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USCA: Livestock Haulers Receive One-Year ELD Extension

(WASHINGTON) – On Wednesday, the Senate passed the Minibus Appropriations bill with an amendment sponsored by Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE) that would delay the implementation of the Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) mandate for livestock haulers by one more year. Livestock haulers are already operating on a delay until the end of the Fiscal Year, but this amendment would extend that delay to Sep. 30, 2019.

USCA Transportation Committee Chairman Steve Hilker issued the following statement:

“First, we’d like to extend our sincere thanks and gratitude to Senator Deb Fischer for offering this amendment and shepherding its passage in the Senate. Current Hours-of-Service (HOS) rules were not written with the needs of livestock haulers in mind, and therefore, offer very little flexibility when it comes to hauling live animals.

“This one-year delay is needed because we still have not received the flexibility we have asked for from the Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). We have the solution already drafted and introduced in Congress. Through the work carried out by Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse and North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp the Transporting Livestock Across America Safely Act would correct the restrictive Hours-of-Service (HOS) rules and allow livestock haulers to operate safely and efficiently. We need the one-year delay to secure the final passage of this bill. USCA has been at this issue since 2016 and we will not stop until these overreaching regulations are amended.”


Hammonds are home: Dwight and Steven out of prison and back to Oregon

Dwight and Steven Hammond have returned home to Burns, Oregon, after President Donald Trump announced yesterday that he was granting them a full pardon.

The two men have served collectively over 7 years in prison for the approximately 140 acres of federal land they burned in two separate fires. One fire was a backburn, set to protect their home quarters, the other was a management fire that spilled over and burned a small amount of federal land, but no fences or structures.

Upon arrival in Oregon, the two men met with a group of media and supporters. "We received thousands of letters," said Steven, with strong emotion in his voice.

"Those people that were able to write letters, there was one that obviously tipped the scale, so keep active," he said.

"God prepares you – if He takes you to it, He will bring you through it," he said about life in prison.

Susie Hammond said, "Thank you to all of you, you are wonderful human beings." She specifically thanked Forrest Lucas and Dave Duquette with Protect the Harvest for their role in reaching President Trump.

"There's no way we can thank everyone enough," said Dwight. "The people helping here have been working, helping, sympathizing, and fighting their own battles," said Dwight.

Regarding the standoff that began when the the Hammonds were arrested, Steve said he believed the protesters had good intentions. "I don't know how it was received, I was out of the picture."

"The network that makes the family operation work is far outside the family," said Steven.

"It's not about us two guys standing up here, it's about America. Until we can put God back in our schools…I hope we can work with the federal government, maybe start here in Oregon. And you people have to be the ones that do that," said Dwight.

The Hammonds look forward to returning to their daily ranch work, and seeking a semblance of normalcy.

Friend and neighbor Erin Maupin, Burns, Oregon, was with Susie Hammond within a few moments of Susie taking the call from the White House that her husband and son had been pardoned.

Maupin said that as of now, the Hammonds' grazing permit still has not been renewed.

The family has leased other land and sold cattle in order to continue their ranching enterprise, but those measures are not sustainable in the long term, and they will need their grazing permit renewed in order to remain viable, said Maupin.

Supporters are encouraged to continue asking congressmen, representatives and the Interior Secretary, Ryan Zinke, for a renewal of the Hammonds' grazing permits. The Hammonds have been unable to utilize their BLM permits, as well as about 10,000 acres of their own private property that is unfenced and intermingled with the federal lands.

The men were charged with violating an anti-terrorism law that required a five year minimum sentence, so even though the original sentencing judge said it would "shock the conscience of the court" to sentence them to the full five years, another federal attorney followed up by taking them back to court for a full sentence.

The two men peacefully gave themselves up in January of 2016. Their arrest and imprisonment inspired a protest that turned into an occupation of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon, which came to a dramatic close when Arizona rancher Lavoy Finicum was shot and killed by police officers and the other protesters were arrested at a vehicle stop when the caravan traveled to a meeting in John Day, Oregon.

