A recent telephone survey conducted by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife indicated that while some Washingtonians may accept the presence of wolves in Washington, they do not want it to be at the expense of ranchers. The survey that obtained a total of 904 responses also indicated that many Washingtonians support lethal removal of wolves.
Here are some of the survey results:
*Of those surveyed, 63 percent support some level of lethal wolf control to protect livestock compared to 28 percent who oppose it.
*Over 70 percent of those surveyed were concerned about the impact wolves night have on livestock, with 29 percent saying they were “extremely concerned” compared to 22 of total surveys percent who were “not at all concerned.”
*After wolves are removed from the state Endangered Species list, 63 percent of those surveyed support the establishment of a wolf hunting season compared to 28 percent who opposed. A Wolf hunting season to address livestock attacks or depredations was supported by 65 percent and opposed by 25 percent
Branding has been a traditional way of identifying animal ownership for thousands of years, but reading a brand has its own lingo, as explained by this post from Smithsonian Magazine on “bovine pyroglythics.”……
Decoding the Range
By Jimmy Stamp
To the untrained eye, cattle brands, those unique markings seared into animals’ hides with a hot iron, might just seem like idiosyncratic logos or trademarks designed to clearly and simply indicate ownership. However, unlike the graphic logos and trademarked images of popular commercial brands, they must comply with a rigorous set of standards and are developed using a specific language ruled by its own unique syntax and morphology.Livestock branding dates back to 2700 BC, evidenced by Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics.
Ancient Romans are said to have used hot iron brands as an element of magic. But brands are most famously associated with the cowboys and cattle drives of the Old West, when brands were used to identify a cow’s owner, protect cattle from rustlers (cattle thieves), and to separate them when it came time to drive to market (or rail yards or stock yards).
At its most basic, a cattle brand is composed of a few simple letters and numbers, possibly in combination with a basic shape or symbols like a line, circle, heart, arc, or diamond. But these characters can also be embellished with serif-like flourishes to create myriad “pyroglyphics.” For example, such serifs might include extraneous “wings” or “feet” added to a letter or number. Each character can also be rotated or reversed. Every addition and variation results in a unique character that is named accordingly. The letters with “wings” for example, are described as “flying” while those with “feet” are, you guessed it, “walking.” An upside-down characters is “crazy” while a 90-degree rotation makes a character “lazy.” These colorful designations aren’t just cute nicknames used to identify the characters, but are actually a part of the name, a spoken part of the brand language, which like most western languages is read from left to right, top to bottom and, perhaps unique to brands, outside to inside.
The vast array of combinations made possible by these characters and variations ensures that unique and identifiable brands can be created –hopefully without repetition– using only limited formal language. And sometimes they could even be used to make a joke:
Serifs and rotations are just two of the primary ways brand letters can be modified. Multiple symbols may be joined together forming a type of ligature – a term used in typography to describe a single character representing two or more letters, such as æ. Some of these ligature brands are read as “connected” while others are given unique identifiers:
The Cattle Producers of Washington recently opposed a proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency to expand their authority to nearly all waterbodies connected to “navigable” waters. Apparently CPoW was not the only one who was upset with the idea.
According to an article in http://www.feedstuffs.com, 231 members of Congress also felt it was a dangerous and unnecesary idea as well. Below is the link and text from the Feedstuffs article:
EPA urged to drop water rule
An overwhelming 231 members of Congress from both sides of the aisle led by Reps. Chris Collins (R., N.Y) and Kurt Schrader (D., Ore.) sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy and Secretary of the Army John McHugh, urging their agencies to withdraw a proposed navigable waters rule.
On March 25, 2014, the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposed a rule that would assert Clean Water Act jurisdiction over nearly all areas that connected to navigable waters. As written, the rule aggressively expands federal authority under the Clean Water Act while bypassing Congress and creating unnecessary ambiguity, the members said.
The letter says that the rule is flawed in a number of ways, and the most problematic are concerns that the significant expansion of areas defined as “waters of the U.S.” effectively removes the word “navigable” from the definition.
