Saturday, September 23, 2017

How much water will agency be allowed to pump out of rural Nevada?

For the third time since 2008, Nevada’s top water regulator will convene a hearing in Carson City that could decide the fate of the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s plans to siphon groundwater from four rural valleys in eastern Nevada. Starting at 8:30 a.m. Monday, State Engineer Jason King is slated to hear two weeks of testimony for and against the controversial, multibillion-dollar project. The hearing on 25 groundwater applications could decide how much the authority would be allowed to pump from Cave, Dry Lake and Delamar valleys in Lincoln County and Spring Valley in White Pine County. Water authority spokesman Bronson Mack called it “a significant stage in the permitting process.” Simeon Herskovits, attorney for some opponents of the project, put it another way: “I guess you could say everything is at stake,” he said. Since 1989, Las Vegas water officials have been pushing plans to tap groundwater up to 300 miles away as a backup supply for a growing community that gets 90 percent of its drinking water from the overdrawn and drought-stricken Colorado River. The idea has drawn fierce opposition in Nevada and Utah from rural residents, ranchers, American Indian tribes, conservationists, outdoor enthusiasts and even the Mormon Church, which operates a large cattle ranch in Spring Valley. Critics argue the project will drain a large swath of arid eastern Nevada, destroying the landscape and the livelihoods of those who depend on it — all while producing too little water to justify the project’s roughly $15 billion price tag. The authority is counting on the network of wells and pipelines to supply enough water for at least 170,000 homes, though the agency does not expect to need the water for at least 15 to 20 years...more

U.S. cattle placements spike in August, portending more beef in 2018

CHICAGO, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Ranchers put one.93 million cattle in U.S. feedlots in August, the U.S. Section of Agriculture mentioned on Friday, in a more robust-than-anticipated report possible to weigh on futures early up coming 7 days. Cattle placements rose about three % from August in 2016, USDA mentioned. Analysts polled by Reuters had predicted a decrease of almost three %. The placements were being the most significant for August considering that 2012 and the most significant in general considering that May well of this year, when 2.119 million cattle moved into feedlots, in accordance to USDA facts. "It suggests you can find more beef forward of us," mentioned Linn Group analyst John Ginzel, who had predicted a placement spike of 104.three % when most other analysts expected a decrease. Cattle put on feed in August ought to access slaughter weight in the very first quarter of 2017. "It's a damaging report ... and most damaging for the February and April time slots," mentioned U.S. Commodities analyst Don Roose...more


Here is a clearer, more complete article:

Surprisingly Bearish Cattle on Feed Report  
By Rich Nelson

Montana FWP says grizzlies killed 10 cows

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks said Friday that grizzly bears killed 10 cows on a ranch along the Rocky Mountain Front this week. It happened about five miles west of Dupuyer According to a release from FWP, the cattle were in a creek bottom with thick willow cover. Specialists from USDA Wildlife Services said at least 12 grizzly bears were in the area, including sows with cubs. FWP says the number of bears in the area creates a unique challenge, and it would be extremely dangerous to try and capture individual bears. FWP can, however, offer assistance to help protect livestock and reduce other kinds of bear conflicts. The rancher is eligible for compensation from the livestock loss fund. Hunters, ranchers and anyone headed out into bear country is urged to be proactive and take steps to protect themselves. FWP offers tips to be “Bear Aware”. Bears typically become more active this time of year as they try to put on weight for hibernation. Bears move off seasonal sources of food, like berries and chokecherries. Livestock, in turn, becomes more susceptible...more

Lots of Cowpokes, but Nun like these

Beef cattle roam the pastures of a seemingly typical ranch near Virginia Dale, Colorado. This outfit’s head wrangler, however, doesn’t answer to a cowboy name like “Tex” or “Montana.” No siree. Rather, meet Sister Maria-Walburga, a Roman Catholic nun. Exactly how did she and the rest of her group of nuns become farmers and ranchers? Mother Maria Michael, Abbess, explained the Benedictine order’s roots. Founder St. Benedict (480-543 A.D.) had fled Rome’s decadence to live an austere life. Others soon joined him in his walk of ora et labora—”prayer and work.” Their enduring values include reverence for land, animals and equipment, and hospitality. Farming was a matter of survival for the original self-sufficient group and remains likewise today. The Abbey of St. Walburga in Colorado dates back to 1935, when the contemplative, monastic order sought safety from Hitler’s growing threat. Three sisters were sent from Eichstatt, Germany, to a then-remote farm in Boulder...more

Oregon and New Mexico the sites of last weekend's top rodeos

During the past weekend, many of the world’s top pros saddled up for rodeos in Albuquerque, New Mexico and Pendleton, Oregon. At Albuquerque’s New Mexico State Fair & Rodeo, three-time Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association world champion Will Lowe of Canyon clinched the bareback riding title after turning in a score of 87 aboard a bronc named Tino's Juarez, which is owned by the Cervi Championship Rodeo Co. In team roping, Aaron Macy of Post and Cody Hogan of Athens tied for first in the title race after the duo turned in a two-run time of 10.1 seconds. They shared the title with Clay Tryan and Jade Corkill. In saddle bronc riding, Audy Reed of Spearman finished No. 1 with an 85 atop a bronc named Multi-chem Forked Up, which also is owned by the Cervi Championship Rodeo Co. The Albuquerque rodeo offered competitors $158,796 in prize money. Other winners were all-around cowboy Seth Hall ($1,782, tie-down roping and team roping), steer wrestler Rowdy Parrot (7.2 seconds on two head), tie-down roper Cade Swor (15.1 seconds on two head), barrel racer Tillar Murray (15.63 seconds) and bull riders Dustin Bowen (87 points on Hurst Pro Rodeo's Yellow Hair) and Clayton Foltyn (87 points on Hurst Pro Rodeo's Captain Crunch). At the Pendleton Round Up, Will Gasperson, a former National Finals Steer Roping qualifier from Decatur, clinched the steer roping title after turning in a time of 49.0 seconds on three runs. Twenty-three time world champion Trevor Brazile of Decatur won the steer roping second round with a 12.7 and then finished fourth the average with a three-run time of 26.7. Tuf Cooper of Weatherford won the steer roping first round with a 13.1. Cooper, a three-time world champion tie-down roper, currently is ranked No. 1 in both the PRCA’s world all-around and tie-down roping title races...more

