U.S. President Donald Trump pardoned Dwight and Steven Hammond today.
“We are extremely grateful to President Trump for granting a full pardon to Dwight and Steven Hammond. The Hammonds were forced to suffer from grave injustice for far too long, and the entire ranching community is relieved that they will be reunited with their families,” said Executive Director of the Public Lands Council and NCBA Federal Lands Ethan Lane. “No rancher undertaking normal agricultural practices should fear spending years in jail at the hands of the federal government. NCBA and PLC have continued to advocate for the Hammonds’ release, and we would like to thank Rep. Greg Walden, and the many others who worked tirelessly on their behalf.”
The Hammonds were initially imprisoned after convictions for setting fires to BLM land in 2001 and 2006. Federal law requires a five-year sentence for arson convictions on BLM lands. The Hammonds were able to successfully argue that the minimum sentencing requirements were unconstitutional and Dwight Hammond was sentenced to three months in prison while his son, Steven Hammond, was sentenced to one year in prison.
In 2015, a federal judge ordered the Hammonds to return to prison to serve the remainder of the five-year minimum sentences initially ignored.
Opposition to State and National Heritage Areas
WHEREAS, the WCA already has a Land Use Policy that states, in part, that the WCA is against state and federal land planning schemes and supports local land planning, and
WHEREAS, the WCA is concerned that State and National Heritage Areas will negatively impact private property owners rights and abilities to manage their private property through government regulations that limit agricultural activities,
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the WCA shall vigorously oppose both State and National Heritage Areas.
Washington Cattlemen's Association and Washington Farm Bureau have been working together to oppose these land grabs. Below you will find links to letters we have written.
Farm Service Agency Makes Administrative Change to the Livestock Indemnity Program
CANADIAN, Texas, April 24, 2018 – Starting today, agricultural producers who have lost livestock to disease, resulting from a weather disaster, have an additional way to become eligible for a key U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) disaster assistance program. USDA Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey announced an administrative clarification nationwide to the Livestock Indemnity Program. In the event of disease, this change by USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) authorizes local FSA county committees to accept veterinarian certifications that livestock deaths were directly related to adverse weather and unpreventable through good animal husbandry and management. The committees may then use this certification to allow eligibility for producers on a case-by-case basis for LIP.
For information on the ELD Exemption:
ELD delay for ag commodity haulers ended June 18
The ELD delay for livestock haulers does not end until Sept. 30. The livestock-specific delay was granted through an omnibus and not FMCSA.
To protect livestock haulers regarding the ELD delay, please have your haulers place a copy of the omnibus in their cabs for law enforcement officers.
Public lands commissioner visits area communities
Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz is hosting three town hall meetings this week to discuss wildfires.
Commissioner Franz is working to ensure that communities most likely to be impacted by fires are prepared and engaged.
The public is invited to speak with Commissioner Franz, be briefed on wildland fire preparations, learn how they can prepare for wildfire season, and learn about forest health issues and opportunities that will reduce future wildfire risk.
“Communities are essential to our success in fighting and reducing wildfires, and we want to engage them early and often in what we’re doing,” Franz said. “In the face of wildfire seasons that are getting more difficult, we need to partner with each other and our neighbors if we are to overcome this great threat. I strongly urge the public to come out and learn about how we are preparing – and what they can do to help – as we go into another fire season together.”
Public meetings are scheduled for:
Tuesday, June 26, 2018, 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Yakima Area Arboretum
1401 Arboretum Dr., Yakima, WA 98901
Wednesday, June 27, 2018, 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Chelan Senior Center
534 E. Trow Ave., Chelan, WA 98816
Thursday, June 28, 2018, 6 to 7:30 p.m.
The Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture
2316 W. 1st Ave., Spokane, WA 99201
In response to Secretary Zinke’s announcement regarding potentially releasing grizzly bears into WA State.
