The average American household allegedly wastes nearly a third of the food it buys. Columnist Cat Urbigkit says that claim doesn’t pass the common-sense test, and took a look at the research that led to the claim, findingthere was creative accounting and a lack of credible information involved.
Columnist Cat Urbigkit writes: “There are other trends in ag ownership that are probably of greater significance than foreign ownership. One is the purchase of the nation’s most productive ag land by pension funds and corporations.”
Columnists Cat Urbigkit and Rod Miller team up to discuss Wyoming’s 67th Legislature. Or as Cat puts it “It’s been too long since we’ve annoyed CSD readers with our insightful political punditry…”
Columnist Cat Urbigkit writes: “Foreign ownership and investment in U.S. agricultural land nearly doubled from 2010 through 2020. A bill filed for this year’s session would prohibit foreign ownership of agricultural land in Wyoming.”
Columnist Cat Urbigkit writes: “Although Colorado’s plan notes that ‘wolf attacks on pets are uncommon,’ that doesn’t really begin to describe the extent of wolf attacks on dogs, wherever the two species overlap. In some areas, it’s a fairly common occurrence.”
Columnist Cat Urbigkit writes: “The Big Piney Library is hosting its re-opening celebration, with suggested “Big Piney Black Tie” attire for this community event in a town with a population of less than 500.”
Columnist Cat Urbigkit writes: “The recovery of the whitebark pine will be significant challenge due to its unique life history, and its location within western wilderness areas.”
Columnist Cat Urbigkit writes: “Visitors to our national parks care about the wild animals that inhabit the region, but the importance of the interconnected private and public lands outside the park’s borders remains largely unknown.”
Columnist Cat Urbigkit writes: “As we enter into the gift-giving season, please consider a gift to support the good work of our non-profit volunteer organizations.”
Columnist Cat Urbigkit writes: Western Watersheds Project is classified as a non-profit organization. This public charity has a staff of 15 that are paid to attempt to accomplish the organization’s goal to permanently remove livestock from public lands.
Columnist Cat Urbigkit writes: “Although Western Watersheds Project claims its mission is to “protect and restore western watersheds and wildlife through education, public policy initiatives and legal advocacy,” its primary goal is to end public lands livestock grazing.”
Cat Urbigkit writes: “Although the anti-grazing group Western Watersheds Project said the Sagebrush Habitat Conservation Fund wouldn’t be used as a war chest for the anti-grazing group, within five years the Fund was funneling money to WWP, providing more than $2.2 million in six years.
In part one of a four part series, columnist Cat Urbigkit looks at the deal Western Watersheds Project made with the Ruby Pipeline to see where the money went and if commitments were satisfied…
Last week’s national news reported the killing of three young men at the University of Virginia, four university students killed in Idaho, and five killed in a shooting rampage at a nightclub in Colorado. All these tragic losses of human life were at the hands of others
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Columnist Cat Urbigkit writes: “My travels around the ranch bisect a major wildlife migration corridor. The corridor has been busy the last few weeks, with recent snowstorms bringing mule deer out of the mountains and streaming through this mixture of private, state and federal lands.”
Columnist Cat Urbigkit writes: “I knew the livestock guardian dogs were gone because it was far too quiet, and I’d dreaded what the morning might reveal…”
Columnist Cat Urbigkit writes: “In two separate actions last month, the environmental group WildEarth Guardians asserted claims that federal laws preempt state laws when it comes to state wildlife management.”
Columnist Cat Urbigkit writes: “For all I’ve witnessed at kill sites, I’ve never faced the trauma of a human death to a wild animal. But I know the trauma exists.”
Columnist Cat Urbigkit writes: “This week as my column is published on our 37th anniversary, Jim and I plan to be drinking German beers and jamming to an American rock band (Godsmack) in a foreign country before heading out to spend time with someone else’s livestock.
Columnist Cat Urbigkit writes about what happens when pronghorn antelope hunters encounter her livestock guardian dogs in the field.