Friday, September 22, 2017

BLM offers livestock operators increased flexibility through Outcome-Based Grazing Authorizations

WASHINGTON – The Bureau of Land Management announced a new initiative today to provide grazing permit holders an unprecedented level of flexibility in the management of livestock while also protecting the public lands.  This effort emphasizes the Trump Administration’s goal of promoting shared conservation stewardship of public lands while supporting uses such as grazing.
“Farmers and ranchers know the wildlife and the land they work better than anyone; it only makes sense that we would enlist them in conservation efforts,” said Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.  “One of my top goals is for the government to be a better neighbor, land manager, and partner.  I think it’s a great step in that direction.  I applaud the team at BLM for coming up with this innovative program.”
Under the demonstration program, the BLM will work with grazing permittees and other stakeholders in identifying 6 to 12 “Outcome-Based Grazing Authorizations” in its first year.  Grazing authorizations typically emphasize process and prescription.  The new authorizations will instead emphasize ecological outcomes, allowing livestock operators more flexibility to make adjustments in response to changing conditions such as drought or wildland fire.  This innovative concept is intended to develop and determine the effectiveness of these permits to manage livestock grazing on public lands in order to meet both natural resource and operational objectives.
“This initiative is in line with the Administration's priority promoting shared stewardship of public lands and giving local stakeholders a say in how these lands are managed,” said Michael D. Nedd, acting BLM Director.  “This demonstration project will allow permittees and the BLM to work together more efficiently and effectively to support sustainable grazing operations.”
The new authorizations will emphasize conservation performance, ecological outcomes and cooperative management of public lands that will also provide greater opportunity for an operator to manage ranching operations that are both economically and environmentally sustainable.
Through this new demonstration program, the BLM plans to work with permit holders and other stakeholders to show that livestock grazing on the public lands can operate under a more flexible framework than is commonly used in order to better reach agreed upon habitat or vegetation goals.  The BLM and its partners in the grazing community will share experiences and best practices that will determine if additional authorizations can be successful in the future.
The BLM administers nearly 18,000 permits and leases held by ranchers who graze their livestock (mostly cattle and sheep) on more than 21,000 allotments.  Livestock grazing occurs on 155 million acres of public lands.
The BLM will solicit project proposals through its state offices with a deadline of  Oct. 27, 2017

This is definitely the way to go, but is hardly as "innovative" as the Secretary seems to think.  After all, the Experimental Stewardship Program was started in 1978 as a result of the Public Rangelands Improvement Act. Various forms of "outcome based" programs have ensued since then, but none have stuck. 

Let's hope the BLM successfully pursues this approach, but also realize this should not divert us from large-scale regulatory reform as called for in Trump's executive orders. 


Cliven Bundy wants to fire attorney just before trial

Bunkerville rancher Cliven Bundy wants to fire his lawyer less than a month before he is to stand trial on charges related to a 2014 standoff with the Bureau of Land Management. Defense attorney Bret Whipple, whom Bundy retained, filed court papers Thursday asking for a hearing as soon as possible. “Defendant has decided to terminate his contract for representation at this time,” Whipple wrote. “The attorney-client relationship has been disrupted.” Bundy “no longer consents to undersigned counsel’s representation of him in this matter or at trial,” the document reads. With a trial set to begin Oct. 10, Whipple said in the filing that Bundy would have to either represent himself or find another lawyer. Reached by phone, Whipple said he is not opposed to U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro presiding over a public hearing “as soon as the court will allow it.” Whipple wrote that he did not know whether Bundy wished to represent himself. One of the rancher’s sons, Ryan Bundy, who also is a defendant in the case, already represents himself. Angela Dows, his standby attorney, also has asked to withdraw from the case, citing a “repugnant” correspondence from Ryan Bundy and a “fundamental disagreement” between the two. The judge decided not to rule on that request after a hearing Thursday morning. Along with the Bundys, five others are scheduled for trial next month...more

Global Warming: Who Are The Deniers Now?

Global warming is "settled science," we hear all the time. Those who reject that idea are "deniers." But as new evidence trickles out from peer-reviewed science studies, the legs beneath the climate change hypothesis — that the earth was doing just fine until carbon-dioxide spewing human beings came along — is increasingly wobbly. A new study published in the journal Nature Geoscience purports to support action by global governments to reduce carbon dioxide output in order to lower potential global warming over the next 100 years or so. But what it really does is undercut virtually every modern argument for taking radical action against warming. Why? The study admits that the 12 major university and government models that have been used to predict climate warming are faulty. "We haven't seen that rapid acceleration in warming after 2000 that we see in the models," said Myles Allen, professor of geosystem science at Oxford and one of the authors of the study. "We haven't seen that in the observations." And, of course, he's quite right. As we've noted here numerous times, the much-feared "global warming" trend seems to have halted somewhere around 1998. We know this is true because satellite temperature readings — the most accurate temperature gauge since it takes in the entire atmosphere, not just parts of it — show there's been virtually no change. Based on the U.N.'s models, temperatures should have been shooting up sharply starting in about 1995. By this year, model temperatures show we should have had just under a 1.0 degree centigrade rise in temperature, a significant temperature spike in what is, in geological time, an extremely short period. It was those models that were used to sell the world on the idea that we needed a drastic reordering of our global economic priorities immedialy. The reality: virtually no change in temperature. Put simply, the models are wrong...more

