Grazing, bighorn riders likely to pass, Simpson said

Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson said he expects funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund to be revived when the Senate and the House reconcile budget bills soon.

And he expects provisions that protect livestock ranchers' access to public land will survive.

Simpson the House and Senate are very close to an agreement on the numbers for the Interior and Environment Appropriations Act for 2012. But he said the sticking point may be the dozens of riders and other specific provisions that members of both the House and the Senate tacked on to the bill.

But he said provisions that allow the Bureau of Land Management to transfer permits under the same conditions without retriggering environmental review are likely to stay in as well as his rider that limits a Payette National Forest ruling requiring separation of wild and domestic sheep to that forest alone.

The Payette decision forced several ranchers to get out of the sheep business at a time when it is booming. But the industry sought a time out so that other national forests can’t follow as they test promising vaccines that might resolve the issue.

Simpson said the only answer is for bighorn sheep advocates and the domestic sheep industry to come together collaboratively.

“We need to start solving problems together,” he said.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund is used by states, local communities and federal agencies for a wide variety of projects. Many western Republicans see it as simply a too to allow the federal government to buy more land.

But Simpson pointed to protection of critical areas in Idaho like the south fork of the Snake River near his home in Idaho Falls.

“I happen to be fond of the Land and Water Conservation Fund,” Simpson said.

We tried the collaboration thing

Collaboration only works when the parties agree to use the best available science and comply with the law. The Bighorn/Domestic Sheep Advisory Board failed because the woolgrowers refused to accept that their disease ridden sheep kill bighorns. There is a massive amount of science to back that up but the woolgrowers want to keep living in the stone age and ignore science.

So, in essence, what Simpson is doing is rewarding those who deny the best available science and who are continuing to kill our bighorn sheep herds all around the west. There have been numerous outbreaks of domestic sheep transmitted pneumonia and over a 1000 sheep have died in the just last two years. Currently there is an ongoing outbreak in Nevada and one in Montana while the BLM and Forest Service continue to renew sheep grazing permits in OCCUPIED bighorn sheep habitat.

The woolgrowers and ranchers in the west are one of the most politically connected, privileged class who don't want any public involvement in grazing decisions and they don't want any free-market interference with their grazing privileges. Grazing permits on federal lands are reserved for those few who are privileged enough to own a base property with an attached grazing permit. Nobody else can bid on an allotment, thus, making it a closed market. So much for that mythical "free-market" that Republicans always like to talk about.

That so-called "free market" isn't free either. The costs associated with the federal grazing program are subsidized by at least $123 million per year, according to the Government Accountability Office, and the ranchers only pay $21 million in grazing fees. Guess who is left holding the bag? Yup, you are. If you factor in all of the damage and other administrative costs caused by these welfare ranchers you're looking at a cost of $500 million annually that we are left to pay for either in real money or things like lost wildlife or polluted water.

Welfare grazing should just go away but these privileged few don't even want to consider grazing buyouts. That's right. The biggest ranching organizations don't even want to allow for a program which would let conservationists PAY THEM TO QUIT GRAZING. They would rather that the small, family rancher be put out of business so that the big grazing outfits, like a prominent big AG company based in Idaho, or a Canadian owned gold mine can buy up the ranchers at cheap prices.

I, as someone who values wildlife, will not be able to participate in the process because this law will eliminate that process altogether. It's disgusting cronyism at its very worst.

Republicans don't want our involvement, they just want our money, wildlife, lands, and water.

Mike Simpson and the rest of the western Republicans have sold out our public lands to the biggest abusers of those lands. They're a bunch of crooks.

Interesting tirade....

just too bad you don't understand the range science and verified epidemiology. Yes, I agree there are problems, let go of the radicals like WWP and their ignorant sorts and use some reason. You are probably not capable, given other posts, (e.g. Ralph Maughan blog) but try sometime. Trash Republicans all you want, how is the Democrat group working out for you?

Pure Cronyism Goat

It was a four year analysis by the Payette National Forest, using all "the range science and verified epidiology", that concluded domestic sheep should be removed from the public land allotments. It is pure cronyism (friends of the governor and lieutenant governor) that led to Republican Simpson's legislation that reverses that. Maybe off-topic, but it's no wonder people are taking to the streets all over the country to protest this same thing.

Enjoy your off-topic protest Dave

I was there the whole time, involved, and published (peer reviewed, including molecular epidemiology, spelled correctly BTW). Still so much misunderstanding without a concrete solution. Keep the politics out, we all respect Ovis canadensis spp., no cronyism, just some common sense and understanding of the habitat and disease issues.

