Stockmen oppose process using public money

Jackson County Stockmen, meeting in Medford on Monday, March 13, approved sending a position paper to the Oregon Water Enhancement Board (OWEB), opposing using public monies to purchase formerly public lands.  What has been happening is that environmental organizations have been getting federal grants, then turning to OWEB to get matching funds while committing very little money of their own.  They then buy properties, supposedly to save precious organisms, then turn over the lands to public entities.

The money comes from Oregon Lottery funds and is used to take lands out of productive use.  Those groups say it is the only way to insure the proper stewardship of lands.  Once the lands become the property of public entities, they then do whatever they want with the lands, often in direct opposition for which it was saved.

Stockmen approved the position paper and it has been forwarded to OWEB.  President Randy White said that not all land trusts are guilty of this practice.  However this becomes a burden when land is taken off the tax rolls, thereby reducing available tax monies and leaving a burden for tax payers.  The stockmen also sent the same letter to the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association stating their opposition to the practice, in hopes they too would oppose the action.

Thrichomoniasis is a bovine venereal disease that is causing spontaneous abortions in cattle and therefore problems for the cattleman.  The disease is transmitted from animal to animal and the fear is that wintering cattle taken to California will return with the disease, thereby affecting herds here.  A committee, led by Ted Birdseye will make a recommendation to Jackson County Commissioners requiring testing when cattle return in the spring. Trichomoniasis has caused significant economic losses in American cattle herds for many years. The causative organism is Tritrichomonas foetus.

It should be noted that at least one local cattleman has had some success with a vaccine that has apparently arrested the disease in cows and bulls that were subsequently exposed to infected cattle.

The  highlight of the evening was when a representative of Oregon Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) showed up for one of the cattlemen’s meetings.  The two are usually at such odds, that lively discussion follows.  Vince Ordman is no stranger to the stockmen, and normally stirs up the crowd with his presentation.

Ordman expressed concern for the numbers of elk within the Cascade Range.  He did say that numbers were generally good on private timber lands where timber harvest has taken place.  Forest Service inability to market timber has cause animals to move into those private lands for feed availability.  Ordman also said that the lower areas in the valleys have also become havens for elk due to the availability of feed. 

Predation has also caused elk numbers to dwindle as deer and elk move away from areas with higher cougar and bear populations. With feed concentrated into smaller and less scattered areas, predators have little trouble locating prey.  The bottom line is log the forest and the elk will return.  Not immediately, he points out, but over the long run and at a gradual rate of increase.

Another problem, though not prevalent in the Rogue Valley is hair loss in deer.  Ordmans says the problem is due to a mite carried by the deer which causes a skin irritation causing the hair to fall out.  The deer is then subject to the elements and normally dies from hypothermia. 

The stockmen’s association meets monthly, on the second Wednesday of each month at a place to be announced.  They are currently meeting at the Black Bear Restaurant in Medford, and will until further notice.  Meeting time is 6 p.m. for dinner and 7 p. m. for the meeting.
By Ralph McKechnie
For the Independent

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