What Can the BLM Do With an Extra $21 Million?

Back in December, Congress awarded an additional $21 million to the BLM to further address the wild horse ‘problem,’ courtesy of the ill-conceived ‘Path Forward.’

Keep in mind that most of the affected lands were set aside for the horses and that the agency involved is responsible for their protection.

Q. How many wild horses could be removed with the additional funding?

A. Given a cost of roughly $1,000 to gather and process one animal, as many as 21,000 could be removed beyond what the BLM had already anticipated in FY 2020.  This does not mean the agency has the capacity in its outplacement programs to handle that many horses.  Probably not.  So let’s reduce the number to 10,000.

Q. Which areas would be targeted first?

A. Given the agency’s bias toward livestock grazing, which existed before FLPMA, HMAs where the poor ranchers are suffering from AUM cutbacks (because of the horses) would likely be at the top of the list.

Q. What economic benefits might accrue from the $21 million expenditure?

A. The government could receive up to $162,000 per year in incremental grazing fees from the ranchers to whom the ‘liberated’ forage is sold (10,000 horses × 12 months per year × $1.35 per AUM).

Q. Are there any other economic benefits?

A. Not to the government, only the cost of warehousing that many more horses, about $2 per day per head.  The ranchers would benefit, of course, but they’re not the ones spending the $21 million.  Think of it as redistribution of wealth: From your pocket to theirs, assuming you pay federal taxes.

Q. Could the expenditure be described as an investment in America’s future?

A. No.  There is no payout and no rate of return.  It’s negative cash flow all the way.  You don’t spend $21 million up front so you can spend an additional $7.1 million annually after that ($162,000 per year – 10,000 horses × $2 per day × 365 days per year).

Q. I thought the ‘Path Forward’ would cut costs and reduce government spending?

A. It’s not about saving money.  There are no plans to close departments, sell buildings and lay people off when AML is achieved.  It’s about enriching the public-lands ranchers and those who operate off-range pastures, sanctuaries and preserves.

RELATED: Wild Horses: Existential Threat to Ranching Agenda.

New Grazing Season!

Rejoice and be glad!  The 2020 grazing season starts tomorrow, with fees stuck in a time capsule since the 1960s.

Pray for good weather and abundant forage (not for the stupid horses) and that the ranchers will always be insulated from the realities of a free market, at least on the cost side.

May they never be forced off the public lands and have to pay (OMG) the going rate to feed their livestock.

RELATED: Grazing Fee Unchanged in 2020, Cost of Feed?, Grazing Fee Defies FLPMA.

What Is a Stocking Rate?

It’s a measure of population density, usually reported on these pages as animals per thousand acres.

Animal dispersion varies inversely with stocking rates—the lower the rate the greater the dispersion.

Stocking rates are also indicators of grazing intensity.  The higher the rate the greater the demand for forage.  Can the land keep up with animal appetites?

The management plan for the Pryor Mountains WHR allows 120 wild horses on 38,000 acres, for a stocking rate of 3.2 animals per thousand acres (120 ÷ 38,000 × 1,000).

Why not animals per acre?  Decimals.  The stocking rate expressed in those units would be 0.0032 animals per acre (120 ÷ 38,000).

The management plan for the Silver King HMA in eastern Nevada yields a stocking rate of 0.00022 animals per acre.

The scaling factor in the first calculation (1,000) shifts the decimal to make the result a little easier to read.

The Virginia Range in western Nevada has a stocking rate of approximately ten wild horses per thousand acres, while the average rate for lands managed by the BLM is one wild horse per thousand acres.

What might account for the difference?

Wild Horses: Existential Threat to Ranching Agenda

Is the government ramping up its rhetoric about wild horses, ahead of the next installment on the disastrous ‘Path Forward?’

Back in October the acting director of the BLM said wild horses were the greatest threat to America’s public lands.

In December, Congress authorized an additional $21 million to deal with the ‘problem,’ contingent on the development of a game plan.

Now they have to soften up the target—which is not the horses—it’s you.

The ranching cabal wants the herds cut by 70%.

The government is happy to indulge them.

And they want to do it with your approval.

PSA 12-15-19

Eagle Roundup Complete

BLM said today in a news release that the operation had concluded, with 1,716 excess horses captured and 47 returned to their home range.  The 24 deaths were not reported.

There has been much discussion on these pages about the effect on the horses but how many poor ranchers have been hurt by the mandatory AUM curtailment needed to achieve the Mojave-Southern Great Basin RAC standards for rangeland health?

There is no curtailment.

RELATED: Eagle Roundup Day 40.

Eagle Roundup Day 38

Cumulative totals through 02-22-20, per the BLM roundup page for the Eagle Complex:

  • 1,716 animals gathered
  • 23 deaths (1.3%)
  • 766 studs (44.8%)
  • 945 mares (55.2%)
  • 5 new foals (2019 foals counted as adults)

The proportions of mares and studs are still outside of statistical limits corresponding to n = 1,711 and p-bar = .50.  The number of mares removed from the area is assignably larger than the number of studs.  Why?

The gather target of 1,700 horses has been achieved.  Approximately 100 horses were to be returned but that hasn’t been reported yet.

Thriving Ecological Balance Rev 2

The horses are not starving when their population exceeds AML, they’re robbing too much forage from the most noble and deserving inhabitants of public-lands: Privately owned livestock.

RELATED: Eagle Roundup Day 36, Eagle Wild Horses Get Short End of Stick.

Laramie County Commissioners Looking for Cover?

The video posted yesterday about the grazing program overhaul highlights the conflicts of interest that permeate the management of public lands in the western U.S.

