New Mexico Ranchers Pay $43 Per AUM for McGregor Range

Yesterday the BLM announced that local ranchers bid $35 to $43 per AUM to graze eight parcels on withdrawn lands in southern New Mexico.

The McGregor Range covers 606,000 acres on the west side of Otero Mesa, between Alamogordo, NM and El Paso, TX, according to the news release.  It was a part of Fort Bliss and supported live fire exercises with new missile systems.

McGregor Range Map-1

Pick the mid point.  If $40 per AUM is the going rate for livestock grazing on public lands, why are the ranchers who graze HMAs and WHTs allowed to pay just $1.35?

Title I of FLPMA says the U.S. [shall] receive fair market value of the use of the public lands and their resources unless otherwise provided for by statute (item 9, page 8).

How does $1.35 meet that requirement?  It doesn’t.  How do those endeavors return the maximum benefit to the American people?  They don’t.  (Refer to Title IV on page 31 for remarks about grazing fees.  Page 34 has the infamous helicopter roundup provision that was added to the WHB Act.)

Public-lands ranching is a gravy train.  That’s what groups like Protect the Harvest and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association are trying to defend—and expand.

It’s the driver of the despicable ‘Path Forward.’

Raising the grazing fee to $60 per AUM—in line with the cost of warehousing excess wild horses and burros in off-range pastures—would be a nice down payment on the goal of erasing public-lands ranching from the American landscape.

The U.S. would receive an additional $528 million annually, at least for a while, until the ranchers throw in the towel, because paying market rates just plain spoils the party.

NEPA Workshop Next Month

The National Environmental Policy Act requires federal agencies (like the BLM) to assess the environmental effects of proposed actions, such as wild horse roundups, before making a decision.

Public participation is part of the process.

The four hour class in Burns, OR is open to anyone interested in NEPA and will focus on comment writing and review.

The news release did not indicate if the event would be live-streamed.

Example: Comments Invited on Range Creek Gather Plan.

‘Path Forward’ in the News

Refer to this report by the Washington Post, published yesterday.  Includes a link to the wild horse and burro management plan announced on 04-22-19.

The plan was negotiated by ranching interests and animal welfare groups.  Wild horse advocates were omitted from the process.

The story includes some photos and anecdotes from the Triple B roundup in July, and, as expected, gives the ranchers and their allies in government a pass.

RELATED: Liberals Will Never Condemn Public-Lands Ranching.

UPDATE: Added video.

How Wild Horses and Burros Should be Managed

The American Farm Bureau Federation issued this pronouncement today:

“Wild horses and burros are to be managed according to the Wild and Free-Roaming Horse & Burro Act of 1971, which not only specifies where wild horses and burros can occupy public lands but that they shall be managed in a manner that produces a thriving natural ecological balance.”

Couldn’t agree more.  Of course, the WHB Act of 1971 no longer exists—it was revamped by Congress at the behest of the public-lands ranchers.

So the first step would be to roll back the changes, restoring the Act to its original form.

Wild horses and burros are to occupy lands on which they were found when the bill was signed into law.  This will nearly double the amount of land they inhabit today.

As for the thriving ecological balance, Congress ordered the Secretaries of Interior and Agriculture to confer with state agencies to ensure that wildlife, especially endangered species, are not adversely affected by the horses and burros.

There was no provision for domestic livestock, which leads to the second step: Ending public-lands ranching and its 100-year reign of terror in the American west.

The third step is a thorough house cleaning of federal agencies involved with public lands: Anyone with a ranching background or ties to the ranching industry is gone.

RELATED: The Land Can Only Support 27,000 Wild Horses and Burros.

Bullfrog Gather in Progress

BLM said on 09-06-19 that approximately 600 excess wild burros would be removed from the Bullfrog HMA, starting the next day.  As of today, 302 animals have been captured, with no deaths reported.

The burros are a nuisance in the town of Beatty and a safety risk along U.S. highway 95, according to the news release.  The size of the herd had already been reduced by about 400 head in a roundup conducted in 2018.