EPA Pulls Agents Off Probes For Pruitt’s 24/7, 18-Member Security Detail

Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt has an unprecedented round-the-clock security detail that now includes 18 people, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday, citing unnamed people briefed on the situation. Pruitt’s request for such a large security detail has required the EPA to pull special agents who typically investigate environmental crimes onto his detail, according to the Washington Post and CNN. The EPA administrator reportedly requested a 24/7 security detail of 10 agents when he first assumed his post earlier this year. These latest stories confirm that Pruitt has had a round-the-clock security detail, a first for an EPA administrator. The agency’s inspector general told the Washington Post and CNN that the EPA has seen an uptick in threats this year, many of them directed at Pruitt himself. “We have at least four times — four to five times the number of threats against Mr. Pruitt than we had against Ms. [Gina] McCarthy,” Patrick Sullivan, the EPA’s assistant inspector general for investigations, told CNN.

Mosquitoes carrying deadly diseases could invade 75% of America, warns US government

Mosquitoes capable of spreading serious and potentially deadly diseases such as Zika, dengue and yellow fever could invade about three-quarters of mainland United States, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention have warned. The CDC, a US federal agency, has previously warned that climate change could affect human health in many ways including increasing the number of “disease carriers such as mosquitoes and ticks”.In a paper published in the Journal of Medical Entomology, it revealed maps showing areas where the habitat was suitable for two particular species of mosquito, Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus to survive. A study found 71 per cent of counties in the 48 contiguous states were suitable for aegypti and 75 per cent could support albopictus.
The paper said the dengue, chikungunya and Zika viruses in particular represented a “growing public health threat in parts of the United States where they are established”.
“We anticipate that Aedes aegypti and albopictus will be found more commonly in counties classified as suitable,” it said.

Ranch Radio Song of the Day

TGIFF! Its Fiddle Friday. Yesterday we had a Canadian singer, and today we have a fiddler from Nova Scotia. Here's Natalie MacMaster with what is becoming my favorite version of Beaumont Rag.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Ryan Zinke installs 'Big Buck Hunter' video game in Interior Department cafeteria

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke installed the video game "Big Buck Hunter" in the department's cafeteria Tuesday to make a point about conservation. "To highlight #sportsmen contributions 2 conservation I installed Big Buck Hunter in the employee cafeteria. Get excited for #hunting season!" he tweeted. Zinke was referring to an executive order he signed last week to open up national parks and monument areas to more hunting and fishing. See for yourself if the game lives up to his intended expectations. Zinke posted the tweet with a photo of him standing by the 17-year-old arcade-style video game...more

If Trump Doesn’t Revoke ‘Illegal’ Ocean National Monument Created By Obama, The Courts Might

Michael Bastach

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke recommended President Donald Trump change the boundaries or management of 10 national monuments, including ocean monuments created by the Obama administration. Zinke asked Trump to allow commercial fishing at Obama-designated ocean monuments in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, but five of those monuments the Department of the Interior reviewed could be declared unlawful. Earlier this year, the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) filed suit against the Trump administration on behalf of New England fisherman opposed to the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts monument off the New England coast. PLF’s lawsuit doesn’t just argue against the offshore monument’s prohibition against fishing and crabbing above 3.1 million acres of underwater canyons, the group has also claimed the Antiquities Act is limited to creating national monuments on federally-controlled “lands,” not waters. Should PLF prevail, the Atlantic Ocean monument would be void...more

Oregon House passes bill to shield officer who shot ‘LaVoy’ Finicum

The Oregon House overwhelmingly approved a bill Wednesday that would shield the identity of the officer who shot and killed Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, and potentially others, despite cross-ideological opposition from both Finicum supporters and Black Lives Matter. The 55-3 House vote came in response to threats against the Oregon State Police officer, whose name has yet to be released pending an investigation. “This bill is deadly serious,” said Democratic state Rep. Jeff Barker during Wednesday’s floor debate as reported by the Oregonian. “This isn’t to protect a wrongdoer. It isn’t to protect a police department that screwed up.” Some supporters of Mr. Finicum have insisted that he was “assassinated” or “murdered” after his vehicle was stopped Jan. 26 at an FBI roadblock on Highway 395. Mr. Barker, who amended the bill last week in committee, said he worried about “whack jobs” who were “demanding to know the name of the officer that killed LaVoy.” The bill would allow a judge to withhold for 90 days the identity of an officer involved in the use of deadly force in the event of a “credible threat of danger.” Mr. Finicum’s allies at the Facebook page Oregon Wide Open said the bill would set a troubling precedent and reduce police transparency...more

15 states now defy Trump by upholding the Paris climate accord

The state-based movement to continue meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change following President Trump’s choice to withdraw is making headway. The U.S. Climate Alliance, as the group is called, said Wednesday that it is on track to meet and possibly surpass its portion of the Paris Agreement’s targets of a 24% to 29% reduction in greenhouse gas emission rates from 2005 levels by 2025. The Paris Agreement, which was adopted in 2015 by 195 countries, aims to reduce emissions in order to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius. The bipartisan coalition of states was created by three Democratic governors — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, California Gov. Jerry Brown and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee — after President Trump announced in June his plan to withdraw the U.S. from the international accord. North Carolina became the latest and 15th state to join the U.S. Climate Alliance, which also includes Puerto Rico. Additionally, two states with Republican governors, Massachusetts and Vermont, are part of the alliance. “Either we end this problem or this problem will end us,” Cuomo said during a press conference in New York, which was also attended by Brown, Inslee and former Secretary of State John Kerry...more