The cooler temperatures and shifting weather of fall prompts seasonal movements of wildlife. Even if you can’t spend much time afield, here are a few ways to enjoy nature virtually.
Columnist Cat Urbigkit requests that Governor Mark Gordon not leave the state until at least January because the interim secretary of state officeholder would be Wyoming’s acting governor.
Columnist Cat Urbigkit writes: “The One Health response to a zoonotic-caused global pandemic has confirmed the wisdom of uniting human, animal, and environmental health response.”
Cat Urbigkit writes that people attending a herding dog championship come from all walks of life, and their fondness for dogs provides an opening for discussing controversies about their wild cousins: wolves in the West.
Columnist Cat Urbigkit writes: “Oh no, Western Watersheds Project (WWP) is complaining about me – in an official letter to the federal government. You can just imagine my shock, and how deeply concerning this is to me.”
Columnist Cat Urbigkit writes that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service proposal to grant itself the power to release populations of federally protected species into areas those species never previously inhabited is outrageous and unwise.
Columnist Cat Urbigkit writes: “When she was ready, Leckie shared her little blessings with us, her caregivers. I sat down nearby, stroking her head, feeding her treats, admiring her pups without touching them.”
In discussing the Wyoming Republican primary, columnists Rod Miller & Cat Urbigkit say there wasn’t a “Red Tsunami,” Wyoming’s GOP has a far larger tent that Frank Eathorne would prefer, and how the Dorr brothers had an awful election night.
Columnist Cat Urbigkit writes: “This latest rewilding proposal is just one proposal being put forth by activists who want large swaths of public lands set aside as reserves, with other uses limited or restricted.”
Columnist Cat Urbigkit writes: “Funding for wildlife conservation and management nationwide is currently under threat, as advocates on both the right and left target provisions of an 85-year-old federal law.”
Discussing the House District 20 race, columnist Cat Urbigkit writes: “I’m going to give Mr. Schmid the benefit of the doubt that he doesn’t want to see physical harm come to any American because of their political beliefs, despite his flirtation with extremism.”
Cowboy State Daily columnists Rod Miller and Cat Urbigkit have teamed up to do a joint column to discuss Wyoming politics!
Columnist Cat Urbigkit writes: “As I drove down the street, just a few blocks from the elementary school was a ‘Fuck Joe Biden’ sign hanging on the side of a building (not the less obscene ‘Let’s Go Brandon’ that carries the same meaning).”
What does the band Shinedown and sheep have in common? Both were part of columnist Cat Urbigkit’s week. From the concert in Casper to the Wyoming Wool Growers summer meeting, Cat is one of the few that ever brought these two entities together.
Columnist Cat Urbigkit writes: “There I was, all excited that the Wyoming GOP had sent out an email with substance (rather than its usual forwarding of links to The Epoch Times). What the document accomplishes is the need to strengthen our state’s educational system.”
Columnist Cat Urbigkit writes: “In the current situation, it doesn’t matter how many times those wolves kill cattle, or dogs in ranch yards, the wolves can suffer no consequences.”
Columnist Cat Urbigkit writes: “’ve spent the last month alternating shifts with other family members as we camped on the range with a sheep flock for lambing. The sagebrush rangeland was been blessed by frequent rain and snow this spring, and conditions were ideal for enjoying the splendors of this season of renewal.”
Columnist Cat Urbigkit writes: “At Tuesday’s regular business meeting, the five members of the Sublette County Commission unanimously voted to release attorney/client communications regarding the county’s fire mill levy in response to a Wyoming Public Records Act request”
Columnist Cat Urbigkit writes: “This column is the first step to opening the door and letting the sunshine in – an airing of the public’s business. But the door needs to be thrown wide open – and they’d best prop a rock against it…”
Columnist Cat Urbigkit writes: “We were contacted by a production company working on a science-based series focused on the intersection of people and predators. I liked what seemed to be their honest curiosity about the issue and its complexities, and we agreed to host the film crew…”
Columnist Cat Urbigkit writes: “Just as predictably as Republicans pointed to mental health issues and the presence of evil in society as the cause for gun violence, Democrats pointed to gun ownership in America as the root cause. Both sides are busy issuing statements, attempting to score political points while blaming the other party.”
