My View From The Country

Bundy Case Is A Requiem For Property Rights In America

Table of Contents:

  • Bundy Case Is A Requiem For Property Rights In America
  • Bundy's Lease

The sad reality is that private property rights no longer exist. You can hold your land until the government decides to take it. It’s just a much more real experience for people in the West.

 

I think many, if not most, cattlemen can’t understand why Cliven Bundy is considered a hero in some people’s eyes. After all, he didn’t pay his grazing fees for 20 years. Of course, like most things, the situation is a little more complicated than it appears at first glance.

This issue goes back over 100 years. After the U.S. government acquired the vast tracts of the West from Mexico, they wanted it settled. But unlike other areas where the government allowed homesteading, the number of acres that the government allowed a settler to stake his claim to simply didn’t constitute a viable economic unit in the West. A parcel of 160 acres in Missouri isn’t equivalent to the productive capacity of 160 acres in most of these areas of the West. The whole concept of public lands evolved out of the fact that the government allowed producers to lease larger tracts of land in order to construct viable production units.

Then along came the multiple-use doctrine. It sanctioned that the land was to be used to benefit the public, and included such things as grazing, energy development and tourism, which are the lifeblood of the economies in the West. The way things developed, grazing permits or leases were tied to privately held acreages, which enabled producers to maintain ranching operations that were theoretically economically viable.

The expense of dealing with the government on these leases is astronomical, which is the reason the actual lease rates are well below national averages. Of course, to all of us outsiders, it looks like a sweetheart deal.

When I was fresh out of grad school, I did a research project on a couple of data sets, trying to look for the secrets of profitability and being a low-cost producer. There were a lot of great tactics that could be learned, but one of the biggest drivers of profitability was the percentage of ground that was leased from the state.

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In the state of Colorado, for instance, essentially every township has a section of grass that is leased out in order to support public education in the state. These are called school sections. The holders of these school sections pay one-third or less of the typical going rate. These long-term leases are structured so that they’re nearly impossible to get from the current holders of the lease. The result is that such producers have a dramatic competitive advantage over others.

It’s a convoluted mess, because relative to federal lands, the value of those leases was built into the ranches that had the land that the leases were tied to. In essence, the first holder of the lease raked in a windfall, essentially being allowed to sell the federal land with the lease; subsequent holders have paid for those leases. Thus, a change now would force them to essentially pay fair value twice.

The above isn’t even one of the two biggest dynamics of running on federal land. The federal government is the most fickle and demanding landlord you can imagine. For the first 100 years or so, federal lands were understood to be a vital part of these states’ economies and were managed as such, but that changed.

Federal lands came under the control of politicians and environmentalists, who wanted those lands managed for their benefit; you can imagine the problems that have ensued. This is why Bundy is a hero to many people in the West, and a criminal to others.

Discuss this Blog Entry 48

chasholman (not verified)
on Apr 18, 2014

Those were armed thugs taking up arms against our kids who work for our Government. Not a single 'patriot among them.

Ed Fowler (not verified)
on Apr 18, 2014

cashoman: Sorry your kids could not find honest work.

on Apr 18, 2014

chashyolman: Get Real here! the Patriots came after the Heavily Armed Government Kids, and Kid Snipers, Sicked Dogs and Tazed peaceful Citizen Protesters. Government Kids Can NOT suspend First Amendment Rights and Close air space so their atrocities are hidden from the Public. The ONLY thugs in Southern Nevada were the "KIDS" in Uniform! The Reid thugs were in Washington.

