Be sure to read Mike Hudak’s book, Western Turf Wars
And listen to FREE podcasts that includes excerpts from the book:
1) Ranchers Mortgage Our Natural Capital
2) Politics Trumps Science in Range Management
3) Public Lands Ranchers Obtain Favorable Livestock Management
by Harassing Government Employees and Conservationists
4) Nature’s Aesthetics Fall to the Plague of Ranching
(also available as an essay in PDF format)
Praise for this book:
“If you care about our public lands, Western Turf Wars is a must read.” —Howard Lyman, LLD, president and founder, Voice for a Viable Future; author Mad Cowboy: The Plain Truth from the Cattle Rancher Who Won’t Eat Meat and NO MORE BULL! The Mad Cowboy Targets America’s Worst Enemy: Our Diet
“The horrendous damage done to millions of acres of fragile public lands in the arid West by overgrazing livestock has been documented in a number of books, media articles, and scientific journals in recent years. Less often told is the real story about the ultimate cause of this devastation of our public heritage: the blatant and unconscionable wielding of political influence on the part of too many agency officials, politicians, and stockmen (and women) to keep those numbers (and damage) at unsustainable levels. This captivating and absorbing book puts it all together—and in such a special, compelling manner, that it has become one of the best environmental books I have ever read. It is the tale of some of the brave men and women who worked, against great odds, to protect the vast publicly-owned rangelands of the West that they loved. And because it’s told in their own words, through a series of interviews, it adds a unique human immediacy, and dimension—and power, to an unhappily too-familiar scenario.
“It’s a real page-turner; I literally could not put it down once I started reading. I kept on going, page after page, because I had to find out what was going to happen next—both to those courageous ones who dared to speak up against the abuses, and to the beautiful lands and native wildlife they strove to defend. I recommend it to anyone who cares about our public lands and who wants to understand better the forces and interests struggling over their ultimate fate.” —Brock Evans, president, Endangered Species Coalition; 1981 recipient, Sierra Club’s John Muir Award; vice president for national issues, National Audubon Society (1981–96); director, Sierra Club’s Washington, DC, office (1973–81), Northwest representative, Sierra Club (1967–73)
“The tales of terror that Hudak has assembled run through the mind like a wilderness snuff film. The story is a familiar one. Resource extractors bully the land managers and buddy up with the legislators to acquire privileged access to public lands. They keep below cost fees so low they are in effect welfare for ranchers, and they feign bogus compliance with paltry environmental regulations.” —Andy Caffrey, quoted from his review in Oregon Conifer (newsletter of the Oregon Chapter Sierra Club), spring 2008
“Interviews with 27 experts—all with extensive experience with or knowledge of public lands ranching—provide us intimate, accurate perspectives on just what ranching does to our public lands as well as how it affects us economically, socially, and politically. Special attention is focused on the political forces that keep stockmen arguably the most influential special interest in the rural West. If the western wild means as much to you as the Wild West, if you’re concerned about environmental destruction, about waste and injustice, then read Mike Hudak’s Western Turf Wars.” —Lynn Jacobs, author Waste of the West
Mike Hudak, PhD, founded the nonprofit project Vibrant Public Lands (originally “Public Lands Without Livestock”) to increase awareness of the environmental damage caused by livestock production in the American West. From 1998 until mid 2000 his presentations throughout twenty states brought the issue to the attention of the Sierra Club. Subsequently, Hudak participated in negotiations that resulted in significantly strengthening that organization’s livestock grazing policy. Since that time, he has continued speaking throughout the United States at a variety of organizations, universities, and national conferences. His website now brings his articles, photo essays, and videos about public lands ranching to an even broader audience. The videos, short excerpts of the interviews that went into the making of Western Turf Wars, provide a unique contribution to our understanding of public lands management from the 1950s through the early years of the twenty-first century.
Mike Hudak earned his BA in mathematics and PhD in advanced technology from Binghamton University, as well as an MS in computer science from Northwestern University. As a former computer-industry researcher his work focused on the design of adaptive intelligent software. He served as Chair of the Sierra Club’s National Grazing Committee from 2008 until 2013 in which capacity he worked with the Sierra Club and other organizations to enact legislation that would reduce livestock grazing on public lands.