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Columnist Cat Urbigkit writes: “Sympathy doesn’t pay the bills, and it’s past time for Game and Fish to take action to re-evaluate its compensation formulas, and for state and federal lawmakers to try to figure out how to pay for these large predator species that the nation wants but are financially impacting ranchers.”
Columnist Cat Urbigkit writes: “According to a new scientific study, ‘The landscape of stress for sheep owners when coexisting with wolves and other large carnivores suggest that sheep owners’ behavior is somewhat similar to behavior described for prey in the ecology of fear.'”
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Columnist Cat Urbigkit writes: “Yellowstone park officials know that wolf and grizzly bear populations have saturated available range inside the park and that these large predator populations will continue range expansion outside the park’s borders. YNP created this mess, but looks to the states to fix it.”
Columnist Cat Urbigkit writes: “It was a damning revelation: wolf hunting outside of Yellowstone National Park had ‘altered pack behavior, damaged research.’ I’m calling bullshit on that claim.”
Columnist Cat Urbigkit writes: “While the anonymous folks behind the websites WyoRino and WyoVote portray themselves as bastions of Conservatism (with a capital C), I’m calling out both for political cowardice.”
Avian influenza is spreading with the spring migration of wild birds. The bad news is that the outlook for domestic flocks and a variety of wild birds that contract the virus is glum.
Columnist Cat Urbigkit writes: “What the case demonstrates is that when environmental groups don’t have a federally protected species to hang their litigation hats on, their arguments aren’t nearly as effective at stalling or halting projects when a case makes it to the federal court.”
Columnist Cat Urbigkit writes: The American Prairie Reserve, a non-profit Montana-based organization that has built up more than $100 million in assets, is buying up property to create the largest nature reserve in the contiguous United States and the federal government is helping them.
Columnist Cat Urbigkit writes: “Regardless of the naysayers seeking permanent wolf protections, Wyoming should celebrate its success on the 5-year anniversary of the removal of its gray wolves from the list of species federally protected under the Endangered Species Act. We’ve earned it.”
Columnist Cat Urbigkit writes: “Perhaps Biden’s Democratic colleagues in Congress will eventually leave the protectionist camp and join the social conservationists in the realization that conserving biodiversity should be paired with sustaining human livelihoods and communities.”
Columnist Cat Urbigkit writes: “In a bizarre St. Patrick’s Day salute, Senator Tom James of Green River likened himself and five other state senators to the violent religious extremists featured in the cult classic film The Boondock Saints.”
Columnist Cat Urbigkit writes: “This is Sunshine Week, a week in which news organizations across the country highlight the importance of government transparency and celebrate the public’s right to know the workings of its government – a critical principle in democracy.”
Columnist Cat Urbigkit writes “ExxonMobil estimates that the expansion project will involve an average of 162 construction jobs over 29 months, with a peak workforce of 388, and creation of 11 new permanent positions added to its existing 200-person workforce in the area.”
Columnist Cat Urbigkit writes: “The Wyoming GOP’s pursuit of “Riding for the Brand” has turned authoritarian, requiring strict obedience to its authority at the expense of personal freedoms.”
Columnist Cat Urbigkit writes: The Wyoming Wildlife Advocates’ assertion that here in Sublette County we are “killing wolves ahead of any conflicts” is pure fallacy, as is the assertion that lethal control wouldn’t be needed “if livestock producers were using preventative, non-lethal methods to avoid losses.”
Columnist Cat Urbigkit writes: “Last week’s federal court decision placing gray wolves in most of the United States back under federal protection is often reported as a rollback of the Trump administration’s decision to delist wolves, yet few reports note that the Biden administration had supported and defended the decision made during Trump’s time in office.”
