Ranchers all across Nevada are beginning to speak out about how the arbitrary and capricious decisions by federal land agencies — especially the Bureau of Land Management — are threatening their livelihood and very existence as a viable business.
Back in October a group of them got together and wrote down a list of their concerns to present to lawmakers.
Admittedly, it is in jargon unique to ranching (AUMs are animal units per month, which is what grazing fees are based on), but these are the expressed concerns:
- Agency conjecture that reductions in AUMs, based on utilization at arbitrary locations, would cause improved range conditions.
- Actual affects of AUM reductions has been ranches that are no longer profitable and cannot be sold for a fair price.
- Suspended AUMs have not been reactivated.
- BLM range improvements are not timely and grazier funded range improvements are discouraged.
- Riparian regulations that are onerous, with unrealistic objectives. These now include prohibition of grazing high elevation rangelands during the summer (hot-season).
- Monitoring data that does not represent more than the small area of each transect and interpretation of the monitoring that is misleading.
- Water rights ownership demands by BLM including (1) prohibiting water development for management unless half of the water right is signed over to the BLM and (2) BLM water right filings over vested water rights.
After listing their concerns, the frustrated ranchers concluded:
“It has become apparent that growing regulatory pressures on the livestock industry are approaching the economical threshold for many Nevada ranchers … The result is abandonment of our ranches, our way of life, and the loss of the generations of ranch family members who are essential for good range and forest conditions.”
Did I mention that those concerns were expressed in October of 2005?
That was before the BLM had a drought as an excuse for cutting grazing permits. That was before the sage grouse were threatened with extinction and used as an excuse for cutting grazing permits. That was before the current explosion in the population of wild horses that eat the forage and drink the cattlemen’s water.
The more things change, the more they get worse.