Feb 02 2017

Take a deep seat and far-way look … and pull out your checkbook.

by Caren Cowan, Executive Director,
New Mexico Cattle Grower’s Association
Read this article & more in New Mexico Stockman Magazine

The nation elected a president that vowed to make a change in the direction of our country. The nation did the same thing eight years ago when the mantra was hope and change. Under that president the changes were incremental, but devastating for many.

Good, bad or indifferent, President Trump is wasting no time to make the changes he promised. The response from the opposition is nothing short of incredible. People are amassing and marching across the country, including New Mexico, to oppose Trump’s actions. Unfortunately it appears that they are gathering in opposition to Trump without any understanding of what he may or may not be doing.

Women marched in large numbers in January…many just because they perceive that Trump hates women. Seriously? However, that’s not the issue most folks in “middle America” are concerned about. The concerns here are jobs, the ability to maintain healthy communities, families, and yes, the environment. Unfortunately, the people who live on and care for the land and all of its fruits have not been considered as real, necessary and responsible people.

There is no more stark example of this lack of understanding and compassion than the Mexican wolf program. How would these marchers who are taking the streets regularly feel if the federal government turned wolves loose in the middle of their march? Yet it is highly likely that many of these folks are the same ones who insist that our pets and livestock, and the mental health of our children and families have no value.

As we have expressed in the past, actions have consequences. We have what may be two generations of people that have never learned that lesson. It is worth noting that many in the U.S. Senate are much older than that and they can’t deal with reality either.

It is disappointing that New Mexico’s Senators are not more supportive of the entire state, electing instead to focus on the naysayers who, from this writer’s perspective, may worship the land but don’t often, if ever, put their blood sweat and tears on it. 

I participated in a telephone town hall meeting in late January with one of these senators… or rather I listened. To participate, any questions had to be passed through screeners who determined what questions were posed. There were supposedly some 2,000 people who registered for the call and 1,300 who actually called in or were called in. Based on the moderator’s comments, that number didn’t stay on the entire call.

There was no conversation about people on that call, rather favoring the need to protect the air, land and water from the Trump Administration. It is baffling that many don’t get the connection between the air, land and water and the people who live and work on the land.

Now for that checkbook

According to Pacific Legal Foundation blogger James Burling, “the liberal left and the environmental industry have been on a fund-raising orgy that makes the feeding frenzy in Shark Week look like a Sunday school picnic. For them, this has been better than the ozone hole, species destruction, toxic air pollution and global warming rolled into one. Just visit their websites and learn how you too can donate your last dollar to defeat “not my President” when he tries to destroy the last vestige of nature and the environment by building new coal-fired power plants in every orphanage and critical habitat in the world. The left is promising to lawyer up and sue the President for every breath he takes.

“So, if the new President tries to roll back or replace regulations, he will be sued. If he tries to undo the last President’s midnight National Monument designations, he will be sued. If he looks cross-eyed at the snowflakes currently parading about the Capitol in strange costumes chanting for whatever it is they’re chanting for, he’ll be sued.”

The working people’s community has spent millions of dollars trying to protect themselves from the federal government and radical environmentalists in court. Maybe that worm is turning but there remains a need to protect the feds when they come up with more reasonable regulations.

On the bright side, maybe the lands will receive better care in the coming years. We may be able to manage the forests rather than letting them burn, destroying land, wildlife and watersheds.

Filling the swamp

In December I had the opportunity to visit the Florida Everglades complete with an airboat ride and alligator sightings. While their appeared to be “trails” the boats followed, I would hate to be lost out in the vast area of tall grasses.

We had a great airboat pilot who was extremely knowledgeable on the glades and their history. He told of how the swamps were drained early in the last century to provide a place for agriculture to thrive in an extremely poor state. He proudly pointed out that because Florida has been prospering for the past few decades largely due to tourism, that agriculture has been eliminated in the area and the swamp is refilled.

Peachy… but what will they eat?

It never ceases to amaze me how people think that agriculture is a disposable, maybe even a deplorable, commodity. What will they eat?

I recently read somewhere that one solution to water shortages is to fallow land in favor of other needs like electricity. What good is power without food?        

It becomes ever more clear that Americans are going to have to get hungry before they recognize the value agriculture provides them.

Fallowing The Circus… Then What

It was with great sadness that we learned that the Ringling Brothers Circus is making its final tour. This is a direct result of the animal rights/environmentalist movement. Make no mistake, they are one in the same.