I get it. Everyone is unhappy and stressed, and either the government is doing too much, or the government isn’t doing enough. General complaints about government aren’t doing much to help anything, but let’s all take personal responsibility for what happens next.
The consolidation of the meat supply has resulted in companies selling an inferior product that costs them less, providing for huge profit margins for the companies while livestock producers get shafted.
During this national emergency, this unsettled and distressing time, I’m noticing helpers in every direction.
Although vetoing the bill, Gordon continued to pledge his commitment “that we will continue to find ways to take steps to explore this opportunity.”
The gentle ringing of bells is heard by those who listen. Pastoralists around the globe have used bells on their livestock for thousands of years, and in many regions the tradition continues substantially unchanged.
I’ve been critical of the secrecy and lack of public information about this proposed land deal that is so massive that it would be the largest government purchase of private land since the United States purchased Alaska.
Kanye West’s Paris fashion show coverage included references to one of the ranches he purchased in Wyoming. West told a reporter for The Cut that he’s got 700 sheep and he’s trying out different ways of felting the wool. Good on ya, Kanye!
Last week the Wyoming Legislature adopted revisions to two draft bills that allow state officials to move forward in pursuing a huge land purchase involving 1 million acres of surface and 4 million acres of mineral rights in the checkerboard of southern Wyoming.
Our state leaders keep telling us that what a unique opportunity this deal is, and that the deal could be a “strategic investment” to add income to state coffers, and “unprecedented multiple-use access for the public.” But when it comes to specifics, they aren’t sharing much.
On Monday the House Appropriations Committee worked until after 9 p.m. to make substantial revisions to House Bill 249 that enables Governor Mark Gordon and other members of the State Loan and Investment Board to examine and negotiate a deal for 1 million acres of surface and 4 million acres of mineral rights in southwestern Wyoming.
The hypocrisy of Gordon mentioning his commitment to state government transparency in his State of the State address is not lost on me.
For some, the thought of 1 million acres of private land being gobbled up by government – in a state that is already majority-owned by government – is a hard pill to swallow.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Director Aurelia Skipwith’s recent address at the American Sheep Industry Association convention gave reason for conservatives to cheer in hope – and for liberals to cringe in despair.
Here are the issues Range Writing columnist Cat Urbigkit is paying attention to as the Wyoming State Legislature convenes Monday.
In more of the same-old-predictable strategy, there have been two notices of intent to sue over conflicts between grizzly bears and cattle in the Upper Green River region of the Bridger-Teton National Forest. Here’s a quick overview of that issue, then we’re taking a deep dive into who is threatening to sue.
The Endangered Species Act isn’t meant to be a popularity contest for charismatic species; science is to be the driving factor for conservation of truly imperiled species.
Hollywood’s Golden Globe Awards ceremony made the news for its climate-change awareness with much ado about its meat-free dinner.
For all the international travel I’ve been fortunate to experience, I’ve had amazingly good luck. But that luck had to run out, and my trip to Canada last week was the time.
Rural subdivisions suffer from love/hate status. While many residents hate to see fragmentation of rural land, many other people dream of living on a few acres outside of town.
As a frequent reader of new research on livestock production and carnivore conflicts, I am often reminded of the divide between researchers and practitioners. Papers will explain that research was conducted on sheep, without necessary information about those sheep, which practitioners (livestock producers) know will influence outcomes. For instance, we need to know not just the number of sheep involved, but breed, sex, age, breeding status, etc. because these cohorts may react differently in a given scenario.
A new report from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis(BEA) shows that outdoor recreation contributes 4.4. percent of Wyoming’s gross domestic product. That’s something to celebrate, with Wyoming’s percentage among the highest in the nation, behind only Hawaii, Montana, and Maine.
