Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Idaho Trying to Protect Ranchers

Bighorn legislation could come back to bite ranchers
- Idaho Statesman
Published: 04/20/09

Gov. Butch Otter must decide this week whether to sign a bill that would require the Idaho Department of Fish and Game to kill or remove bighorn sheep from public land where domestic sheep graze.

Signing Senate Bill 1175 will undercut a collaborative process he set up under the auspices of Fish and Game and the Idaho Department of Agriculture. And a House leader who supports the bill acknowledges it will play into the hands of activists who want to force sheep ranchers off public lands.

But lawmakers are so mad they can't help themselves.

The Idaho Legislature passed the bill with huge majorities because many members think Ron Shirts of Weiser and his family were treated unfairly when a 1997 agreement over transplanting bighorn sheep to Hells Canyon was overruled by a federal court. A federal judge ordered the Shirts to remove their domestic sheep from Smith Mountain in the Payette National Forest to prevent them from passing disease to bighorns.

House Assistant Majority Leader Scott Bedke, a cattle rancher, sees the issue as the latest in a familiar, and to him disturbing, trend in which protecting an iconic species becomes a surrogate for another agenda - this time driving sheep ranchers off of public land.

Jon Marvel, is executive director of the Western Watersheds Project.

Marvel resents being singled out as the voice of thousands of people in and out of Idaho who share his goals and love of native species and places. That's because his open disdain for ranchers, and especially the cowboy culture, undercuts the power of his cause. Read More

There comes a point in time when you finally have to draw that line in the sand and make your stand. The Idaho Legislature has apparently been backed into that corner and is now ready to do what it takes to protect their ranchers and our food supply. The animal rights activists and environmentalists are practically salivating at the opportunity to eliminate agriculture from public lands. If they get it done, how do we replace this lost resource. Remember, it’s only a resource if we can use it, otherwise it’s scenery and that won’t fill your stomach.


Mz.Many Names said...

What part of "get off our land" dont they understand? Time to break up the love affair our govt has had with the "permitted" ranchers and cattlemen and start treating the land for what it is: PUBLIC Property. Let the privlidged farmers and ranchers buy hay and grain for their animals like 98% of the rest of the farmers and ranchers of the nation who dont depend on grazing permits to feed their livestock.
NO to privitazation of publc lands - No to grazing Permits - No Cows or Sheep in Wild Horse Country and give them back the 20 million acres stolen from their rangelands in the interest of private interests!!!

Troy Hadrick said...

Using the land to raise food animals isn't a good enough public use? Where would you like your food raised? They aren't making anymore land.

Caleb said...

Mulekist, your rhetoric upsets me greatly. The continued pursuit of emotion rather than logic and facts will eventually lead to the demise of our great country when we are no longer able to feed ourselves. The ranchers in the West are the reason that you live in the West (assuming). They are the ones that first settled the open ranges and have worked hard to turn our country's vast RESOURCES into something useful, your food. However, our country's land laws never considered the west's arid climate in their ideal view of the Yeoman farmer. 160 acres isn't enough to raise cattle and sheep in the west like the other farmers you are suggesting around the country. Wild horse country is somewhat laughable as well, since the correct term would be feral horses since they are a by-product of spanish inhabitation in the 1600-1700's. They are descendants of domesticated livestock. The land is not being privatized, just put to use. Ranchers have never stole land, they just realize how the rest of us can benefit from their hard work and stewardship.

Paige Redding said...

MuleKist, I don't think you understand enough about animal agriculture or agriculture in general to condemn the industry or it's practices. I also don't believe you understand enough about the issues facing the industry to make these comments.
Your comment about the wild horse country is off target. Wild horses are too numerous for the rangelands to support them and they are ruining the rangeland. If the continued overgrazing occurs, the land can't support growing things anymore.
Do you really think that 98% of ranchers and farmers don't ustilization grazing land? Maybe they do east of the Mississippi, but west of the river, the land is different and it takes more grazing land to support less cattle and sheep than east of the river.
Please do some research and learn more about the industry and issues before you make comments like you've done.

Autrey Hummel said...

Growing up in the cattle ranching industry, I think this blog is utterly stupid! If cattle ranchers have no where to graze there cattle consumers have No beef! I believe that if you are ignorant towards the ways of ranchers and farmers you can not objectivly make decisions or form opinions about this subject! Besides peple who use public lands trash them and make a mess of lands that could be used for productive purposes, such as grazing cattle! Growing up in a ranching family I was always taught to respect and take care of the land you use, as are most ranchers, and your opinions and accuzations are purely ignorant!

Autrey Hummel said...

MuleKist...Grazing of land can minimize the invasion of non-native plant species and lower the risk of wildfires by decreasing the amount of flammable material on the land.

Approximately 85% of U.S. grazing lands are unsuitable for producing crops. Grazing animals on this land more than doubles the area that can be used to produce food. Cattle serve a valuable role in the ecosystem by converting the forages humans cannot consume into a nutrient-dense food.

Autrey Hummel said...

Oh and both of my comments were for MuleKist