5 Ways Cattle Help The Environment

Notice that there is no mention of “planned grazing” in the “5 Ways.” If you are so inclined, please follow the link to the original and remind them in the comment section that they need to read the book Planned Grazing. – jtl, 419

By Amanda Radke in BEEF Daily

A recent article suggests that going meatless will help the planet. However, this myth doesn’t have much meat on its bones. Cattle can help improve the planet in many ways. Here are five resources that prove cattle were “green” long before green was cool.

I recently read an article entitled, “10 things you need to know about sustainable agriculture,” which was featured in The Guardian. The article featured experts who discussed sustainable agriculture and feeding a growing population. Of particular interest in this top 10 list of ways to improve our sustainability was point eight, which suggests that meat should go off the menu.

According to the article, “Meat is off the menu. Achieving replacement level fertility, reducing food loss and waste, reducing biofuel demand for food crops and shifting our diets, will all go some way to closing the gap between food available and food required. Any meaningful change to consumption patterns and the environmental impacts of food production though, will have to involve knocking animal products off the menu, especially beef. Chris Hunt, director of GRACE’s food program, points to consumer campaigns like Meatless Monday as evidence of trending in the right direction.”

This isn’t the first time meat production and the environment have been discussed on the blog this week. Check out Monday’s blog, “Why Ranchers Should Care About The Documentary, Cowspiracy.”

The article suggested that giving up beef will help the planet. We know that cattle benefit the land in many ways, such as aerating the soil with their hooves, preventing wildfires through grazing, and utilizing land that is too steep or rocky for farming. For more information on this topic, I’ve rounded up five great resources and past blog posts that show cattle actually help the environment:

  1. Meatless Monday Not Better For Health, Environment
  2. VIDEO: Consider Both Consumer & Environment In Sustainability
  3. Clearing The Air On Cattle And The Environment
  4. Conventional Production Best For The Environment
  5. Tofu Can Harm Environment More Than Meat, Finds WWF Study

How should the industry respond to claims like the ones made in this article and the documentary, Cowspiracy? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. And be sure to pass along some of these resources to help start the conversation about the positive effects of cattle and the environment.

The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of Beefmagazine.com or the Penton Farm Progress Group.

A Handbook for Ranch ManagersA Handbook for Ranch Managers.  In keeping with the “holistic” idea that the land, the livestock, the people and the money should be viewed as a single integrated whole: Part I deals with the management of the natural resources. Part II covers livestock production and Part III deals with the people and the money. Not only would this book make an excellent basic text for a university program in Ranch Management, no professional ranch manager’s reference bookshelf should be without it. It is a comprehensive reference manual for managing the working ranch. The information in the appendices and extensive bibliography alone is worth the price of the book.

Planned Grazing: A Study Guide and Reference ManualPlanned Grazing: A Study Guide and Reference Manual. This is the ideal squeal to A Handbook for Ranch Managers.  Although the ecological principles remain the same, what was originally known as “The Savory Grazing Method” now answers to a multitude of different names: ranching for profit, holistic management, managed grazing, mob grazing, management intensive grazing, etc. Land & Livestock International, Inc. uses “Restoration Grazing” under its “Managing the Ranch as a Business” program.” No mater what you call it, this summary and synopsis will guide you step by step through the process and teach you how to use it as it was originally intended. No more excuses for failing to complete your grazing plans.

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130 Environmental Groups Call For An End To Capitalism

This explains the ultimate motive behind the day before yesterday’s: Here’s how much UN scientists think we should cut our meat and dairy consumption. 

We are behind the curve folks–outnumbered and surrounded. But that is OK. Then Lt.Col. Lewis B (Chesty) Puller awoke one frigid November morning in 1951 and was told that his 1st Marine Division was surrounded by estimates of up to 12 Red Chinese Divisions. His comment? “Now we got those sonsabitches. They ain’t gonna get away from us now.”

by Michael Bastasch via The Daily Caller

Environmentalists have declared that global warming can’t be stopped without ending the “hegemonic capitalist system,” saying that cap-and-trade systems and conservation efforts are “false solutions.”

“The structural causes of climate change are linked to the current capitalist hegemonic system,” reads the final draft of the Margarita Declaration, presented at a conference including about 130 environmental groups.

“To combat climate change it is necessary to change the system,” the declaration adds.

Environmental activists met in the oil producing, socialist country of Venezuela as part of a United Nations-backed event to increase civil engagement in the lead up to a major climate conference.

But environmentalists surprised U.N. officials by offering up a declaration that not only seeks to end capitalism, but one that also opposes U.N.-backed efforts to fight global warming — namely, cap-and-trade and forest conservation programs.

Climate-change news analysis site RTCC reports that it’s unclear which groups signed onto the declaration, adding that it runs in the face of the “green economy” solutions to global warming backed by rich nations.

But many poor countries, like Venezuela, do not support a “green economy” solution to global warming, instead, arguing that rich countries should give poor nations cash payments and technology transfers.

Rejection of cap-and-trade and forest conservation programs also fly in the face of U.S. and European environmental groups, which back programs to limit and price carbon dioxide emissions.

In the U.S., environmentalists rallied behind the Environmental Protection Agency proposals to cut carbon dioxide emissions from new and existing power plants — a plan that would force the shutdown of coal-fired power plants.

“Climate disruption is the greatest challenge facing our generation,” Michael Brune, the director of the Sierra Club, said in a statement in June. “Until now, power plants have been allowed to dump unlimited amounts of carbon pollution into our air, driving dangerous climate disruption, and fueling severe drought, wildfires, heat waves and superstorms.”

The EPA’s plan to cut emissions from power plants has been attacked by the coal industry and Republicans who say it will harm the U.S. economy without doing much to help the climate.

“EPA is setting up our states to fail – our local economies to fail – to deliver on the president’s promise that electricity prices will skyrocket – all for immeasurable so-called climate benefits,” Louisiana Republican Sen. David Vitter said in a Thursday hearing on the EPA’s new rule. ”This rule is all pain and no gain.”

The environmentalists who support the Margarita Declaration may have also been pleased to hear that Australia repealed its two-year-old carbon tax — though Australia is still a free-market economy.

Australia’s conservative coalition government has been bucking the so-called climate consensus since their electoral wins last fall. Not only did Australia send no high level diplomats to the last U.N. climate conference, but they also plan to cut global warming and green energy programs by 90 percent over the next four years.

The Essence of Liberty: Volume I: Liberty and History: The Rise and Fall of the Noble Experiment with Constitutionally Limited Government (Liberty and ... Limited Government) (Volume 1)The Essence of Liberty Volume I: Liberty and History chronicles the rise and fall of the noble experiment with constitutionally limited government. It features the ideas and opinions of some of the world’s foremost contemporary constitutional scholars. This is history that you were not taught at the mandatory government propaganda camps otherwise known as “public schools.” You will gain a clear understanding of how America’s decline and decay is really nothing new and how it began almost immediately with the constitution. Available in both paperback and Kindle versions.

The Essence of Liberty: Volume II (The Economics of Liberty)The Essence of Liberty Volume II: The Economics of Liberty will introduce the reader to the fundamental principles of the Austrian School of Economics. The Austrian School traces its origins back to the Scholastics of Medieval Spain. But its lineage actually began with Carl Menger and continued on through Adam Smith, Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard and many others. It is the one and only true private property based, free market line of economic thought. Available in both paperback and Kindle versions.

The Essence of Liberty: Volume III: A Universal Philosophy of Political Economy (Liberty: A Universal Political Ethic) (Volume 3)The Essence of Liberty Volume III: Liberty: A Universal Political Ethic. This is the volume that pulls it all together. With reference to Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s description of Murray Rothbard’s work, it is a “unique contribution to the rediscovery of property and property rights as the common foundation of both economics and political philosophy, and the systematic reconstruction and conceptual integration of modern, marginalist economics and natural-law political philosophy into a unified moral science: libertarianism.” Available in both paperback and Kindle versions.

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The Not So Wild, Wild West

This will be a chapter in a book I am currently editing: “Environmental & Natural Resource Economics: The Austrian View.” I wish I could have lived in those days. — jtl, 419 

by Terry Anderson and P.J. Hill

The growth of government during this century has attracted the attention of many scholars interested in explaining that growth and in proposing ways to limit it. As a result of this attention, the public-choice literature has experienced an upsurge in the interest in anarchy and its implications for social organization.

The work of Rawls and Nozick; two volumes edited by Gordon Tullock, Explorations in the Theory of Anarchy; and a book by David Friedman, The Machinery of Freedom, provide examples. The goals of the literature have varied from providing a conceptual framework for comparing Leviathan and its opposite extreme to presenting a formula for the operation of society in a state of anarchy. But nearly all of this work has one common aspect; it explores the “theory of anarchy.”

The purpose of this paper is to take us from the theoretical world of anarchy to a case study of its application. To accomplish our task we will first discuss what is meant by “anarchocapitalism” and present several hypotheses relating to the nature of social organization in this world.

These hypotheses will then be tested in the context of the American West during its earliest settlement. We propose to examine property-rights formulation and protection under voluntary organizations such as private protection agencies, vigilantes, wagon trains, and early mining camps. Although the early West was not completely anarchistic, we believe that government as a legitimate agency of coercion was absent for a long enough period to provide insights into the operation and viability of property rights in the absence of a formal state. The nature of contracts for the provision of “public goods” and the evolution of western “laws” for the period from 1830 to 1900 will provide the data for this case study.

The West during this time is often perceived as a place of great chaos, with little respect for property or life. Our research indicates that this was not the case; property rights were protected, and civil order prevailed. Private agencies provided the necessary basis for an orderly society in which property was protected and conflicts were resolved.

These agencies often did not qualify as governments because they did not have a legal monopoly on “keeping order.” They soon discovered that “warfare” was a costly way of resolving disputes and lower-cost methods of settlement (arbitration, courts, etc.) resulted. In summary, this paper argues that a characterization of the American West as chaotic would appear to be incorrect.

Anarchy: Order or Chaos?

Though the first dictionary definition of anarchy is “the state of having no government,” many people believe that the third definition, “confusion or chaos generally,” is more appropriate since it is a necessary result of the first.