Statement by Hammond family about President Trump’s pardon, July 10

Tuesday July 10, 2018–Diamond, OR. – Today, President Trump issued an Executive Grant of Clemency, which is a full pardon, to Dwight and Steven Hammond. Our family is grateful to the president and all who worked to make this possible, and to bring this about.
From long before our family's legal challenges, through the trial in 2012, the re-sentencing and return to federal prison in 2016, and the last several years while Dwight and Steven were in federal prison, Dwight and Steven and our family have done all we can do to demonstrate faith in our country and in principles of decency, fairness and justice. We have been a cattle ranching
family dedicated to basic principles, and a basic life. With Dwight and Steven returning home we will continue on our path, continue ranching and continue believing in America.
The original judge who sentenced Dwight and Steven, openly stated that the laws under which the prosecution took place, specifically the mandatory minimum sentences that were required – were unjust and shock the conscience. Yet, prosecutors appealed his ruling, and today President Trump accurately described that appeal as "an overzealous appeal." We agree that it was overzealous and share the opinion that there is no place in our courts or anywhere else in the administration of our federal government for overzealousness, and the kind of animus that has been directed at our family by federal officers for years.
Again, we express gratitude for the support we've received from our local community, for all those who wrote letters of support, for those who worked behind the scenes, and for those who have stood by our family through these hard times. While we recognize that our path forward will still be difficult, like it is with virtually all ranching families, we are hopeful that this action
by President Trump today, will also help signal the need for a more measured and just approach by federal agents, federal officers and federal prosecutors – in all that they do.
During this whole ordeal there has been a lot of false information in the media. Our family has already paid $400,000 related to the civil damages alleged by the government in this matter, in addition to the combined 7 years Dwight and Steven have spent in prison. We are hopeful that respected media outlets will use professional discretion and judgment before repeating false and
misleading stories about the history of this legal ordeal. All of us have a duty to stand up for core American principles. Today, the President of the United States has blessed our family by doing so. As Susie said earlier this morning, "We've been waiting a long time" but today's decision by the President, "is wonderful.” We are very anxiously looking forward to seeing Dwight and Steven home.

Judge dismisses Bundy case: Charges dropped, Cliven, Ammon, Ryan go home

Judge Gloria Navarro of the Nevada District Court dismissed “with prejudice” the case against Cliven Bundy and his sons Ammon and Ryan Bundy, and Ryan Payne. This means federal prosecutors will not have the option to reopen or retry the case. The Bundy men are free. As of about 1 p.m. today, Cliven was already on his way to the ranch near Bunkerville, Nevada.

Ryan Payne will now travel to Oregon to await trial for charges related to the Malheur Refuge protest that he, the Bundys and others staged in 2016. While all other participants in that takeover were found innocent, Payne pled guilty and continues to await trial.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, late last month, said he was calling for an investigation into the government’s handling of the case – including multiple instances of mishandling of evidence.

The investigation will probably be conducted by investigative attorneys, said Roger Roots who serves on Cliven Bundy’s legal team. While there is no way of knowing how long the investigation will last, the investigators will be looking at then-acting U.S. Attorney Steven Myhre’s brady violations. Myhre, who was appointed acting U.S. attorney by President Trump about a year ago, was recently replaced because his one-year appointment had ended.

Ryan Bundy spoke with Tri-State Livestock news after Navarro’s announcement today.

“We’re not surprised by the judge’s decision. It’s been a long time coming,” he said. “We knew we were not guilty of these crimes, we knew that the truth would be revealed.”

Judge Navarro, who from the beginning prevented the defense from talking about the First Amendment or the Second Amendment or the BLM’s snipers, and many other topics, showed bias against the Bundy family early on, Ryan Bundy said.

“It’s terrible, judges are supposed to be neutral but she was decidedly on the side of the government. I believe it is that way in most cases. The government has a 98 or 99 percent conviction rate. Many judges are past prosecutors and they have the mindset that everyone is guilty.”

