2021.  That's Luderen Darbone on the fiddle.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

Resolving to be resolute

by Julie Carter

What do you know about the New Year’s celebration except that it is when you make resolutions you won’t keep?

Jan. 1 wasn’t always the day celebrated for New Years although the celebration is one of the oldest of holidays.

It was first observed in ancient Babylon about 4000 years ago. Around 2000 BC, Babylonians celebrated the beginning of a new year on what is now Mar. 23. It made more sense in that it was the time of year that spring began and new crops were planted. Jan. 1, on the other hand, has no astronomical or agricultural significance.

The Roman senate, in 153 BC, declared Jan. 1 to be the beginning of the New Year and Julius Caesar did the same in 46 BC for the Julian calendar.

George Washington began the custom of holding a party on New Year's Day where everyone was welcome. This became known as having an "open house" and is still done in many places today.

Regional foods help welcome the New Year in various parts of America. In Pennsylvania Dutch country, eating sauerkraut on New Year's Day is said to bring good luck. In the South the custom is to eat black-eyed peas. More often now, people use Tylenol to cure their celebration pain.

Making resolutions on this first day of the New Year also dates back to the early Babylonians. While popular modern resolutions might include the promise to lose weight or quit smoking, the Babylonian's most popular resolution was to return borrowed farm equipment.

At the ranch, resolutions might include a solemn promise to never eat Brussels sprouts, tofu, skinless chicken breasts, spinach anything or fermented cabbage.

On the upside, a rural ranch dweller might dream of swearing off ice breaking, manure shoveling or any horse called Bronc. High on that dream list would be shorter days for wind milling and pipelining and sleeping longer nights. Next would be no dead cow skinning or pitchfork using and no work that requires a shovel or a mechanics tool box.

Of course all those dream resolutions come because the thought is-- if you are going to make yourself promises you can’t keep, may as well make big ones.

I would like to resolve to be more disciplined with my work, smile more often when I’d really rather not, and first look to find praise for someone or something before I find criticism.  I would like to act better today than I thought possible yesterday and set a higher standard for tomorrow.

I resolve to not mention the words exercise, diet, or facelift in the same sentence with my name. Health and beauty should be a natural daily process, not a resolution.

I will continue to remind myself that Jan. 1 is simply the day after Dec. 31 and the day before Jan. 2.  Nothing more.  I will strive to remember that everyday is a gift, tomorrow is never promised to us, and that the people in my life are precious. If they aren’t, then I need to look again.

I live an abundant blessed life and want to never fail to recognize that.  But most of all I want to resolve to be resolute -- firm in purpose, belief and unshakeable determination.

May the year bring to you all of what you need and even some of what you want.

Julie can be reached for comment at

ObamaCare, Monuments & The Science of The Cow

Just livin’
The science of the Cow
The case of the methane producers
By Stephen L. Wilmeth

