Environmental and Wild Horse Advocates Agree: Livestock are the Problem on Western Ranges

SOURCE:  The Wildlife News

By Erik Molvar, Western Watersheds Project

When Erik Molvar of Western Watersheds Project (WWP) and Val Cecama-Hogsett of Citizens Against Equine Slaughter (CAES) met at a law conference in the spring of 2016, they had differing views of wild horses but they also had one clear common goal: to change the reality of the damage being done by livestock overgrazing the arid lands in the West.

Western Watersheds Project has long-advocated for the reduction and cessation of public lands livestock grazing to benefit ecological function and wildlife. WWP has no formal position on the origin of free-roaming horses, but supports science-based management of public lands and prioritize some threats more than others. Some of our members love wild horses and want to see them flourish, while others are opposed to them and consider them a pest. But all of our members agree that we want public lands to be restored to landscapes replete with native vegetation, native wildlife and healthy streams and rivers, as set forth in our mission.

Read the rest of this article HERE.

The Devil is in the Details as BLM again removes thirsty wild horses due to “emergency” in the Antelope Valley HMA in Nevada

Antelope Valley grazing allotments (2008)

Before you read BLM’s version of this “emergency” below, be sure to read Cindy MacDonald’s 2008 article “The Devil’s in the Details” on American Herds Blogspot.  We have to wonder how many acres of public lands that the “private land owner” (mentioned by the BLM below) uses to graze their own private livestock, since it seems the entire HMA is used for livestock grazing.  The BLM seems to be giving the public the same ongoing bullshit (literally). –  Debbie

“traditionally the wild horses spend the summers in Antelope then migrate to Antelope Valley for the winter ~ except the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) strung up a new fence up on Hwy 93 effectively trapping the horses and in one area, completely cut them off from any water at all.

Speaking to BLMs Kyle Hansen in the Ely Field Office, Mr. Hansen explained range conditions were so bad due to drought that it “looked like an atom bomb went off” and provided photos as evidence of the dust bowl conditions the wild horses would be forced to try and survive in over the winter in if they were not immediately removed.

He also stated compounding the problem was a local rancher who had allowed wild horses to drink water from his property for years but finally “had enough”,  fenced the area and now the horses that remained would probably die of thirst.” – Cindy MacDonald

Source:  BLM

2017 Antelope Valley Emergency Wild Horse Gather

Progress as of Monday, May 22, 2017

Purpose of Gather:

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Elko District, Wells Field Office, in coordination with the BLM Ely District will begin a wild horse water bait trap gather to remove wild horses on private lands near the Boone Spring Area. The gather is taking place due to a request from a private land owner to remove the excess wild horses.

Details of Gather:

BLM plans to humanely gather approximately 60 wild horses through the use of a water bait trap.

Public Observation: 

Because of the nature of the water gather method, wild horses are reluctant to approach the trap site when there is too much activity. In addition, the gather operations are being conducted on private land. Therefore, only essential gather operation personnel will be allowed at the gather site during operations.

Adoption Information: 

The wild horses removed from the range will be transported to the Indian Lakes Off-Range Corral in Fallon, NV to be prepared for the BLM’s Adoption Program. Learn more about how to adopt a wild horse or burro from the BLM.

Background:

This gather will attempt to remove excess wild horses from private land near the Boone Spring area of the Antelope Valley Herd Management Area. The private land owner has requested removal of the horses. The Antelope Valley HMA has an Appropriate Management Level (AML) of 155-259 adult wild horses. As of March 1, 2016, the BLM estimated the population at 1,013 wild horses (not including foals born this year). The BLM Wells Field Office has determined that even though there has been above average amounts of precipitation this winter and spring, there are still no known water sources in the area for wild horses to obtain water later this spring and summer. Learn more about the Antelope Valley HMA.

 

Get real, John Ruhs

  John Ruhs, BLM Nevada State Director

                   

    Yosemite Sam, Ruhs’ doppelganger

Dadgummit!  After John Ruhs, Nevada’s BLM State Director, said that he wanted to round up 4,000 wild horses in Elko County last summer (supposedly in response to the continued lies blaming wild horses and burros for the “deterioration of drought-stricken rangeland”), we’re noting that many mines that will use billions of gallons of water are now on the verge of expanding in Nevada.

Ruhs recently spoke at the Elko Convention Center, and stated that “We are pretty proud of the fact that this last year we have worked with the Nevada Cattlemen’s Association, the Nevada Department of Agriculture, the Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service and NDOW to provide some public opportunities to talk about sage grouse land use amendments and what they mean to the grazing program. A lot of work still needs to be done.”