Don’t let fake narrative block Monuments review


...Yet we hear over and over again that the Trump administration has some secret plan to sell lands currently in National Monuments. It’s a fake narrative designed to avoid having a real conversation about the impact monuments have had in Montana and other states. One of the red flags that prompted the Monument review by Secretary Zinke was the sheer scope of land that has been encompassed using the Antiquities Act, which has included hundreds of thousands of acres of private land. It’s clear from the language of the Antiquities Acts itself that it was never intended to be the vehicle for a government land grab. The Antiquities Act also requires that monuments be limited to things like “historic landmarks, and “historic or prehistoric structures”. The Act also limits designations to Federal lands and requires that the size of the monument be “the smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the objects.” It is obvious these statutory limitations have been flagrantly ignored over the last twenty years. Since 1996, presidents have used the Act to create 26 monuments larger than 100,000 acres. These 26 monuments aren’t restricted to existing Federal lands—in all cases private lands have been swept up in these massive monument designations. A skewed conception of monuments has developed. The Antiquities Act was intended to protect things like archaeological sites and geological formations. It was never intended to encompass vast swathes of land. The most notorious example is the Missouri Breaks Monument, which sweeps around and isolates over 80,000 acres of private land. The Breaks monument designation didn’t provide any new protections for the Missouri River, which was already protected with a Wild and Scenic River designation—this designation was simply a flagrant land grab. Farmers and ranchers who’ve had their property engulfed by Presidential decree have seen new restrictions that negatively affect their property and offensive intrusions by federal regulators. These landowners live with the ominous knowledge that the federal government has its sights set on one day acquiring their land that lies within the Monument boundaries. Hunters, anglers, and other outdoor recreationalists have seen a reduction in access to public land with monument designations. Claims that there is somehow an uptick in tourism after a monument designation are also fake—the public land was already there, now it’s just harder to get to. Over 200 miles of public roads have been closed in the Missouri Breaks monument alone...more

As Secretary Zinke Proves...

Ranch Radio Song of the Day

Today we bring you the Canadian singer Smiley Bates performing The Legend of the Snow White Dove. The tune is on his 1995 CD The Soul of Country Music.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Trump Bypasses Congress to Open Up World Markets to U.S. Gun Makers

President Trump is ready to shift rules to allow American gun makers more leeway in selling arms and ammunition to foreign buyers. This would mean expanded markets for AR-15s and American made 5.56 and .223 ammunition. According to Reuters, aides to President Trump are finalizing “a plan to shift oversight of international non-military firearms sales from the State Department to the Commerce Department.” And the shift in rules governing sales to foreign buyers can be accomplished without Congressional approval. Moving oversight from the State Dept. to Commerce places things in the hands of a department more interested in upping trade numbers than restricting firearm sales. This provides broadened opportunities for manufacturers like Bushmaster, Daniel Defense, Battle-Tested Equipment, Smith & Wesson (American Outdoor), Sturm, Ruger, and Co., and other American companies. An administration official speaking on condition of anonymity said, “There will be more leeway to do arms sales. You could really turn the spigot on if you do it the right way.” News of the administration’s shift in arms sale policy lifted Sturm Ruger and American Outdoor stock value upwards of 18 percent. The surge is because a shifting oversight of arms sales from the State Department to the Commerce Department “could increase sales by 15-20 percent annually.”...more

Preserving an American tradition: Maintaining access and increasing opportunities on our public lands

Sportsmen are the heart and soul of conservation policy in the United States. In the spirit of the first Chief of the U.S. Forest Service, Gifford Pinchot, our nation values the “wise use of the Earth and its resources for the lasting good of men” through responsible resource management, conservation and recreation. However, to ensure conservation and economic growth can be created by our federal lands, it is important to have access to outdoor activities on America’s public lands, and to have secure Second and Tenth Amendment rights. That is why Congress should pass the “Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act.” Many of our nation’s sportsmen enjoy access to our public lands, which also makes possible many jobs in the outdoor recreation industry sector. Maintaining access and increasing opportunities on our public lands will help ensure our natural resources are conserved in perpetuity, and helps sustain good, family supporting jobs for millions of Americans. Unfortunately, federal agencies like the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management continue to restrict access to public lands for hunting, fishing and recreational shooting. For many Americans, our public lands are where they have practiced these activities for decades, and remain some of the only locations where they can recreate safely and affordably. Reliable public access to these areas must remain a priority. The SHARE Act safeguards access to our public lands, and features provisions designed to ensure that federal agencies actively work to sustain and expand these opportunities for Americans...more

California suing Trump over border wall, escalating battle with White House

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra plans to announce Wednesday that the state will sue the Trump administration over one of President Trump’s paramount campaign promises—the border wall. Becerra’s lawsuit, expected to target planned projects in San Diego and Imperial counties, marks the latest shot in California's legal and legislative war against Trump. The state essentially has emerged as the heart of the Trump "resistance," pumping out lawsuits against his immigration policies and even passing a resolution Friday in the Assembly censuring Trump for his comments on the violence stemming from white nationalist protests in Charlottesville, Va. The forthcoming lawsuit comes as Trump works with Congress to try and secure funding for a border wall -- though the specifics of the project itself remain unclear. The president issued an executive order in January calling for securing the “southern border of the United States through the immediate construction of a physical wall on the southern border, monitored and supported by adequate personnel so as to prevent illegal immigration, drug and human trafficking and acts of terrorism.” Last month, the administration awarded contracts to four companies to begin construction. The president tweeted last week that “the WALL, which is already under construction in the form of new renovation of old and existing fences and walls, will continue to be built.”...more

More specifics and a link tu the suit from the LA Times 

Becerra is scheduled to travel to Border Field State Park near San Diego to announce that a lawsuit is being filed in federal court over construction of border wall projects in San Diego and Imperial counties. The lawsuit, which includes the California Coastal Commission as a plaintiff, states its purpose is "to protect the State of California’s residents, natural resources, economic interests, procedural rights, and sovereignty from violations of the United States Constitution" and federal law. It adds that the wall would have a chilling effect on tourism to the United States from Mexico. The state's lawsuit alleges that the Trump administration has failed to comply with federal and state environmental laws and relied on federal statutes that don't authorize the proposed projects. The brief alleges the federal government violated the U.S. Constitution's separation-of-powers doctrine "by vesting in the Executive Branch the power to waive state and local laws, including state criminal law.". The lawsuit also says the Department of Homeland Security decided to build the walls without complying with the Clean Water Act and the National Environmental Policy Act. As a result, the lawsuit alleges, the federal government lacks proper environmental analysis of the impact of 400-foot prototypes of the wall currently planned, as well as the 2,000-mile-long final wall.