            My wife’s attitude regarding government intrusion into our lives has hit a wall. Her reaction was stepwise, but the end result was dramatic.
The date of May 21, 2014 will stand in infamy. It was the date this president signed his unilateral order declaring a big portion of our ranch as national monument. Notwithstanding the eight year long battle of citizenry objections to the action, the environmental throng which controls the current agenda prevailed. As a result, watershed event number one was in the books.
The next step of demolition came in the form of a letter. It was notice of our insurance termination. Already, our rates for a very conservative $5,000 deductible medical policy had increased 29% for the year. With the notice of termination based on Affordable Care Act guidelines, we scrambled to secure a replacement. Those replacement policies ran from 248% to 295% of monthly premium payments based on January 1, 2014. Watershed event number two was in the books.
The final straw was the removal of Fox News from Dish TV Network last Saturday night. We awoke to discover our preferred source of news to the world was gone. Certainly we know of the “negotiations” that are ongoing, but we also know the fundamental political differences of the networks and Fox News.
It was all too much.
 “First, they put our entire investment life in jeopardy, then they take away our insurance, and now they maneuver to take Fox,” my own sweet wife said. “I feel like I live in a communist country!”
Alas … too many of us are feeling the same vibes.
The beat continues
Be aware that the joint agency health mob, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC), will present to the nation its updated dietary recommendations. Word is they are going to recommend cutting red meat from the American diet. This bit of agenda driven coition is not coming just from the environmental police, but the federal agency with the organic mandate to maintain the vitality of agriculture, the USDA. The fact that HHS is the accessory culprit is no surprise, but USDA is now well on it way to being classified as rogue.
Think of the implications.
When the official announcement is made, some bureaucrat will be standing at the dais recommending that an entire segment of his agency’s mission framework be eliminated. He will necessarily reference the “science” that leads to such a perverse decision, and, no doubt, he will offer a demeanor of actual belief.
What hypocrisy!
Can we only imagine the confusion our Founders would exhibit if they not only learned of the presence of the USDA, but its advocacy for the elimination of red meat consumption from the American diet, and, hence, production?
The problem is we know the recommendations are not based on nutritional science. No longer can the agenda be hidden in any terms or flowered expressions. The agenda is couched around marching orders relating to the general mission of advancing the war on animal agriculture and its trumped up impact on the environment.
It’s hogwash, and we are the victims of a Roundhouse express that knows no bounds.
Cow, the venerable provider to Society
Reformed addicts, regardless of abused substance, are tedious.
There is an article floating around Ag news this week about the benefits of beef to the planet. It is written by a former industry adversary who put her money where her mouth is and invested in the business. The tables are suddenly and miraculously turned. My respected rancher friend, Tom Mobley, will chastise me for not heralding the disclosure of the good news, but my question will remain.
“Why must we rely on a former operative against our customs and culture to applaud what should be a foundational standard?”
In respect to Mr. Mobley, I’ll be cordial and not only endorse the work of the author of note, but elevate her observations. Her new found loyalties are not only correct her foray into the business has opened her eyes to actual facts. Cattle are miraculous providers of gifts of vital nutrition and they have endured under immense societal and environmental pressures. Their versatile role in the conversion of raw organic material into life giving protein has sustained this world without fanfare or applause. They are amazing animals.
They are also the center of the war on animal agriculture.
They are accused of gassing us with methane and fouling the planet. The problem I have with that whole corrupted view is that I live with them. Every time I am with them in numbers I am reminded of their sensory impact on me. I love the smell of cattle against a backdrop of arid high desert grasslands. I see the results of their presence on the benefits to the ground, the turf, and invasive brush. I have followed them around unbelievably rough hillsides and marvel at their ability to create nearly invisible trails and traverse rough country with ease. I have watched too many times a cow pick up her calf out of a mob of bawling calves and lead that calf away to resume the cycle that not only perpetuates her existence but mine and others who enjoy the measure of her gifts.
I am unabashedly biased, and it comes not from an agenda, but the singular blessing of witnessing the resiliency of the cow up close and personal.
The impact
The mapping of greenhouse gas production assigned to cattle equates to 2% of the nation’s emissions. The major concern and the talking point is methane, the explosive metabolite of cellulose digestion. It’ll burn, but it will burn whether it is bovine sourced or a human creation. It’ll explode, too. It will explode in concentration whether it is bovine sourced, or … a human creation.
The nation’s beef herd is made up of something over 30,000,000 individual cows. That is about 8,000,000 or so individuals fewer than the current crop of professed American vegetarians who generate a greater footprint of methane expulsion than do their meat eating counterparts. Now, the science of quantifying their human environmental footprint relating to the corruption of the environment is not currently in vogue or subject to grant study funding, but it is time to start understanding its impact.
Strides are being made to address the methane production in cattle. It is being done with the application of genetic tendencies and breeding programs, the formulation of feed additives, and good pasture management at the source of production.
There is no countering human mechanism toward mitigation of gassing the environment nor is there the implication of actually using the gas producers to trump their own flatulence. In studies referenced by the Union of Concerned Scientists, it appears the entire component of bovine greenhouse gas creation can be sequestered back into grasslands. The kicker is cattle are the modern grazing herd component that are necessary to create beneficial disturbances, prevent encroachment of invasive woody shrubs, and elevate the functioning of grassland ecology.
The human component must continue to rely on the production of grains and vegetables which, in itself, is the very mechanism that releases carbon and strips the earth of protective grassland shields. They are actually aiding and abetting the expansion of greenhouse gasses.
Their water use should also be scrutinized.
Admittedly, beef production consumes about 440 gallons of water per pound of meat. That compares to the human methane generators of applying something over 455 gallons of water for their pound of rice. Fruits and vegetables are even bigger consumers when equated to an annual use basis.
In short, cattle stand as a net positive producer of nutrition, goods, and service expansion to humanity while humans constitute a net user of resources. As the science progresses, it is becoming increasingly clear the greater footprint of environmental corruption is emanating from the loudest mouthpieces that are systematically destroying our customs and culture, and, yes, our freedom.
To the beginning
Indeed, we live in a changing society.
Fox News was still absent from our TV and our insurance source for 2015 remains in limbo. What was consistent, though, was our cowherd was in the Coldiron Pasture converting cellulose into protein and life giving nutrition. Those respected animals are scheduled to rotate from that pasture on January 1 to leave a turf concentration that is intended to expand the density of native arid land grass species.
I’ll ask the Vegans among you this question. What did you do with the last grass clippings your gardeners took from your lawn? Did you eat them or did you deposit them in the trash can for burial in the local landfill?
My livestock converted ours, and … a bit of methane was likely generated.

Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico. “Given the choice I’ll wade through a sloppy livestock trailer any day as opposed to walking into a public restroom.”

Baxter Black: The herd sire

This is one of those stories that sound so unbelievable, you’ll know I didn’t make it up.

