I know that the ranching community has many supporters in our cities and many adversaries also. I'm quite certain that waiting for an invitation from the Sierra Club or the Humane Society of the U.S. with and opposing view would be a wait in vain. These folks have agendas that they crusade with, that are so strict that there is no room for a different view about ranching. My thoughts then are addressed to the common sense of the majority of city folks. My beliefs about each moment in time have a great deal of flexibility built into them because experience and the many new ideas that appear every day dictate to me that it may be necessary to make a course corrections when “it’s not working" becomes apparent.
In the past several years there has been a group of ranchers, U.C. Cooperative farm advisors, Natural Resource Conservation Service people, and the beef manager at Cal Poly who have developed a method for ranchers to measure ones management skills. It’s called Ranching Sustainability Analysis. I think this new resource provides to the practitioner a thoughtful guide for the everyday and long term decision making. The RSA guides the producer through a series of self assessing questions within 11 assessment categories of social, economic, and natural resource practices. This method of measuring the ranching community’s performance of these 11 categories can be part of a message to help educate our city brethren to the ups and downs and to the many unseen difficulties that must be dealt with in the livestock business.
There's nothing as devastating to the livestock industry as drought and the drought that we are in could turn into a real mill stone around our collective necks without rain. Only Mother Nature knows when we will be released from this Dust Devil. That said there are many humane road blocks that weaken our ability to keep our ranches on sustainable footing. One example that comes to mind is a bill that is somewhere in the legislature in Sacramento. It would require special driver’s license for those that replace the pickup bed that your everyday pickup comes equipped with from the factory for a flatbed that is flat which makes it much more useful for a multitude of jobs. I'm sure there will be a fee attached and a day of waiting in line at the local D.M.V. Office. My question to those that live in our cities, will you feel safer because of this regulation? I think not, but these types of nonsense rules stacked one atop the other are the kind of thing that will inevitably find its way to the grocery store in the form of higher prices.
Fees, fees, fees, and more fees in California. Everybody is pretty well tapped out when it comes to taxes so the bureaucrats have invented the “fee” and made it legal by saying it only applies to the benefactor of the service rendered and the frosting on the cake for the bureaucrat is the charge in dollars will be whatever he or she thinks in their eyes only is justified. So each year a service that many of us thought was paid for by taxes we discover is “not so". For us on the ranches fire protection now has a brand new fee and I'm sure that whatever it feels is necessary to protect we the people in the future we the people will be assessed with no recourse. Eventually, if you deliver enough pinpricks to the elephant you will bring him to his knees. But we in the ranching business are a hardy adaptable lot. We will carry the day and every last soul in this state of California will be better because we ranchers are still on the land.