The HMA covers 157,180 acres in southern Nevada and has an AML of 91, for an aimed-at population density of 0.6 animals per thousand acres.

Bullfrog-HMA-Map-1

The gather employs bait traps to remove the burros from their home range, so it is not open to public observation.  Captured animals are being taken to the off-range corrals in Axtell, UT.

The HMA intersects one grazing allotment, but only a portion of one pasture (about 12,000 acres) is currently active, according to Section 3.3 of the 2012 Environmental Assessment.  See Figure 3 on page 33 of the EA.

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Fish Creek Roundup Complete

BLM said today that operations concluded on 09-15-19, with 558 wild horses gathered from the Fish Creek HMA in central Nevada.  Five deaths were reported (0.9%) and twenty horses were returned to the range, for a population reduction of 538 animals.

The seven mares allowed to rejoin the herd were treated with contraceptives, according to the news release.

The process reduced forage consumption on the HMA by 6,456 AUMs per year, some of which may be picked up by ‘other authorized users.’

The announcement said the roundup complied with Section 1333(b) of the 1971 WHB Act, except there is no Section 1333(b) in the 1971 Act.  The reference should be to the WHB Act of 1976/1978/2004.

The original statute was ‘reshaped’ by the political allies of the public-lands ranchers.

RELATED: Fish Creek Roundup Starts Next Week, Fish Creek Horses Get Short End of Stick, Livestock Grazing in Nevada.

Park Service to Resume Fertility Control at TRNP

The Grand Forks Herald reported today that the wild horses of Theodore Roosevelt National Park will again be subject to a birth control program, meaning the mares will be shot in the butt with contraceptive darts.

The report did not indicate if the pesticide would be administered by park staff or volunteers from local ‘advocacy’ groups.

The full effect of this practice—tampering with breeding patterns and the reproductive systems of mares—will not be known for generations.

RELATED: TRNP ‘Culls’ Adopted.

Another Animal Welfare Group Pushes Contraceptives for Horses

Animal Wellness Action, a lobbying group in Washington, DC, said today in a news release that Congress should order the BLM (and presumably the Forest Service) to increase fertility control programs as a way to halt the growth of wild horse herds and reduce the need for roundups on public lands in the western U.S.

“It’s time to double down on contraception not roundups,” said the group’s director of federal affairs, in response to the wild horse management plan announced on 04-22-19.

Sadly, the problem is not wild horse overpopulation, it is public-lands ranching.

RELATED: Ten Years to AML: The Way Forward for America’s Horses and Burros.

Fort Polk Herd Dwindles

The Natchitoches Times reported today that just 20 to 30 wild horses remain in the Kisatchie National Forest, suggesting that the end is near for the herd.

The horses are not protected by the WHB Act and are viewed by Fort Polk staff (U.S. Army) as ‘trespass livestock.’  Several rescues and advocacy groups are working to find new homes for the mustangs, according to the report.

A post dated 09-08-19 by Pegasus Equine Guardian Associates says 318 wild horses have been removed from the area since the roundup was announced in 2016.

RELATED: Fort Polk Horses Gunned Down.

Liberals Will Never Condemn Public-Lands Ranching

Because it’s an enterprise of the Left, a darling of the Democrat Party.  They love their little collective farms, with all the government control.  Cow farts and climate change be damned.

Private sector ranching is another story.

Be sure to read the commentary by Eleanor Schwartz, beginning on page 59 of the 25th anniversary edition of FLPMA, including the footnotes, to see who drafted the statute, which codified ‘multiple use’ and gave us helicopter roundups of wild horses.

What about the Burns AmendmentConrad Burns, senator from Montana, had little to gain from a change to the WHB Act that accelerated the disposal of wild horses removed from public lands in the western U.S.  But Harry Reid, senator from Nevada, sure did.

Of the states with federally managed herds of wild horses and burros, Montana is at the bottom of the list, while Nevada, with half of the nation’s wild horses, is at the top.

Reid convinced Burns to fall on his sword for the benefit of the public-lands ranchers.

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