If we were to engage seriously in the task of dismantling the government as it exists in the US, the political economist would find no scarcity of programs to eliminate. However, as the dismantling continued, the decisions would become more and more difficult, with the last “public goods” to be dealt with probably being programs designed to define and enforce property rights. Consider the following two categories of responses to this problem:

The first school we shall represent as the “constitutionalist” or “social contractarian” school. For this group the important question is “how do rights re-emerge and come to command respect? How do ‘laws’ emerge that carry with them general respect for their ‘legitimacy’?”[1] This position does not allow us to “‘jump over’ the whole set of issues involved in defining the rights of persons in the first place.”[2]

Here, collective action is taken as a necessary step in the establishment of a social contract or constitutional contract which specifies these rights. To the extent that rights could be perfectly defined, the only role for the state would be in the protection of those rights, since the law designed for that protection is the only public good.

If rights cannot be perfectly well-defined, a productive role for the state will arise. The greater the degree to which private rights cannot be perfectly defined, the more the collective action will be plunged into the “eternal dilemma of democratic government,” which is “how can government, itself the reflection of interests, establish the legitimate boundaries of self-interest, and how can it, conversely carve out those areas of intervention that will be socially protective and collectively useful?”[3]

The contractarian solution to this dilemma is the establishment of a rule of higher law or a constitution, which specifies the protective and productive roles of the government. Since the productive role, because of the free-rider problem, necessarily requires coercion, the government will be given a monopoly on the use of force. Were this not the case, some individuals would choose not to pay for services from which they derive benefits.

The second school can be labeled “anarchocapitalist” or “private-property anarchist.” In its extreme form this school would advocate eliminating all forms of collective action since all functions of government can be replaced by individuals possessing private rights exchangeable in the market place. Under this system all transactions would be voluntary except insofar as the protection of individual rights and enforcement of contracts required coercion. The essential question facing this school is how can law and order, which do require some coercion, be supplied without ultimately resulting in one provider of those services holding a monopoly on coercion, i.e., government.

If a dominant protective firm or association emerges after exchanges take place, we will have the minimal state as defined by Nozick and will have lapsed back into the world of the “constitutionalist.” The private-property anarchist’s view that markets can provide protection services is summarized as follows:

The profit motive will then see to it that the most efficient providers of high-quality arbitration rise to the top and that inefficient and graft-oriented police lose their jobs. In short, the market is capable of providing justice at the cheapest price. According to Rothbard, to claim that these services are “public goods” and cannot be sold to individuals in varying amounts is to make a claim which actually has little basis in fact.[4]

Hence, the anarchocapitalists place faith in the profit-seeking entrepreneurs to find the optimal size and type of protective services and faith in competition to prevent the establishment of a monopoly in the provision of these services.

There are essentially two differences between the two schools discussed above. First, there is the empirical question of whether competition can actually provide the protection services. On the anarchocapitalist side, there is the belief that it can. On the constitutionalists or “minimal-state” side, there is the following argument.

Conflicts may occur, and one agency will win. Persons who have previously been clients of losing agencies will desert and commence purchasing their protection from winning agencies. In this manner a single protective agency or association will eventually come to dominate the market for policing services over a territory. Independent persons who refuse to purchase protection from anyone may remain outside the scope of the dominant agency, but such independents cannot be allowed to punish clients of the agency on their own. They must be coerced into not punishing. In order to legitimize their coercion, these persons must be compensated, but only to the extent that their deprivation warrants.[5]

The second issue is more conceptual than empirical, and hence cannot be entirely resolved through observation. This issue centers on the question of how rights are determined in the first place; how do we get a starting point with all its status quo characteristics from which the game can be played.

Buchanan, a leading constitutionalist, criticizes Friedman and Rothbard, two leading private-property anarchists, because “they simply ‘jump over’ the whole set of issues involved in defining the rights of persons in the first place.”[6] To the constitutionalist, the Lockean concept of mixing labor with resources to arrive at “natural rights” is not sufficient. The contractarian approach suggests that the starting point is determined by the initial bargaining process which results in the constitutional contract.

Debate over this issue will undoubtedly continue, but even Buchanan agrees that

if the distribution or imputation of the rights of persons (rights to do things, both with respect to other persons and to physical things) is settled, then away we go. And aside from differences on certain specifics (which may be important but relatively amenable to analysis, e.g., the efficacy of market-like arrangements for internal and external peace-keeping), I should accept many of the detailed reforms that these passionate advocates propose.[7]

Our purpose in this paper is to discuss, in a historical context, some of the important issues that Buchanan says are amenable to analysis. We do not plan to debate the issue of the starting point, but will be looking at the “efficacy of market-like arrangements for internal … peacekeeping.”[8]

It does seem, for the time period and the geographical area which we are examining, that there was a distribution of rights which was accepted either because of general agreement to some basic precepts of natural law or because the inhabitants of the American West came out of a society in which certain rights were defined and enforced.

Such a starting point is referred to as a Schelling point, a point of commonality that exists in the minds of the participants in some social situation.[9] Even in the absence of any enforcement mechanism, most members of Western society agreed that certain rights to use and control property existed. Thus when a miner argued that a placer claim was his because he “was there first,” that claim carried more weight than if he claimed it simply because he was most powerful.

Tastes, culture, ethics, and numerous other influences give Schelling-point characteristics to some claims but not to others. The long period of conflicts between the Indians and the settlers can be attributed to a lack of any such Schelling points. We concentrate, however, on arrangements for peace-keeping and enforcement that existed among the nonindigenous, white population.

In the following pages we describe the private enforcement of rights in the West between 1830 and 1900. This description does allow one to test, in a limited fashion, some of the hypotheses put forth about how anarchocapitalism might function.

We qualify the test with “limited” because a necessary feature of such a system is the absence of a monopoly on coercion.[10] Various coercive agencies would exist but none would have a legitimized monopoly on the use of such coercion. The difficulty of dealing with this proposition in the American West is obvious. Although for much of the period, formal government agencies for the protection of rights were not present, such agencies were always lurking in the background. Therefore, none of the private enforcement means operated entirely independent of government influence.

Also, one has to be careful in always describing private agencies as “nongovernment” because, to the extent that they develop and become the agency of legitimized coercion they also qualify as “government.” Although numerous descriptions of such private agencies exist, it is oftentimes difficult to determine when they are enhancing competition and when they are reducing it.

Despite the above caveats, the West is a useful testing ground for several of the specific hypotheses about how anarchocapitalism might work. We use David Friedman’s The Machinery of Freedom as our basis for the formulation of hypotheses about the working of anarchocapitalism, because it is decidedly nonutopian and it does set out, in a fairly specific form, the actual mechanisms under which a system of nongovernment protective agencies would operate. The major propositions are:

Anarchocapitalism is not chaos. Property rights will be protected and civil order will prevail.

Private agencies will provide the necessary functions for preservation of an orderly society.

Private protection agencies will soon discover that “warfare” is a costly way of resolving disputes and lower-cost methods of settlement (arbitration, courts, etc.) will result.

The concept of “justice” is not an immutable one that only needs to be discovered. Preferences do vary across individuals as to the rules they prefer to live under and the price they are willing to pay for such rules. Therefore, significant differences in rules might exist in various societies under anarchocapitalism.

There are not significant enough economies of scale in crime so that major “mafia” organizations evolve and dominate society.

Competition among protective agencies and adjudication bodies will serve as healthy checks on undesirable behavior. Consumers will have better information than under government and will use it in judging these agencies.

Cases from the West

Before turning to specific examples of anarchocapitalistic institutions in the American West, it is useful to examine the legendary characterization of the “wild, wild West.” The potential for chaos is a major objection to trust in the market for enforcement of rights, and many histories of the West seem to substantiate this argument. These histories describe the era and area as characterized by gunfights, horse-thievery, and general disrespect for basic human rights.

The taste for the dramatic in literature and other entertainment forms has led to concentration on the seeming disparity between the Westerners’ desire for order and the prevailing disorder. If the Hollywood image of the West were not enough to taint our view, scholars of violence have contributed with quotes such as the following: “We can report with some assurance that compared to frontier days there has been a significant decrease in crimes of violence in the United States.”[11]

Recently, however, more careful examinations of the conditions that existed cause one to doubt the accuracy of this perception. In his book, Frontier Violence: Another Look, W. Eugene Hollon stated that he believed “that the Western frontier was a far more civilized, more peaceful, and safer place than American society is today.”[12] The legend of the “wild, wild West” lives on despite Robert Dykstra’s finding that in five of the major cattle towns (Abilene, Ellsworth, Wichita, Dodge City, and Caldwell) for the years from 1870 to 1885, only 45 homicides were reported — an average of 1.5 per cattle-trading season.[13]

In Abilene, supposedly one of the wildest of the cow towns, “nobody was killed in 1869 or 1870. In fact, nobody was killed until the advent of officers of the law, employed to prevent killings.”[14] Only two towns, Ellsworth in 1873 and Dodge City in 1876, ever had 5 killings in any one year.[15] Frank Prassel states in his book subtitled A Legacy of Law and Order, that “if any conclusion can be drawn from recent crime statistics, it must be that this last frontier left no significant heritage of offenses against the person, relative to other sections of the country.”[16]

Moreover, even if crime rates were higher, it should be remembered that the preference for order can differ across time and people. To show that the West was more “lawless” than our present-day society tells one very little unless some measure of the “demand for law and order” is available. “While the frontier society may appear to have functioned with many violations of formal law, it sometimes more truly reflected community customs in conflict with superficial and at times alien standards.”[17]

The vigilance committees, which sprang up in many of the mining towns of the West provide excellent examples of this conflict. In most instances these committees arose after civil government was organized. They proved that competition was useful in cases where government was ineffective, as in the case of San Francisco in the 1850s,[18] or where government became the province of criminals who used the legal monopoly on coercion to further their own ends, as in Virginia City, Montana Territory in the 1860s.[19]

Even in these cases, however, violence was not the standard modus operandi. When the San Francisco vigilante committee was reconstituted in 1856, “the group remained in action for three months, swelling its membership to more than eight thousand. During this period, San Francisco had only two murders, compared with more than a hundred in the six months before the committee was formed.”[20]

To understand how law and order were provided in the American West, we now turn to four examples of institutions which approximated anarchocapitalism. These case studies of (a) land-claims clubs, (b) cattlemen’s associations, (c) mining camps, and (d) wagon trains provide support for the hypotheses presented above and suggest that private rights were enforced and that chaos did not reign.

(a) Land Clubs

For the pioneer settlers, who often moved into the public domain before it was surveyed or opened for sale by the federal government, definition and enforcement of property rights in the land they claimed was always a problem.