K.McKenzie (not verified)
on Apr 18, 2014

Mr.Marshall the land Mr. Bundy had a grazing permit for WAS NOT his land. He did not own it.....it became fedral land years ago and before that is not an issue here OR we should go back to the original owners which would be the Native Americans...am I right...not in Mr. Bundy's world. I think most Americans can agree we don't have the perfect government but it does work for the majority's well being....We as Americans can travel about this nation and run our mouths about how we like or dislike things in this country ..try that else where and see which side of the dirt you end up on! Mr. Bundy DID NOT pay his fees . He is guilty. Pay the fine . Move the cattle back to his land he pays taxes on and move on. Too many people are using this issue for their own agendas..Take it to the courts or Congress...that's kind of how things are done here in the USA. K.McKenzie

Neal (not verified)
on Apr 19, 2014

What a moronic argument. So what you're saying is two wrongs make a right. Our ancestors took the Native Americans' land so it's okay for someone to take our land away? And because other countries don't allow you to speak out against their government then we shouldn't be allowed to either? And we should feel lucky because elsewhere we would end up in the dirt? "The law is the law. Never disobey or question the law! Pay your fees to the almighty government and move on with your life!" Your attitude is exactly what the Framers warned us of.

K.McKenzie (not verified)
on Apr 19, 2014

WHOA NEAL! Where did you get that from my above post? I said nothing about NOT QUESTIONING our laws in my post or that we SHOULD NOT be allowed to speak out against our government. BUT yes I do feel we as AMERICANS are "LUCKY" to live in a country that we can "RUN OUR MOUTHS" (A lot of men and women have given their very lives for that right and I am truly grateful) Now about the land grab...why do we only want to go back to where the "settlers" lose the land...it was our government that worked out the Indian Treaties....just saying...history shows numerous times where things were certainly unfair....Rail Roads, Highways, Dam construction for electric power etc...... Life ain't fair for certain but we need to work through our courts and congress....Peaceful protests yes! But go through the courts and our congress. Have a Blessed Day! Kim McKenzie

Anonymous (not verified)
on Apr 18, 2014

Everyone who leases land from someone other than the government knows a lease is not a property right. Fed leases have always been below market but they should not be an entitlement. If we want the government to be fiscally responsible, we should support them acting responsibly and oppose those who abuse rule of law.

Anonymous2 (not verified)
on Apr 18, 2014

Obviously, you do not understand the cultural issues at play here. In order to populate the west, ranchers were "encouraged" (ie just short of required) to build their homes on Grazing Lands. This was to prove that they were committed to living and building a business that could guarantee that the Federal Government would receive their monies. These houses have since been bought by the Fed. Govt. at below market value.
There was an "understanding of permanence". Ranchers were given 100 year leases and a guarantee that they could re-lease this land for an additional 100 years and on and on and on......(sounds like permanence to me) Sometime in the 60's the Federal Government realized that they could get more rent money, so they reneged on their agreement, raised the rental on millions of acres, sometimes up to a 500% increase, and drove the "lazy bums" off the Federal Lands. All this after originally making promises to American Citizens, requiring generations of labor, sweat and love, that have been taken away on the whim of the Federal Government. Reminds me of the Indian Treaties. Do not do business with the Federal Government of the United States of America !! It is not an Honorable entity.

Stuv (not verified)
on Apr 22, 2014

The ranchers were encouraged with marketing and other stuff. Nobody was 'required' to be there. They could have stayed in Pennsylvania working in a coal mine or wherever they came from. Nobody is 'required' to start a business. They start the business because they think they can make a go of it and have a better life.

Eminent domain is how governments take land from people when they consider the overall good warrants it. A bunch of my neighbors had their farms cut up a while back when a freeway went through. Some were pretty pissed off and might have wanted to protect their land with guns but nobody was silly enough to try it.

The definition of permanent is different than the definition of re-lease. The reason someone leases something instead of selling is because they want to continue to get revenue from that property on a longer term basis than the term of the sale. I.E. if you rent or lease something you gotta expect to continue to pay for it forever. If you buy it, you own it after some period of time IF you pay all the required payments.

True the government is not an Honorable entity. Anybody who has run a business for any length of time will tell you that not all people are honorable. Getting bent out of shape about it doesn't help. One has to put in policies and actions to handle such people. The government is a bit harder to handle from an internal basis simply because it is very big and strong.

I think it would be smart for Mr. Bundy to cut his losses and start somewhere else. Native Americans had to do that when Ranchers like Cliven came along and the 'general good' went against them.

