The cattle business keeps roaring on!
There are a couple of things that are prominent in my mind, which are holding this price up. Number one is demand for animal protein and the taste of good beef, especially if it's had some feed. I think, even though the packers and the stores have upped the price of high choice and prime beef, it is still in great demand. They also have upped the price of hamburger, especially the best kind. It is holding the price up substantially. I don't know about you, but I can enjoy a good hamburger steak with potatoes, gravy, and vegetables and have about as good a meal as I have ever had. My golly, it's a super supper! It always has been good, and it always will be.
Then we have China as the number one importing beef country in the world; yes, they are number one. With those billions of people over there and the demand they have for beef, why can't we do a better job of setting the trading agreements straight? Here we are in America putting a lot of plants in China that build everything from toothpicks to pickups to industrial machinery to household vitamins to kitchen items of all kinds ... and then we buy these products back. Yet, China -- because they have a lot of people interested in the land and farming that are in their government -- will not allow us to ship food into China. Why? Because it could be harmful to their basic industry, agriculture in Mainland China.
Here we are supporting those folks in a huge way and in many different ways including borrowing money by the millions from them. And here we are-- getting out traded, out done, out priced. I see no reason for this. Our administration and the people doing the trading would go broke trading marbles... and they will break us at the rate they are going. I really feel that we're looking at a very dark hole in the ground in our trading policy.
Another situation that should concern all of us in these times when our market is doing well is record number of imports of livestock from Canada and the record imports or product from Mexico. Yes sir, they are all taking advantage of the advance in our markets.
One other thing that concerns me, maybe you too, is that the records from the U.S. government show that, since April, there have been 352,000 imported children, many alone and some with parents, come into the United States. Some studies say that, by the time we get them in here, get them housed, get them into schools, get them into school, get them into our welfare system, and all the rest, some $350,000 per person is what the United States is going to invest in these foreign kids and adults. Who's paying for that? You got it; the United States' taxpaying citizens. And here we are already, with 17.3 trillion dollars of debt right now!
Meanwhile, it seems as though our government and our administration want to supplement people who are out of a job, people who are below national average in income, people who have college loans, people who are deeply in debt, etc. etc. etc. All that is going to do is create more people on the dole. It isn't going to cure anything. All it's going to do is create a host more people who want to live in America on the dole.
We are heading headlong into socialism, domestic socialism. Our president believes in it, too many of our Congress believes in it, and I'm afraid there are far too many people who vote in this country believe in it.
I feel strongly that we must have rules on who can come into this country, and it's absolutely the obligation of our president and our congress and those in charge to protect this country. It appears as though we're spending a lot of money looking at the problem but we are not doing very much about handling it, are we?
If you get a chance to visit with your representatives or senators in Washington, give them a piece of your mind. Remind them that this is America and that, yes, it is a country that has offered freedom to millions. However, also point out to them that, if America doesn't remain solvent, we won't be able to maintain our own freedoms much less offer them to any one else. It's wonderful to be in a country where you're given not only the grace to go broke but also, with the same set of rules, the grace to excel and prosper. However, again, if America doesn't remain solvent, we won't be able to enjoy those freedoms and opportunities.
Have a great summer! In most places there's been drought relief with moisture. The cattle and sheep market is second to none. Enjoy it. As I have written many times, as you sell your product and get a good price, be sure you put part of that up on the shelf because there will come a time when it will be save your business. Put some on the shelf because times will not always be this wonderful.
We're enjoying a great year, and we're enjoying you as readers. We've got a strong operating base in our set of readers. We are proud of being the best read livestock weekly in western America.
BLM to Texas: Red River Land belongs to feds...
Newly-appointed BLM Director Neil Kornze isn't making many friends in his new position. Immediately after being confirmed as head of the agency, Kornze led the spectacularly botched Bundy Ranch roundup in Nevada. Now, he's telling Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott that land once considered part of Oklahoma that's now in Texas due to shifts of the Red River belongs to the federal government. The Red River, which forms the boundary between Oklahoma and Texas, is known to shift its streambed. After the latest shift, the BLM claimed control of up to 90,000 acres on the Texas side of the Red River and said it would undertake a multi-year review of how to manage the land. In April, Abbott sent a long list of questions to the BLM, asking why the federal agency claimed control of any Texas land and essentially telling the agency to back off or expect to find itself in court.