These marginal or frontier settlers (squatters as they were called) were beyond the pale of constitutional government. No statute of Congress protected them in their rights to the claims they had chosen and the improvements they had made. In law they were trespassers; in fact they were honest farmers.[21]

The result was the formation of “extralegal” organizations for protection and justice. These land clubs or claims associations, as the extralegal associations came to be known, were found throughout the Middle West, with the Iowa variety receiving the most attention. Benjamin F. Shambaugh suggests that we view these clubs “as an illustrative type of frontier extra-legal, extra-constitutional political organization in which are reflected certain principles of American life and character.”[22] To Frederick Jackson Turner these squatters’ associations provided an excellent example of the “power of the newly arrived pioneers to join together for a common end without the intervention of governmental institutions.”[23]

Each claims association adopted its own constitution and bylaws, elected officers for the operation of the organization, established rules for adjudicating disputes, and established the procedure for the registration and protection of claims. The constitution of the Claim Association of Johnson County, Iowa offers one of the few records of club operation. In addition to president, vice president, and clerk and record, that constitution provided for the election of seven judges, any five of whom could compose a court to settle disputes, and for the election of two marshals charged with enforcing rules of the association. The constitution specified the procedure whereby property rights in land would be defined as well as the procedure for arbitrating claims disputes. User charges were utilized for defraying arbitration expenses.

In such case of the place and time of holding such court and summons all witnesses that either of the parties may require the court made previous to their proceeding to investigate any case require the plaintiff and defendant to deposit a sufficient sum of money in their hands to defray the expenses of said suit or the costs of said suit, and should either party refuse to deposit such sum of money the court may render judgment against such person refusing to do.[24]

As a sanction against those who would not follow the rules of the association, violence was an option, but the following resolution suggests that less violent means were also used.

Resolved, that more effectually to sustain settlers in their just claims according to the custom of the neighborhood and to prevent difficulty and discord in society that we mutually pledge our honours to observe the following resolutions rigidly. That we will not associate nor countenance those who do not respect the claims of settlers and further that we will neither neighbor with them.… Trade barter deal with them in any way whatever.[25]

That the constitutions, bylaws, and resolutions of all claims clubs were not alike suggests that preferences among the squatters did vary and that there were alternative forms of protection and justice available. The most common justification for the clubs was stated as follows:

Whereas it has become a custom in the western states, as soon as the Indian title to the public lands has been extinguished by the General Government for the citizens of the United States to settle upon and improve said lands, and heretofore the improvement and claim of the settler to the extent of 320 acres, has been respected by both the citizens and laws of Iowa.[26]

Other justifications “emphasized the need of protection against ‘reckless claim jumpers and invidious wolves in human form,’ or the need ‘for better security against foreign as well as domestic aggression.’”[27] Some associations were formed specifically for the purpose of opposing “speculators” who were attempting to obtain title to the land. The constitutions of these clubs as evidenced by the Johnson County document specifically regulated the amount of improvements which had to be made on the claim. Other associations, however, encouraged speculation by making no such requirements. These voluntary, extralegal associations provided protection and justice without apparent violence and developed rules consistent with the preferences, goals, and endowments of the participants.

(b) Cattlemen’s Associations

Early settlement of the cattle frontier created few property conflicts, but as land became more scarce, private, voluntary enforcement mechanisms evolved. Initially “there was room enough for all, and when a cattleman rode up some likely valley or across some well-grazed divide and found cattle thereon, he looked elsewhere for range.”[28] But even “as early as 1868, two years after the first drive, small groups of owners were organizing themselves into protective associations and hiring stock detectives.”[29] The place of these associations in the formation of “frontier law” is described by Louis Pelzer.

From successive frontiers of our American history have developed needed customs, laws, and organizations. The era of fur-trading produced its hunters, its barter, and the great fur companies; on the mining frontier came the staked claims and the vigilance committees; the camp meeting and the circuit rider were heard on the religious outposts; on the margins of settlement the claim clubs protected the rights of the squatter farmers; on the ranchmen’s frontier the millions of cattle, the vast ranges, the ranches, and the cattle companies produced pools and local, district, territorial and national cattle associations.[30]

As Ernest Staples Osgood tells us, it was “the failure of the police power in the frontier communities to protect property and preserve order that “resulted over and over again in groups who represented the will of the law-abiding part of the community dealing out summary justice to offenders.”[31]

Like the claims associations, the cattlemen’s associations drew up formal rules governing the group, but their means of enforcing private rights was often more violent than the trade sanctions specified by the claims associations. These private protection agencies were quite clearly a market response to existing demands for enforcement of rights.

Expert gunmen — professional killers — had an economic place in the frontier West. They turned up wherever there was trouble.… Like all mercenaries, they espoused the side which made them the first or best offer.… [32]

Just why, when, and how he hooked up with the cattlemen around Fort Maginnis, instead of with the rustlers, is a trifle obscure, but Bill became Montana’s first stock detective. Raconteurs of the period seem agreed that Bill’s choice was not dictated by ethics, but by the prospect of compensation. At any rate, he became a hired defender of property rights, and he executed his assignments — as well as his quarry — with thoroughness and dispatch.[33]

The market-based enforcement agencies of the cattlemen’s frontier were different from modern private enforcement firms in that the earlier versions evidently enforced their own laws much of the time rather than serving as simply an extension of the government’s police force. An often expressed concern about this type of enforcement is that (1) the enforcement will be ineffective or (2) the enforcement agencies will themselves become large-scale organizations that use their power to infringe upon individual rights. We have argued above that there is little reason to believe that the first concern is justified.

It also appears that the second concern is not supported by the experience of the American West. Major economies of scale did not seem to exist in either enforcement or crime. Although there are numerous records of gunslingers making themselves available for hire, we find no record of these gunslingers discovering that it was even more profitable to band together and form a super-defense agency that sold protection and rode roughshod over private property rights.

Some of the individuals did drift in and out of a life of crime and sometimes did form loose criminal associations. However, these associations did not seem to be encouraged by the market form of peacekeeping, and in fact, seemed to be dealt with more quickly and more severely under private-property protective associations than under government organization.

There were a few large private enforcement organizations, in particular the Pinkerton Agency and Wells Fargo, but these agencies seemed to serve mainly as adjuncts to government and were largely used in enforcing state and national laws. Other large-scale associations, e.g., the Rocky Mountain Detective Association and the Anti-Horse Thief Association, were loose information-providing and coordination services, and rarely provided on-the-spot enforcement of private rules.[34]

(c) Mining Camps

As the population of the United States grew, westward expansion was inevitable. But there can be little doubt that the discovery of gold in California in 1848 rapidly increased the rate of expansion. Thousands of Easterners rushed to the most westward frontier in search of the precious metal, leaving behind their civilized world. Later, the same experience occurred in Colorado, Montana, and Idaho and, in each case, the first to arrive were forced into a situation where they had to write the rules of the game.

There was no constitutional authority in the country, and neither judge nor officer within five hundred miles. The invaders were remitted to the primal law of nature, with, perhaps, the inherent rights of American citizenship. Every gulch was filling with red-hot treasure hunters; every bar was pock-marked with “prospect holes”; timber, water-rights, and town-lots were soon to be valuable, and government was an imperative necessity. Here was a fine field for theorists to test their views as to the origin of civil law.[35]

The early civil law which evolved from this process approximated anarchocapitalism as closely as any other experience in the United States.

In the absence of a formal structure for the definition and enforcement of individual rights, many of the groups of associates who came seeking their fortunes organized and made their rules for operation before they left their homes. Much the same as company charters today, these voluntary contracts entered into by the miners specified financing for the operation as well as the nature of the relationship between individuals. These rules applied only to the miners in the company and did not recognize any outside arbitrator of disputes; they did not “recognize any higher court than the law of the majority of the company.”[36]

As Friedman’s theory predicts, the rules under which the companies were organized varied according to tastes and needs of the company. “When we compare the rules of different companies organized to go to the mines, we find considerable variation.”[37] In addition to the rules listed above, company constitutions often specified arrangements for payments to be used for caring for the sick and unfortunate, rules for personal conduct including the use of alcoholic spirits, and fines which could be imposed for misconduct, to mention a few.[38] In the truest nature of the social contract, the governing rules of the company were negotiated, and as in all market transactions unanimity prevailed. Those who wished to purchase other “bundles of goods” or other sets of rules had that alternative.

Once the mining companies arrived at the potential gold sites, the rules were useful only insofar as questions of rights involved members of the company; when other individuals were confronted in the mining camps, additional negotiation was necessary. Of course, the first issues to arise concerned the ownership of mining claims. When the groups were small and homogeneous, dividing up the gulch was an easy task. But when the numbers moving to the gold country reached the thousands, the problems increased. The general solution was to hold a mass meeting and appoint committees assigned to drafting the laws. Gregory Gulch in Colorado provides an example.

A mass meeting of miners was held June 8, 1859, and a committee appointed to draft a code of laws. This committee laid out boundaries for the district, and their civil code, after some discussion and amendment, was unanimously adopted in mass meeting, July 16, 1859. The example was rapidly followed in other districts, and the whole Territory was soon divided between a score of local sovereignties.[39]

The camps could not live in complete isolation from the established forms of government, but there is evidence that they were able to maintain their autonomy. In California, military posts were established to take care of Indian troubles, but these governmental enforcement organizations did not exercise any authority over the mining camps. General Riley in an 1849 visit to a California camp told the miners that “all questions touching the temporary right of individuals to work in particular localities of which they were in possession, should be left to the decision of the local authorities.”[40]

No alcalde, no council, no justice of the peace, was ever forced upon a district by an outside power. The district was the unit of political organization, in many regions, long after the creation of the state; and delegates from adjoining districts often met in consultation regarding boundaries, or matters of local government, and reported to their respective constituencies in open-air meeting, on hillside or river-bank.[41]

Moreover, the services of trained lawyers were not welcomed in many of the camps and even forbidden in districts such as the Union Mining District.

Resolved, that no lawyer be permitted to practice law in this district, under penalty of not more than fifty nor less than twenty lashes, and be forever banished from this district.[42]

In this way, the local camps were able to agree upon rules for individual rights and upon methods for enforcement thereof without coercion from US authorities. When outside laws were imposed upon the camps, there is some evidence that they increased rather than decreased crime. One early Californian writes, “We needed no law until the lawyers came,” and another adds, “There were few crimes until the courts with their delays and technicalities took the place of miners.”[43]

While the mining camps did not have private courts where individuals could take their disputes and pay for arbitration, they did develop a system of justice through the miners’ courts. These courts seldom had permanent officers, although there were instances of justices of the peace. The folk-moot system was common in California. By this method a group of citizens was summoned to try a case. From their midst they would elect a presiding officer or judge and select six or twelve persons to serve as the jury.