Individuals don't get to decide what the 'general good' is. Individuals just get to have a voice in the decision. Winning is not guaranteed.

Texrancher (not verified)
on May 2, 2014

There were never 100 year grazing contracts in the Grazing Act. Besides Cliven's dad bought 160 acres in the late 1940's and acquired a grazing contract in 1954. The government isn't trying to take the 160 acres that is in the Bundy Trust (two such trusts actually). The BLM wants Bundy to get his cows off of their land and pay the back grazing fees owed since 1993. After losing two court cases he threatened the BLM with violence if they came to execute a lawful court order to remove the cattle. Because of the threat of violence the US Marshall Service and other law inforcement personnel were brought in to protect the cowboys who we're suppose to gather the cattle. That's when armed gunmen intervened and in my opinion committed sedition against the US. They should all be tried for sedition.

on Apr 18, 2014

This article "hits the nail on the head"! Why does our government own so much land in the West? I am of the opinon that all the land the Federal government was to own was for military installations, national security areas and national parks. Why doesn't our Federal government sell some of this land to the folks that make a living off these holdings? Could it be that these holdings are used as collateral for our 17+ trillion debt? Look at the property tax revenue this would generate for the counties and the state of Nevada. Looks like to me this would be a win-win and solve several of the issues now pending!

Texrancher (not verified)
on Apr 23, 2014

I agree that this is a good way of helping the counties and states. I would want the US to keep some land (15-20%) for recreational and preservation of ecologically significant sites. I would also think that the land should be auctioned to the highest bidder.

on Apr 18, 2014

John Locke's philosophies were central to the founding of America. First is the Self-Ownership Axiom (we each own ourselves). Emanating from that is the "homesteading principle" which holds that if a self-owning individual finds a previously unclaimed resource and mixes his labor (sweat was Locke's term) with that resource, the resulting product is a part (extension) of him and is therefore his property. Once property rights originate, the owner can do with the property as he chooses as long as it does not aggress against someone else or his property.

After 100 years, there is no doubt but what Bundy is the rightful owner at least of the grazing and water rights on that land and owes the FedGov no "rent" for the use of his own property. His so-called "grazing fee" is nothing but an illegal, immoral tax on the property (all taxes are theft).

The problem is that the FedGov has usurped the law. As the territories became states, their respective Enabling Acts were legally binding contracts. An integral part of those contractual agreements what that the FedGov agreed to distribute the so-called "public" lands back to the states. It is a long convoluted story but suffice it to say that they (the mafia like criminal organization aka the government) reneged on their contract. In other words, they are in violation of their own laws--which should not surprise anybody.

This is already too long but anyone interested in reading more can do so at: http://landandlivestock.wordpress.com/2014/04/17/2629/

User out West (not verified)
on Apr 18, 2014

Thank you for the facts. The Bundy case is not a simple question of the "good"/"bad" rancher but rather another violation of our Constitutional rights and the reasoning behind them. kudos, Mr. Marshall and to the commenter.

Texrancher (not verified)
on May 2, 2014

That's all well and good but we (the USA) never have adopted John Locke's philosophy as the law of the land. We live today under the constitution and over 225 years of Congressional and presidential and court history and laws that are a part of our society. We have ferreted out processes that make us a civil union. America doesn't want another civil war. We can't have selective people violating laws and threatening the order of our society. Remember the constitution was the founding document and it gave powers to the judiciary to review laws and to protect rights and that is what it has been doing, never perfectly but always with an eye to the constitution for over 225 years. To understand today's laws and their meanings you have to understand that judicial history. God Bless America.

Anonymous Beef Farmer (not verified)
on Apr 18, 2014

bottom line is: Bundy didn't pay his rent. Bundy is evicted.

Cowboy007 (not verified)
on Apr 18, 2014

BUNDY is the MAN!!! We need to start standing up and take ACTION!!! As stewards of the land we're not going to be pushed around and have our rights walked on! Take a stand, as we are the AMERICAN RANCHERS!

Anonymous (not verified)
on Apr 18, 2014

I suppose you think you, like Bundy, are entitled to graze your cattle on public land just because your grandpa did? or your gggg grandpa? or some Native American you heard of once?....
get the point?