The Bridger-Teton National Forest’s announcement of its decision to reauthorize cattle grazing in the Upper Green River region 30 miles north of Pinedale was met with the predictable hysteria of anti-grazing activists who claim the plan “institutionalizes overgrazing” and “negligent livestock management” on national forest lands. These activists are pushing to rid public lands of livestock and cite conflicts between grizzly bears and cattle in the Upper Green to justify their position. It’s no matter that the truth undermines their outrageous claims.
With more than 80 percent of the American public residing in urban areas, I understand the importance of connecting people to nature. But rather than have the American public remain ignorant about the natural world and its wild animals, we need to work to educate the public of the reality of human-wildlife conflicts so that we can seek to minimize these conflicts.
I am happy that you’re out having adventures, and hopefully getting some tasty meat for the freezer. I know that you look forward to hunting season all year long, and it’s a big part of why you are in this great state, whether as a resident or a visitor. And I appreciate that so far this year, all but one of you have honored our ranch gates by leaving them as you find them.
Every now and then, my brain hits playback on the Waylon Jennings’ song “The World’s Gone Crazy (Cotillion)” written by Jennings and Shel Silverstein. Last week the song was stuck in my head, as the lyrics are apropos to much current news.
I spent last week in our nation’s capital, one of 20 citizens from around the country gathered to serve on the national advisory committee for USDA Wildlife Services. The committee’s job is to provide recommendations to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Purdue, on policies and program issues necessary to manage damage caused by depredating wildlife to safeguard our nation’s resources and safeguard public health and safety. Since Wildlife Services is tasked with resolving wildlife conflicts, much of what we discussed was about conflict.
I’m a news hound, and when I come across a topic that interests me, I try to read about that topic from a variety of news sources in attempt to see a range of perspectives. I read news from major media in the United States, Europe, Russia, and Turkey on a regular basis. Every few days I hear or read statements that give me pause. I am routinely perplexed at reporters allowing these statements to go unchallenged – not even questioning the veracity of the claims being made.
Predator-prey systems (including predator-livestock conflicts) are complicated, multi-faceted, and site-specific, but an Oregon Extension publication has provided a broad solution for those of us in animal agriculture, virtually eliminating the need for lethal control of predators: Keeping well-behaved breeding pairs of coyotes in place in their territories to exclude other coyotes that may kill sheep. Thus, keeping these “guard coyotes” and “guard wolves” in place serves to protect our livestock.
In all my half-century of life, I’ve never encountered a kestrel without being happy about it. Just seeing a kestrel perched on a wire gives me a thrill – it always has, and I suppose it always will.
A French composer on a trip to Canada’s Northwest Territories to record the sounds of nature was attacked in his tent in the middle of the night and killed by a grizzly bear earlier this month. Such an unprovoked attack is rare, according to wildlife officials, although large carnivore attacks on humans are on the increase worldwide. Grizzly bear attacks on humans in Wyoming are part of that worldwide trend.
When major media in our nation talk about guns, the discussion involves speakers in metropolitan areas, usually after a horrendous tragedy.
They aren’t airing interviews of people who take their children out with gundogs to hunt birds; elk hunters preparing for mountain trips they’ve dreamed about for years; former military members who enjoy competitive shooting sports; women who train to never become victims; gun collectors dedicated to preserving history; or ranchers who use firearms as tools, to name a few.
The latest report coming from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is focused on climate change and land, but something must have been garbled in the translation from Geneva because much of the U.S.-media translation emphasized that people should eat less beef and quit wasting so much food. That unfortunate result comes from reporters unwilling to make the time and effort to read the report itself, which – at hundreds of pages and still in draft form – makes for an interesting but not-pleasant task.
A lot of my ag friends are switching social media platforms, leaving Facebook (FB) for greener pastures. Green as in $$, since FB’s commerce policy forbids posts that “promote the sale of any animals.” Although animal-sale posts are still rampant on the platform, FB began cracking down on the posts in the last few years and has increased that activity in the last few months.