The BLM ALWAYS works with the Nevada Cattlemen’s Association.  And the National Cattlemen’s Association.  Actually, the BLM works FOR them.  Notice that the focus of talking about sage grouse land use amendments is all about what they mean to the grazing program?

Ruhs also lamented that wild horse and burro issues dominate a large part of the Nevada BLM and Ruhs went on to talk about the difficulties in wild horse management.

Wild horse and burro issues dominate?  Like, bigger than all of the mines and outnumbering all of the livestock?

And talk about difficulties?  How about all those abandoned mines in Nevada, John?

And management?  There is only wild horse and burro “MISmanagement.”

Ruhs then said “We are somewhere in excess of 37,000 horses on the rangeland that is a big priority for us and it’s one of the things that I hope in the new administration that we will see some changes that will finally allow us to get some work done on the ground.”

We hope that the work that Ruhs is referring to getting done “on the ground” will include getting an accurate count of the wild horses and burros, rescinding some livestock overgrazing permits and making sure the extractive industries don’t use every last drop of water.

Why even bother to imply that the BLM “manages” anything, except impending environmental damage from the “multiple uses” that make a buck?  Don’t stash the truth, John.

Scott Sonner on BLM Nevada Director urging the roundup of 4,000 mustangs

SOURCE:  Las Vegas Sun

“Suggesting that wild horses are a problem for sage grouse, while ignoring the comparatively massive impacts of cattle and sheep, is a bit like suggesting that the captain of the Titanic should be worried about the ice cubes in his passengers’ cocktails rather than the icebergs floating in the North Atlantic.”  – Erik Molvar, WildEarth Guardians wildlife biologist

BLM’s Nevada director urges roundup of 4,000 mustangs

In this June 5, 2013 photo, some of the hundreds of mustangs the U.S. Bureau of Land Management removed from federal rangeland peer at visitors at the BLM's Palomino Valley holding facility about 20 miles north of Reno in Palomino Valley, Nev. The Cloud Foundation and Friends of Animas are petitioning the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to declare wild horses threatened or endangered in North America under the Endangered Species Act. (AP Photo/Scott Sonner)

In this June 5, 2013 photo, some of the hundreds of mustangs the U.S. Bureau of Land Management removed from federal rangeland peer at visitors at the BLM’s Palomino Valley holding facility about 20 miles north of Reno in Palomino Valley, Nev. The Cloud Foundation and Friends of Animas are petitioning the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to declare wild horses threatened or endangered in North America under the Endangered Species Act. (AP Photo/Scott Sonner)

RENO — Concerned about continued deterioration of drought-stricken rangeland in Nevada, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s state director wants to round up 4,000 wild horses in Elko County — more mustangs than were gathered across 10 Western states combined last year.

BLM Nevada Director John Ruhs says it’s unlikely he’ll be able to consider lifting livestock grazing restrictions in the northeast corner of the state without removing the mustangs from four-herd management areas over 600 square miles stretching to near the Utah line.

Ruhs, Gov. Brian Sandoval, livestock interests and state wildlife officials argue the roundups also would benefit the greater sage grouse.

Nevada Agriculture Director Jim Barbee anticipates that without the roundups, anywhere from a 25 percent to a total reduction in grazing will be necessary in some areas, resulting in as much as $1.8 million in damages to Elko County’s economy.

Conservationists say the call for more roundups is a misguided attempt to placate ranchers at the expense of horses and grouse. Cattle do far more damage than mustangs to the range and the imperiled bird, they say.

“The BLM is scapegoating wild horses instead of addressing the true causes of range degradation and threats to sage grouse,” said Suzanne Roy, director of the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign.

Nevada is home to nearly 28,000 wild horses — more than half of the 47,000 estimated in 10 western states, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming.

BLM officials argue the range can sustain less than half that many — about 12,000 in Nevada and 26,000 nationally.

Ruhs estimated in an April 13 letter to the agency’s headquarters that it would cost about $4 million to remove about 4,000 animals in Elko County. He said the population of those herds is at five times the appropriate carrying capacity. “Some of the allotments/pastures within the impacted area will need to be closed to livestock grazing in 2016 and into the future to limit further damage to these ecosystems or until appropriate management of the wild horses has taken place,'” he wrote.

Sandoval warned last week if the Interior Department refuses to adequately fund the program, “the state will pursue all legal options to protect our local producers and communities.”

Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nevada, said in a letter to Secretary Sally Jewell that he’s disappointed the BLM has not responded to a request he and others made in November for an update on herds across the West.

