It’s a long-running debate. Should cows graze the West, or be removed permanently? This year’s historic fire season has refueled the debate. Travis Bruner, executive director of Western Watersheds Project, says, “Livestock grazing in southwestern Idaho and across the West has contributed significantly to intensity, severity, and enormity of fires this summer.” Hogwash, say cowboys from California to Kalispell. In fact, they believe reduced grazing has added to the severity of the fires because cows would have removed much of the fuel that is carrying the flames. The Idaho Cattlemen’s Association says the fires are “largely a result of the federal government’s management framework.” Idaho Fish & Game biologist Jack Connelly, who has worked to protect the sage grouse, said, "I can raise sage grouse where there's Herefords. I can't raise sage grouse where there's fire." #GrazeItOrBlazeIt is trending on Twitter.
Beef is Back in School
Yesterday, we told you about kids discarding their fruits and vegetables at school after new rules from the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act. In Thayer, Neb., school children are getting plenty of beef thanks to area cattlemen who have donated to the school lunch program. The Titan Beef Boosters have pledged 32 head of cattle and an additional $33,000, which will keep beef on school lunch trays for three years. It is estimated the kids will be getting 50% more beef in their diets. Do they like the beef? "The best, it was good," says Thayer Central student Colter Sinn, of his hamburger.
Fun stories we stumbled upon while composing this week’s GTN.
- Australian cyclist meets the kangaroo apocalypse.
- Red neck tilt-a-whirl: https://youtu.be/twQM26t9JvU
- Telescope or rifle? Police confront North Dakota students.
- Burglar armed with a vacuum fails.
- Humans carry more antibiotic-resistant bacteria than the animals they work with.
North Dakota Judge Blocks WOTUS
New federal rules to protect smaller streams, tributaries and wetlands took effect on Friday — but only in some states. A federal court ruling Thursday, hours before the rules were to go into effect, blocked the regulations in 13 states. Those states had sued the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, arguing that the rules are federal overreach and could be costly and confusing for landowners.