The members added, that rather than providing clarity and making identifying covered waters “less complicated and more efficient,” the rule instead creates more confusion and will inevitably cause unnecessary litigation. “For example, the rule heavily relies on undefined or vague concepts such as ‘riparian areas,’ ‘landscape unit,’ ‘floodplain,’ ‘ordinary high water mark’ as determined by the agencies’ ‘best professional judgment’ and ’aggregation,’ the members wrote.
The letter also outlines concerns with the agency’s economic analysis which vastly underreports potential costs to landowners who “often at no fault of their own – do not seek a jurisdictional determination, but rather later learn from your agencies that their property is subject to the CWA.”
The scientific report was also neither peer-reviewed nor finalized. “The science should always come before a rulemaking, especially in this instance where the scientific and legal concepts are inextricably linked,” the letter stated.
“I am extremely concerned by the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ recent assertion that ditches, prairie potholes, and seasonally wet areas should be under the federal government’s control,” said Rep. Kristi Noem (R., S.D.), who signed onto the letter. “The proposed rule was built on an incomplete scientific study and a flawed economic analysis, which is why we have asked the EPA to withdraw the rule.”
CPoW board adds international cowboy to Board
From Medical Lake to Russia, Jim Wentland is a cattleman of many experiences
Earlier this year, the CPoW Board of Directors elected Jim Wentland to fill the Director District 4 position formerly held by Scott Nielsen . Wentland, who also serves as the President of the Spokane County Cattlemen, is a long-time cattleman currently living in the Medical Lake area. He is also an international cowboy, doing a stint in Russia in 2011 to help a private company develop their beef herd.
Wentland heard of the opportunity in Russia in one of the popular cattle industry newspapers, the Western Ag Reporter. Wentland was given a 90 day visa to work for AgroSystems near the town of Kaluga, Russia located two hours south of Moscow. A private firm was working to develop the beef cattle industry in the country, but Wentland said there were some significant challenges.
“Basically, the country had never had a beef herd, all they had was confinement dairy herds and no facilities for handing or working beef cattle,” he said.
Cattle management practices were also reminiscent of the former Soviet system, with an emphasis on job specialization and management systems that were not geared to be adaptive.
“They were vaccinating the dairy herd every week, which we were able to get them to back off to every three weeks. They also didn’t understand that cowboys need to be able to do a bunch of things, from build fence to doctor sick animals,” Wentland related. “But when I explained that, they insisted only a veterinarian could take care of the sick animals.”
Starting from an all-dairy herd, Wentland and the beef team attempted to change up the herd genetics by Artificially Inseminating 700 of the largely Semmital/Charlois herd with Angus Semmital and Brown Swiss genetics.
However, getting the herd genetics to take on more beef characteristics was only part of the challenge.
Ranch infrastructure like corrals, loading alleys and squeeze chutes all had to be added. Fencing and basic tasks like keeping water tanks unfrozen in the winter also posed new challenges.
“They didn’t have any tools to build fence and one day I went out and they were tightening barbed wire by stretching it back with a tractor and then hammering in two nails and bending them over to keep it in place. I looked at that and said, ‘You guys are going to kill someone’.”
Wentland mentioned to management that there were better tools available for the job, like fence stretchers, for easy purchase in the US. When his visa was extended for another seven months after a trip home, he brought back essentials like fence stretchers, work gloves and hammers that were unavailable for purchase in Russia.
But getting the ranch up to speed on tools and materials was only the beginning.
Educating Russian consumers about beef was a task the burgeoning industry would have to tackle if demand would increase for the product.
“Most people were used to just cutting a hunk off the cow when it died, putting it in a pot and boiling the crud out of it,” Wentland said. “When I went to the butcher and asked for a steak, they looked at me like I was nuts.”
Despite the difficulties, Wentland said he really enjoyed his time in Russia and was happy to have the opportunity.
“Not a lot of people pick up and go work in Russia when they are 65,” he quipped.”They paid excellent wages, it was a great experience and one of the best things I learned over there was patience.”
Wentland said the goal of the investor who owned the ranch was to increase his beef herd size from 2,300 to 3,500 by 2015. Wentland said he isn’t sure if the ranch is near making their goal.