Most often their rulings were not disputed, but there was recourse when disputes arose. For example, in one case involving two partners, after a ruling by the miners’ court, the losing partner called a mass meeting of the camp to plead his case and the decision was reversed.[44] And if a larger group of miners was dissatisfied with the general rulings regarding camp boundaries or individual claim disputes, notices were posted in several places calling meeting of those wishing a division of the territory.

If a majority favored such action, the district was set apart and named. The old district was not consulted on the subject, but received a verbal notice of the new organization. Local conditions, making different regulations regarding claims desirable, were the chief causes of such separations.[45]

The work of mining, and its environment and conditions, were so different in different places, that the laws and customs of the miners had to vary even in adjoining districts.[46]

When disputes did arise and court sessions were called, any man in the camp might be called upon to be the executive officer. Furthermore, anyone who was a law-abiding citizen might be considered for prosecutor or defender for the accused.

In Colorado there is some evidence of competition among the courts for business, and hence, an added guarantee that justice prevailed.

The civil courts promptly assumed criminal jurisdiction, and the year 1860 opened with four governments in full blast. The miners’ courts, people’s courts, and “provisional government” (a new name for “Jefferson”) divided jurisdiction in the mountains; while Kansas and the provisional government ran concurrent in Denver and the valley. Such as felt friendly to either jurisdiction patronized it with their business. Appeals were taken from one to the other, papers certified up or down and over, and recognized, criminals delivered and judgments accepted from one court by another, with a happy informality which it is pleasant to read of. And here we are confronted by an awkward fact: there was undoubtedly much less crime in the two years this arrangement lasted than in the two which followed the territorial organization and regular government.[47]

This evidence is consistent with Friedman’s hypothesis that when competition exists, courts will be responsible for mistakes and the desire for repeat business will serve as an effective check on “unjust” decisions.

(d) Wagon Trains

Perhaps the best example of private-property anarchism in the American West was the organization of the wagon trains as they moved across the plains in search of California gold. The region west of Missouri and Iowa was unorganized, unpatrolled, and beyond the jurisdiction of US law. But to use the old trapper saying that there was “no law west of Leavenworth” to describe the trains would be inappropriate.

Realizing that they were passing beyond the pale of the law, and aware that the tedious journey and the constant tensions of the trail brought out the worst in human character, the pioneers … created their own law making and law-enforcing machinery before they started.[48]

Like their fellow travelers on the ocean, the pioneers in their prairie schooners negotiated a “plains law” much like their counterparts’ “sea law.”[49] The result of this negotiation in many cases was the adoption of a formal constitution patterned after that of the US. The preamble of the constitution of the Green and Jersey County Company provides an example.

We, the members of the Green and Jersey County Company of Emigrants to California, for the purpose of effectually protecting our persons and property, and as the best means of ensuring an expeditious and easy journey do ordain and establish the following constitution.[50]

From this and the other constitutions which have survived it is clear that these moving communities did have a basic set of rules defining how “the game would be played” during their journey. Like the rules of the mining camps, the wagon train constitutions varied according to the tastes and needs of each organization, but several general tendencies do emerge. Most often the groups waited until after they have been on the trail for a few days and out of the jurisdiction of the United States. One of the first tasks was to select officers who would be responsible for enforcing the rules. For the Green and Jersey County Company, which was not atypical, the officers included a Captain, Assistant Captain, Treasurer, Secretary, and an Officer of the Guard.

The constitutions also included eligibility for voting and decision rules for amendment, banishment of individuals from the group, and dissolution of the company. Duties for each officer were often well specified, as in the case of the Charleston, Virginia, Mining Company.[51] In addition to these general rules, specific laws were enacted. Again, the introduction of the Green and Jersey County Company is illustrative.

We, citizens and inhabitants of the United States, and members of the Green and Jersey County Company of Emigrants to California; about starting on a journey through a territory where the laws of our common country do not extend their protection, deem it necessary, for the preservation of our rights, to establish certain wholesome rules and regulations. We, therefore, having first organized a constitution of government, for ourselves, do now proceed to enact and ordain the following laws; and in so doing we disclaim all desire or intention of violating or treating with disrespect, the laws of our country.[52]

The specific rules included organization of jury trials; regulation of Sabbath-breaking, gambling and intoxication; and penalties for failing to perform chores, especially guard duty. In certain cases there were even provisions for the repair of roads, building bridges, and protection of other “public goods.”[53]

It has been argued that these ordinances or constitutions … may be of interest as guides to pioneers’ philosophies about law and social organization, [but] they do not help answer the more essential question of how, in fact, not in theory, did the overland pioneer face problems of social disorder, crime, and private conflict.[54]

Nonetheless, it is clear that the travelers did negotiate from Schelling points to social contracts without relying upon the coercive powers of government. And these voluntary contracts did provide the basis for social organization.

The Schelling points from which the individuals negotiated included a very well-accepted set of private rights especially with regard to property. One might expect that upon leaving the legal jurisdiction of the United States, with its many laws governing private property, that the emigrants would have less respect for other’s rights. Moreover, since the constitutions and bylaws seldom specifically mentioned individual property rights, we might infer that these were of little concern to the overlanders. In his article, “Paying for the Elephant: Property Rights and Civil Order on the Overland Trail,” John Phillip Reid convincingly argues that respect for property rights was paramount. Even when food became so scarce that starvation was a distinct possibility, there are few examples where the pioneers resorted to violence.

Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that the emigrants who traveled America’s overland trail gave little thought to solving their problems by violence or theft. We know that some ate the flesh of dead oxen or beef with maggots while surrounded by healthy animals they could have shot. Those who suffered losses early in the trip and were able to go back, did so. The disappointment and embarrassment for some must have been extremely bitter, but hundreds returned. They did not use weapons to force their way through. While a few of those who were destitute may have employed tricks to obtain food, most begged, and those who were “too proud to beg” got along the best they could or employed someone to beg for them. If they could not beg, they borrowed, and when they could not borrow they depended on their credit.[55]

The emigrants were property minded. The fact that the constitution contained few references to individual property rights may well reflect the significance of private-property Schelling points.

When crimes against property or person did occur, the judicial system which was specified in the contracts was brought into play.

The rules of a traveling company organized at Kanesville, Iowa, provided: “Resolved, that in case of any dispute arising between any members of the Company, they shall be referred to three arbiters, one chosen by each party, and one by the two chosen, whose decision shall be final.”[56]

The methods of settling disputes varied among the companies, but in nearly all cases some means of arbitration were specified to insure “that the rights of each emigrant are protected and enforced.”[57]

In addition to the definition and enforcement of individual rights, the overlanders also were faced with the question of how to solve disputes involving contractual relations for business purposes. For all of the same reasons that firms exist for the production of goods and services, individuals crossing the plains had incentives to organize into “firms” with one another. Scale economies in the production of goods such as meals and services such as herding and in the provision of protection from Indians provided for gains from voluntary and collective action. Again markets seemed to function well in providing several types of contractual arrangements for this production and protection.

A common form of organization on the overland trail was the “mess.” Similar to sharecropping arrangements in agriculture, the mess allowed individuals to contribute inputs such as food, oxen, wagons, labor, etc. for the joint production of travel or meals. In this way, the mess, which allowed the property to remain privately owned, differed from the partnership where property was concurrently owned.

Since mess property was available for use by all members of the mess, the potential for conflict was great. When the conflicts occurred, renegotiation of the contract was sometimes necessary. When new agreements could not be reached, the mess would have to be dissolved and property returned to individual owners. Since ownership remained private, division was not difficult.

Moreover, since there were gains from trade to be obtained from combining inputs, it was usually possible to renegotiate when violations in the contract occurred. There were, however, cases where renegotiation seemed impossible, as in the following example of a mess which found one of its members unwilling to do his share of the chores.

We concluded the best thing we could do was to buy him out and let him go which accordingly we did by paying him one hundred doll[ar]s. He shoulder[ed] his gun, carpet bag, and blanket and took the track to the prairie without saying good by to one of us.[58]

While other cases of dissolution of messes occurred, there is no evidence that coercive power was used to take property from rightful owners. If an individual left one mess he could usually join another.

The other common type of organization on the overland routes was the joint-stock company. In this organization members contributed capital and other property which was held concurrently. The Charlestown, Virginia, Mining Company provides an example of such a company and its constitution attests to the establishment of rules governing use of concurrent property.[59] Again it should be emphasized that these rules were voluntary, though coercion was used within the organization to enforce them.

Like the mess, when disagreements occurred within the joint-stock company, renegotiation was necessary. However, since the property was held concurrently this process was more complicated. In the first place, an individual could not simply leave the company. Most often, withdrawal could only occur with the consent of a percentage of other members. But even then withdrawal was complicated by the need to divide the property. In at least one case this problem was solved by dividing all of the property and reorganizing into messes.

When the original joint stock company of sixty men dissolved, there was no mention of individual ownership. The property was parcelled by assigning it to traveling units already in existence. However, in executing the second division, the smaller group found it possible — perhaps even necessary — to utilize the concept of personal property. In order to accomplish their purpose, the men first transmuted the common stock from “company” or partnership property into private property. Then, by negotiating contracts, goods they briefly had held as individuals, were converted back into partnership or mess property.[60]

All of this occurred in the absence of coercion.

Perhaps an even more revealing example of anarchocapitalism at work is found in the dissolution of the Boone County Company. When the eight members of the company fell into rival factions of three and five, dissolution became imminent. Negotiations continued for some time until all the company property (note that none of the private property was divided) was divided between the two groups.

When negotiations appeared at an impasse because of the indivisibility of units and differences in quality, prices were assigned to units and the groups resolved the issue by trade. However, a $75 claim of the majority group proved even harder to resolve. The claim resulted from the fact that a passenger who owned two mules and a horse, and who had been traveling with the company, chose to take his property and go with the minority. The disadvantaged majority demanded compensation. Unable to settle the dispute, arbitration came from a “private court” consisting of “3 disinterested men,” one chosen by each side and a third chosen by the two. Their decision follows.

