We pay for a "nice way of life'

  Dear HCN,


It is hard to realize that less than 29,000 ranchers in the West can have such an unreasonable political influence over public lands. Some major industries have laid off more employees than the total number of ranchers in the West.


We doubt that condominiums will ever replace ranches. The isolation, severe weather, lack of amenities and jobs will prevent this from happening. The irony is that more than twice as many cattle are raised on private lands in Texas than are raised in all of the 11 Western states.


The agricultural influence is furthered by statements by Wyoming Sen. Malcolm Wallop, who preaches that the survival of small towns depends on ranches and farms. This is an impossibility. According to the most recent Wyoming Data Handbook, all land-generated businesses including ranching, farming, timber, outfitting, guiding and trapping, constitute only 4 percent of the state gross product.


Through the years ranchers have gained undue political influence because they never had a demanding 9-to-5 job. They were always able to go attend any meeting or conference and make themselves known. At one time 30 percent of our state legislators were ranchers representing less than 4 percent of the population. In one recent state legislative budget session, 64 percent of the monies were allocated to the agricultural community.


These days the federal government spends $25 million on predator control for the livestock industry. Statistics prove that predator control does not work. Add to this the amount states and counties spend on this project, and the total could be used to start buying the Western ranches and returning them to public lands.


Since only 2 percent of the beef cattle in the United States is raised in the West, any "War on the West" is blown out of proportion. If changes don't come soon, we, the tax payers, will continue to subsidize a "nice way of life."





Harvey and Carolyn Duncan


Hanna, Wyoming
High Country News Classifieds
  • COMMUNITY OUTREACH MANAGER
    High Country News (HCN) is looking for a Community Outreach Manager to reach and forge new relationships with individuals and groups who represent communities historically...
  • NEW BOOK:
    True Wildlife Tales From Boy to Man. Finding my voice to save wildlife in the Apache spirit. 365+ vivid colorful pictures. Buy on Amazon/John Wachholz
  • CHIEF OPERATIONS OFFICER
    with Rural Community Assistance Corporation. Apply here: https://www.marcumllp.com/executive-search/chief-operations-officer-rcac
  • CLIMATE JUSTICE FELLOW
    High Country News, an award-winning magazine covering the communities and environment of the Western United States, seeks applicants for a climate justice fellowship. The fellowship...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Wild Rockies Field Institute is seeking a visionary Executive Director to lead the organization in Missoula, Montana. Individuals with a proven track record in...
  • LAND AND WATER CONSERVATION DIRECTOR
    The Land and Water Conservation Director is a full-time salaried position with the Mountain Area Land Trust in Evergreen, CO. The successful candidate will have...
  • ARIZONA PROGRAM MANAGER
    National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), the nation's oldest and largest national parks nonprofit advocacy organization seeks an Arizona Program Manager. The Arizona Program Manager works...
  • CROWN OF THE CONTINENT COMMUNITY CONSERVATION SPECIALIST
    THE WILDERNESS SOCIETY is seeking a Community Conservation Specialist, for the Crown of the Continent DEPARTMENT: Conservation CLASSIFICATION: Grade 6 Specialist/Representative (Low of $54K) REPORTS...
  • ASSISTANT FARM DIRECTOR
    About The Organization Building community through fresh vegetables is at the heart of the Sisters-based non-profit, Seed to Table Oregon. Based on a four-acre diversified...
  • CARPENTER WANTED
    CARPENTER WANTED. Come to Ketchikan and check out the Rainforest on the coast, Hike the shorelines, hug the big trees, watch deer in the muskeg...
  • DYNAMIC EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    VARD is seeking an Executive Director to lead a small legal & planning staff dedicated to the health and sustainability of Teton Valley Idaho and...
  • WATER PROJECT MANAGER, UPPER SAN PEDRO (ARIZONA)
    Based in Tucson or Sierra Vista, AZ., the Upper San Pedro Project Manager develops, manages, and advances freshwater conservation programs, plans, and methods focusing on...
  • CAMPAIGNS DIRECTOR
    Southeast Alaska Conservation is hiring. Visit https://www.seacc.org/about/hiring for info. 907-586-6942 [email protected]
  • FINANCE & GRANTS MANAGER
    The Blackfoot Challenge, located in Ovando, MT, seeks a self-motivated, detail-oriented individual to conduct bookkeeping, financial analysis and reporting, and grant oversight and management. Competitive...
  • WADE LAKE CABINS, CAMERON MT
    A once in a lifetime opportunity to live and run a business on the shore of one of the most beautiful lakes in SW Montana....
  • CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, BOOKS, CULTURE AND COMMENTARY (PART-TIME, CONTRACT)
    High Country News is seeking a Contributing Editor for Books, Culture and Commentary to assign and edit inquisitive, inspiring, and thought-provoking content for HCN in...
  • STATEWIDE COMMUNITY ORGANIZER
    ABOUT US Better Wyoming is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization that educates, organizes, and mobilizes Wyoming residents on behalf of statewide change. Learn more at...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    TwispWorks is a 501(c)3 that promotes economic and cultural vitality in the mountainous Methow Valley, the eastern gateway to North Cascades National Park in Washington...
  • CLEAN ENERGY ADVOCATE OR DIRECTOR
    Location: Helena, Montana Type: Permanent, full time after 1-year probationary period. Reports to: Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs. Travel: Some overnight travel, both in-state...
  • PROFESSIONAL GIS SERVICES
    Custom Geospatial Solutions is available for all of your GIS needs. Affordable, flexible and accurate data visualization and analysis for any sized project.