Bundy said he doesn’t think that the judge necessarily believes in the innocence of the Bundy family but that “the truth was out so plainly that she could not deny it. She couldn’t rule any other way without being in gross misconduct. She had to protect herself.”

It was discovered in December that the prosecution violated the “Brady rule” at least seven times, by willfully withholding evidence that it should have shared with the defense.

Bryan Hyde, a reporter with “Who’s Next” news reported that the judge said the prosecution, led by Steven Myhre acted in ways that were “especially egregious,” “grossly shocking,” and she also talked about “flagrant prosecutorial misconduct,” “reckless disregard,” and more. She said the only fair recourse was not to have another trial but to dismiss it because it involved a serious constitutional violation and there was a need to preserve judicial integrity and prevent future misconduct on the part of the government.

The judge was referring not only to the fact that evidence was withheld, but the blatantly arrogant way with which it was withheld, said Hyde.

Ryan Bundy said that he had been out of prison, albeit with an ankle bracelet to track his movement, since mid-November but that his father Cliven had not been released until just today. “He already ditched me,” Ryan said of Cliven.”He’s ready to get home.”

Ryan, who ranches with his father (some of the children, including Ammon, no longer live or work on the ranch), does not fear the federal government or any future attempts to collect money.

“We own the rights. That’s what we’ve been saying. Grazing fees are a fabrication of the federal government. They don’t own the land. We aren’t going to make a contract with the federal government. Why would we pay a grazing fee?” he asked.

“Why do any ranchers pay grazing fees? Why don’t they stand stand upon the rights that they have and cancel the contracts with the federal government? The land belongs to each state and her people. Read the constitution,” he said.

Ryan Bundy said he and his family do not own the dirt but they own the grass. “We don’t claim ownership to the land, we claim ownership the feed that grows upon it, and of course the water. Feed without water is no good and water without feed is no good.”

He said they also own the improvements they have financed on the BLM land.

Ryan and Cliven Bundy intend to make a visit to the local sheriff’s office soon, maybe tomorrow (Jan. 9). “We’d like to talk to him about him doing his job,” Bundy said.

Ryan looks forward to enjoying his family’s company later today.

Charges against the Bundy men ranged from conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, conspiracy to impede and injure a federal officer to use and carry of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence and interstate travel in aid of extortion.

The indictments are not directly related to money the Bundy family owes the federal government for grazing Bureau of Land Management land. The charges stemmed from a “standoff” in April of 2014 when the BLM attempted to gather Cliven Bundy’s cattle and the Bundy family along with hundreds of supporters from around the country protested the government’s removal of family’s cattle from the ranch.

The BLM said they were gathering the cattle to sell them, to settle a debt they said the Bundys owed for several years of unpaid grazing “fees” on BLM land. The BLM turned the cattle loose and left the Bundy ranch after the actions escalated to an armed “standoff” between federal agents and Bundy supporters, many of which were armed on both sides.


“Get off my Lawn” Interview with Carrie Stadheim

Tri-State Livestock News editor Carrie Stadheim addresses the monument shrinkage, the Bundy issue and the Hammonds’ imprisonment with Gavin McInnes on his show, “Get off my Lawn.”

Stewards of the Land: Ranchers, Livestock and Federal Lands
Editor’s Note: We have compiled a list of all the articles we have published, as well as a timeline of the events, surrounding the Bundy Standoff and other incidents relating to government control of public lands such as the Hammond Fire Trial and the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Click here to read more. 

White House plans to reduce National Monument designations in Utah, restoring public lands grazing

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association and Public Lands Council applauded the White House's plan to reduce the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. The decision – which follows an extensive review of monument designations by the Department of Interior – is a clear win for rural communities who have suffered the consequences of egregious federal overreach.

"Previous administrations abused the power of the Antiquities Act, designating huge swaths of land as national monuments without any public input or review," said Dave Eliason, president of the Public Lands Council. "Rural communities in Utah and across the West have paid the price. Sweeping designations locked up millions of acres of land with the stroke of a pen, undermining local knowledge and decimating rural economies."