Anonymous (not verified)
on Apr 18, 2014

Is there a bigger weenie in the U.S. than Harry Reid? This pencil neck calls the peaceful Bundy supporters "domestic terrorists," but he sure stood up for and praised as great Americans the lawless bunch who were part of the Occupy movement and trashed cities across the country. Is Reid senile or just stupid?

on Apr 18, 2014

I don't know if he's either, but I hear he's made a lot of money as a lifelong "pubic servant." Read this: http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/314025/how-did-harry-reid-get-ric...!.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Apr 18, 2014

Well said, Troy

TexasLadyinCA (not verified)
on Apr 18, 2014

The point most folks don't get it BUNDY TRIED TO PAY. He has proof of checks written trying to pay. The government wanted him off the property. All of the ranchers that paid and cooperated with BLM are no longer there. Doesn't that tell you something? Is this reasonable that BLM choked everyone out that cooperated? No! Government should allow government land to be used by the public as long as the public is not destroying it. Bundy's use is far superior to what the government has done with feral horses. They've allowed horses to overpopulate and destroy land that will take decades to repair. The horses are going to be dying now with the drought conditions, and yet what is being done? One rancher I overheard in a meeting about bidding on government land to run cattle said, "I've spent over $100,000 getting the land's [what he was leasing] water wells up to something I can use. Then they're suggesting they might take it away from me." He suggested that they were fixing it up for deer. The Bundy situation is about government encroachment of our rights as citizens. If Bundy loses his right to stay, we all lose because the government's position will be upheld and stronger than it is now. Sadly, I agree. He likely won't win, but he is fighting a much bigger battle than just his right to use land his family has used for 100 years. Those of you who don't understand federal land lease in the west don't understand enough to comment. It is a mess, and Bundy has brought it to the light.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Apr 18, 2014

He tried to pay the State of Nevada. The land he was leasing is owned by the Federal Government.

Hackamore (not verified)
on Jul 22, 2014

Well ma'am, apparently he didn't try good enough becasue his court cases were thrown out and he was ordered to vacate. No one really knows if he really gave the checks to anyone or not, that is the word of a man that has been free loading for years and they finally got tired of it and enough. I am in no way insympathy with him. I am 73 years young and still cowboy and dealt with the BLM and the National Forest Service on pasture leases. If you obey your lease and take care of the land according to the lease, they will not abuse you in anyway. Anything that Bundy is very questionable as to it's truth and his honesty. Sorry, just can't agree with you. He needs to be kicked off and made to be paid back lease agreement's. The law is the law, obey it. This is still America, love it or get the hell out.

TexasLadyinCA (not verified)
on Apr 18, 2014

I wanted to add--this is an excellent article. It is all that I knew, but I could have never been so succinct and clear about the issues. Thanks for your clarity.

on Apr 18, 2014

The Nevada Cattlemen's Association provided this post-gather position paper on April 18 -- http://beefmagazine.com/site-files/beefmagazine.com/files/uploads/2014/0...

Anonymous (not verified)
on Apr 18, 2014

Looks like NCA showed up a little late to the party.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Apr 18, 2014

It takes some very fuzzy logic to conclude that Bundy has any right to that land other than the right of first refusal to renew the lease provided he is current on payments. It is unfortunate that the right wing nut crackers have woven this situation into their false narrative about government take over . remember Bundy has stiffed the tax payers under 3 presidents, 2 dems and 1 repub.

on Apr 18, 2014

Actually the only thing that is fuzzy is the conditions under which the federal government's condition of ceding land to them as a condition of statehood (which was not the case east of the Mississippi river) and how they have held onto them for so long. There are specific and limited reasons for which the federal government is allowed to hold land within a state, and those agencies under the Umbrella of the Department of Interior ALL lie outside those parameters.
http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/tocs/a1_8_17.html

Texrancher (not verified)
on May 2, 2014

I give up. Read your history. Nevada never has owned the land so the US didn't have to purchase the land for any of these purposes. It already owned it before Nevada was a state. See the Treaty of Guadelupe Hidalgo.