Kornze didn't back down. In a letter to Abbott dated June 20, Kornze said: "Any shifts in the boundary between Texas and Oklahoma as a result of the 2000 Red River Boundary Compact may mean that public lands that are owned by the U.S. now are within Texas that were formally in Oklahoma. The BLM will determine the uses and extent of these public lands through the current public planning process and necessary surveys."
Abbott says the BLM letter doesn't address most of his pressing concerns. "The BLM's recent letter fails to answer the questions that I and many Texans have about the BLM's seeming land grab along the Red River," he said. "It is still unclear what area along the Red River the BLM is attempting to lay claim to and under what authority and how the BLM intends to treat the Texans who have for generations considered the land private property. The BLM's inadequate response will force Texas to pursue other options to obtain the needed information - including litigation, if needed."
WY Governor calls for withdrawal of CWA Interpretive Rule...
Wyoming Governor Matt Mead is calling on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator and head of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw the proposed Interpretive Rule to the Clean Water Act (CWA). The Interpretive Rule, if implemented, expands the Waters of the U.S. governed under the CWA. "This rule is expansive, obtrusive, expensive, and substantive," said Governor Mead. "I believe it needs more thorough consideration and possibly Congressional action before it is implemented. It goes well beyond the Congressional purpose and intent of the CWA." Mead said the rule would create new regulatory hurdles for ag producers. "Previously, everyday farming and ranching activities near Waters of the U.S. did not require permitting from the EPA and the Corps of Engineers. Now, standards originally developed for people who voluntarily participated in programs through the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) would be required. This changes the NRCS standards into regulatory thresholds where they were previously optional guidance for best practices. It expands the federal government's role and will also discourage landowner participation in conservation activities. The Interpretive Rule should be withdrawn," said Mead.
Vetter confirmed as USTR Chief Ag Negotiator...
The U.S. Senate confirmed Darci Vetter as Chief Ag Negotiator in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) on July 9. Vetter previously served as USDA's under secretary for foreign ag services. Before joining USDA, Vetter served as an international trade adviser on the Democratic staff of the Senate Finance Committee, where she worked on issues related to agriculture, the environment, labor, and climate change legislation. Prior to her work on the Finance Committee, she spent six years at the USTR Office, most recently as director for ag affairs. She was responsible for facilitating NAFTA implementation and resolving ag trade issues with Canada and Mexico, as well as participating in the World Trade Organization Doha Round of negotiations. Vetter received her Master of Public Affairs degree from Princeton and her undergraduate degree from Drake University in Des Moines, IA. She is a native of Nebraska.
BLM to remove fewer horses this summer...
Citing shrinking budgets and overflowing holding pens, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) says it will remove fewer wild horses and burros from the range in the West this summer. The agency's roundup schedule was announced last week, and it shows the BLM plans to gather 2,400 animals through the fiscal year ending September 30. All but 215 head will be horses. The plans calls for the removal of 1,535 horses in Wyoming, 285 in Nevada, 200 in Utah, 50 in California, and 30 in Idaho. In Arizona, 140 burros will be gathered with 50 in California and 25 in Oregon. BLM officials say the current population of wild horses and burros in the West - about 40,600 - exceeds by some 14,000 the number the agency has determined the rangeland can support. And, they say, the situation has been aggravated by drought, resulting in reduced forage for the animals. Holding pens and facilities are at capacity, with some 49,000 of the animals held in government-funded short- and long-term facilities. After horses and burros are removed from the range, the BLM places them in short-term corrals until they're adopted or shipped to government-funded pastures in the Midwest to spend the rest of their lives.
WY wolf lawsuit to be dropped...
U.S. District Judge Alan Johnson of Cheyenne, WY, has denied a request from Wyoming and other groups, including pro-hunting organizations, to force a coalition of environmental groups to continue their lawsuit challenging federal action that turn wolf management over to the state. WildEarth Guardians and other groups asked Judge Johnson to allow them to drop their lawsuit last year, saying they want to support a similar lawsuit pending in Washington, D.C. Wyoming's management plan classifies wolves as predators that can be shot on sight in much of the state. Environmental groups argue that the plan fails to offer wolves adequate protection.
Canada takes "Buy American" complaints to WTO
By Leesa Zalesky
"Buy American!" is back, and Canada doesn't like it.