Livestock Groups Respond to Potential Washington Grizzly Bear Introduction:
Man-Eating Grizzly Bears Would be a Blow to Entire North Cascades Ecosystem
Today the Washington Cattlemen’s Association (WCA), Public Lands Council (PLC), and National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA), issued the following statements in response to the Department of the Interior’s announcement in support of introducing Grizzly Bears in the Washington North Cascades:
“The idea of dumping man-eating Grizzly Bears from helicopters into Washington National Parks has not been well thought out. Once the Grizzly Bears walk out of the park into rural towns and private and state lands, the communities surrounding the recovery area can be greatly impacted. Already the livestock community has had little to no help with the management and recovery of wolves in the North Cascades, and cannot accept and welcome another federally listed apex predator with no monetary help from the federal government. What is the reasoning behind thinking a recovery like this can be accomplished without the support of the ranching, logging, recreation, and natural resource based communities or consideration for public safety?" - Sarah Ryan, WCA Executive Vice President
"We are extremely disappointed with the Department of the Interior’s support to introduce Grizzly Bears to the North Cascades of Washington. For more than a year we have heard the Secretary talk about being a better neighbor, but unfortunately actions speak louder than words. Reintroducing as many as 200 man-eating predators into an area already reeling from exploding gray wolf populations is anything but neighborly. This decision won’t just impact ranchers - it’s a blow for the entire North Cascades ecosystem, the safety of locals and visitors, and the local economy, too. In fact, the only beneficiaries of an action like this will be the radical environmental activists that support this type of ill-advised ecosystem tinkering." - Ethan Lane, PLC and NCBA Federal Lands Executive Director
RCW 77.12.035 Protection of grizzly bears—Limitation on transplantation or introduction—Negotiations with federal and state agencies. This RCW and related house and senate bills can be found here.
Report From the WA State Department of Agriculture
by Dr. Amber Itle, Interim Assistant State Veterinarian
Livestock Inspection Program - Financial Status
The financial status of the Livestock Inspection program has been a topic of conversation for several years. Former analysis provided to the LID Advisory Board in 2016 projected a budget shortfall of - $695,000 by the end of the 2017-19 biennium with no additional revenue.
Following series of listening sessions on Animal Disease Traceability, USDA releases report
Dr. Amber Itle
Assistant State Veterinarian
In the spring of 2017, the U.S. Department of Agriculture hosted a series of listening sessions across the country to hear from the agriculture industry about animal disease traceability.
The USDA has now compiled this information into a 30-page report, “Animal Disease Traceability: Summary of Program Reviews and Proposed Directions from State-Federal Working Group,” which it released in April. The report provides an overview of the Animal Disease Traceability Program and preliminary recommendations of the State-Federal Animal Disease Traceability Working Group.
Read more in the upcoming Ketch Pen.
Commissioner Franz Urges Wildfire Caution Ahead of Heat Wave
OLYMPIA – With temperatures expected to be well above normal next week, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is urging everyone to be cautious and vigilant when playing or working outdoors.
DNR fire weather experts are predicting a high pressure system that will produce temperatures well above normal across Washington. The heat wave may produce temperatures in excess of 90 degrees on both sides of the Cascades. Such temperatures would dry grasses and timber ahead of potential high winds and thunderstorms toward the end of next week.
“Fire season is here. These hot temperatures can rob our forests of moisture, setting the stage for more wildfires,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz. “While we can’t do anything to stop lightning from starting fires, we all need to take special care not to spark new wildfires. Make sure to douse your campfires, don’t park in dry grass and tighten tow chains so they don’t drag on roadways.”
Four of every five wildfires in Washington are started by human activities.
DNR increased burn restrictions in parts of eastern Washington earlier this week. Daily updates on burn restrictions are available at 1-800-323-BURN or on the Fire Danger and Outdoor Burning risk map at fortress.wa.gov/dnr/protection/firedanger/ and Industrial Fire Precaution Levels map at dnr.wa.gov/ifpl.
DNR has one of the state’s top wildland firefighting teams ready for deployment over the weekend. Crews, fire engines, helicopters and other firefighting aircraft will be staged around the state to provide quick response as new fires develop.
Those who spot new wildfires are urged to call 911 immediately.
