The addictive beauty of an ungrazed sagebrush expanse and big sky bordering Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
by Katie Fite
Throughout the Ammon Bundy and militia thug seizure of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, the media has not reported on the modern day filthy rich cattle barons of Harney County and beyond. Articles rarely if ever contain an environmental voice. Yet there have been endless interviews of carping ranchers claiming oppression by the federal government.
PROFILE OF A HARNEY COUNTY RANCH OWNING FAMILY: 6000 Cattle Impacting 750,000 Acres, 100 Race Horses
An Oregon Public Broadcasting story on taxpayer subsidies to cattlemen included a Harney County ranch manager griping about federal government over-reach.
“Harney County locals may not like the militants’ tactics, but the prospect of more local control over public lands continues to have appeal. Ranchers say their tension with government is born from rules and restrictions driven by “radical environmental groups,” and the frustration of dealing with a plodding bureaucracy that drives up costs and undermines their economic security.
“This is our life. This is our livelihood. We’re good stewards of the land,” said Berry Anderson, manager of Treetop Ranches, south of Burns. “It’s frustrating that people who don’t even have a dog in the game can take it away from us.”
The Treetop Ranch Owner Family
Just who are these embattled ranchers, reeling from the heavy-handed tactics and oh-so-restrictive grazing policies of the BLM ?
Fancy “Treetop Ranch” signs have sprung up on huge spreads across eastern Oregon and portions of Idaho in recent years. Larry and Marianne Williams control Treetop Ranches, and their cattle herds impact a vast area of crucial sage-grouse habitat across eastern Oregon and portions of Idaho.
They are very wealthy people. The Williams family made millions in timber. Then went into public lands welfare ranching and raising race horses. The Simmental beef article describes:
“Mr. Williams had sold his company, Idaho Timber, and shifted into the cattle business primarily in Idaho and Oregon. He also maintains a very successful thorough-bred horse-racing program near Parma, Idaho. In 2012, William’s Horse Racing Nation’s “Rousing Sermon” finished eighth in the Kentucky Derby”.
“Mr. Williams put the Oregon operation together over the last 10 years. It consists of six different ranches, totaling 750,000 acres. The ranches are not adjacent
to each other, stretching about 150 miles long and 100 miles wide with other ranches interspersed among our properties,” Anderson said”.
The article continues:
“We run about 6,000 cows and 1,000 replacement heifers each year. We’ve had a serious drought in recent years, so we’re cutting back our numbers a bit. It takes about 125 acres to run a cow in this rough, lava rock country,” he continued. “Our headquarters is very remote, about 50 miles southeast of Burns (population: 5,000), which is where we do most of our shopping. The nearest larger city is Boise, which is 180 miles to the northeast.”
Yes, three quarters of a million acres – largely BLM public land plus large state and private holdings. Treetop controls ranches near Burns, at Oregon Canyon north of Mcdermitt, and across the “big empty” sagebrush sea of the region. Vast BLM grazing permits including crucial sage-grouse habitats and wilderness study areas are under the hooves of this operation.
A Hundred Race Horse Crop
Treetop also raises race horses, based in Parma, Idaho.
“For the last 13 years, Kiser has managed the horses owned by Larry and Marianne Williams. Kiser lives and works at the ranch and is in charge of about 100 horses”.
See also http://trainermagazine.com/.
Read the rest of this story HERE.