Last month, Canadian officials filed a list of grievances with the World Trade Organization (WTO), saying recent legislation introduced in the U.S. Congress is nothing more than protectionism. "Canada is very concerned with recent legislation in the U.S. which reflects repeated attempts to impose domestic content requirements for products purchased by federal, state, and municipal-level governments within the U.S.," said Canada's International Trade Minister Ed Fast. "Canada's focus is on eliminating trade barriers, not erecting new ones. Protectionism in bad policy and bad for business on both sides of the border."
"Buy American" legislation has existed for decades. In fact, the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009 -- the 787 billion dollar stimulus package -- contains a provision that refers to pre-existing legislation called the Buy American Act of 1933. The Buy American provisions require that only U.S.-produced iron, steel, and manufactured goods be used in public buildings and public works, subject to certain exceptions like unreasonable cost. Other federal legislation attaches similar Buy American requirements to spending that involves federal funds, such as highway and mass transit programs.
The Canadian government pointed to legislation like the water-infrastructure law just passed by Congress as an example of potential trade barriers. The multi-billion dollar Water Resources Reform & Development Act, signed into law last month, contains a provision stipulating that, to be eligible for one of the bill's funding programs, all of the iron and steel products used in a project must be produced in the U.S. The Canadians also say the new Grow America Act, which is legislation proposed by the Obama administration and may not pass, is more of the same. The plan funds public transit, and a clause stipulates that, to be eligible for funding, vehicles must be built with American components. The percentage of the required American content would grow each year, from 60% to 100% by 2019.
And Canada says that state bills -- pertaining to steel and other procurement items and passed in Minnesota and being studied in New York and Massachusetts -- are "systemic issues of concern to Canada." Canada told the WTO: "Even though many of these new initiatives may not pass, the recurring threat of new forced localization requirements discourages foreign suppliers from investing the time and energy in developing new opportunities in foreign procurement markets. Uncertainty - in and of itself - has the potential to undermine market access."
Editor's note: America and Americans should look after America and Americans first. Period. We can't be the world's everything. None of them appreciates our efforts anyway. LG
Wolf Safety Zone around Yellowstone Park?
Saying that, without one, the health of the park's wolf populations will suffer, a congressman from Oregon is calling on Interior Secretary Sally Jewell work with Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho officials to develop a "wolf safety zone" around Yellowstone National Park. Rep. Pete DeFazio, D-OR, also took time July 8 to take the director of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) to task for working to undermine wolf recovery efforts in the lower 48 states, arguing that the agency has used shoddy science to defend the delisting of gray wolves.
In his letter to Secretary Jewell, the Democrat blamed hunting of wolves just beyond Yellowstone's borders for a decline in the overall wolf population in the Park, telling Secretary Jewell that "for over three years, the population of gray wolves in Yellowstone has steadily decreased as a result of hunting-related deaths. According to wildlife biologists, Yellowstone's wolf population dropped 25% between 2011 and 2012. The National Park Service reports that as of March 1, 2013, 12 Yellowstone National Park wolves were legally harvested just outside the park borders."
The congressman attributed the problem to Congress's move in 2011 to pass a budget amendment that "revived a USFWS rule to delist the gray wolf in Idaho and Montana and parts of Oregon and Washington. In addition to reinstating the rule -- which had previously been struck down by a federal judge -- the rider waived any further judicial review and effectively devolved management authority and responsibility for gray wolf survival to the states. The USFWS prematurely delisted wolves in Wyoming the following year."
Yellowstone biologists, however, reported a 15% decline in the park's wolf population from 2010 through 2012. Looking at a greater time period, the park in its 2012 annual wolf management report noted: "The wolf population has declined by about 50% since 2007 mostly because of a smaller elk population, the main food of northern range wolves." The report did, however, also note: "State-managed wolf hunts contributed to the 2012 decline by removing 12 YNP wolves adjacent to the park."
In his letter, Rep. DeFazio asked Secretary Jewell to "undertake a concerted and coordinated effort to work with the states to establish a uniform wolf safety zone or buffer around Yellowstone National Park." He added: "Additionally, I respectfully request your leadership in establishing an Interagency Wolf Task Force for the purpose of coordinating across the federal and state agencies to protect park wolves from adverse effects of trophy hunting and other causes of human-induced mortality in all National Parks with wolf populations."
