The Cost of Range-Fed Beef

It’s not $1.41 per animal unit month, the fee for grazing on public lands administered by the BLM in 2018.

Compare that to the cost of feeding a horse at your ranch.  One bale per week @ $20 per bale, plus some grain @ $20 per sack and you’re pushing $100 per AUM.

One AUM = one cow and calf = one horse = five sheep or goats for a month.

The cost to feed cattle on a ranch is probably less but it’s not $1.41 per AUM.  That explains why the ranchers want access to the HMAs.  There may be other benefits as well, such as the quality and taste of range-fed beef.  (That seems to be the case for free-range eggs, a topic for another post.)

What about the costs of gathers, fertility control, adoption programs, long-term holding and other activities associated with the downsizing of WHB on public lands?

Not to mention the unknown and unknowable costs of losing these icons of freedom, ruggedness and self-reliance.

Those must be added to the basic fee.

An infographic by The Cloud Foundation shows the numbers in 2014.


In 2017, there were 177 HMAs in ten western states covering 26.9 million acres, with 73,000 animals on the range and 44,000 in long-term holding.  BLM spends roughly $50 million per year to care for the animals in holding.  Refer to the presentation by John Ruhs, State Director for BLM in Nevada, at this post.

You won’t be able to reverse the decline by voting for liberals.  They don’t like the idea of private property, they want Americans dependent on government.  In the case of ranching, that means more cattlemen earning a living off public lands, which means greater demand for the removal of WHB on HMAs.

The answer is self-reliance.  Ranchers working their own land.  Horses and burros running wild and free on public lands set aside for them in 1971.

Horse Trailer Overturns, 18 Democrat Votes Lost

On 04-07-18, a trailer carrying illegal aliens separated from a pickup truck and crashed on I-8 near Campo, CA, according to this report in The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Raw video posted at OnSceneTV.  The story leaves some unanswered questions though.

Did the driver have to use carrots to get them in the trailer?

Did anybody at the border check their Coggins?

Were they secured with trailer ties?

Wild Horses Are Not Wildlife

Wild horses and burros can be found on public lands not because of their role in the ecosystem, not because they’re an endangered species, but for their historical value.

That some lands were set aside in 1971 principally for WHB seems to have been overlooked by the central planners.  (The map at the bottom of this page shows just how far their tentacles reach.  Could this explain why there is growing demand for livestock grazing on HMAs?  The supply of land—for sale to ranching interests or anybody else—is too small?)

What characteristics come to mind when you think of the American West?

  • Homesteading
  • Farming
  • Travel by horse
  • Villainy
  • Frontier justice
  • Unspoiled beauty
  • Open space
  • Wilderness

What values did the settlers bring with them?

  • Liberty
  • Private property
  • Self-reliance (including self-defense)
  • Modesty
  • Privacy
  • Free speech
  • Religion
  • Marriage
  • Family
  • Belief in God

What if you have individuals in government who hate these ideas, who believe they’ve been poisoning the minds of the people for hundreds of years?

Consider the experience of the Chinese from the mid 1960s to mid 1970s, during the Cultural Revolution.  For communism to take root, the nation would have to break all ties with the past:

  • Traditional social practices such as weddings and funerals were suppressed
  • Books were burned and art objects were smashed
  • Temples and churches were closed and put to secular use
  • Customary ways of dress were eliminated
  • Visual evidences of old things were destroyed

Old ideas, old culture, old customs, old habits.

You can’t have the people thinking about their heritage and birthright when you have a fundamental transformation to accomplish.

Solving Problems That Don’t Exist

What do you get when local ranchers join forces with the BLM to fix the ‘wild horse problem’ on Beatys Butte HMA?  The Beaty Butte Wild Horse Training Facility.

Next, add a trainer with experience in the horse racing industry.  Throw in bits and shoes for good measure and you’ve got utopia, everything those mustangs dreamed of while on the range.

Finally, justify all of it by ‘the growing list of uses’ of the HMA.

Like the Wild Spayed Filly Futurity, it has its share of clapping seals.

The upper value of the AML yields a stocking rate of 1748 acres per horse (roughly 0.6 horses per thousand acres), almost nothing.

But horses will be gathered annually and fertility control will be applied.

The program started with a 100% gather in 2015, followed by selective return.

The first annual adoption will be held April 13-14 2018 in Adel, OR.

The Big Bonanza

The greatest ore discovery on the Comstock, 1873.  Now you know why they call it ‘The Silver State.’  What else is on the reverse side of the Nevada State Quarter?  Wild horses, of course.


Looking east across the Virginia Range to Flowery Peak (left) and Emma Peak (right) from Virginia City, 02/24/18.


The cover photos at St. Mary’s FB page show many scenes in and around town.  Click the photo on this page to start the slide show.  Note the man-made hills (mine tailings).

Comstock Cave-Ins

This episode of Bonanza tells the story of Philip Deidesheimer, inventor of square-set timbering, one of the greatest advances in mining technology of the Old West.

The year is 1860, the setting is the Ophir Mine on the north end of Virginia City.  Originally aired 1959.

The map that appears in the opening credits has been turned ‘sideways,’ north is on the left.  The Ponderosa Ranch was situated between Lake Tahoe and the Virginia Range.

One Hundred and Six

No, it’s not the number of lives denied last year on the Virginia Range due to PZP, that figure is higher.

It’s the stocking rate in acres per horse for the Virginia Range.  The scaled reciprocal, horses per thousand acres, is 9.4.

As noted on 03/26/18, these figures differ appreciably from those used by the BLM.

For example, read this post dated 03/02/18 at Straight from the Horse’s Heart.  Stocking rates for some of the HMAs in Nevada are discussed, along with those for livestock.

The stocking rate for the Triple B Complex is 0.4 horses per thousand acres (just 4.4% of that for the VR), yet there was a large gather at the HMA earlier this year.

Protect the Harvest says the stocking rate for the Virginia Range should be 640 acres per horse, or about 1.5 horses per thousand acres.

Why would they even care?  The Virginia Range is mostly private land and the potential for grazing is limited.

If word gets out that the carrying capacity of the range might be greater than stated in the official story line, AMLs could quadruple overnight, and the plan for replacing horses with cattle on public lands would be dealt a major setback.


H/T PNWHA for the link on wild horse overpopulation.