Go to the Church Wilderness and on the switchbacks above the Middle Fork of the main Salmon confluence, watch the largest and healthy Idaho herd of O. canadensis subspp. canadensis like I have, then go protest all over the country. Good luck to you in your ignorant bliss...

Right on Goat

No domestic sheep up there, that's why. and you brought up the politics. I brought up the cronyism and you can't deny it.

Domestic sheep have been around "there" (your word)

for over 100 years (read the book "Return to Royality") and published manuscripts, if you can understand and assimilate them, critically, with an appreciation of some understanding of science (hope so, not probably there with you or "Buffaloed.")

However, no politics, no cronyism, it is the law and policy of the USDA Forest Service and Department of Interior BLM to improve the forests and rangelands of our country with positive management, that works in many ways, and some may not work so well.

Study the entire landscape, Dave, I wish you well.

Carpe diem, BTW, Idaho Public Tel is having a "Diologue" show tonight at 7:30...probably wierd but we never know...

Middle Fork sheep have suffered die-offs too

A few years ago the bighorn sheep in the Big Creek area suffered from die-offs too. Those sheep are nowhere near domestic sheep but the disease got there anyway because the rams in these areas have been known to travel 45 miles in search of mates. That distance easily covers the ground between Big Creek and Carlson Sheep near Riggins. The population on the Mainstem Salmon River are still declining even after the domestics are gone from the area. The results of an outbreak can last for a decade or more.

Since you seem to be familiar with the literature then I'll address one of the misconceptions being spread about the results seen in the Lawrence et al 2010 study. A statement I read from a prominent researcher, who I think you probably know, says this:
"Transmission under range conditions is complex, experimental conditions shows that fence line contact for 2 months didn’t lead to disease, disease development required 2 to 9 days of commingling".

This statement is contradicted by the above mentioned study which this same prominent researcher co-authored. It says this:
"It is conceivable that the bighorn sheep that acquired the tagged M. haemolytica during the fence-line contact would have died even without commingling with the domestic sheep."

Can disease result from fence-line contact? That question has not been definitively answered yet but the fact remains, M. haemolytica can be transmitted through just fence-line contact and there is certainly the possibility that it may be enough to wipe out entire herds of bighorns.

Feds buying more land?

Perfectly unclear to me why the federal government needs to be buying land to support the ranchers. Don't they own enough of Idaho already?

If the ranchers cannot pay market prices for their range land or the fully loaded cost of using existing land perhaps we need to all be eating something other than beef.

Remove Simpson - He's Grazing on the People

It is time to remove the likes of Simpson from "public service".

Gee Rocky,

since you stated that "The Payette decision forced several ranchers to get out of the sheep business," why not name these unfortunate ranchers? Were they, by chance, the same sheep ranchers that have received hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal subsidies over the last several years for their losses? You are talking about people that despise the federal government for their laws and regulations but eagerly take the federal monies based on some of the same federal laws and regulations.


Here is a list of woolgrowers who are politically connected, some to the point of being the Lieutenant Governor or married to them. Some of them are State Senators or have been in the legislature in the past. Many of them graze on public lands. The one thing in common, they all receive taxpayer subsidies. All of this info was obtained from the Environmental Working Group's Farm Subsidy Database

In essence they are coddled so much that those who graze on public lands get paid in several different ways by the public. First, they get the low grazing fees. Second, they get the services of Wildlife Services to go out and kill predators from their helicopters. Third, they get reimbursed by the state and federal government for any wolf depredations. Fourth, they get these outrageous subsidies. Fifth, they cheap immigrant labor because nobody wants to work at the $650-$750 per month they pay their workers. Sixth, they get more representation in the government than the rest of the public. Seventh, they get the sympathy of reporters like Rocky Barker who refuse to cover any of the issues that I've brought up here.