We can see no just cause why the mess of 3 men should pay anything to the mess of 5 men. It being … a mutual and sumultaneous agreement to dissolve the original contract. The fact that Abbott joins in with the 3 men does not alter in our opinion the matter of the case — for the dessolution being mutually agreed upon, all the parties stand in the same relation to each other which they did, before any contract was entered into. And Abbott might or not just as he chose unite with either party. If he chose to unite with neither party, then clearly neither could claim of the other. If he united with a foreign party then who could think of claiming anything of such a party.[61]

The important point of this example is that when the Boone County Company could not renegotiate its initial contract the members did not resort to force, but chose private arbitration instead. The many companies which crossed the plains

were experiments in democracy and while some proved inadequate to meet all emergencies, the very ease with which the members could dissolve their bonds and form new associations without lawlessness and disorder proves the true democratic spirit among the American frontiersmen rather than the opposite.[62]

Competition rather than coercion insured justice.

While the above evidence suggests that the wagon trains were guided by anarchocapitalism, it should be noted that their unique characteristics may have contributed to the efficacy of the system. First, the demand for public goods was probably not as great as found in more permanent communities. If nothing else, the transient nature of these moving communities meant that schools, roads, and other goods which are publicly provided in our society were not needed, hence there was no demand for a government to form for this purpose.

Secondly, the short-term nature of the organization meant that there was not a very long time for groups to organize to use coercion. These were “governments” of necessity rather than ambition. Nonetheless, the wagon trains on the overland trails did provide protection and justice without a monopoly on coercion, did allow competition to produce rules, and did not result in the lawless disorder generally associated with anarchy.

Concluding Remarks

From the above descriptions of the experience of the American West, several conclusions consistent with Friedman’s hypotheses appear.

The West, although often dependent upon market peacekeeping agencies, was, for the most part, orderly.

Different standards of justice did prevail and various preferences for rules were expressed through the market place.

Competition in defending and adjudicating rights does have beneficial effects. Market agencies provided useful ways of measuring the efficiency of government alternatives. The fact that government’s monopoly on coercion was not taken as seriously as at present meant that when that monopoly was poorly used, market alternatives arose.

Even when these market alternatives did become “governments” in the sense of having a virtual monopoly on coercion, the fact that such firms were usually quite small provided significant checks on their behavior. Clients could leave or originate protective agencies on their own. Without formal legal sanctions, the private agencies did face a “market test” and the rate of survival of such agencies was much less than under government.

The above evidence points to the overall conclusion that competition was very effective in solving the “public-goods” problem of law and order in the American West. However, this does not mean that there were no disputes that would cause one to doubt the efficacy of such arrangements. Two examples of civil disorder are often mentioned in Western history, and they must be dealt with.

The first is the very bitter feud between the Regulators and the Moderators in the Republic of Texas in the 1840s.[63] What started as a disagreement between two individuals in Shelby County escalated until it involved a significant number of people in a large area of east Texas.

In 1839 a loosely organized band, later to be known as the Moderators, was issuing bogus land papers, stealing horses, murdering, and generally breaking the “law” of Shelby County, Texas. To counter this lawlessness, a vigilance committee was formed under the name of Regulators. Unfortunately, “bad elements soon infiltrated the Regulators, and their excesses in crime later rivaled those of the Moderators. The situation evolved into a complexity of personal and family feuds, and complete anarchy existed until 1844.”[64] One citizen described the situation in a letter to a friend:

Civil war, with all its horror, has been raging in this community. The citizens of the county are about equally divided into two parties, the Regulators and Moderators. It is no uncommon sight to see brothers opposed to each other. Every man’s interest in this county is seriously affected.[65]

During the period, 18 men were murdered and many more wounded. Only when President Sam Houston called out the militia in 1844 did the feuding stop. Thus, for whatever reasons, in this case it appears that dependence upon nongovernmental forms of organization was not successful.

Another major civil disruption that should be considered is the Johnson County War in Northern Wyoming in 1892. A group of stock growers and their hired guns entered Johnson County with the express purpose of wiping out the rustlers they believed to be prevalent there. The citizens of the county, feeling they were being invaded by a foreign army, responded en masse, and for a short period of time a “war” did result.

However, in this case the disorder seems to have been more a battle between two “legitimized” agencies of coercion, the state and the local government, than between strictly private enforcement agencies. The invaders, while ostensibly acting as a private party, had the tacit approval of the state government and used that approval to thwart several attempts by the local authorities to secure state or federal intervention.

Those who responded to the invasion were under the leadership of the Johnson County sheriff and felt very much that they were acting appropriately under the existing laws of that time.[66] Thus this incident sheds little light on the efficacy of market arrangements for maintaining order.

In conclusion, it appears in the absence of formal government, that the Western frontier was not as wild as legend would have us believe. The market did provide protection and arbitration agencies that functioned very effectively, either as a complete replacement for formal government or as a supplement to that government. However, the same desire for power that creates problems in government also seemed to create difficulties at times in the West. All was not peaceful. Especially when Schelling points were lacking, disorder and chaos resulted, lending support to Buchanan’s contention that agreement on initial rights is important to anarchocapitalism. When this agreement existed, however, we have presented evidence that anarchocapitalism was viable on the frontier.

Notes

[1] James M. Buchanan, “Before Public Choice,” in G.Tullock, ed., Explorations in the Theory of Anarchy(Blacksburg, Va.: Center for the Study of Public Choice, 1972), p. 37.

[2] James M. Buchanan, “Review of David Friedman, The Machinery of Freedom: Guide to Radical Capitalism,” The Journal of Economic Literature, Vol. X11, No.3 (1974), p. 915.

[3] E.A.J. Johnson, The Foundations of American Economic Freedom (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1973), p. 305.

[4] Laurence S. Moss, “Private Property Anarchism: An American Variant,” in G.Tullock, ed., Further Explorations in the Theory of Anarchy (Blacksburg, Va.: Center for the Study of Public Choice, 1974), p. 26.

[5] James M. Buchanan, Freedom in Constitutional Contract (College Sta., Tex.: Texas A&M University Press, 1977), p. 52.

[6] Buchanan, “Review of Machinery of Freedom,” p. 915.

[7] Ibid., emphasis added.

[8] Ibid.

[9] For a longer discussion of Schelling points, see Thomas C. Schelling, The Strategy of Conflict (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1960), pp. 54–58; Buchanan, “Review of Machinery of Freedom,” p. 914; and David Friedman, “Schelling Points, Self-Enforcing Contracts, and the Paradox of Order,” (unpublished MS, Center for the Study of Public Choice, Virginia Polytechnic Institute).

[10] David Friedman, The Machinery of Freedom: Guide to Radical Capitalism (New York: Harper & Row, 1973), p. 152.

[11] Gilbert Geis, “Violence in American Society,” Current History, Vol. LII (1976), p. 357.

[12] Eugene W. Hollon, Frontier Violence: Another Look (New York: Oxford University Press, 1974), p. x.

[13] Robert A. Dykstra, The Cattle Towns (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1968), p. 144.

[14] Paul I. Wellman, The Trampling Herd (New York: Carrick and Evans, 1939), p. 159.

[15] Hollon, Frontier Violence, p. 200.

[16] Frank Prassel, The Western Peace Officer (Norman, Okla.: University of Oklahoma Press, 1937), pp. 16–17.

[17] Prassel, Western Peace Officer, p. 7.

[18] See George R. Stewart, Committee on Vigilance (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1964); and Alan Valentine,Vigilante Justice (New York: Reynal and Co., 1956).

[19] Thomas J. Dimsdale, The Vigilantes of Montana (Norman, Okla.: University of Oklahoma Press, 1953).

[20] Wayne Gard, Frontier Justice (Norman, Okla.: University of Oklahoma Press, 1949), p. 165.

[21] Benjamin F. Shambaugh, “Frontier Land Clubs, or Claim Associations,” Annual Report of the American Historical Association (1900), p. 71.

[22] Shambaugh, “Frontier Land Clubs,” p. 69.

[23] Frederick Jackson Turner, The Frontier in American History (New York: Henry Holt and Co., 1920), p. 343.

[24] Shambaugh, “Frontier Land Clubs,” p. 77.

[25] Ibid., pp. 77–78.

[26] Quoted in Allan Bogue, “The Iowa Claim Clubs: Symbol and Substance,” in V. Carstensen, ed., The Public Lands (Madison, Wisc.: University of Wisconsin Press, 1963), p. 50.

[27] Ibid.

[28] Ernest Staples Osgood, The Day of the Cattleman (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1929), p. 182.

[29] Ibid., p. 118.

[30] Louis Pelzer, The Cattlemen’s Frontier (Glendale, Calif.: A.H. Clark, 1936), p. 87.

[31] Osgood, Day of Cattleman, p. 157.

[32] Wellman, Trampling Herd, p. 346.

[33] Robert H. Fletcher, Free Grass to Fences: the Montana Cattle Range Story (New York: University Publishers, 1960), p. 65.

[34] Prassel, Western Peace Officer, pp. 134–141.

[35] J.H. Beadle, Western Wilds and the Men Who Redeem Them (Cincinnati: Jones Brothers, 1882), p. 476.

[36] Charles Howard Shinn, Mining Camps: A Study in American Frontier Government (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1948), p. 107.

[37] Ibid.

[38] John Phillip Reid, “Prosecuting the Elephant: Trials and Judicial Behavior on the Overland Trail,” BYU Law Review, Vol. 77, No. 2 (1977), pp. 335–336.

[39] Beadle, Western Wilds, p. 477, emphasis added.

[40] Quoted in Shinn, Mining Camps, p. 111.

[41] Shinn, Mining Camps, p. 168.

[42] Quoted in Beadle, Western Wilds, p. 478.

[43] Quoted in Shinn, Mining Camps, p. 113.

[44] Marvin Lewis, ed., The Mining Frontier (Norman, Okla.: University of Oklahoma Press, 1967), pp. 10–18.

[45] Shinn, Mining Camps, p. 118.

[46] Ibid., p. 159.

[47] Beadle, Western Wilds, p. 477.

[48] Ray Allen Billington, The Far Western Frontier, 1830–1860 (New York: Harper & Bros., 1956), p. 99.

[49] David Morris Potter, ed., Trail to California (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1945), pp. 16–17.

[50] Reprinted in Elizabeth Page, Wagon West (New York: Farrar & Rinehart, 1930), Appendix C.

[51] Constitution reprinted in Potter, Trail to California, Appendix A.