“Over the past few years, many ranchers have already taken reductions in their grazing allotments, yet horse populations have only increased, not decreased, over that time,” Heller wrote Friday.

The BLM gathered 7,242 horses nationally in 2012; 4,064 in 2013; 1,689 in 2014; and 3,093 last fiscal year. It removed about 1,000 in Oregon in November, about 125 in southern Nevada in February, 54 in Utah in March, and this summer plans to remove about 535 in Wyoming and 300 in Utah.

But the agency currently plans no large-scale roundups in Nevada — or anywhere else — through the end of September because of budget shortfalls driven largely by the cost of housing more than 45,000 mustangs now in government corrals and pastures at a lifetime cost of $48,000 per animal.

The Nevada Association of Counties, Nevada Farm Bureau and others filed a lawsuit last year to force the government to step up roundups, but a U.S. judge in Reno dismissed the case.

“Unfortunately, the removal of cattle from areas where horse populations are significantly over (appropriate management levels) does not alleviate the impacts to native species, including sage grouse,” Nevada Cattlemen’s Association President David Stix Jr. said.

WildEarth Guardians wildlife biologist Erik Molvar disagreed. “Suggesting that wild horses are a problem for sage grouse, while ignoring the comparatively massive impacts of cattle and sheep, is a bit like suggesting that the captain of the Titanic should be worried about the ice cubs in his passengers’ cocktails rather than the icebergs floating in the North Atlantic,” he said.

BLM Nevada Director John Ruhs urges roundup of 4,000 wild horses in Elko county this summer

BLM Nevada Director John Ruhs crawls into bed with welfare ranchers and Nevada Gov. Sandoval by urging this massive roundup of wild horses in Nevada.

635792205939979811-Ruhs-Photo     BLM Nevada Dir. John Ruhs

Source:  krqe.com

In this June 5, 2013 photo, some of the hundreds of mustangs the U.S. Bureau of Land Management removed from federal rangeland peer at visitors at the BLM's Palomino Valley holding facility about 20 miles north of Reno in Palomino Valley, Nev. The Cloud Foundation and Friends of Animas are petitioning the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to declare wild horses threatened or endangered in North America under the Endangered Species Act. (AP Photo/Scott Sonner)

In this June 5, 2013 photo, some of the hundreds of mustangs the U.S. Bureau of Land Management removed from federal rangeland peer at visitors at the BLM’s Palomino Valley holding facility about 20 miles north of Reno in Palomino Valley, Nev.                (AP Photo/Scott Sonner)

US agency’s Nevada boss urges roundup of 4,000 mustangs

RENO, Nev. (AP) – The Bureau of Land Management’s Nevada director wants to round up 4,000 wild horses in Elko County this summer in response to the continued deterioration of drought-stricken rangeland.

That’s more mustangs than were gathered across 10 Western states combined last year.

BLM Nevada Director John Ruhs says it won’t be possible to consider lifting livestock grazing restrictions in the northeast corner of the state without removing the mustangs from four herd management areas.

He says the horse gathers also would benefit the greater sage grouse.

Conservationists say the call for more roundups is a misguided attempt to placate ranchers at the expense of horses and grouse. They say cattle do far more damage than mustangs to the parched range and the imperiled bird.

 

BLM Agrees to Beef Up Livestock Range Condition Reports

WWP_Little_Lost_River_Valley_GRSG_habitat_ID-2

SOURCE:  PEER.org

Data Quantifying and Qualifying Grazing Effects on Land Health Belatedly Restored

Washington, DC — The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has agreed to restore key data to reports measuring how well vast federal rangelands are protected from damaging overgrazing in response to an administrative complaint filed by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). The restored data reflects whether overgrazing or other factors are degrading the condition of 150 million acres of federal rangelands across a 13-state area covering most of the West.

The PEER complaint was filed in December 2014 under the Data Quality Act, which requires federal reports – especially those that are statistical in nature – to be complete, unbiased and of the highest accuracy and utility. The complaint targeted BLM’s 2013 Rangeland Inventory, Monitoring, and Evaluation (RIME) report, released a month prior, which is supposed to detail which lands are failing to meet range health standards for water, vegetation, soils and the ability to support wildlife. That 2013 report, and subsequent reports, omitted key data displayed in previous reports which showed –

  • The number and land area of grazing allotments meeting and failing rangeland health standards;
  • The reasons for violations of land health standards, such as whether it was due to overgrazing or from other causes; and
  • Whether land conditions are improving or declining or whether BLM is taking any management steps to restore degraded rangeland.

