CPoW banquet will feature Northwest Farmers Union in Oct.

During the summer months, CPoW is working hard on creating a successful annual meeting in October and has joined together with Northwest Farmers Union to create an agenda, trade show and speakers that will be of interest to a number of farmers and ranchers. The annual meeting will be held October 30-31 at Northern Quest Casino in Airway Heights.

Northwest Farmers Union has been representing farm and ranch families in Washington since 1907, with the current chapter representing Idaho, Washington and Oregon. For more information about Northwest Farmers Union visit: http://northwestfarmersunion.com/

In preparation for the banquet, CPoW is again receiving support from many long-time sponsors. However, many hands make light work, so if you know of a business that may be interested in being represented at our 2015 annual meeting featuring Northwest Farmers Union, download this form and have them mail it into CPoW to reserve their spot at the event:

2015 CPoW Annual Meeting Sponsorship Form

CPoW calls on DOE for better science

cattle near stream

Is this situation a source of pollution? DOE will affirm that it is by visual confirmation alone, not through testing.

Organization comments on updated non-point pollution plan

The Cattle Producers of Washington recently submitted comments on the Washington State Department of Ecology’s Non-Point Pollution plan. CPoW believes that instead of targeting landowners for assumed pollution with no evidence, the Department needs to be willing to pursue site-based, source-specific evidence. To view a copy of the DOE Non-Point Pollution Plan, click here: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/Wq/nonpoint/index.html

people in water

When looking at a potential pollutant, like fecal coliform, all possible contributors need to be considered and site-based, source-specific testing should be used to confirm the actual pollutant. For instance, doesn’t this situation have the “substantial potential to pollute?”

deer in stream

Wildlife contributions to items like high fecal coliform levels are never considered when a waterbody is considered “impaired” by the Department of Ecology. Despite tools to test if the contamination is from a wild or domestic animal, DOE refuses to do species-confirmation testing.

The comments submitted by CPoW to DOE are below:

This letter is to provide formal comment from the Cattle Producers of Washington to the Department of Ecology on the May 2015 draft of the Non-Point pollution plan. While the document is wide ranging in its scope, we find that it fails to answer key questions in regards to water quality that must be asked. Most significantly, DOE presumes to start managing or mitigating non-point pollution without ever expending a word to talk about determining the sources of certain contaminants with certainty. Fecal coliform pollution, while potentially caused by a variety of sources including wildlife, is always considered the fault of a human activity. Working with modern scientific methods, such as DNA testing, to determine if the pollutants are human or animal sourced and, in addition, if that animal is domestic or wild, are not addressed in any capacity in this plan. The lack of any information on this topic prompts a serious question, “why not?”

If one of the goals of the plan is to secure funding from the EPA for water quality related projects, why is this project not listed among them? DOE Staff reports at meetings on this plan reported DOE received as much as $3 million from EPA in the last grant cycle. Those funds should be spent identifying the source of a problem, not only its symptom. This item proves as only one exemplary of how DOE is willing to continue to use outdated methods and not pursue new tools to answer water quality questions.

The DOE seems too ready to rest in the wording of RCW 90.48.120 that allows pollution to be defined by the Department’s “opinion.” While this kind of thinking may have been sufficient when the law was passed in 1945 or good enough in 1992 when the law was last revised, it is not sufficient for 2015 when questions about source are critically important. In addition, DOE seems eager to apply certain portions of the law, including its enforcement authority, to non-point situations while ignoring others.

For instance, RCW 90.48.450 states, “Prior to issuing a notice of violation related to discharges from agricultural activity on agricultural land, the department shall consider whether an enforcement action would contribute to the conversion of agricultural land to non-agricultural uses. Any enforcement action shall attempt to minimize the possibility of such conversion.” However, DOE’s enforcement actions on non-point pollution often cause agricultural operations to go out of business.

A notable example is the case of Dayton rancher Joe Lemire who was put of the cattle business, largely due to unproven allegations that his cattle caused contamination of an intermittent creek running through his property. While DOE never tested the water on the Lemire ranch to confirm the pollution, DOE’s allegation that conditions on the Lemire ranch had the “substantial potential to pollute” Pataha Creek were enough to force Lemire to change how his ranch was managed. Other potential sources of the alleged pollution were never eliminated.

These kinds of actions by DOE assure that “partnerships” will likely never be reached by agriculturalists who want substantial proof of harm before they are forced to change their managerial practices.