[52] Page, Wagon West, p. 118.

[53] Ibid., p. 119.

[54] David J. Langum, “Pioneer Justice on the Overland Trail,” Western Historical Quarterly, Vol. 5, No. 3 (1974), p. 424, fn. 12.

[55] John Phillip Reid, “Paying for the Elephant: Property Rights and Civil Order on the Overland Trail,” The Huntington Library Quarterly, Vol. XLI, No. 1 (1977), pp. 50-51.

[56] Reid, “Prosecuting the Elephant,” p. 330.

[57] Quoted in Reid, “Prosecuting the Elephant,” p. 330.

[58] Quoted in John Phillip Reid, “Dividing the Elephant: the Separation of Mess and Joint Stock Property on the Overland Trail,” Hastings Law Journal, Vol. 28, No. 1 (1976), p. 77.

[59] See Potter, Trail to California, Appendix A.

[60] Reid, “Dividing the Elephant,” p. 79.

[61] Quoted in Reid, “Dividing the Elephant,” p. 85.

[62] Owen Cochran Coy, The Great Trek (San Francisco: Powell Pub. Co., 1931), p. 117.

[63] See Gard, Frontier Justice; Hollon, Frontier Violence; and Hugh David Graham and Ted Robert Gurr, eds.,The History of Violence in America: Historical and Comparative Perspectives (New York: Prager, 1969).

[64] Hollon, Frontier Violence, p. 53.

[65] Quoted in Gard, Frontier Justice, pp. 35–36.

[66] See Helen Huntington Smith, The War on the Powder River: The History of an Insurrection (Lincoln, Neb.: University of Nebraska Press, 1966).

From: Mises Daily: Monday, February 15, 2010. This paper was originally published as “An American Experiment in Anarcho-Capitalism: The Not So Wild, Wild West” in the Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol. 3, Num. 1. It was written while Terry Anderson was a National Fellow at the Hoover Institution, 1977–1978. While retaining responsibility for any errors, the authors wish to thank Jon Christianson, Murray Rothbard, and Gordon Tullock for their valuable comments.

The authors expanded this article into the book The Not So Wild, Wild West: Property Rights on the Frontier available at http://astore.amazon.com/flyove-20/detail/0804748543

The Betrayed: On Warriors, Cowboys and Other MisfitsThe Betrayed: On Warriors, Cowboys and Other Misfits. Although woven around the experiences and adventures of one man, this is also the story of the people who lived during the period of time in American history that an entire generation was betrayed It is the story of the dramatically changing times in which this personal odyssey took place. It is the story of thebetrayal of an entire generation of Americans and particularly the 40% (of the military aged males) of that generation that fought the Vietnam war.

Combat Shooter's Handbook Combat Shooter’s Handbook. Call for a pizza, a cop, and an ambulance and see which one arrives first. So, who does that leave to protect you, your life, property and family? The one and only answer is: YOU This Handbook is intended to help you exercise that right and meet that responsibility. Available in both paperback and Kindle versions.

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Franklin Sanders on Cows, Methane and Global Warming

Yes Mildred, we do sequester carbon. But we don’t do it with any kind of wild notion of saving the world and all the little children. We do it because it makes money (which means that we are staunchly pro-private property and free markets). — jtl, 419

via The Money Changer

There’s a proverb that nothing stinks worse than perfume gone bad, & there’s nothing more shameful, ridiculous, or illogical than science gone political. You simply can’t serve truth if you’re aiming for a political result.

And of all the politically-driven scientific hogwash, “climate change” or “global warming” stands at the list’s head. Not even as believable as the Tooth Fairy — less evidence for its existence.

But one particular burr under the saddle of these political scientists has been cows. Because they are ruminants — basically a grass fermentation barrel on legs — cows produce gas out of both ends. Not as much as termites, I am told, which leaves you wondering who would devote a lifetime to studying termites’ gas-passing customs.

But let all that go, & don’t miss this: the premise of man-created global warming and the evils of carbon dioxide is simply hogwash. All the same, that doesn’t slow down the Cow Persecutors.

Latest attack comes from an article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (government science at its best) in a study that says beef causes 10 times the environmental impact of pork, poultry, dairy, & eggs. I will pass over in science the erring premise that compares raising beef the American industrial way (in feedlots) on grain rather than grass feeding on pasture. More, the study ignores that much land devoted to raising cattle is so marginal that it cannot be used for anything else. Finally, these “scientists,” who may never have actually seen or touched a cow, do not notice that grazing grass actually IMPROVES the soil and, if properly managed, can restore as much as an inch of topsoil every ten years.

So for a truly healthy environment, go eat a steak tonight. Naww, make it TWO steaks, and grass-fed at that.

A Handbook for Ranch ManagersA Handbook for Ranch Managers.  In keeping with the “holistic” idea that the land, the livestock, the people and the money should be viewed as a single integrated whole: Part I deals with the management of the natural resources. Part II covers livestock production and Part III deals with the people and the money. Not only would this book make an excellent basic text for a university program in Ranch Management, no professional ranch manager’s reference bookshelf should be without it. It is a comprehensive reference manual for managing the working ranch. The information in the appendices and extensive bibliography alone is worth the price of the book.

Planned Grazing: A Study Guide and Reference ManualPlanned Grazing: A Study Guide and Reference Manual. This is the ideal squeal to A Handbook for Ranch Managers.  Although the ecological principles remain the same, what was originally known as “The Savory Grazing Method” now answers to a multitude of different names: ranching for profit, holistic management, managed grazing, mob grazing, management intensive grazing, etc. Land & Livestock International, Inc. uses “Restoration Grazing” under its “Managing the Ranch as a Business” program.” No mater what you call it, this summary and synopsis will guide you step by step through the process and teach you how to use it as it was originally intended. No more excuses for failing to complete your grazing plans.

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Posted in Climate Change, Radical Environmentalism | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Here’s how much UN scientists think we should cut our meat and dairy consumption

This is the kind of bullshit that has got grass finished and planned grazing a bad name among mainstream cattlemen. Today’s rancher came of age during the Vietnam War as the flip side of the Hippy Generation. They (we) loathed hippies (and most of us still do–especially the old burnt out ones with scraggly yellow-grey beards and pony tails).

“Connecting the dots” is not necessary because there is a straight line directly between the Marxist “back to the earth hippy movement” and Marxist nonsense like this article which reflects the United Nations and its Agenda 21.

We Planned Grazers need to distance ourselves from people with ideas like this. — jtl, 419

by Margaret Badore via treehugger.com

cows in a green meadow

Public Domain USDA

Here’s a new eco-diet vocab word: demitarian. It means cutting your consumption of animal products in half.

It was coined by Mark Sutton, an author of a new United Nations report that models how reducing Europe’s meat and dairy consumption would impact human health and the environment.

Similar to flexitarian or weekday vegetarian, the concept of demitarian is another formula for reducing animal products in our diets without giving them up entirely.

The report finds that if Europeans ate half as much meat, dairy and eggs, they could lower agricultural greenhouse gas emissions by 25 to 40 percent. There would also be a 40 percent drop in nitrogen pollution, which can lead to poor air quality and decrease oxygen levels in water.

The researchers based their model on the assumption that animal products would be replaced with plant-based foods. “We assumed that a reduction in the consumption of meat, dairy and eggs would have a proportional effect on EU livestock production,” the authors write.

Land currently dedicated to livestock and feed crops could be used to grow more grains intended for direct human consumption. The authors, who created the report for the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, suggest that Europe could become a grain exporter under these circumstances.

The report also found that adopting a demitarian diet would reduce the average European’s consumption of saturated fats by 40 percent and have beneficial impacts on heart health.

Of course, there has been pushback from livestock breeders, who say there are other ways to reduce nitrogen pollution. “Farmers and land managers have already taken great steps to reducing its use through better management and efficiency – in fact, [nitrogen] use is down significantly over the past 20 years, Diane Mitchell, chief environment adviser at the National Farmers Union, told The Guardian. “Eating less meat is a simplistic solution to what is a highly complex situation.”

Livestock is only one contributor to greenhouse gasses, and estimates on how muchmeat contributes to climate change vary from model to model. Yet the authors note that there is “a growing consensus in the scientific community about changing ‘western’ diets possibly having a positive outcome for both human health and the environment.”

Although the eating habits of non-Europeans are outside the scope of this study, the report has implications for anyone who eats a “Western diet.” The United States consumes more beef and chicken than the EU, while China is the lead consumer of pork. These countries could also see a number of environmental benefits from adopting demitarian habits.

The Essence of Liberty: Volume I: Liberty and History: The Rise and Fall of the Noble Experiment with Constitutionally Limited Government (Liberty and ... Limited Government) (Volume 1)The Essence of Liberty Volume I: Liberty and History chronicles the rise and fall of the noble experiment with constitutionally limited government. It features the ideas and opinions of some of the world’s foremost contemporary constitutional scholars. This is history that you were not taught at the mandatory government propaganda camps otherwise known as “public schools.” You will gain a clear understanding of how America’s decline and decay is really nothing new and how it began almost immediately with the constitution. Available in both paperback and Kindle versions.

The Essence of Liberty: Volume II (The Economics of Liberty)The Essence of Liberty Volume II: The Economics of Liberty will introduce the reader to the fundamental principles of the Austrian School of Economics. The Austrian School traces its origins back to the Scholastics of Medieval Spain. But its lineage actually began with Carl Menger and continued on through Adam Smith, Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard and many others. It is the one and only true private property based, free market line of economic thought. Available in both paperback and Kindle versions.

The Essence of Liberty: Volume III: A Universal Philosophy of Political Economy (Liberty: A Universal Political Ethic) (Volume 3)The Essence of Liberty Volume III: Liberty: A Universal Political Ethic. This is the volume that pulls it all together. With reference to Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s description of Murray Rothbard’s work, it is a “unique contribution to the rediscovery of property and property rights as the common foundation of both economics and political philosophy, and the systematic reconstruction and conceptual integration of modern, marginalist economics and natural-law political philosophy into a unified moral science: libertarianism.” Available in both paperback and Kindle versions.

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Posted in Food and Fiber Issues | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Why Ranchers Should Care About The Documentary “Cowspiracy”

So what’s new? Our destroyers have been blaming everything from the Crucifixion of Christ on down on the cow for a long, long time now. — jtl, 419 

By  Amanda Radke in BEEF Daily

A new documentary entitled, “Cowspiracy,” paints the beef business in a very negative light, citing cattle as the sole reason we have sustainability issues on our planet. Ranchers will need to”beef” up on their beef production facts to help balance out the conversation about sustainability and animal agriculture.