The New York Times writes

“…there are fewer people around who are captivated by lion tamers and wire walkers. Costs are rising — Ringling’s two troupes, known as the Blue Unit and the Red Unit, rumble from city to city on mile-long trains. And ticket sales are flagging. Opposition from animal rights groups led to the erasure of the show’s signature elephants last year.

“Given those challenges, Ringling will play four more months, including a run in Brooklyn starting in late February. It will hold its final performance on May 21 at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y., on Long Island, before lapsing into memory.”

Following the closing of Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, could America’s zoos soon face a similar fate asks insideedition.com

PETA activist Ashley Byrne says the closure of “The Greatest Show on Earth” is just the start.

She cited the notorious 2016 incident at the Cincinnati Zoo, where Harambe the gorilla was shot after a child fell into his compound, as an example of animals suffering in zoos.

“Animals deserve better. They deserve better than to be put on display for entertainment,” she told Inside Edition. “Even in zoos, animals are being deprived of everything that is natural and important to them.”

They shoot horses don’t they?

Meanwhile back in New Mexico those folks who think animals deserve better are working to prevent horses from being humanely euthanized after going through an auction ring.

This may be the Chinese year of the rooster, but in the 2017 New Mexico Legislature, it may well become the year of the horse. The New Mexico Cattle Grower’s Association is advancing Senate Bill 126 to make clear the definition of livestock. The bill became necessary due to recent court cases that have blurred that definition.

What seemed to be a fairly simple measure to provide clear direction to the New Mexico Livestock Board to protect public health and safety as well as private property rights has been a lightning rod for those who looking for a platform for “wild horses.”

Just prior to the bill’s first hearing a concern was raised about how SB 126 might impact “wild horses” as defined by the federal Wild Horse & Burro Act and the New Mexico Wild Horse Act (77-18-5). The bill was pulled, negotiations were held and a committee substitute was developed citing both of those laws.

That is not to say that the Animal Protection Voters of New Mexico (APVNM) didn’t try to broad expand SB 126 and amend 77-18-5. Given that SB 126 is a bill about definitions, we held our ground and limited the measure to definitions.

One of APVNM’s desired changes in 77-18-5 extended to the elimination of the Livestock Board’s ability to sell unwanted feral horses via auction. Their theory is that horses sold through auction go to slaughter.

Instead APVNM wants the law to read that if the Livestock Board holds horses for the required five (5) days, requesting bids for the animals, that the horses must be euthanized.

Aided and abetted by fake news in the Ruidoso News, there appears to be a firestorm of folks claiming that SB 126 is aimed at “redefined (ing) livestock in New Mexico, in effect, eliminating the classification of “wild” horses.” While the initial Ruidoso News story has been revised, the writer initially relied on an unnamed “attorney” for its’ comments and never contacted the NMCGA about the bill. Only after a contact from NMCGA did the story change slightly, still promoting facts not in evidence.

That story morphed into a Facebook post claiming that SB 126 is a “Wild Horse KILL BILL.” The post goes on to state “Senator Pat Woods (who served for many years as a N.M. Farm & Livestock Bureau State Board member), and the Attorney General are trying to change the law midstream to enable wild horses to be considered livestock and disenfranchise the people and the judicial branch of goverment” (aka as government).

I know… I don’t live in a glass house and make my own typos… just too good to resist.

The post goes on, but you get the gist. Funny how Facebook kicked NMCGA off their friend page, but allows this mis-information and much more to remain.

By the time you read this, at least the first hurdle for SB 126 will have passed. Stay tuned for updates.

Federal Grazing Fee Drops

The Federal grazing fee for U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management for 2017 will be $1.87 per animal unit month (AUM) for public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management and $1.87 per head month (HM) for lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service.  The 2016 public land grazing fee was $2.11.

The newly calculated grazing fee, determined by a congressional formula and effective on March 1, applies to nearly 18,000 grazing permits and leases administered by the BLM and nearly 6,500 permits administered by the Forest Service.

The formula used for calculating the grazing fee, which was established by Congress in the 1978 Public Rangelands Improvement Act, has continued under a presidential Executive Order issued in 1986.  Under that order, the grazing fee cannot fall below $1.35 per AUM, and any increase or decrease cannot exceed 25 percent of the previous year’s level.

Outta time!

Thanks to the bill readers and for responding to our Calls To Action! YOU are making a difference.      

Source: New Mexico Stockman, January 2017