The President's decision means that traditional uses of the land, including livestock grazing, will be restored on public land in Utah.

"We are grateful that today's action will allow ranchers to resume their role as responsible stewards of the land and drivers of rural economies," said Craig Uden, president of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association. "Going forward, it is critical that we reform the Antiquities Act to ensure that those whose livelihoods and communities depend on the land have a voice in federal land management decisions."

Ranchers who hold grazing permits on public land do vital work that benefits public land including the improvement of water sources, conservation of wildlife habitat, and maintenance of the open space that Americans enjoy. Limitless power to make massive designations under the Antiquities Act poses a serious threat to that noble mission and rich heritage.

History of Election Day has roots in agriculture

Why do we vote on a Tuesday?

Before 1845, we were more of an agricultural society and November was considered a good time for elections because the busy harvest season was coming to a close. Many country folks had to travel quite a long way to get to a polling station, so it made sense to hold elections on a Tuesday. This avoided religious holidays as well.


To-day, alike are great and small,
The nameless and the known;
My palace is the people's hall,
The ballot-box, my throne
–John Greenleaf Whittier, American poet (1807–92)

On January 7, 1789, the electors were chosen for the first U.S. presidential election. (George Washington was elected president on February 4.)

By an act of Congress on January 23, 1845, the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November was designated Election Day for future presidential elections.

The first such election took place on November 7, 1848. Whig Party candidate Zachary Taylor won out over Democrat Lewis Cass and Free-Soil candidate (and former president) Martin Van Buren. Taylor's running mate was Millard Fillmore, who became the nation's 13th president on July 10, 1850, upon Taylor's untimely death.

The freeman, casting with unpurchased hand
The vote that shakes the turrets of the land
–Oliver Wendell Holmes, American poet (1809–94)

November 7, 1893: The state of Colorado granted women residents the right to vote.

October 23, 1915: 25,000 women marched in NYC demanding the right to vote.

August 26, 1920: The Nineteenth Amendment was adopted, granting women the right to vote. It was nicknamed the "Anthony" amendment in recognition of the lobbying efforts of suffragette Susan B. Anthony.

July 2, 1946: As a result of two decisions handed down by the Supreme Court in 1944, both upholding the right of Blacks to vote in primary elections, blacks in Mississippi vote for the first time in that state's Democratic primary.

March 29, 1961: Ratification of the 23rd amendment to the Constitution gave residents of Washington, D.C., right to vote in presidential elections.

May 20, 1993: The "motor-voter" bill was signed by President Bill Clinton, allowing citizens to register to vote when applying for a driver's license.

August 26Women's Equality Day
Formerly known as Woman Suffrage Day, this day marks the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (1920), granting women the right to vote. Ratification came in Tennessee, where suffragist (Anitia) Lili Pollitzer, age 25, persuaded Tennessee state legislator Harry T. Burn, age 24, to cast the deciding vote. "I know that a mother's advice is always safest for a boy to follow," he said, "and my mother wanted me to vote for ratification." The country's 26 million voting-age women were enfranchised by this change in the Constitution. Longtime suffragist Carrie Chapman Catt summed up her experiences in the battle this way: "Never in the history of politics has there been such a nefarious lobby as labored to block the ratification." Upon ratification, Catt founded the League of Women Voters, an organization now dedicated to providing impartial, in-depth information about candidates, platforms, and ballot issues.

– Information from The Old Farmer’s Almanac: https://www.almanac.com/content/when-election-day

Find a polling place near you: https://www.vote.org/polling-place-locator/

Nevada Rancher to Congress: Give States More Authority to Protect Greater Sage Grouse

WASHINGTON (October 25, 2017) – Today Dr. J.J. Goicoechea testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources on behalf of the Public Lands Council, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, and Eureka County Nevada advocating for federal sage grouse policy to conform to ongoing state management plans. The oversight hearing was held following the recent review ordered by the Department of the Interior of 2015 federal sage grouse plan amendments and an open comment period.

