Browsing All Posts filed under »Welfare Ranching«

The Elephant in the Room is a Cow — Grazing Impacts on So. Utah Forests

September 23, 2014

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My wife and I are both sixth generation Utahns. We own homes in both Salt Lake and Wayne counties. We were married in the Capitol Reef National Park outdoor amphitheater in 2010. Together we cherish the natural landscape of Utah, our pretty, great state. Except for one thing. We have become sensitized to the damage […]

The (unequal justice) Code of the West

May 25, 2014

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c stewartCowboy anarchist Cliven Bundy and Utah San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman remain free. I have been writing to Utah 2nd District Congressman Chris Stewart expressing my alarm at the situation. [read more . . .]

Cliven Bundy Opens the Anarchy Door

April 18, 2014

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EqualJusticeUnderLaw The BLM has got its tit in a wringer. From an environmental standpoint the BLM is a classic captured agency run locally both by and for ranchers. [read more . . .]

Cowpie National Monument

May 31, 2013

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Grand Staircase Escalanate National Monument, Burr Trail (GSENM), May 20, 2013  It doesn’t make sense to subsidize environmental degradation on public lands.  Kirsten and I went out for a couple of nights camping to the Deer Creek campground off the Burr Trail in the GSENM.  After a hike down Deer Creek for less than a […]

Exclosures – August 2012

August 19, 2012

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Kirsten and I went up to the Fish Lake National Forest and camped on Thousand Lake Mountain in southern Utah for a couple of nights this last Thursday through Saturday August 16-18.  This area is just north of Torrey and we like to get up there in the summer just to get out and to […]

More public hurt from welfare ranching . . .

March 14, 2012

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What to do about the Cattlemen’s Beef Association's imperial control over federal land-use policy in the West? From an essay by Christopher Ketchum in The American Prospect comes some acute observations about the power abuse in the face of common sense and at the expense of the public and the land:

“It’s almost a matter of religiosity that the real costs of ranching are paid for by the public,” says Brian Ertz, media director with the Western Watersheds Project. “Democratic and Republican congresspersons alike make their way up through political environments of extreme livestock--culture-dominated political organizations. The statehouses are dominated by livestock interests, and that’s where the federal representatives cut their teeth.” Click on title for more . . .

Golden Saddles

February 10, 2012

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Grazing in the Intermountain West does more environmental damage than any other single activity. But ranchers have always had a choke hold on western legislators and most of the public land is grazed. One force that could overcome the ranchers grip is the market. Retirements of grazing permits (they are permits, not rights) are refered to sometimes as gold saddles. There is currently such a proposal by a legislator whose name is Adam Smith. An almost-too-perfect name for a guy coming up with an "invisible hand" market based solution. With such poetic grace on its side, the grazing retirement option may be getting a little closer. See Jodi Peterson's article in High Country News.

What uses most of the land and water without showing up in production?

February 6, 2012

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70% of the land in Utah is public. And 70% of that land is handed out for grazing. Over 80% of the water used in Utah is for agriculture and most of that is to grow hay for livestock. That is a lot of land and water. Open this chart on the left of the State of Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert Economic Report's figures on employment by industry as a percent of total employment: Dec. 2011. Where's agriculture? The subsidized use of all that land and water isn't producing much, particularly jobs.

What does it cost to feed a gerbil for a month?

February 6, 2012

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Probably more than $1.35. This is all that is charged to feed a cow AND its calf: Grazing fees on federal public lands to remain the same.

Ed Firmage lets the good old boys have it.

January 22, 2012

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Welfare Rancher?

In response to an article in the Salt Lake Tribune announcing that Utah State Engineer Kent Jones OK’d the use of Green River water to cool a proposed nuclear reactor, Ed Firmage Jr. posted a polished reply. Click title to see more.

Failure of Land Use Socialism

January 4, 2012

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There is nothing more harmful to the arid lands of the American West today than public land grazing. It is ironic that the Cato Institute, the leading libertarian, conservative think tank calls the results of over a century of grazing on public lands, " . . . a testimony to the failure of land-use socialism." Ouch. 70% of the over 300 million acres of public land in the West is grazed, producing less than 3% of the nation's beef. Agriculture is less than 1% of the western economies but uses nearly 80% of the water, much of that used to grow hay for to feed livestock. Ranching is a tiny little special interest. A rancher pays $1.35 per month to graze a cow and its calf. How much do you suppose it costs to feed a gerbil for a month? Yet the BLM, with $40 million of taxpayer stimulus money, wants to ignore the impact of grazing in their Rapid Ecoregional Assessments project to map ecological trends throughout the West. See more here . . . >>