“The investor who owned the ranch was really book smart, but sometimes you need to get a little manure on your boots,” he said.
Now that he is back in US, Wentland said he plans to continue his work with CPoW, Spokane County Cattlemen and his volunteer efforts as a 33-year 4-H leader.
“I would like to give a special thanks to Carl Grub for helping me stay interested in he cattle industry,” he said.
Comments submitted to APHIS March 28
The Cattle Producers of Washington recently responded to potentially catastrophic plan by the U.S. Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service to start importing boxed beef from Brazil to the U.S., despite disease and food contamination issues in the country.
The proposal is available on www.regulations.gov under APHIS-2009-0017.
The proposal would allow chilled or frozen beef from Brazil to enter the US food supply.To submit comments, visit the link and submit your own comments along with your name and address.
Below are the comments CPoW submitted in opposition to the proposal:
This letter is to submit formal comment regarding the importation of beef from Brazil to the United States. The Cattle Producers of Washington are stringently opposed to this proposal due to the threat of Foot and Mouth Disease that could infect American herds. We are also concerned about the risk posed to U.S. consumers from Brazilian beef due to an uninspiring safety record in recent years.
One of the most pressing threats from importing Brazilian beef is the possibility of infecting American beef herds with Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), as Brazil is not currently FMD free. Officials at the Department of Homeland Security’s Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases have warned that FMD is one of the most “contagious agents in the animal kingdom” and poses significant threats to the U.S. food supply.
The U.S. has been free of FMD since 1929. The U.S. had nine outbreaks of the disease between 1870 and 1929, the most serious in 1914, infecting 170,000 cattle, sheep and swine in 3,500 herds. A 1924 outbreak required the slaughter and disposal of 109,000 farm animals and an estimated 22,000 deer. Were these numbers to replicate in modern day livestock herds, the damage would be even more extensive, as it would prevent the export of meat products from the US and put many producers of out of business.
Despite assurances that Brazil has the safeguards in place to send a disease-free product, recent incidents prove otherwise. In 2013, Brazil not only had a BSE positive cow, but failed to report the diseased animal for two days after discovering it. In addition, over 258,000 pounds of cooked beef from Brazil processed at a Chicago plant were recalled in 2010, contaminated with high levels of vermifuge, a drug used to control intestinal worms in cattle.
Arguments for the importation of this dangerous product are short-sighted and bring far more risk than reward. Some have argued that the Brazilian imports would help bolster U.S. beef supplies. Our argument is to let the market adjust itself, allowing American producers who can reliably provide a safe, disease free product to expand to meet demand.
We should not under any circumstances forfeit the health of our livestock industry or the health of consumers by importing product that is proven to be unsafe. Cattle Producers of Washington opposes any importation of Brazilian beef, live or boxed, and demands that Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) reject this flawed proposal.
From Katlenia Vejraska, Sunny Okanogan Angus Ranch
Getting a guard dog to protect your livestock from wolves can apparently have unintended consequences
There are serious doubts about any method to change the interactions between prey species (in this case cows) and their reaction to predators (wolves). It’s hard not to be stressed out when you are trying to stay alive:
Don’t forget our regular monthly CPoW meeting coming up this Wed, Feb. 12, at Memories Cafe in Ritzville (214 W. Main). No host dinner starts at 6 p.m., regular meeting starts at 7 p.m.
The Cattle Producers of Washington held another successful Legislative Days and Reception event on Jan. 30-31 last week, visiting with legislators and state agencies on issues affecting the cow-calf producer.
In addition to meeting with legislators and hosting a reception in the Columbia Room, CPoW and their lobbyist Jim Potts also met with the Washington State Department of Agriculture regarding Animal Identification and the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife regarding predator issues.
In addition, two bills supported by CPoW and the Science First Coalition were scheduled for hearings. The bills, SB 6288 and HB 2472 aim to clear up state law regarding the powers of the Department of Ecology by calling for site-based, source-specific evidence before DOE can take enforcement actions regarding potential pollution.
Overall, CPoW President Dave Dashiell said the event was a success and having cowboys at the Capitol made an impression.