In a letter, also penned July 8, to USFWS Director Dan Ashe about the agency's stance on wolf delisting, the congressman, who is the ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Natural Resources, complained that the agency "continues to be irrationally committed to delisting the gray wolf in disregard of the best available science and the fact that the recovery of gray wolves is far from complete. ...I find it particularly troubling that you continue to defend the 'science' upon which you base this proposal, even in the face of having it rejected by your own peer reviewers, eminent scientists, and wolf experts who unanimously found that 'the rule does not represent the best available science.' In short, the Service's recent view on gray wolf taxonomy and what constitutes recovery under the ESA are just the latest scientifically and legally dubious rationales for achieving a political goal -- the end of federal wolf recovery efforts in the vast majority of the species' historic range. I find it both ironic and tragic that the Service is quick to declare victory in the recovery of gray wolves, while at the same time it has eliminated federal protection and subjected the species to some of the very same aggressive wolf control tactics that were responsible for eliminating the species from the lower 48 states. ... It is remarkable that we would spend 20 years or more committed to the recovery of this species only to see it vanish well before the job has been completed. That is not only irresponsible, it is shameful, and I do not believe it is the goal of the (Endangered Species Act). In short, I find the morphing explanation based upon science which has failed a peer review to be unworthy of your agency. You can look forward to vigorous future action from me on this matter should you not administratively put the agency on the right course."
- National Parks Traveler staff, 7/9
Rain on the Scarecrow
By Kerry Hoffschneider
I have come to the following conclusion, based on my experiences with ag corporations and mainstream ag commodity groups and organizations: we're in the middle of the biggest ag crisis of all time, and we are calling it "feeding the world." I've used it in columns in the past, but that number "9 billion people to feed by 2050" has been used by a lot of people who have power and resources but who are completely out of touch with the underlying, true evils that exist in our current ag system, evils that all of us in agriculture are contributing to but not all are fully aware of.
Millions, if not billions, of marketing dollars are being utilized to sell an antiquated, industrialized form of agriculture that is destroying our way of life. I've seen enough now, researched enough, and more importantly talked to enough salt-of-the-earth people and other experts to arrive at my conclusion. So the other day, I pulled out an old song from the 1980s I hadn't heard for a long time: John Mellencamp's "Rain on the Scarecrow."
I think it's time to bring that message out again so I've shared the lyrics below. I also pulled up the u-tube video of Mellencamp singing that song. I've watched it several times over -- real video of farm auctions, real video of families in church with weary faces over their losses, real grandpas holding the shoulders of their grandsons and granddaughters who would no longer have a future on the farm, real people and real hurt that still exists today. Here goes, the lyrics of a song, a very true song:
Scarecrow on a wooden cross blackbird in the barn.
Four hundred empty acres that used to be my farm.
I grew up like my daddy did; my grandpa cleared this land.
When I was five, I walked the fence while Grandpa held my hand.
This land fed a nation; this land made me proud.
And son, I'm just sorry there's no legacy for you now.
The crops we grew last summer weren't enough to pay the loans.
Couldn't buy the seed to plant this spring, and the farmers' bank foreclosed.
Called my old friend Schepman up to auction off the land.
He said, "John, it's just my job, and I hope you understand."
Hey, calling it your job, ol' hoss, sure don't make it right.
But if you want me to, I'll say a prayer for your soul tonight.
And Grandma is on the front porch swing with a Bible in her hand.
Sometimes I hear her singing Take Me To The Promised Land.
When you take away a man's dignity, he can't work his fields and cows.
There'll be blood on the scarecrow, blood on the plow.
Well there's 97 crosses planted in the courthouse yard,
97 families who lost 97 farms.
I think about my grandpa and my neighbors and my name,
and some nights I feel like dying like that scarecrow in the rain.
Rain on the scarecrow blood on the plow.
This land fed a nation; this land made me so proud.
And son, I'm just sorry they're just memories for you now.
Rain on the scarecrow, blood on the plow.
Rain on the scarecrow, blood on the plow."
More farms don't have to be mere memories. But we have to act, NOW. My heart tells me something that I can't let go. My heart tells me the land belongs to all of us, not just a few. It's the family and the farm, in that order, that we are stewards of - not just our family, all families. Let's get this right for once, for our children, for our nation, for God's world.
- NY Times