Residents near the proposed horse-feeding operation in Laramie County, WY rejected the idea and so did the planning commission.

The county board of commissioners must now decide if a rule change favoring the developers of the facility will be approved.

At their meeting earlier this month, commissioners tabled the amendment, in hopes of finding an odor propagation model that will corroborate public concerns.

They are probably under considerable pressure to give the right answer, meaning they must ignore the wishes of the people and do as the swamp requires.

Next meeting is March 3, with the final decision postponed until at least April 7.

RELATED: Laramie County BOC: Consent of Governed Notably Absent.

PSA 01-01-20

Grazing Program Overhaul

Panel discussion of issues facing the poor ranchers in Utah.

Concerns not addressed in the video:

  • Water sources commandeered for personal gain
  • Fences that impede the movement of other animals, limiting access to critical resources
  • Grazing fees stuck in a time capsule since the 1960s
  • Stocking rates that would destroy the land in a single season if it wasn’t for pasture rotation
  • Rape and pillage sold as environmental stewardship
  • Transmission of diseases to wildlife by domestic livestock (e.g., bighorn sheep)
  • Wild horses forced off their home range so their food can be sold to the ranchers, courtesy of American taxpayers
  • Consumers unable to tell if they’re buying range-fed beef
  • Conflicts of interest by those who manage and monitor the programs

How can they defend any of this?

RELATED: BLM to Modernize Grazing Regulations on Public Lands.

Heber KMIs

What does the new plan look like in terms of key management indicators?

Data from the AML rationale document for the Heber WHT:

  • 19,700 acres available
  • 1,248 AUMs allocated to horses
  • 506 AUMs assigned to privately owned livestock

Other values needed to compute the KMIs:

  • 12 month grazing season for horses
  • 5.6 month grazing season for livestock (determined elsewhere)
  • 600 pounds dry weight per AUM (assumed)

Herd size

  • 104 horses allowed by plan (1,248 ÷ 12)
  • 90 cow/calf pairs allowed by plan (506 ÷ 5.6)

Stocking rate

  • 5.3 horses per thousand acres (104 ÷ 19,700 × 1,000)
  • 4.6 cow/calf pairs per thousand acres (90 ÷ 19,700 × 1,000)

Resource loading

  • 3.2 pounds per acre per month for horses (1,248 × 600 ÷ 19,700 ÷ 12)
  • 2.8 pounds per acre per month for livestock (506 × 600 ÷ 19,700 ÷ 5.6)

Would you say that the WHT is managed principally for wild horses?

During the grazing season, no.  During the off season, when livestock values drop to zero, yes.

Many of the horses currently inhabiting the area will have to be removed to achieve these targets.

RELATED: Forest Service Invites Comments on Heber Management Plan.

Eagle Roundup Day 36

Cumulative totals through 02-20-20, per the BLM roundup page for the Eagle Complex:

  • 1,656 animals gathered
  • 19 deaths (1.1%)
  • 741 studs (44.9%)
  • 910 mares (55.1%)
  • 5 new foals (2019 foals counted as adults)

A five year old stud was put down on day 36 due to injuries sustained while sorting.

The proportions of mares and studs are still outside of statistical limits corresponding to n = 1,651 and p-bar = .50.  The operation has removed a large number of mares from the complex, relative to studs.  The difference cannot be attributed to chance, but to one or more assignable causes.

The thriving ecological balance has been achieved, save for the removal of a few dozen more, followed by selective return.

Clearly, the WHB Act no longer affords the protections sought by Velma.

Eagle HMA Charts-1

RELATED: Eagle Roundup Day 34, Eagle Wild Horses Get Short End of Stick.

Letter Hits Symptoms, Avoids Causes of Wild Horse ‘Problem’

Many people in the west understand the “ridiculous horse-feeding program,” but many in Congress and the rest of the nation do not, according to an opinion piece appearing yesterday in The Richfield Reaper of Richfield, UT.

Points discussed in the letter:

1. Almost 90,000 wild horses and burros inhabit ten western states but the government says the number should be about 27,000.

  • The land, which was set aside for wild horses and burros, can support way more than 27,000 of them but the government has consigned most of their resources to public-lands ranchers.
  • Which paragraph in the statute sets the limit at 27,000?
  • The land is to be managed principally for WHB, according to the Act, but a federal regulation says ‘we’ll do that if we feel like it.’

2. Warehousing of wild horses and burros costs $81 million a year.

  • Why are they in long-term holding?  See Point #1.
  • The government spends roughly $50 million per year to stockpile those animals so it can receive a few million dollars per year in grazing fees.  If money and economic viability were the issues, the ranchers would have been shown the door years ago.

3. Distributors in the United States spent nearly $2.1 million in 2017 importing horse meat from Canada to feed carnivores in U.S. zoos.

  • Shameful.  The ranchers could be donating a small percentage of their output to help the poor zookeepers.  What do you do for a living, madam?

4. Last year, the BLM began paying individuals a $500 incentive at the time of adoption and another $500 after the adopter takes title of the animal.

  • The goal is to cashier as many animals through the program as possible, so more can be removed from the range and their food sold to the ranchers.  See Point #1.

5. With so many horses in long-term holding, roundups will only exacerbate the problem and cost millions for taxpayers.

  • Correct, because roundups treat the symptoms, not the causes.  See Point #1.

Solutions are always aimed at causes.  They stop unwanted events.  We must have solutions to polio and smallpox because you don’t see them any more.

The answer, according to the writer, is to reopen the slaughter pipeline by overturning laws that prevent it.

How do you know it’s not a solution?

Because it guarantees that more and more horses will be coming off the range, bringing the ranchers closer and closer to the promised land.

PSA 12-07-19