“Without this data, it is difficult for Congress and the public to measure the success or failure of BLM’s rangeland management,” said PEER Advocacy Director Kirsten Stade, who had labelled the incomplete report as “RIME without reason.” “We found it hard to believe that something as slow-moving as grazing livestock could not be adequately monitored.”

BLM initially rejected the PEER complaint but granted its appeal in a letter dated February 12, 2016. In subsequent communications, BLM indicated that it will correct not only the 2013 RIME report but the 2014 and 2015 editions, as well. The BLM had blamed a failed computerized mapping system as the reason it had stopped displaying import landscape health data.

BLM claims that it will develop new data reporting and mapping standards later this year, but has rebuffed suggestions that the agency put these changes out for peer review. Moreover, the agency has yet to provide much insight into what format this reporting system will take. BLM did not respond to an offer for free use of the Grazing Data Interactive Map developed by PEER, which web-displays data from BLM’s Land Health Status record system overlaid with high-resolution satellite imagery, permitting users to actually eyeball the land health conditions.

“PEER is tracking the disturbing trend of worsening range conditions across the 20,000 BLM grazing allotments,” added Stade, noting that much of the missing data covers the period when drought conditions across much of the Sagebrush West worsened. “We are concerned that BLM is poised to repeat the same mistakes by developing a new monitoring system behind closed doors that obscures rather than reveals the real conditions on public rangelands. Why should data about public lands grazing be kept secret?”
###

Read BLM letter granting PEER appeal

See the PEER Data Quality Act complaint

Visit the PEER Grazing & Mapping website

Look at PEER’s successful appeal

View BLM emails explaining further relief

Western Turf Wars: The Politics of Public Lands Ranching

432

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)

SOURCE:  westernturfwars.com

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

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“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)

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“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

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“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     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.

 

Shaving Livestock Grazing’s Carbon Hoofprint

Giant BLM Bovine Mowing Machine ~ photo by Terry Fitch

Giant BLM Bovine Mowing Machine ~ photo by Terry Fitch

Source:  Yubanet.com

Complaints Target BLM Neutral Stance on Livestock Grazing Climate Impacts

By: Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER)

Washington, DC April 11, 2016 – Even as President Obama touts steps to address climate change, his U.S. Bureau of Land Management appears not to have gotten the message, according to a pair of complaints filed today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). Despite ample evidence to the contrary, BLM continues to insist that commercial livestock grazing has no impact on climate change or its effects.

This climate change blind spot is no small matter as BLM oversees 21,000 grazing allotments covering 155 million acres of federal rangelands spread across 11 Western states. In complaints filed today with both the White House and Interior Department, PEER documents how BLM steadfastly refuses to even consider, let alone mitigate, climate impacts from its vast grazing program.

“Improbably, Obama’s BLM is a climate denier when it comes to cattle,” remarked PEER Advocacy Director Kirsten Stade who filed today’s complaints. “Most BLM grazing environmental assessments make no mention of climate change whatsoever, while the remainder say that impacts are unknowable and therefore will not be analyzed.”

The PEER complaints cite recent federal orders and policies directing agencies to respond to climate change in their official planning. Yet BLM never even acknowledges grazing’s climate impacts, such as –

– Grazing dramatically reduces soil sequestration of carbon, releasing an estimated 11 million additional tons of carbon annually;
– The livestock sector generates more than one third of all human-induced methane – a gas with global warming potential 25 times that of carbon dioxide; and
– Public lands grazing is the most significant contributor to change in landscape conditions across a vast area of the American West, worsening adverse climate impacts of spreading desertification, degrading vital riparian areas and facilitating introduction of invasive species.

These adverse effects are magnified if grazing is not well managed, and a large portion of allotments fails to meet BLM’s own range health standards. In the last decade as more land has been assessed, estimates of damaged lands have doubled where BLM conducts major livestock grazing.

“For an agency with the words ‘land management’ in its title, the BLM does little to effectively manage this program or prevent overgrazing,” added Stade. “These damaged landscapes create a feedback loop that further aggravates other negative impacts of climate change.”

In its filings, PEER asks the White House Council on Environmental Quality to ensure that all BLM eco-planning include assessments of grazing climate impacts, as required under the National Environmental Policy Act. The group also urges Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to make BLM begin complying with directives that it mitigate climate effects and adopt policies to promote climate-resilient lands in its grazing program.

Western Watersheds busts BLM for illegal fencing to benefit livestock overgrazing in NV

Source: Courthouse News Service

cattle-usda

photo: USDA

Greens Say BLM Caved to Nevada Ranchers

RENO, Nev. (CN) – Illegally placed fences in northern Nevada will kill endangered sage grouse and promote overgrazing on badly damaged federal land, the Western Watersheds Project claimed Tuesday in Federal Court.

