The M44 is a highly selective predator control device that we have been able to use to control canine predators for many years now. It can only be activated by a very strong pull that only a canine with their powerful jaws can activate to eject the toxicant. Therefore nontarget kills are nonexistant. They have been very valuable to livestock producers in keeping the increasing predator problem in check.
Now the EPA run by Obama and his animal rights and environmental wackos are trying to put all of animal agriculture out of business. You see this is their wish to have everyone eat corn and soy products. Their other aim and mission is for all private land to be so regulated it is basically federal land. Our country's founders never envisioned a day where private land ownership would be regulated in this way. We have a constitutional right to utilize our land in the manner in which we desire. We also have the right to keep these predators that the federal governtment claims ownership of out of our sheep and goat flocks. In fact I believe since they claim ownership of all wildlife they should have to pay 100% of all damage they do to livestock and crops.
EPA now seeks to punitively enforce the nearly 30 regulations regarding M44's and have the person who is using them pay steep fines for little fine print rules that are unimportant. With the threat of these fines no one is going to place an M44 and risk the wrath of Obama's EPA. These fines could be nearly half a months salary to a trapper. So they have effectively banned one of our last remaining legal tools to fight coyotes.
Even if you have never had to use the M44 on your operation we all need to contact our representatives and both the state and federal level and tell them to get the EPA off our ranches and out of our lives.
Sustainability is one of those trendy buzzwords that are thrown around all the time as it relates to our "environmentalness" or the supposed lack thereof. I once was in a meeting where a greenie sheep farmer from the Austin area was chirping about her sustainable operation when a friend of mine sounded off. He said how about 120 years on the same ranch doing the same thing is that sustainable? I laughed and never forgot that statement because I too have family ranch land being operated for that period of time as well.
I suppose I am really not sure what the greenie people mean by sustainable. Even when we are talking about row crops here in the US I don't believe they are an unsustainable farming practice. I mean we grow the seeds, plant the seeds, fertilize the seeds with fertilizer created by our own abundant natural gas, and harvest the crop to feed the world! I understand the need for soil conservation and have had that drilled in my head my entire life. Sheep and Cattle here in the US are certainly a sustainable operation if ever there was one because we utilize land that has no farming value. This is where the moron greenies get totally lost in their arguements. They think cattle are raised on corn their entire lives and that is not the case, not by a long shot. And hey don't get me started on the grass fed thing. If you want to do that go ahead help yourself as for me and my house we shall have a well marbled steak from a grain fed steer!
Now for my final point on sustainability and it relates to trophy hunting. As a Texas game rancher I am also in the hunting business. We along with a few thousand others raise some common and some rare and endangered animals. We raise them because we love them and want to preserve them and only hunt the old trophy males which is where the income is derived to make this sustainable for us and the animals as well. Step back and THINK about this for a minute. We take several million dollars worth of land, build quality improvements on it to care for these wild creatures their entire lives, and only the old males which have gone past their prime breeding years are hunted. Sounds like the perfect conservation plan right? Yes it has been until the Federal Government decided to make stringent regulations on some of these animals reducing their value. Sustainability has STOPPED as it relates to any animal that is considered rare or endangered.
Anyway I encourage everyone to THINK when some discussion comes up like Sustainability. What does it mean to you and what should it mean to us as farmers and ranchers.
Dear Dorper Breeders,
Many of you have contacted me about the direction our breed is headed in and how shows affect this. I made it the central focus of my term as ADSBS president to discuss and reinforce the Dorper breed standards and the Type of Dorper that has worked for 80 years now. Can shows be detrimental? Of course they can but with a knowledgeable judge we can enforce and improve our breed standards. The problem we are facing and some people don't like me saying this is that the "Club Lamb" judges can not get their eye adjusted to our sheep. They have spent their life and have been reinforced by others in this artificial sheep industry to the point that they will destroy our breed if we are not careful. What we have is a sheep that almost magically takes the worst forage and turns it into the best meat in the world. They can't understand forage first of all because their industry is based on feedlots and liquid diets. Second they can not understand that at 6 months our lambs are dead and are hanging up a carcass that has larger chops than theirs at 12 months. Who is efficient here? Who cares about efficiency? Dorper breeder do because it puts money in our pockets. Forget about breeds for a minute what do you honestly think the difference is in taste on a 6 month old lamb versus a 12 month old almost mutton? It does not take a PHD to figure that out!
So what do we do? We continue with our breed, our breed standards, to educate on our hardiness and adaptability, educate on our meat qualities, and only allow judges to judge our sheep who are committed to Dorper Sheep. Then we can continue with showing and improve our breed.
Commodity insurance has been around pretty much as long as most people have been farming. Row crops can be insured cheaply and easily through federal government programs. It became so lucrative that people started gaming the system by not planting, planting too deep, etc in order to not have a crop and just get the insurance. This has gotten better now. There are proposals to revamp how crop insurance and direct payments such as price support work. My hope is that livestock are able to get a real disaster insurance product that is subsidized so that it is affordable. I don't know about you folks but I have been wiped out three times and I am not talking about a lamb crop. I mean a set of ewes or nannies gone or dead with no recourse to rebuild. Once due to packs of dogs, once to a late spring freeze that killed most all my goats, and once to theft. Then as we have all experienced a bad or nonexistent lamb crop. Predators are usually to blame but there are many situations such as disease or weather as well. You know the scenario. You work hard to get a set of ewes bred and in good shape, keep the fences up and look for predator sign and then the lambs come and wham! Coyotes or other predators show up and take your crop from you. What to do. This is when I wish I was a corn farmer! I don't look to the government for anything but factually they own the predators so under the law they should pay for the damage they do. Seems fair and certainly not a handout!