Border ranchers, in a world without a wall

Dennis Wagner | | USA TODAY NETWORK

Across hundreds of miles, cattle ranchers tell remarkably similar stories, from flowing grasslands of the San Rafael Valley to gnarly peaks of the Atascosa Mountains to saguaro-studded desert. Ranching is a heritage of land, a family legacy, a lifestyle. It’s a cycle of fence mending, cactus dodging and calf branding, measured by sweat and blisters. Most families have been at it more than a century, isolated in wild, lonely, peaceful country with only the buzzing of flies and the bawling of calves. These operations today run about 150,000 head of cattle in southern Arizona, an $18 million economic driver in Cochise County alone. Ranches and grazing leases account for much of the land area, and lifestyle. The Ladd family's San Jose Ranch started up when Pancho Villa’s revolutionaries marauded along the border. More than 120 years later, John Ladd runs cattle there, along 10 miles of border in Cochise County. He recalls a time when nearly all of the locals employed Mexican cowboys. “We had Loreto,” he says. “My dad sponsored him for citizenship, and always kidded that he was my brother.” At a ranch near Nogales, Robert Noon offers a similar memory: “You had your wetbacks coming across,” he says, seemingly unaware that, for some, the word cuts like barbed wire. “They were actually looking for a job — not a handout. We’d give ’em a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and they were on their way.” During the 1980s, perhaps 300 border crossers would pass through a ranch each month. They were meek and respectful, begging for water before heading north.

And then the borderland slowly turned to hell. In the ’90s, Ladd says, 300 migrants were crossing his land daily. By the early 2000s, a boom was underway. More migrants, more border patrol, more fences. Under the George W. Bush and Obama administrations, the U.S. Border Patrol nearly doubled the number of agents working on the southwestern border to over 17,000. The Border Patrol budget has more than tripled, from $1 billion in 2000 to $3.6 billion last year. Beginning in 2006 under the Secure Fence Act of 2006, the government also built about 700 miles of pedestrian and vehicle barriers. Obama’s administration also added millions of dollars worth of motion sensors, trail cameras, flood lights and other technology collectively described as a “virtual fence.” But, because agents mostly patrolled many miles north of the Mexican boundary, ranches remained a no-man’s land where rival cartels and banditos waged war. On his ranch near Rio Rico, David Lowell drew a “Map of Atrocities” to keep track of where shootouts occurred and bodies were found. Then came the atrocities of 2010. To the east, past Ladd’s spread, a rancher named Robert Krentz was killed. Authorities followed tracks from the murder site to the border, where they lost the trail. Officially, the killer has never been identified. And to the west, in the backcountry of Lowell’s ranch, Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was cut down in a gunfight with bandits. Today, there’s a monument to Terry in the remote, tangled canyon where he died. It is, in essence, a private memorial — almost impossible to find or access. Like so many pieces of the border story, it remains unseen.

Deputy Mike Magoffin heads east out of Douglas, Arizona, his head on a swivel. Magoffin stops to inspect footprints across the border road. The tracks are a day old, so he moves on. Magoffin’s a deer hunter, and tracking smugglers or immigrants involves the same skill set and adrenaline. “It’s OK,” he adds, “as long as it doesn’t extrapolate into pulling the trigger.” The radio picks up occasional chatter among Border Patrol agents. No word of immigrants or drug runners. Magoffin pulls out binoculars and points to a boulder-strewn bluff on the Mexican side — a smuggler’s lookout post. “I’m 100 percent certain we’re being watched right now by someone affiliated with the cartel,” he says. He just can’t see them.Magoffin is on ranch patrol. When things got bad on the border, the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office created a team of deputies to help cattle growers deal with the immigrants, smugglers and Border Patrol. For 25 miles, fencing is variable. Some areas are guarded by an 18-foot bollard-style barricade; others have only Normandy vehicle barriers. Magoffin steps up to the more imposing fence, scales it in a matter of seconds, then jumps back to earth. The road ends atop a hill near the Mafioso Trail. From that point for 20 miles, the United States and Mexico are separated only by barbed wire.

Magoffin says this is probably the hottest smuggling zone. He dramatically peers in all directions, seeing no one. “It’s because of all the Border Patrol presence,” he says, sarcastically. Agents are rarely spotted. “We haven’t seen one since the Slaughter Ranch, about 40 minutes ago.” Reminded that the number of agents roughly doubled during the past decade, Magoffin nods. “There may be more back at the station,” he allows, “but out here? It doesn’t look like it.” Ranchers down here will tell you they despised the Obama administration, and helped vote Donald Trump into the White House. Yet a funny thing happens when you ask them about the president’s famous promise of a “tall, powerful, beautiful” border wall. Almost unanimously, they think it’s bad idea. Ladd, a cowboy who looks like the Marlboro man and runs cattle along 10 miles of border in Cochise County: “Enforce our immigration laws first. Put Border Patrol agents in sight of one another (along the international line). If you have line of sight, you don’t need a wall.” Manuel Solomon, a 71-year-old caballero, who has just finished castrating and branding calves near Rio Rico: “It won’t really matter. They (immigrants) will still come here. They’ll still climb it or go around it to find jobs.” Noon, who works a couple cow-calf operations outside Nogales: “A wall is a wall. It’s going to stop some traffic, but they’ll find a way around it. … In the long term? It’s a major waste of money. And it’s kind of ludicrous to think Mexicans will pay for it.”