Mike studied the bloodlines. He checked performance records. He knew his herd like the top two layers of his tool box. He was a good young cattleman. When he decided on the course of action to improve his herd’s genetics, he called the breed association rep. They discussed his needs. Plans were made for the fieldman to attend a bull sale in Texas with the express instructions to buy exactly the right bull.

The call from Texas delighted Mike. The fieldman had bought the perfect yearlin’ bull that would carry Mike’s cows into the 21st century for $10,000 ... half interest. He agreed that the co-owner, a purebred breeder from Oklahoma, could use the bull that fall. Then he would ship him to Pine Ridge country of northwestern Nebraska in time for Mike’s spring breeding.

In February, arrangements were made to put the bull on the back of a load going as far as Sterling, Colorado. The trucker would call Mike on arrival. 

Mike waited anxiously. Several days passed and nobody called. He called his partner only to find they’d left Oklahoma territory a week before! Feeling uneasy, Mike called the Sterling sale barn. “No? No,” they didn’t remember any bull. “Let us check.” They suggested possibly the bull Mike was lookin’ for had been bought by a trader!

“What’d he pay?” asked Mike.

“Fifty-six cents a pound.”

In a panic, he tracked down the trader.

Wilderness advocates set sights on Pecos expansion

Fresh off a victory getting Columbine/Hondo Wilderness legislation past Congress, wilderness advocates have set their sights on designating additional special protections in an area that includes about 28,000 acres of Forest Service land in southern Taos County. Those behind the proposal say it will continue the momentum of protecting valuable landscapes from future development while preserving longstanding traditions closely tied to the forest. But some groups, including the New Mexico Acequia Commission, have raised concerns the protections of a wilderness designation could inadvertently hurt acequia users in the area.The existing Pecos Wilderness Area covers 224,000 acres and spans the Carson National Forest and Santa Fe National Forest. Proponents, including the New Mexico Wildlife Federation and the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance, would like to see an additional 120,000 of existing “roadless area” turned into wilderness or become a “Special Management Area.” Those acres would cover land in Taos, Mora, Rio Arriba, Santa Fe and San Miguel counties. The practical effect of the new designations would be to prohibit new roads, mechanized travel or resource extraction like mining. Such changes would need to be approved by Congress. Max Trujillo with the New Mexico Wildlife Federation told the Taos County Commission, Tuesday (Dec. 16) protecting this and other areas is key to ensuring public access to treasured areas. “This is ours. This is our ranch. This is our place that we all share in common,” Trujillo said. A resolution presented to the commission for approval states the areas around the Pecos “are prime watersheds, and in their natural condition provide many benefits including clean and abundant water supplies, clean air and superior wildlife habitat.” Wilderness advocates speaking before the commission also stressed the proposed designations would set in stone existing provisions that limit motorized access and prohibit woodcutting. Any grazing in the area would be allowed to continue, advocates say. They also contend maintaining watersheds improves water quality for acequia users downstream. But in a Nov. 18 letter to the county commission, Ralph Vigil, chairman of the New Mexico Acequia Commission, expressed “serious concerns” about the expansion of the wilderness area. “The proposal may have the unintended effect of placing additional stress on traditional users of water,” the letter reads. The letter asks the county commission to wait until all stakeholders — including nearby acequias — are able to have their voices heard and concerns addressed. At Tuesday’s meeting, at least two commissioners heeded that advice. Outgoing commissioner Larry Sánchez and commission chairman Gabe Romero both voted against the resolution supporting the wilderness. Sánchez said he couldn’t vote in favor of the resolution until the coalition got all stakeholders — including acequia users — on board. Romero voiced similar concerns. Commissioners Tom Blankenhorn and Dan Barrone voted in favor of the resolution. “I think it’s critical that we protect what little roadless land we have left,” Blankenhorn said...more

You notice two things right of the bat:  The Wilderness advocates went to the County Commission for support without having the backing of a traditional resource user and they already have draft legislation.

Advocates also said they hoped to continue building grassroots support for the new designations and have legislation drafted to be introduced in Congress next year.

Both are typical actions by the enviros.

How much is Wilderness and how much is Special Management Area?  The article doesn't say and the only way to know for sure is to see the draft legislation and the associated maps.

We know the impact of a Wilderness designation on forest thinning to manage the watershed and control wild fires, on livestock grazing, on firewood harvesting or any other use of motorized vehicles or mechanical equipment...and its all negative.

What would be the impact of a Special Management Area?  One can't say unless they have reviewed the language in the draft legislation.  It's interesting they are offering this alternative as they rejected any such alternatives in the Dona Ana County legislation.

And all persons interested or affected by this proposal should remember one important thing:  What the enviros say publicly may not be an accurate reflection of what is actually written in the legislation.  That's why the public needs to carefully review the language in the draft legislation.

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1340

From Beaumont, Tx. here is the great Benny Barnes singing Talking To The Lord