Are ranchers spitting into the wind on wind energy issues?

The unique culture, diversity and quality of the West demands no less.

American agriculture (farmers and, to a much lesser extent, ranchers) is the world’s largest welfare recipient. As such, they are also notoriously two faced. They boast of being “rugged individualists” while waiting for the government check to arrive.

Wind energy is not economically viable and would not exist without subsidies (which is the market’s way of telling us we don’t need it).

Government subsidies are funded with money taken from the productive class at the point of a gun. So, if you accept any kind of subsidy, you are guilty of “receiving stolen funds.” — jtl, 419

by in BEEF Editors’ Blog

Just as with water, wind energy development in the West is a controversial and divisive issue. But there is a path forward and ranchers need to play a major part in addressing the issue.

Just as with water, energy development in the West has become, in some camps at least, a controversial and divisive issue as ranchers, energy developers, sportsmen, conservationists and environmentalists all look at the changing West through their own set of lenses.

Among those energy development issues that has come to the fore in the last decade or so is wind energy. Drive through the Texas Panhandle at night, my recently-departed home for many decades, and the blinking red lights of a multitude of wind turbines dot the landscape in an eerie scene that raises questions from the uninitiated.

Into this challenging and divisive landscape dives the Sandhills Task Force, a group of ranchers, conservation agencies and others who are dedicated to preserving the ranching tradition of the region as well as the wildlife and vegetative diversity of this truly unique part of Nebraska and the West. Nebraska ranks among the top states for potential wind resources and each year brings additional requests for development of wind farms throughout the state, the group says in a recently-published white paper.

The white paper is a result of a request by Gov. Pete Ricketts for input into whether or not to form a working group to address wind energy and other issues facing the ranching economy in the state. In the white paper, the Sandhills Task Force identifies inappropriate placement of energy development as one of the most urgent threats facing the region. Additional priority threats are land fragmentation and invasive species. “If these threats are not addressed soon, the Sandhills could be irreparably altered,” according to the white paper.

Indeed, those are priorities throughout the West. And just like water, ranching interests must be at the table as these issues are cussed, discussed and ultimately, hopefully, solved. Fortunately, there are several resources available to help people throughout the West develop a roadmap to accomplish the task.

One model is what has been done in the Kansas Flinthills to address wind energy development. The Wind and Prairie Task Force has developed principles, tools and guidelines that local entities can use as they address wind energy development and other environmental issues.

In addition, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has established a Nebraska Wind Energy and Wildlife Project that can provide useful information.

These are just two examples of numerous efforts being made throughout the West. Those efforts must continue. Nebraskans should encourage Gov. Ricketts to establish a working group for his state, as should ranchers in other states encourage local and state politicians to do the same.

The unique culture, diversity and quality of the West demands no less.

A Handbook for Ranch Managers Planned Grazing: A Study Guide and Reference Manual Environmental & Natural Resource Economics: The Austrian View  Reconnaissance Marine MCI 03.32f: Marine Corps Institute The Betrayed: On Warriors, Cowboys and Other Misfits Combat Shooter's Handbook 

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 II: The Economics of Liberty (Volume 2) The Essence of Liberty: Volume III: A Universal Philosophy of Political Economy (Liberty: A Universal Political Ethic) (Volume 3) 

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.

You might also be interested in the supplement to this Handbook: Planned Grazing: A Study Guide and Reference Manual.

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About Land & Livestock Interntional, Inc.

Land and Livestock International, Inc. is a leading agribusiness management firm providing a complete line of services to the range livestock industry. We believe that private property is the foundation of America. Private property and free markets go hand in hand—without property there is no freedom. We also believe that free markets, not government intervention, hold the key to natural resource conservation and environmental preservation. No government bureaucrat can (or will) understand and treat the land with as much respect as its owner. The bureaucrat simply does not have the same motives as does the owner of a capital interest in the property. Our specialty is the working livestock ranch simply because there are so many very good reasons for owning such a property. We provide educational, management and consulting services with a focus on ecologically and financially sustainable land management that will enhance natural processes (water and mineral cycles, energy flow and community dynamics) while enhancing profits and steadily building wealth.
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