"The Department of the Interior greatly overlooked the fact that no two states are exactly alike, no two states have the exact same threats and impacts," the veterinarian and fourth-generation cattle rancher said. "Even within states, the threats vary among geographical location, elevation, and land management agencies."

Nevada's sage grouse management plan currently allocates approximately $1.3 million per year to protect the species. The plan has a major focus on mitigating wildfire risk through livestock grazing. Goicoechea stressed Nevada's commitment to the long-term management of sagebrush ecosystems and the Greater Sage Grouse population, and called on the committee to recognize state efforts.

"Why don't we listen to state and local officials and implement plans that were developed at the ground level? The top down approach has continued to squeeze public land industries all while continuing to lose sensitive habitats and imperil wildlife species. If the true goal is conservation, put it back in the hands of those closest to the land. If the goal instead is to remove economic drivers from rural communities with no desire to protect habitats, then continue on the path we are on."


House to take up Senate budget resolution with no ag mandate

The House is expected this week to take up the fiscal year 2018 budget resolution that the Senate passed last week, Senate Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy signaled in the leader's weekly schedule released late Friday.

The schedule lists, but does not give a day for, "Consideration of the Senate Amendment to H.Con.Res. 71, Establishing the congressional budget for the United States Government for fiscal year 2018 and setting forth the appropriate budgetary levels for fiscal years 2019 through 2027."

The announcement indicates that the House will not insist on taking its budget resolution to conference with the Senate.

The Senate resolution calls for a $1.5 trillion revenue reduction, but would also allow an increase in military spending, which pleased House conservatives.

The Senate resolution to which House Republicans apparently will agree also eliminates the $10 billion cut to programs under the House Agriculture Committee's jurisdiction that was contained in the House resolution, although there are still budget assumptions that could lead to cuts in programs.

"I commend House and Senate leadership for producing a final budget that preserves our ability to craft an effective, efficient farm bill while also allowing us to move forward with efforts to simplify the tax code," House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway, R-Texas, said in a statement to Politico.

Jim Weill, the president of the Food Research & Action Center, said in a statement that the Senate budget resolution "paves the way for massive tax cuts for the wealthy that will increase inequality and build pressure for years to come to cut the safety net and undermine investments in America's future."

"To pay for these tax cuts, the Senate budget resolution assumes a reduction of trillions of dollars for critical programs over the next 10 years, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), low-income tax credits, Medicaid, and programs that assist persons with disabilities," Weill said.

"Rather than tax cuts heavily tilted toward the rich, and a downward path for help to the neediest among us, we need greater investments in proven and effective anti-hunger and anti-poverty programs."

The resolution is expected to allow the Republicans to consider tax reform without needing 60 votes to pass in the Senate.

Heritage Action, which had called for cuts to programs, praised the deal.

"Heritage Action applauds the 51 Senate Republicans who voted to approve the budget," said CEO Michael Needham.

"It marks yet another critical step forward in the decades-long effort to reform our nation's stagnant and convoluted tax code. This once in a generation opportunity to unleash economic growth, create jobs and increase wages cannot be squandered."

–The Hagstrom Report

Batista brothers indicted for insider trading

According to Reuters, Brazilian police requested that government prosecutors charge Wesley Batista and Joesley Batista, brothers who own the JBS meatpacking company, for insider trading.

Allegedly the brothers saved up to 138 million reais ($44 million) via illegal deals in May.

The insider trading occurred before the plea bargain deal was agreed upon, said police. They admitted in May to bribing over 1,800 politicians in recent years, for profit, said the story.

The country's president Michael Temer has three corruption charges to deal with as a result of the Batistas' testimony, but under Brazilian law, a president can be tried for a crime only before the Supreme Court and if two-thirds of the Congress's lower house agrees to allow the court to try. In early August, legislators stopped the first Temer's three charges, for allegedly taking bribes, said the Reuters story.

–staff report