I haven’t seen the documentary “Cowspiracy” yet, but after viewing the trailer and reading some of the publicity for it, I’m sure it won’t be one any cattle producer will enjoy watching. The trailer points to a dark “sustainability secret” which is the “one single industry destroying the planetmore than any other.” According to the trailer, this industry is responsible for global warming, water shortages, methane emissions, species extinction, and the ocean dead zones. “Cowspiracy” places the blame on livestock production.

In the trailer, the creators insinuate they are taking a big personal risk, even endangering their lives, by making this film. In fact, they claim that the livestock industry is so nefarious, so powerful, that the major established environmental organizations are afraid to take it on. But the film’s creators don’t have any problem painting ranching as the world’s worst environmental villain in the first 10 seconds, and it only gets worse from there.

Of course, Cowspiracy just appears to be regurgitating the common myths the beef industry has worked hard to correct over the years. For example, the Cowspiracy website claims it takes 660 gals. of water to make one hamburger, or the equivalent of 2 months’ worth of showers.

However, according to Facts About Beef, “In reality, it takes 441 gals. of water to produce 1 lb. of boneless beef. Farmers and ranchers are committed to water conservation and have reduced the amount of water used to raise beef by 12% compared to 30 years ago. In comparison, 441 gals. of water is a fraction of what is used to produce other everyday items. It takes over 713 gals. of water to produce one cotton t-shirt; 39,090 gals. to manufacture a new car; and 36 million gals./day is leaked from the New York City water supply system.”

So if we really care about water conservation, we should stop wearing clothes, driving cars and using water altogether in our homes and businesses.

An inflated estimate of water use in beef production is just one of the myths being perpetuated by this film. It’s clear the film’s producers are anti-meat and anti-food animal. The documentary debuts this summer, and I’m sure it will make more than a few viewers feel guilty about consuming their beloved cheeseburger. That’s why it’s up to us to share the factual information about beef production and the environment.

I encourage everyone to visit reference sites like FactsAboutBeef.com or check out ourEarth Day page for resources on this topic.

Will you go view Cowspiracy? Do you think the documentary is something ranchers should worry about? How would you respond to being painted a villain by a couple of guys with a video camera? How can we show our consumers how the beef industry has decreased its use of natural resources while producing more beef? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of Beefmagazine.com or the Penton Farm Progress Group.

Other popular articles at BEEF:

9 Tips For Preventing Pasture Bloat In Cattle

8 Biosecurity Tips For Your Cowherd

3 Tips For Handling & Storing Wet Hay

Cows Out On Pasture | 80+ Grazing Photos From Readers

What’s The Best Time To Castrate Calves? Vets Agree The Earlier The Better

The Betrayed: On Warriors, Cowboys and Other MisfitsThe Betrayed: On Warriors, Cowboys and Other Misfits. Although woven around the experiences and adventures of one man, this is also the story of the people who lived during the period of time in American history that an entire generation was betrayed It is the story of the dramatically changing times in which this personal odyssey took place. It is the story of the betrayal of an entire generation of Americans and particularly the 40% (of the military aged males) of that generation that fought the Vietnam war.

Combat Shooter's Handbook Combat Shooter’s Handbook. Call for a pizza, a cop, and an ambulance and see which one arrives first. So, who does that leave to protect you, your life, property and family? The one and only answer is: YOU This Handbook is intended to help you exercise that right and meet that responsibility. Available in both paperback and Kindle versions.

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Posted in Animal Rights, Radical Environmentalism | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Bullish News Resurrects Futures, But Only So Far

via The Beef

It’s Friday, and August LC will most likely close higher on the week today and thus far has recovered 42% of its recent huge break. But the earmarks of 2014 remain intact: wide basis, flat market structure, even some waning interest as open interest drops under 340,000 contracts, a level not seen since April. Still August LC is demonstrating leadership in the spreads, gaining on every other LC and FC contract with ease. The long term uptrend is intact.                                                                                                     

Yet the market has bit of the blues currently, perhaps it’s the summer doldrums, fatigue from the quite stressful and unusual market moves since early June. Whatever the reason, futures don’t have much of a spark in spite of continued solid and impressive fundamentals.

         Cutout Still Holding; Cash Outlook for Next Week Steady

The end primals, trimmings and the entire select beef cutout are all steady or higher as the raw material hunt for ground beef continues. There are very faint murmurings that corporate feedyards may have larger showlists later this quarter, but in the meantime, thoughts for next week’s cash cattle prices are already fully steady. Expectations for this week’s kill continue in the 580,000 head area, but remember, the cow kill will likely come in at 90,000 head, meaning, the industry is slaughtering 490,000 fed cattle, enough to maintain currentness. 

         Carcass Weights Increasing Seasonally at Normal Pace

Steer and heifer carcass weights for the week ended July 7, as reported by the USDA yesterday, are both just one pound above a year ago, and up four and six pounds respectively from the prior week.  Weights of course increase seasonally until late October when they typically top, as cattle naturally put on weight through summer and approaching winter. But there is nothing in the weight data to indicate any loss of currentness despite smaller than expected kill levels in July.  

         A Quiet and Positive Wrap-up

It appears we’ll be wrapping up this week in a quiet but positive fashion, unless global events intervene, with the market in solid fundamental shape and the futures back above the 10 day moving average and showing a bullish signal on a variety of technical signals. 

A Handbook for Ranch ManagersA Handbook for Ranch Managers.  In keeping with the “holistic” idea that the land, the livestock, the people and the money should be viewed as a single integrated whole: Part I deals with the management of the natural resources. Part II covers livestock production and Part III deals with the people and the money. Not only would this book make an excellent basic text for a university program in Ranch Management, no professional ranch manager’s reference bookshelf should be without it. It is a comprehensive reference manual for managing the working ranch. The information in the appendices and extensive bibliography alone is worth the price of the book.

Planned Grazing: A Study Guide and Reference ManualPlanned Grazing: A Study Guide and Reference Manual. This is the ideal squeal to A Handbook for Ranch Managers.  Although the ecological principles remain the same, what was originally known as “The Savory Grazing Method” now answers to a multitude of different names: ranching for profit, holistic management, managed grazing, mob grazing, management intensive grazing, etc. Land & Livestock International, Inc. uses “Restoration Grazing” under its “Managing the Ranch as a Business” program.” No mater what you call it, this summary and synopsis will guide you step by step through the process and teach you how to use it as it was originally intended. No more excuses for failing to complete your grazing plans.

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Posted in Livestock & Meat Markets | Tagged | 1 Comment

Miranda And Carrie – Which One Holds ‘Somethin’ Bad’ For Ranchers?

I realize this post isn’t directly related to the cattle business, but I encourage you to spread the word that HSUS is a wolf in sheep’s clothing and wastes donor funds on salaries, pension plans, frivolous lawsuits of circuses, and litigation against ranchers.

by Amanda Radke in BEEF Daily

Country music sensations Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood both are animal lovers, both have great voices, and the two have collaborated on a new single, “Somethin’ Bad.” However, one of these singers is actually helping local pet shelters, while the other is bullying ranchers.

Celebrities often endorse charities they believe in, and often even become spokespersons for their causes. One of the most popular causes for celebrities to support is animal rights. For example, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has a “Sexiest Vegetarian of the Year,” award, as well as an “I would rather go naked than wear fur” campaign that features Hollywood’s finest naked derrières.

Some celebrities throw their cash and lend their fame on behalf of organizations like PETA or the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) — non-profits that target animal agriculture. Other celebrities choose to endorse groups that actually help animals.

A case in point is Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood. The two recently released a single, “Somethin’ Bad.” But the only “bad thing” I see about their collaboration is that Lambert hasn’t convinced Underwood that she’s not really helping animals by supporting HSUS.

I wish Underwood would participate in Lambert’s most-recent campaign to help animals. Lambert has partnered with Pedigree Adoption Drive to help local shelters, such as the one in her hometown of Tishomingo, OK, which was desperate to keep its doors open. Since 2008, Pedigree has donated more than 20 million lbs. of food to animal shelters.

“I’m so happy to continue my partnership with Pedigree Adoption Drive,” says Lambert. “To further help shelter dogs, they’re transforming shelters across the U.S., including my very own hometown shelter! It’s all about helping those dogs in these enclosures and helping them find homes.”

For each story shared on social media, Pedigree has promised to feed a shelter dog in need. Folks can share their videos, like Lambert’s below, using the hashtag #dogtales to participate in this program.

I realize this post isn’t directly related to the cattle business, but I encourage you to spread the word that HSUS is a wolf in sheep’s clothing and wastes donor funds on salaries, pension plans, frivolous lawsuits of circuses, and litigation against ranchers. While its fundraising implies it helps homeless animals, helping local shelters barely raises a blip in HSUS’s balance sheet. Support charities that have their boots on the ground and are actually helping animals.

As for me, I won’t be listening to “Somethin’ Bad” by Underwood and Lambert when it comes on the radio, but I sure will sing along to Lambert’s songs, when she sings alone or with her hunting, meat-loving husband Blake Shelton. I hope you will join me in spending your dollars wisely and supporting celebrities who aren’t actively working to put you out of business.

What do you think about Lambert’s recent campaign? Do you think her common sense might rub off on Underwood? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of Beefmagazine.com or the Penton Farm Progress Group.

Other popular articles at BEEF:

EPA Plans Will Cripple Rural Firefighting Crews

70+ Photos Honor The Hardworking Cowboys On The Ranch

Just How High Can This Market Go?

How To Treat Lump Jaw Disease In Cattle

8 Biggest Roadblocks to Ranch Profitability

The Essence of Liberty: Volume I: Liberty and History: The Rise and Fall of the Noble Experiment with Constitutionally Limited Government (Liberty and ... Limited Government) (Volume 1)The Essence of Liberty Volume I: Liberty and History chronicles the rise and fall of the noble experiment with constitutionally limited government. It features the ideas and opinions of some of the world’s foremost contemporary constitutional scholars. This is history that you were not taught at the mandatory government propaganda camps otherwise known as “public schools.” You will gain a clear understanding of how America’s decline and decay is really nothing new and how it began almost immediately with the constitution. Available in both paperback and Kindle versions.