David Lowell, a rancher who also has a degree in mine engineering, estimates that a three-story concrete wall might eliminate 80 percent of the illegal traffic, adding, “That would be all to the good as far as we’re concerned.” On the other hand, Lowell says, a barrier like the communist regime erected in East Berlin might work much better: “It would be two, sturdy, razor-wire fences with electrical currents and a road between them.” “The wall without the agents won’t do anything,” Magoffin says. “If you tell me, ‘Everything you want is on the other side of the wall and I won’t look,’ I’m going over that wall.” Ladd concedes that today’s rancher outrage is aimed mostly at how things used to be, not how they are. Ladd has not seen migrants on the property since Christmas. No smugglers’ vehicles have come through in 18 months. In fact, illegal immigration has been plummeting for years. Border Patrol data show 54,891 people were apprehended in southern Arizona’s Tucson Sector in 2016 — about one-tenth the number captured in 2000. An even sharper decline this year has been attributed, at least in part, to prospective immigrant fears after President Donald Trump took office and signed executive orders to start planning for the wall. Overall apprehensions dropped by two-thirds in April. Drive the border anywhere in this region and the story is the same. Rancher frustration is still real, palpable, even now that few crossers are around to be seen.

Ladd hops in an old, red pickup truck and churns a 3-mile trail of dust to newly installed border fence. Thick metal slats, 18 feet high, are emblazoned with the words “Korean Steel.” “This is probably 90 percent effective,” Ladd says. “It’s the best I’ve seen as far as design.” A brisk wind blows from Sonora, making a “shwoooo” sound as it crosses through fencing and into the United States. “That’s a wonderful sound,” Ladd says, smiling.

Up Against the Border Wall

On a quiet, late-spring morning in northern Sonora, Mexico, a beaver putters across a pond the size of a football field. A sinuous dam, 5 feet high, forms the pond’s southern edge. Frogs croak amid gnawed stumps, and the air is alive with birds and flying insects. “This is all new; this wasn’t here last week,” says Daniel Toyo, an agricultural technician with Naturalia, a Mexican environmental nonprofit. “It takes them three days to build something like this.” Naturalia manages the Rancho Los Fresnos, a 39-square-kilometer (9,577-acre) property that was once a working cattle ranch. Now, it’s a demonstration site for sustainable ranching techniques and conservation education. Los Fresnos encompasses the largest remaining group of ciénegas, or desert springs, in the watershed of the San Pedro River, which flows north into Arizona and joins the Gila River east of Phoenix. Most of the region’s desert wetlands have been degraded or destroyed by farms, ranches, and urban development. The beaver (Castor canadensis) stops to nibble on a floating branch. Then it heads for a den dug into the near bank, leaving a wake that spreads across the surface and disappears. The only sound is the breeze rustling the leaves of cottonwood trees, and the occasional bird song. Taking in this placid scene, it’s hard to believe that it could be so close to one of the most controversial international boundaries in the Americas. The Arizona border is just a 5-minute dirt-road drive north. Gerardo Carreón, Naturalia’s conservation director, walks a short distance upstream and points out rusty cans, socks, and pieces of burlap wedged among the rocks. “Border crossers often leave trash,” he says. “Drug smugglers wrap their feet in burlap sacks to hide their footprints. Sometimes word goes out: ‘Don’t be out on the property after dark.’” He points out flashes of light in the foothills of the Huachuca Mountains just across the border: the windshields of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) trucks glinting in the sunlight. What appears as a tiny white oval hanging high above the vehicles is the CBP’s 200-foot-long helium-filled blimp with a radar system that can detect low-flying, drug-smuggling aircraft from 200 miles away. “I don’t think they’ve ever caught anything,” in part because smugglers have shifted their operations to the ground, Carreón says. Amid all this, the beavers most likely waddled or paddled south from Arizona, where their forebears were reintroduced in 1999; after all, much of the ranch’s northern boundary is nothing more than a barbed-wire fence. But that would change if President Trump follows through on his campaign promise to build a “big, beautiful wall” between the U.S. and Mexico...more

Ranch Radio Song of the Day

Ranch Radio likes to recognize modern artists who keep the traditional sound in their music. That’s what we have in Kevin Anthony & G-Town and a tune from the 2017 CD Jump The Fence titled Meet Me In The Valley.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Once A Year, Thousands Of Sheep Take Over Madrid

A man dressed in a black beret and wide red belt appears on the plaza in front of Madrid’s City Hall, leading two black oxen joined together by a wooden contraption reminiscent of a distant era. Amidst the car-lined streets and illuminated shops, the scene stands in stark contrast to the modern city. The oxen’s arrival at the Plaza de Cibeles marks the final act in the Fiesta de la Trashumancia, or Transhumance Festival, which has been taking place in the city every autumn (typically at the end of October) since 1994. Conceived by the Association of Transhumance and Nature, it was designed to recognise and celebrate the centuries-old tradition of seasonal livestock migration. Since then, hordes of sheep (and sometimes bulls and horses) take over the Spanish capital once a year. They stumble through the elegant streets of Madrid with their hoofs clattering on the asphalt and eyes glazed in terror. Singing and dancing precedes them. Keeping the beat with castanets, women in mantillas, customary head coverings, and large, colourful skirts with aprons and men in wide pants tucked into long socks swirl around each other in a jota, a traditional Spanish dance. Most wear wooden shoes on spikes, which help dancers navigate muddy fields...more