Lastly, while Cattle Producers of Washington is listed on page 60 as a member of the Agriculture and Water Quality Advisory Committee, our representative on the committee has shared that the committee is essentially directed to tell DOE how best to enforce their regulations, not how to improve the quality of the approach. By failing to pursue site-based, source-specific testing and actively fighting legislation that would call for such an approach, DOE is not sincerely pursuing the goal of clean water for Washingtonians.

Clean water is a concern for every farmer and rancher, as water is critically important to the healthy production of crops and livestock. CPoW is not arguing that clean water should not be an objective, but we are calling for smarter approaches to this topic that make use of modern methods to pinpoint problems within a watershed. We would recommend that additional research be expended on how to make site-based, source-specific testing for pollution a priority of this plan. If adequate testing is implemented, fewer tax dollars will be wasted. in creating solutions in search of a problem. It will also allow for sane, reasonable benchmarks for items like fecal coliform that account for contribution by wildlife and other uncontrollable factors before calling for corrective actions that may not address the baseline readings.

Regards,

Monte McPeak, President

Scott Nielsen, Vice President;DOE Ag Water Quality Committee member
Cattle Producers of Washington

High turnout for CPoW, Sunny Okanogan livestock judging

2014 FFA judging photo

Event pulls students from around the state
A recent livestock judging competition sponsored by Cattle Producers of Washington (CPoW) and hosted by Sunny Okanogan Angus ranch drew 152 FFA students from eight schools around the state. The March 11 competition consisted of six classes; three classes of Angus Bulls, two classes of heifers and one class of Steers. CPoW and Sunny Okanogan Angus extended a special thank you to the FFA advisers and upstanding students in their programs that participated. Placings for the event are below:

Team Placing:
1. Tonasket FFA
2. Chelan FFA
3. Colville FFA
4. Okanogan FFA
5. Omak FFA

Individual Placing:
1. Luke Gleaseman, Chelan
2. Morgan OBrian, Tonasket
3. Silas Kruz, Colville
4. Haley Shiflet, Okanogan
5. George Vishon, Colville
6. Megan Bolich, Tonasket
7. Madison Clark, Tonasket
8. Kelsey Vejraska, Omak
9. Sarah Goyne, Chelan

Ranchers, wildlife groups denounce lawsuit against USDA Wildlife Services

March 9, 2015

A recent announcement by five radical environmental groups that they are suing USDA Wildlife Services regarding wolf removal in Washington is gaining strong condemnation from agriculture groups and wildlife conservationists who argue the suit is frivolous and hampers responsible management of wolves.

The Stevens County Cattlemen’s Association, the Inland Northwest Wildlife Council, Cattle Producers of Washington, Spokane County Cattlemen and Washington Residents Against Wolves said the lawsuit that challenges USDA Wildlife Services’ authority to kill wolves in Washington is dismissive of the real challenges of a growing wolf population.

“The organizations behind this suit are taking a clear and public stance that they do not care about the cost to ranch families, rural communities or prey populations like deer, elk and moose that suffer when wolf populations are not kept in check,” said Stevens County Cattlemen’s Association President Justin Hedrick. “It’s easy to sit in your cubicle somewhere and criticize the on-the-ground challenges when it isn’t your family or your livelihood at risk.”

The lawsuit against USDA Wildlife Services was filed on March 3 by Cascadia Wildlands, The Lands Council, Kettle Range Conservation Group, Predator Defense and WildEarth Guardians.

The groups assert that although the USDA has already completed an Environmental Assessment(EA) on the impact of removing wolves in Washington, their lawsuit claims that there is not enough data in the EA to support wolf removal and calls the agency “reckless” for removing a problem wolf in the Huckleberry pack in the summer of 2014. The groups also take issue with USDA Wildlife Services advising the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife on the removal of the Wedge pack in 2012.

“It is ironic that these groups are taking issue with removing problem wolves after the ranches involved had already exhausted non-lethal methods and allowed state and agency personnel to intervene on their private property,” said Hedrick. “These ranches did all they could to try to stop the killing of their animals but once wolves started after livestock, there was no way to stop it. There was no other option but lethal removal.”

A press release from the environmental groups regarding their lawsuit against USDA also claims that wolves in Washington are “far from recovered.”

Washington Residents Against Wolves Spokesman Luke Hedquist takes exception to the claim and notes that wolves are well established not only in Washington, but in neighboring states and throughout North America.