Highland Livestock & Land, Inc. received payments totaling $253,160 from 1995 through 2010
ownership information from 2008
David A Little
Adam B Little
Brad Little

Soulen Livestock Co received payments totaling $1,246,818 from 1995 through 2010
ownership information from 2010
Phil Soulen
Harry Soulen
Teresa Little
Margaret Soulen Hinson
Helen M Stevenson

Faulkner Land & Livestock Co Inc received payments totaling $1,659,851 from 1995 through 2010
ownership information from 2008
Laura Jo Faulkner
John Faulkner
Michael Faulkner
Mark Faulkner
Jack Faulkner

Sawtooth Sheep Inc received payments totaling $652,754 from 1995 through 2010
ownership information from 2008
Michael Faulkner
Mark Faulkner
Jack Faulkner

Siddoway Sheep Co Inc received payments totaling $993,075 from 1995 through 2010
ownership information from 2008
Fremont County, Idaho
John Clark Siddoway
Billie Jean Siddoway
Jodie Siddoway
Jefferey Siddoway
Cindy Siddoway
Jeanne Siddoway
Braidyn Siddoway

Flat Top Sheep Co received payments totaling $970,139 from 1995 through 2010
ownership information from 2010
John T Peavey
Tom Peavey

Pickett Ranch & Sheep Co received payments totaling $1,876,136 from 1995 through 2010
ownership information from 2010
Don F Pickett
Hal G Pickett
David J Pickett
Douglas T Pickett

Frank Shirts Jr received payments totaling $988,388 from 1995 through 2010
Ron Shirts received payments totaling $260,755 from 1995 through 2010
Cenarrusa Sheep Incorporated received payments totaling $427,425 from 1995 through 2010
Noh Sheep Company received payments totaling $249,314 from 1995 through 2010
Boyd Livestock Services Inc received payments totaling $11,494 from 1995 through 2010

Not Croynism

The law and federal policy allows this. If you don't like it work (if you know what that is??) to change the law and policy. Otherwise, just complain and expect the "others" to do it. Probably bought into Dem stuff, huh?

When were you poisoned?

I've NEVER voted a straight party ticket

SINCE 1984.


I NEVER hate telling you I was right...I would be dead if I did. Get real.

Not "poisoned"

Don't be dead. Never voted "straight party" either. Get real. Are you "right" maybe just that accurate?, Probably so...

Go Broncos. You seem to like that...

I'm not an automaton, ever seen one ride a Schwinn?

AN NSAID, under proper usage might help the brain cramp.

You're amusing.


I NEVER hate telling you I was right...I would be dead if I did. Get real.

I thought you right wingers were into the "free market"

Yes it is cronyism. When you look at the list of players who are whining the loudest it is those who have the most and has sucked off the public feet for a long time. Look at that list. Recognize any names on it? There are maybe twenty operators who would be affected by a policy change in Idaho. How many jobs would be lost? 200? How many of those jobs are workers brought in to the country with the H2A visa program and paid only $750 per month. Maybe 5 per operation? Don't give me the line that these people have to follow the same rules that the rest of us do. They get every favor they ever ask for and now that they might have to live like the rest of us they get Mike Simpson to write them some special legislation. That's cronyism in my book. Look at the names of the owners of Soulen Livestock. Am I mistaken to think that Teresa Little is the same Teresa Little married to Brad Little, our Lt. Governor?

The legislation is also based on the LIE that a vaccine can be developed to immunize bighorn sheep in the next five years. It's not going to happen and even the researchers who are working on it say that it will take a minimum of 10-15 years.

More bighorn sheep are going to die because of this. For who? For the most well connected among us. I never saw any Republican politicians running out to write legislation to protect all of those millions of people whose jobs were shipped to China. In fact, the Republicans won't do anything to help those whose homes were illegally foreclosed on or whose jobs were downsized because it would mean that Obummer might get some kind of win. They stopped caring about this country a long time ago and only care about that top 1%. The rest of us are sick of it. By the way, both parties are lost. They are both playing that same game.

Honestly, I wish the sheep, fish and protesters would lemming...

Where were YOU for the mastodon, sabretooth tiger and Neanderthal man?

I thought so, NOT BORN. An easy excuse!


I NEVER hate telling you I was right...I would be dead if I did. Get real.

You must have arthritis by now. And you wasted all of it.


I NEVER hate telling you I was right...I would be dead if I did. Get real.

Change your handle Rauncher,

all you want, but you are still the same hateful, arrogant, know nothing that you have always been.
You must be sucking off of the feds teat just like the other leeches drawing subsidies.

My tree has all branches of farming...why do you howl about...

things that aren't as spastic as you could think?

Did you sleep in a park with 1300 friends (Eau De Cologne)?


I NEVER hate telling you I was right...I would be dead if I did. Get real.

Why are they riding grazing bighorns? At least they can pass.


I NEVER hate telling you I was right...I would be dead if I did. Get real.