The Essence of Liberty: Volume II (The Economics of Liberty)The Essence of Liberty Volume II: The Economics of Liberty will introduce the reader to the fundamental principles of the Austrian School of Economics. The Austrian School traces its origins back to the Scholastics of Medieval Spain. But its lineage actually began with Carl Menger and continued on through Adam Smith, Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard and many others. It is the one and only true private property based, free market line of economic thought. Available in both paperback and Kindle versions.

The Essence of Liberty: Volume III: A Universal Philosophy of Political Economy (Liberty: A Universal Political Ethic) (Volume 3)The Essence of Liberty Volume III: Liberty: A Universal Political Ethic. This is the volume that pulls it all together. With reference to Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s description of Murray Rothbard’s work, it is a “unique contribution to the rediscovery of property and property rights as the common foundation of both economics and political philosophy, and the systematic reconstruction and conceptual integration of modern, marginalist economics and natural-law political philosophy into a unified moral science: libertarianism.” Available in both paperback and Kindle versions.

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My best employee ever!

by  in Canadian Cattlemen

My best employee_opt.jpeg

When you run a business, it is always important to make sure you find and keep really good employees. To do this you need to follow a couple of simple rules. First, you need to make sure you make the working conditions favourable to attract good employees. This means you need to understand what they want, and what they don’t want. Second, you also need to accommodate their life goals in order to give them the desire to work for you. Employees work better if they have a passion for what they do. Does this sound like a sound plan that would allow you to attract and keep good employees?  I think so and it works at all levels.

If any of you have ever taken my school, or heard me at a seminar or conference, you might already know who my best employees are. They work hard and put in long hours. They don’t ever cause me any drama, they never ask for a day off and they never retire. My best employees are willing to work until they die. If you haven’t figured it out yet, the best employees at Greener Pastures are the soil organisms that recycle nutrients. The dung beetles, earthworms, nematodes, yeast, fungi, bacteria and all the rest of the critters that live in the soil all work for me. There are millions of interactions that occur beneath our feet but yet we know more about the solar system than we do our soil life. These soil organisms are very important and cannot be overlooked in our operations. The best part is that they work for room and board. I simply need to provide them with food, water and shelter.

Why do we want soil organisms anyway?  There are millions of benefits to the environment that these soil critters perform.  Here are just a few examples. There are bacteria that work together with our plants to fix nitrogen; a symbiotic relationship with the bacteria and the legume plant. The air we breathe is 78 per cent nitrogen, why would you ever buy any?  It’s free! Our soil life can also recycle our manure and dead plant material, making the nutrients more available to the plants again. Some soil organisms help keep the plants healthy by controlling disease and parasites. If we are always killing off the “bad bugs,” what do you think happens to the “good bugs”?

I’ve heard many experts talk about how nutrients can bind up in the soil and how that is a bad thing. I disagree as I see this as a positive step to building the soil. It’s true that the nutrients in the soil are tied up and not available to the plants; however, if you have a healthy soil life, these nutrients can be released when needed by the soil organisms. The plants need the soil critters and vice versa.

Do you know that our soil organisms can give us a higher effective rainfall? As these employees eat the organic matter they leave humus, which in turn increases the water-holding capacity of the soil. This is a huge benefit for our pastures. A healthy soil life can also buffer the soil pH. Did you know that anything that comes out of the back end of an earthworm is pH neutral? These are only a few of the millions of interactions that occur on a daily basis in our pastures. We need the soil life to have healthy profitable pastures.

Let’s see what we need to do to keep our employees happy. What are the desired working conditions favourable for our soil life? First, they need food. I need to provide organic matter for them to eat in the form of manure, plant material and old root matter. The job of my dung beetles is to eat poo and die! That’s a pretty simple job description. And you think you have a crappy job!

They also require water. If the soil is allowed to dry out due to evaporation, the conditions are no longer desirable for my employees. This means that on our pastures we need to leave enough residue in order to keep the ground covered to hold on to our moisture. Leave more residue!

As for shelter, that is what the thatch layer is. Thatch on a pasture is like the skin on our bodies. It protects all of the biological systems beneath it. Build up your thatch layer and avoid disturbing it whenever possible. Bugs don’t like tillage!

The goal of our soil life is to reproduce. The more soil life we have, the more employees we have so let them reproduce.  We need to keep conditions favourable to maintain a prolific soil life. A win-win for all of us. It’s easy to just say “keep the conditions favourable” but what is favourable?  Maybe it’s easier to explain what is not favourable.

They don’t like chemicals, plain and simple. Insecticides, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides are all detrimental to our soil life. If you need to wear protective gear when you handle these products, what chance does a one-celled bacteria or a dung beetle have at survival? Avoid using chemicals whenever possible. There are ways to manage our land and animals in order to avoid using these products that is so much easier on our soil life. I also have a few natural remedies that might help you transition into a healthier production system if you care to contact me. Just stopping cold turkey might have you headed into a wreck.

They don’t like tillage. Tillage turns their life upside down and destroys their shelter.  That protective thatch layer is destroyed and allows more soil moisture to evaporate.  The last thing I want to do to my pastures is to rip them up. I work hard at building thatch, not destroying it. Please keep a roof over their heads. Yes, tillage will make the nutrients “bound up in the soil” release and become available, but at the cost of depleting your soil faster. This is only a short-term gain that degrades your soil in the long term.

They don’t like low organic matter soils. If there is no food to eat, they cannot survive to reproduce. We need to feed our soils critters as much as we feed our livestock.  Some producers have issues with “wasted grass” left out in the pasture. I say “waste it” because this is simply a wage paid to your soil life employees. Feed your soil! Leave as much residue as you can cash flow. Not only is this food for them but it is also gives us the ability to hold onto soil moisture.  The more residue, the less loss we have due to run off and evaporation. Residue is one of the most important aspects of my grazing management.

They don’t like weak root systems. There are millions of symbiotic relationships under the soil. In many cases, the plants and organisms work together to provide different nutrients to each other. For example, the plant might exchange a molecule of sugar to a bacteria in return for a molecule of protein. The problem begins when the plants are overgrazed and are too weak to spare anything to the soil life. One-sided relationships just don’t last. We need to keep our plants strong and healthy by not overgrazing.

They don’t like increases in pH. Did you know that the fertilizers we add to our soil can alter the pH? When the granule of nitrogen we add to our soil meets up with water, a reaction occurs that releases an H+ ion into the soil. More H+ ions means higher pH. Each bacteria present in our soil has a certain range of pH desirable for living conditions. It is detrimental to them to change your pH too much. Did you also know that when a bacteria and a legume team up to pull nitrogen from the air, the pH does not change? Yes, I know we are all scared to death of legumes but I believe there are more economic losses in agriculture today from the fear of bloat, than we would ever get from bloat. Learn how to manage legumes. It’s all free nitrogen.

I am not saying that you need to totally change all of your management at once, nor am I saying that any of these detrimental practices I have described will totally eradicate your soil life populations. What I am saying is that by using a number of these practices over and over, you will definitely lower your soil life populations. Our advantage is that they repopulate very quickly.  Build it and they will come. All I ask is that the next time you make a production practice decision on your operation, just make sure you think about your underground employees and how it might affect them. They are far more valuable to you than you might think.

Best wishes and God Bless!

Steve Kenyon runs Greener Pastures Ranching Ltd. in Busby, Alta.,www.greenerpasturesranching.com, 780-307-6500, emailskenyon@greenerpasturesranching.com or find them on Facebook

The Betrayed: On Warriors, Cowboys and Other MisfitsThe Betrayed: On Warriors, Cowboys and Other Misfits. Although woven around the experiences and adventures of one man, this is also the story of the people who lived during the period of time in American history that an entire generation was betrayed It is the story of the dramatically changing times in which this personal odyssey took place. It is the story of thebetrayal of an entire generation of Americans and particularly the 40% (of the military aged males) of that generation that fought the Vietnam war.

Combat Shooter's Handbook Combat Shooter’s Handbook. Call for a pizza, a cop, and an ambulance and see which one arrives first. So, who does that leave to protect you, your life, property and family? The one and only answer is: YOU This Handbook is intended to help you exercise that right and meet that responsibility. Available in both paperback and Kindle versions.

FOLLOW LAND & LIVESTOCK INTERNATIONAL ON FACEBOOK

Posted in Planned Grazing, Savory Grazing Method, Soils | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Public Lands Debate Who Should Manage Public Lands in Utah Federal or State

Recently, American Lands Council President-Ken Ivory, and Utah Speaker of the House-Becky Lockhart, went head-to-head with opposition to discuss who should manage public lands in Utah.

Since that time, the County Seat has done a great job of breaking down that debate into a concise 30 minute presentation.  Here are some brief highlights from that debate.

Who Should Manage Public Lands - This Weekend
Who Should Manage Public Lands – This Weekend

It is imperative that people become aware of the misinformation that is out there concerning this important topic and learn the facts.  We invite you to watch the entire 30 minutes below and share it with your friends.

Public Lands Debate Who Should Manage Public Lands in Utah Federal or State
Public Lands Debate Who Should Manage Public Lands in Utah Federal or State

A Handbook for Ranch ManagersA Handbook for Ranch Managers.  In keeping with the “holistic” idea that the land, the livestock, the people and the money should be viewed as a single integrated whole: Part I deals with the management of the natural resources. Part II covers livestock production and Part III deals with the people and the money. Not only would this book make an excellent basic text for a university program in Ranch Management, no professional ranch manager’s reference bookshelf should be without it. It is a comprehensive reference manual for managing the working ranch. The information in the appendices and extensive bibliography alone is worth the price of the book.

Planned Grazing: A Study Guide and Reference ManualPlanned Grazing: A Study Guide and Reference Manual. This is the ideal squeal to A Handbook for Ranch Managers.  Although the ecological principles remain the same, what was originally known as “The Savory Grazing Method” now answers to a multitude of different names: ranching for profit, holistic management, managed grazing, mob grazing, management intensive grazing, etc. Land & Livestock International, Inc. uses “Restoration Grazing” under its “Managing the Ranch as a Business” program.” No mater what you call it, this summary and synopsis will guide you step by step through the process and teach you how to use it as it was originally intended. No more excuses for failing to complete your grazing plans.

FOLLOW LAND & LIVESTOCK INTERNATIONAL ON FACEBOOK

Posted in Private Property and Free Markets, Private Property Rights, Private Property Rights on the "Public" Domain, Public Domain, Public Lands | Tagged , , | Leave a comment