South Texas begins long process of digging out after Harvey

Days after Hurricane Harvey left South Texas reeling from the most economically damaging storm in history, farmers, ranchers, merchants, citizens and anyone with property, family or interests in the region began to see how destructive the storm was. Many were both thankful and amazed at the outpouring of support from across the nation as volunteers came in to clear debris, deliver donated hay and other needed supplies to ranchers, businesses, residents, and others to help in the massive logistics task of finding housing and other immediate needs for thousands of displaced residents. Southwest Farm Press correspondent Logan Hawkes captures some of the devastation as well as images of hope in these photos...more\

Congress Takes Positive Steps to Protect Property Owners From Asset Seizure

Jason Snead

The House of Representatives has moved to defund the controversial civil forfeiture practice known as “adoptive” seizures. Last week, lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to approve three amendments to the Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act, all of which would prevent federal funds from being used to implement Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ July order to restart adoptive forfeitures. This makes the 2018 appropriations bill—which passed the House last Thursday—one of the most significant federal legislative actions on civil forfeiture in years. Adoptive forfeiture is the process by which property allegedly tied to criminal wrongdoing can be seized by state and local law enforcement officials, and then handed off to federal authorities for forfeiture under comparatively lax federal law. If a forfeiture is successful, the original seizing agency can expect to receive up to 80 percent of the resulting proceeds through the “equitable sharing” program. This program has come under tremendous pressure in recent years as states began to rein in civil forfeiture, afford property owners greater due process protections, and restrict how much forfeiture revenue may be retained by local law enforcement authorities and how those funds may be spent. Critics contend that adoptive forfeitures made it all too easy for local and state agencies to circumvent these protections. One 2011 study concluded that an inverse relationship exists between state forfeiture laws and federal equitable sharing payments—that is, the more a state attempts to limit police self-financing, the more agencies turn to federal forfeiture to make up the shortfalls...more

Other FBI agents at scene of LaVoy Finicum shooting testified before grand jury; Shell casings missing

By Maxine Bernstein

Other members of the FBI's Hostage Rescue Team involved in the stop of refuge occupation spokesman Robert "LaVoy'' Finicum testified before a federal grand jury that returned an indictment against their colleague, Agent W. Joseph Astarita. Prosecutors have asked the court for permission to share transcripts of the agents' testimony with a nationally recognized ballistics and trajectory expert who they may call as a witness at trial. Astarita is accused of firing two shots at Finicum or his truck and then lying about it. The shots didn't hurt Finicum. State police fatally shot Finicum a short time later. Finicum appeared to be reaching for a gun at the time, investigator said. He had a loaded gun in his inside jacket pocket, they said. The government's case against Astarita rests on videos taken by an FBI airplane flying overhead and cellphone video from Shawna Cox, a passenger in Finicum's truck, as well as ballistics and trajectory evidence developed by the state police crime lab and the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office, the prosecutors said in a recent court filing. "The central issue in this case is whether defendant fired two rounds at Finicum or Finicum's truck then lied about doing so to both the FBI and to Oregon State Police detectives who were investigating Finicum's death,'' Assistant U.S. Attorney Gary Sussman wrote in a motion seeking the grand jury transcript disclosure. On Monday, U.S. District Judge Robert A. Jones granted the request. Prosecutors noted that their expert, who wasn't named in court papers, has agreed to abide by the court's protective order prohibiting sharing of the information...more

And then there was this disclosure:
Last month, one of Astarita's lawyers told a judge that no one reported that they saw or heard Astarita fire and no direct evidence existed linking any bullet or shell casing to Astarita's rifle. Prosecutors countered that the investigation was continuing and revealed for the first time that not only are shell casings from Astarita's alleged shots missing, but so are shell casings from some of the Oregon State Police shots fired at the Jan. 26, 2016, roadblock.

A law enforcement officer is being charged, and evidence in possession of law enforcement suddenly disappears. How convenient.

Cowboy Artists of America Art Show & Sale - Join us October 5 - 7, 2017

~ CAA Mission Statement ~ 
To authentically preserve and perpetuate the culture of western life in fine art. The CAA is the longest surviving organization of fine art artists; the Active, Emeritus, Deceased and Honorary Members have enjoyed enduring success due to the foresight of the Founding Fathers who had a clear vision and defined the organization in 1965.
We would like to invite you to join us for the 52nd Anniversary of the Cowboy Artists of America Art Show! Once again, the CAA's are showing in conjunction with the Traditional Cowboy Arts Association (TCAA's) to celebrate the Cowboy Crossings Show.

We wanted to let you preview a selection of NEW original paintings and sculptures for the show at the National Cowboy and Western & Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City October 5 - 7, 2017.

In November, 1964, Joe Beeler, Charlie Dye and John Hampton went on a cattle roundup in Magdalena, Mexico, together and came out with an idea to start and artists group together.  For the past 52 years, the group has gone to many ranches to bond as friends and family.

Camp - These are a couple of the tents the Cowboy Artists of America used at the 2017 Trail Ride at the Sun Ranch, Cameron, MT   Our gracious hosts were RICHARD C ADKERSON, CHARLES GOODYEAR AND ROBERT PATRICK. 
Please let us know if you are unable to see the photos below. Click on each artist's work to see their show as of today.