“There are over 65,000 wolves in North America, 670 wolves in Idaho, 650 wolves in Montana and over 300 wolves in Wyoming. Wolves have been removed from the Endangered Species List in all three of these states and the states allow for hunting just to try and keep the wolf populations in check,” Hedquist said. “In Washington, we are experiencing a high concentration of wolves in Eastern Washington that are creating dangerous situations for livestock owners, pet owners and hunters with likely more than 100 wolves in the area. By saying that USDA should not be able to remove wolves, these groups are advocating that public safety, other wildlife species, communities and economies should not be taken into consideration when managing wolves. This suit is essentially calling for non-management.”

The Inland Northwest Wildlife Council (INWC), a sportsman’s group with over 500 members and families, said it is seriously concerned about how the lawsuit seeks to run a strictly pro-wolf agenda without taking into consideration the complexity of the issue.

“When you sue to remove a tool from the toolbox, in this case the ability for USDA Wildlife Services to aid in removal of problem wolves by tying it up with red tape, it means these litigants are not considering the impact of an unchecked wolf population,” said INWC President Leonard Wolf. “Hunters and recreationalists in other states know that part of wolf management is sometimes wolf removal. Ignoring that fact means you will have severe declines in prey population as they experienced in Yellowstone when the number of Elk dropped from 19,000 to under 4,000 due to wolf depredations.”

“We need good, responsible management of wolves in Washington that considers all the available options so we don’t create situations that harm communities or wildlife,” Wolf added.

CPOW LEGISLATIVE DAYS JAN. 21-22

washington state capitolThe Cattle Producers of Washington will hold their annual Legislative Days Wed., Jan 21 and Thurs. Jan 22 in Olympia. The legislative reception will be held on Wednesday, Jan 21 from 5 to 7:30 in the Columbia Room in the legislative building on the capitol campus.

 

Strong agenda, fun activites planned for annual meeting, Oct. 31

CATTLE PRODUCERS OF WASHINGTON BANQUET TO FEATURE FULL SPEAKER SCHEDULE, ACTIVITIES

The 2014 CPoW 10th annual banquet is rapidly coming up on Friday, Oct. 31 at Northern Quest Casino in Airway Heights, www.northernquest.com

The meeting will feature a full agenda of interesting and informative speakers, followed up by a prime rib dinner and auction. All day tickets that include dinner are $85 per person. Dinner only tickets are $40. Tickets can be purchased at the door the day of the event.

Below is the updated speaker schedule for the event:

10:00 Check-in
10:30-11:15 Mike Thoren, JBS Beef
11:15-12:00 Washington Beef Commission
12:00-1:00 LUNCH
1:00-2:00 Washington State Department of Agriculture
2:00-2:30 Carbon Cycle Crush on canola cattle feed supplements
2:30-3:00 Leffel, Otis and Warwick on tax preparation
3:00-4:00 CPoW annual business meeting
4:00-5:00 James Robb, Livestock Information Marketing Center
5:00-6:00 Social hour
6:00-8:30 Dinner and auction

The event will also feature a number of activities, including a “Cow Plop” game on the concert patio behind the casino. Squares are only $20 and the pen will be divided up into  36 spots, making for good odds. Need not be present to win. A video of the event will be uploaded to Facebook for those who want to see the action but are unable to attend. Email us at cattleproducersofwa@gmail.com or call Jamie Henneman at 675-1209 to reserve your spot today!CPOW 10TH ANNUAL BANQUET COW PLOP-page-001 (2)

CPoW annual banquet a great sponsorship opportunity!

As the CPoW 10th Anniversary banquet is just over a month away, now is the time when businesses can still take advantage of the opportunity to promote their product or services at the event. The banquet will be held at Northern Quest Casino in Airway Heights on Oct. 31 from 10am-8:30pm and will include great food, great speakers and great company.

So far over 11 businesses have stepped up to be part of the event including:

Spokane County Cattlemen

Stevens County Cattlemen’s Association

Clifton Allen Larson

Sunny Okanogan Angus Ranch

Big R, Spokane

Connell Grain Growers

Lawrence Oil

EPL Feed

WA State Beef Commission

Crossroads Cattle Company

RANGE Magazine

Make sure to take advantage of this opportunity while there is still time! Below is the link to our sponsorship form:

2014 CPoW Annual Meeting Sponsorship Form