Weak Calf Syndrome Product Update
by Jamie Clark, John Wenz, Dale Moore, and Craig McConnel
WSU Veterinary Medicine Extension and Field Disease Investigation Unit
Spring calving season is right around the corner. We heard your concerns last year of unexplained death losses in newborn beef calves. In the 2017 Weak Calf Syndrome (WCS) project at WSU, we documented that 42% of responding herds experienced WCS in 2017, increased from 18% in 2016. WCS applies to calves that are born full term and are stillborn or weak, or may be born normal and die within two weeks of birth without an obvious reason for death. They may have difficulty sucking or standing, and require significant nursing care to keep alive.
Culverts throughout Washington
The following is an interesting read concerning the culvert case ruling that has come out of 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. You may ask why does this concern me? Well, this ruling could potentially be applied to remove dams, restrict farming, and prohibit water rights. Added to the fact that this ruling will require Washington to take out more than 800 culverts, which will cost our state billions of tax dollars. The basis behind the ruling was that these culverts potentially diminish fish runs, violating treaty rights. The dissent focused on the fact that this opinion expands the treaty and is much too broad. The US Supreme Court has been asked to overturn this ruling.
Cattlemen Launch Month-long Media Campaign for Comprehensive Tax Reform
NCBA Launches new website: CattlemenForTaxReform.com
WASHINGTON (September 7, 2017) – The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association today kicked off a media and advertising campaign that will shine a spotlight on how various federal tax provisions impact America’s cattle and beef producers. The campaign, which will focus heavily on the death tax, aims to build support in Washington for comprehensive tax reform that makes our tax code fair for agricultural producers. The campaign will be centered around a new website, CattlemenForTaxReform.com, and will run through September.
July 19, 2017 Public Lands Tour in Tonasket, WA
The Washington Cattlemen’s Association hosted a successful range tour with over 80 attendees in Tonasket, WA, including university and government agencies.
TOP QUESTIONS ABOUT THE BEEF CHECKOFF:
Over the past few years we have received many questions about how the Beef Checkoff functions. Not as many, however, about the demand building work that is conducted on your behalf, through the research, promotion and education work the program is designed to do. The questions we are receiving focus on who does and does not pay and who should and should not pay!
WCA hosts another successful Beef Day on the Hill
The Washington Cattlemen's Association is excited to announce that over 1,400 Tri-Tip sandwiches were handed out at this year's Beef Day on the hill. The WCA would like to thank this year's partners the Washington CattleFeeders Association for assisting with the preparation and grilling of the meat, the Washington Dairy Federation for providing milk and cookies, and the Washington Asparagus Commission for grilling delicious asparagus as a complimentary side dish.
Field Thanks the WCA for the Past 12 1/2 Years
by Jack Field
"I would like to start by saying Thank You to each and every person that has helped me out along my journey over the past 12 ó years with the WCA as your Executive Vice President. I have decided that the time has come for me to move onto a new set of challenges. I have accepted the position as Executive Director for the Washington Cattle Feeders Association."
What is the Utility of Utilization Monitoring?
by Tip Hudson, WSU Extension Rangeland & Livestock Specialist
...We’re trying to do something radical—produce food and fiber on naturally occurring ecosystems while allowing those lands to produce other less tangible “goods and services” such as wildlife habitat, open space, clean water, clean air, recreation areas...
WCA Takes Stance on Reintroduction of Grizzly Bear's in WA State
The Washington Cattlemen’s Association strongly opposes the proposed action of the US Fish and Wildlife Service and Parks Service to re-introduce Grizzly Bears into Washington State. The WCA does not think it is proper or prudent to reintroduce an apex predator into Washington State. The WCA believes that Grizzly Bear recover and re-colonization must occur naturally with human augmentation.
Jack Field resigns from the WCA
by Tyler Cox
"After twelve and ½ years, better than 500,000 miles, 7 presidents, 3 governors, and we lost track of how many Directors of Agriculture, our friend and leader, Jack Field has tendered his resignation.
I left a space there for everyone to have time get over the shock. The very next comment that must be made is that Jack is leaving under the best possible terms and has agreed to be present for the transition. Jack will be taking a position with the Cattle Feeders. Even though he is changing hats so to speak, he is still only a phone call away."