Police Search For ‘Mad Pooper’ Who Dumps And Runs

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) – Police are searching for a woman who has been seen repeatedly defecating in a neighborhood while out running. Cathy Budde says her kids saw the woman mid-squat and came running back in the house to tell her. “They are like, ‘There’s a lady taking a poop!’ So I come outside, and I’m like … ‘are you serious?'” Budde said to the runner. “‘Are you really taking a poop right here in front of my kids?!’ She’s like, ‘Yeah, sorry!'” Budde says the runner is doing it in her neighborhood at least once a week for the last seven weeks, so they nicknamed her “The Mad Pooper.” “Two other times we’ve caught her – caught her yesterday – she changed up her time a little bit because she knew I was watching.” Now the Colorado Springs Police Department is involved, and say the runner could face charges of indecent exposure and public defecation. “It’s abnormal, it’s not something I’ve seen in my career,” Sgt. Johnathan Sharketti said. “For someone to repeatedly do such a thing … it’s uncharted territory for me.” According to the Budde family, there are plenty of restrooms less than a block away from where the woman is running, and so believe “this is intentional.”...more

Ranch Radio Song of the Day

Today we’ll go back and add Old Shep by Red Foley to our video library. Foley had recorded the tune twice before, but this is the version I grew up listening to. It was recorded in NY City on July 31, 1946.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Environmental, outdoor groups vow to fight national monument reductions

Environmental and outdoor recreation groups threatened Monday to sue if President Donald Trump adopts Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's leaked proposal to alter nearly a dozen national monuments, while grazing, fishing and other groups welcomed the recommendations. University of Colorado law professor Mark Squillace, an expert in the Antiquities Act, said in an email that Zinke's proposal raises a host of legal issues given that no president has considered making so many changes to previous designations. "Decisions to protect certain objects (and not others) involve judgment call that courts have shown an inclination to respect," he said. "The significant legal issues aside, if we allow presidents to second guess the judgments of their predecessor there would no end to the mischief that would create." Although Zinke has proposed amending all 10 monuments' proclamations to shift the way they are managed, the majority of the management plans for these monuments have not been finalized because they take between five and six years to complete. Randi Spivak, public lands program director for the advocacy group Center for Biological Diversity, said any proclamation change "would be subject to challenge" and "any proposed management plan changes will need to formally go through the same legal and administrative processes again, subject to the same administrative appeal and litigation requirements." "This process will be very legally vulnerable because it will have to deal with all the scientific, environmental and social conclusions produced during the first round of management plan creation," she said. "This would be a massive hurdle for the administration."...more

There is one bright spot in all this:

 Grazing advocates also welcomed the idea of providing ranchers with more access on five different monuments, including not only Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante and Gold Butte but also the New Mexico monuments Rio Grande Del Norte and Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks.

Both NM monuments have terrible anti-grazing language in them. What remains to be seen is how Interior proposes to fix this issue. It would appear to me they have three options:

° Revise the proclamation to include language like that in the Basin and Range Proclamation, which makes it clear the monument designation has no impact on livestock grazing

° Revise the proclamation to remove the consistency language but still leave it vague as to how the proclamation affects livestock grazing, or

° Not  revise the proclamation and claim they can fix the issue through policy memos and internal guidance.

If they truly want to protect the ranching families in these monuments, they will pursue the first option.

The second option will give these families a better chance of surviving the designation, but still leave them vulnerable to lawsuits or other negative actions

The third option is a total cop out. The consistency language will remain causing great vulnerability to lawsuits and anti-grazing policies of future administrations.

We will be watching to see what Interior's real intent is with respect to the future of ranching in these monuments.

And let's take a look at the statement of the law professor:

 "The significant legal issues aside, if we allow presidents to second guess the judgments of their predecessor there would no end to the mischief that would create."

Let's think carefully of what that would mean. If a President orders troops into a war zone, it would be inappropriate for a subsequent President to "second guess the judgements of their predecessor" and withdraw those troops? We'd be involved in a perpetual war with no options? What a ridiculous statement to make.

Bishop Statement on Dan Love Employment Status

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 18, 2017
Parish Braden, Molly Block, Katie Schoettler (202) 226-9019

Washington, D.C. – Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) issued the following statement on the employment status of Senior Bureau of Land Management Law Enforcement Manager Dan Love:

“The previous administration turned a blind eye to corruption and promoted a culture of mismanagement at the Department of the Interior. I applaud Interior for taking a strong stand and reasserting the basic principle that there are consequences for federal employees who blatantly disregard the law and steamroll elected officials and public trust. Love’s exit is welcome.”


The Department of the Interior (DOI) Office of Inspector General released a report on August 24, 2017 titled “Investigative Report of Misconduct by a Senior Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Law Enforcement Manager.”

The report looked into multiple allegations including the mishandling of evidence from a criminal case, which Love eventually gave as gifts to several people. DOI OIG substantiated most of the allegations including that Love instructed his employee to remove four moqui marbles from the evidence room and that he violated Federal security and records management policy in addition to various regulations related to the conduct of federal employees.

Chairman Bishop sent a letter to Deputy Inspector General Mary Kendall requesting an unredacted copy of the report, which was received by the Committee on August 24, 2017. Click here to read the full letter. 

Read more about Love here.

Floating Horses – The Life of Casey Tibbs”

FORT PIERRE SD  – “Floating Horses – The Life of Casey Tibbs” documentary will debut in Casey Tibbs hometown area tonight, September 14, 2017 at the Riggs High School Theater in Pierre. This is the new 2017 documentary about Casey Tibbs personal and professional life produced by South Dakota Native Justin Koehler.
Showings will be at 4pm and 7pm (central time) at the Riggs High School Theater, 1010 E. Broadway, Pierre. This is the kickoff of Fort Pierre’s Bicentennial which continues to run September 15-17th. The event is open to the public with a free will offering to assist the three years of production costs as well as theater rental. Seats limited to 1,000 for each showing. Due to high level of interest in this film debut it’s recommended to get in line early. Doors open at 3:30 for first showing and at 6:30 for second showing.
Koehler travelled over six states interviewing Casey’s family and friends including Singer and Instrumentalist Charlie Daniels, Actor and Musician Red Steagall, former Miss South Dakota and former wife Cleo Harrington, Cowboy, Poet Baxter Black and about two dozen other people.
The film has been shown from Colorado to Arizona and New York to California this summer. “We have had many inquiries about this highly anticipated film debut over the last three years,” said Casey Tibbs Rodeo Center Director Cindy Bahe. “People are coming from across the state and neighboring states to attend the Pierre event.”