The Bureau of Land Management plans to build a series of permanent barbed-wire and jack-rail fences along six sections of stream in the Battle Mountain area to help local ranchers, Western Watersheds says in the lengthy complaint.

It claims the BLM violated the National Environmental Policy Act and Administrative Procedures Act by failing to properly evaluate the environmental impacts of the fences, which are part of the bureau’s fencing and grazing-management efforts that are “being improperly evaluated in piecemeal fashion.”

If the BLM builds the fences, Western Watersheds says, the fences will reduce recreational opportunities and threaten endangered sage grouse, which often are killed when they fly into fences.  Fence posts also make good perches for raptors and ravens, which feed on the birds and destroy their nests, and fencing often promotes the growth of non-native weeds.

Building the fences also will promote additional grazing on land that already is badly damaged by overgrazing by livestock and drought, Western Watersheds says.

Five of the six planned fences are in areas designated as priority habitat for the endangered sage grouse, and several would be near the birds’ breeding grounds. Overgrazing in recent years badly damaged the stream banks, which need a break to recover from livestock grazing, but the BLM plan to build permanent fences would have the opposite effect, the group says.

Western Watersheds said in a statement that northern Nevada ranchers resisted the BLM’s drought closures and bullied it into considering a slew of proposals for new livestock infrastructure to justify more grazing on badly degraded public lands.  Rather than insist upon needed rest periods, Western Watersheds says, the BLM caved to ranchers’ demands to let their herds back onto the parched landscapes, and enabled that use by approving the contested fencing.

“New infrastructure is not the answer to fix problems caused by livestock overgrazing,” Western Watersheds Project attorney Paul Ruprecht said in the statement. “The answer is to take a comprehensive look at the various ways protection could be accomplished without entrenching livestock grazing any further.  “There are less damaging ways to keep cows out of sensitive areas, including getting rid of the cows. We want to see the BLM explore a range of options when it completes its allotment analysis next year.”

Idaho-based Western Watersheds is a regional nonprofit dedicated to protecting and conserving public lands and resources in the West.

It seeks declaratory judgment and an injunction.

BLM officials did not respond to an email request for comment sent after hours Tuesday.

How wild horses on the Cold Springs HMA in Oregon are being squeezed off of their federally protected land by welfare ranching

ws_splash_2Photo:  BLM

by Grandma Gregg

Read HERE for an example of the way “welfare ranchers” seem to skim money from public funds for their private use to raise privately owned livestock for private profit.

Background:

“Welfare” rancher Joe McKay is one (of two) of the permitees for the North Star Mountain grazing allotment.  BLM just announced their 10-year plan to capture almost all of the wild horses in the Oregon Cold Springs HMA (public comments due April 8th).  The Cold Springs HMA is entirely within the North Star Mountain grazing allotment.  The BLM plans to keep the wild horses below a genetically viable population.  Ten years of below ~100 population, along with sex-skewing and PZP should just about finish them off for good.

Joe McKay controls 3957 AUMs in this allotment. (enough for about 330 wild horses)

Joe McKay runs hundreds of his private cattle on our public lands under this permit.

Joe McKay and wife Joyce have received at least $22,608 in federal farm subsidies in recent years per fed subsidies webpage.

A few years ago Joe McKay applied for a grant from the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB) for a project on his private land that would include massive destruction of juniper trees and miles of fencing/cross-fencing and even a new water trough for his cattle.  The OWEB is a state agency that provides grants to Oregonians to take care of local streams, rivers, wetlands and natural areas. McKay agreed to pay about half of the about $60,000 cost of these “improvements” on his private property if the OWEB would pay for the rest of it.  It appears that this particular grant was not funded, but the decision board told him how to fix his grant request and reapply for the grant, so it may have been funded or will eventually be funded.

The point is that not only is it bad enough that these welfare ranchers pay almost nothing to graze their for-private-profit domestic livestock on OUR land but they also get federal farm subsidies plus they also get these state grants for improvements on their private property, and worst of all … they are a LARGE reason that our wild horses and burros are captured, removed, and eventually “disappear.”  Wild horses & burros are absolutely being “managed” for extinction.

The other permittee on this North Star Mountain grazing allotment (Cold Springs HMA) is the Michael Bentz family, who have 5,073 AUMs (enough for another 432 wild horses) and who have received at least $300,839 in in recent years from federal farm subsidies.