Ranching

J. Derek Scasta

Cattle ranching is a costly endeavor, and one little fly can have a huge impact on that cost. Horn flies only bite cattle and some animals are more susceptible to them than others. Knowing why could reduce the costs associated with these pests.

Land Report Editors

Sublette County ranchers say a lawsuit challenging a U.S. Forest Service grazing permit could run them out of business along with additional negative consequences.

The pandemic has beef markets on a roller coaster, and Shohone, Idaho's Amie Taber is among the ranchers along for the ride.

 


Brandi Forgey

Part of a rancher's daily life is dealing with threats to their livestock. And one of the almost impossible threats to try and solve is depredation - especially if the culprit is a protected species, like the golden eagle.

Chris Descheemaeker ranches black angus, red angus cross with her family outside of Lewistown, Montana. The coronavirus pandemic, she says, comes after a few tough winters and an already tough market.


Kagan Sims; Ian McGivney


It's a calm Wednesday afternoon with snow falling down over a ranch in southern Wyoming. Normally, high school sophomore Kagan Sims would be sitting in English, but due to COVID-19 he's outdoors feeding pregnant cows. He said he's figuring out a new balance between work and school.

The Trump administration has spent the past month announcing sweeping changes that could benefit ranchers on public lands, including a proposal to overhaul grazing regulations for the first time in 25 years. 

JIM PEACO (CC-BY-2.0)

On January 12th, 1995, the first truck loaded with grey wolves from Canada arrived in Yellowstone National Park. Livestock producers, outfitters and other people who live near the park waited to see what would happen. But one of those groups that hasn't been too happy about the reintroduction: livestock producers.

USGS

The Wyoming State Engineer's Office recently heard a proposal to drill eight high-capacity water wells in Laramie County, and now 17 ranchers and farmers in the area are protesting.

freestockphoto.biz

Ranchers and a ranching lobbying group are suing the U.S. Department of Agriculture over new requirements for tracking cattle that crosses state lines.

Maggie Mullen

When it comes to beef, Made in America doesn't necessarily mean it was made here. That's because if the cow was raised in another country it can be labeled with a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) sticker as long as it was processed here. That has American ranchers in a beef with each other over what to do about it.

Melodie Edwards

It's late May in Wyoming. It snowed last night, and more snow is predicted. That's why it's good that Big Piney Rancher Chad Espenscheid is behind the wheel of the truck. The roads are sloppy and Middle Piney Creek is running high.

As one of his last acts in office, ousted Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke signed off on returning grazing rights to the eastern Oregon ranchers whose prison sentence led to a 2016 standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

 


Public Domain

Ranchers and farmers living in the Mountain West are vulnerable to all kinds of things—drought, fluctuating crop prices, trade wars—and in part because of those things - depression and suicide. But there's some help out there, from an unlikely source.


CC0 Public Domain

The U.S. House of Representatives voted to move forward with a bill that would remove federal protections from gray wolves and limit judicial review of listing decisions.

Cooper McKim

It’s a hot day south of Wheatland, near the small town of Chugwater. Dirt kicks up around passing cars on a long driveway as the sunbeams gold on waving fields of wheat. At the end is the Baker Farm, with old water tanks and rusted antique farm vehicles in front of the home. 

Hay prices are spiking this year, driven up by a drought-induced shortage of the crop. It’s affecting ranchers across the board, but horse owners in particular are feeling the pinch. Horses eat higher quality hay, so it’s harder to get. It’s forcing horse owners in Colorado to buy more hay from neighboring states like Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana and that’s driving the cost up even more.  


This week President Trump pardoned two Oregon ranchers serving five-year prison terms for arson on federal lands. The two men had become a cause celebre in the ongoing fight between ranchers and the federal government over water and grazing rights.

 


A house subcommittee is focusing on grazing on public lands on Thursday. Republican leaders want to discuss what they call the regulatory burdens on the industry.


Public Domain / Jean Beaufort

The House did not pass its version of a farm bill last month, but the Senate may have a better shot this week when they consider the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018.

National Park Service

Japan is considering hitting back against the U.S. in retaliation for America's steel and aluminum tariffs. A Japanese levy could hurt our region's agricultural industry.

  

This is about two very different visions of how we should use land in the American West.

On the Great Plains of Montana, conservationists and tribes want to rewind the clock and return wild bison to the shortgrass prairie. But cowboys and ranchers say if that happens, their way of life – their very culture – will disappear.

Cooper McKim/Wyoming Public Radio

Winds were gusting over 45 miles per hour on an overcast day at the Dunmire Ranch in southeastern Wyoming. Black cows grazed in the distance with wind turbines lined up on the horizon. At the center of ranch, young colts milled around the corral. Gator, a 14-year-old blind and deaf dog, barked, guarding the home of rancher Les Dunmire. 

 

Inside the house, Dunmire put on his dirt-caked cowboy hat and boots, as he told me how he’s owned this ranch for just over 30 years and that this lifestyle goes back generations.

 

Pioneer Cunningham Ranch Historic Cabin Wyoming
CC0 Public Domain

Organizations in the region are encouraging ranchers and farmers to think ahead about how to pass their land on to the next generation so the way of life doesn’t disappear. As property values outpace the potential revenue from agriculture, it’s harder for families to pass down their land or even sell it to another rancher. 

Cattle Drive Near Pinedale, WY
Theo Stein / USFWS

Conservation groups want a fresh take on management of a contagious disease occurring in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem called brucellosis, which affects elk, bison and livestock. It can kill fetuses, decrease fertility and hurt milk production, and many consider it an economic threat, too.

Tom Koerner, USFWS Mountain-Plains

 

Last winter, protestors packed committee meetings after lawmakers proposed a constitutional amendment to allow the state of Wyoming to take over management of federal lands. Republican Senator Larry Hicks supported the idea, but he was open to other options. So, he reached out to Shane Cross and the Wyoming Wildlife Federation and challenged them to come with a compromise.

The Modern West 29: Home On The Range

Nov 21, 2017
Theo Stein / USFWS

There’s a reason the cowboy hat is a symbol of Wyoming: ranching is woven into the state’s cultural fabric. On this episode, we’ll take you out on the wide open Wyoming range.

Theo Stein / USFWS

Many ranchers around the West are searching for a way to control a recent increase in livestock killed on the range. At the annual Wyoming Farm Bureau meeting this month, members supported a new policy they hope will address the problem. Farm Bureau spokesman Brett Moline said it’s not clear why people are shooting more livestock.

Lauren Connell

  

A University of Wyoming study is looking for non-lethal approaches to relocating prairie dogs colonies off ranchlands where they can cause problems for livestock grazing and onto public lands. The prairie dog study is the brainchild of UW Rangeland Ecology student Lauren Connell.  

StoryCorps Facebook

An upcoming agriculture conference will look at how to entice younger Wyomingites to work in ranching.

This year’s Wyoming Cattle Industry Convention is titled Educating for Ranching Success in the 21st Century. The average age of a U.S. rancher today is 57. Wyoming Stockgrower’s Association Vice President Jim Magagna would like to see that number go down.

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