Rick Pearce (not verified)
on Apr 18, 2014

Why don't you ask Mr. Kit Laney how it feels to be kicked off your federal land. His was a case in northern Az where government wanted his land so they kicked him off took his cows and his land. Me Bundy probably did his homework and knew of this so he's making a stand before it is too late. Ki Laney is still fighting the government after more than a decade.
When a government agency has this much power the people should be well aware of the danger they are in. But! Most people are sheep and just follow whatever and wherever they are led. Really sad people ! Time to wake up America it might be you next ! Your ranch is looking pretty good!! Don't set there on your pretty little but and think for one second it won't be you they can conjure up anything to kick you out! Look up the laney story in Arizona. Your next!!!

Dennis Hoyle (not verified)
on Apr 18, 2014

We need to reduce the power of the federal dovernment and get state and local control to have more influence. Washington does not know any thing and their one size fits all approach makes it worse. Our current administration picks and choses what laws it likes and what laws it ignores, so there goes the argument that we need to be law abiding. We do need to be law abibding or we will have a mess, but so does the federal goverment. They are not abiding the law and we do have a mess and it is getting worse all the time. What is the excuse for the BLM to do what it is trying to do on the Texas-Oklahoma border on the Red river?

on Apr 18, 2014

What is the feds reasoning for federal lands which are outside the parameters under which they are allowed to own land within a state? The last line of Article I, Section 8clause 17 states the ONLY reasons the federal government may hold lands within a state are "forts, arsenals, dockyards, and buildings needed for the running of government."
http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/tocs/a1_8_17.html

Anonymous (not verified)
on Apr 18, 2014

I am tired of paying the mortgage on my land so I will sell out and start running my cows on the right of way on us36. Also have my eye on the state fishing lake down the road.

Jim Dummer (not verified)
on Aug 31, 2014

Excellent idea!!! May I suggest that signs mounted on the sides of the animals may be an excellent revenue stream as well?

on Apr 18, 2014

Actually, the Bundy case could spell the beginning of the end of the federal land grab which has been going on for well over 100 years.

To begin with, the federal government overstepped its authority when it coerced the territories to cede land to the federal government as a condition of statehood. Up until the territories west of the Mississippi began applying for statehood, all of the lands within the territories, with the exceptions of forts, arsenals, dockyards, and buildings needed for the running of the government, became land of the new state. That was because the Constitution limits federal ownership of lands within the states to those purposes under Article I, Section 8, Clause 17.

While this section of the Constitution was tested several times prior to the western territories becoming states (defeating the federal government each time) it has not been used as a defense in any federal lands case since.

Not only does this section clearly lay out the means by which the federal government my acquire land, it also give the SPECIFIC uses for which the federal government may use land within the individual states. Pay close attention to this line because it is the basis which will force the federal government out of the land grab business in all 50 states IF anyone would use it as their defense against the feds.
http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/tocs/a1_8_17.html

Jim Sturrock11@wigginstel.com (not verified)
on Apr 18, 2014

One thing we as rancher and the general public forget the end results of the rancher work is the general public's food. As Pres. Clinton stated in his time of indiscretion, It's all in the definition of the word (is), I think I read he ran 600 cows on 9000 aces. Harvest 600 calves at 1225 lbs with 61% yield ground into hamburger totally would produce close to 900 thousand quarter pounders, We are already in a supply shortage of beef resulting in ever increasing price that the consumer is confronted with at the grocery store where all food comes from. Damn grocers are ripping us off so the general public thinks. At one time the government was concerned of having ample food supply for its constitutes, writing the Grazing Act. When are we as food producer going to say, Go hungry, we are tried of fighting a loosing battle trying to feed you. Then and only then it may come to light as Winston Churchill said at the end of the battle of Britain, so much is owed by so many to so few.

As those who fought that historical battle were a where of, watch your six for there is a Hun in the Sun, taking us out of the business of producing food for the masses one at a time!

ChemieBabe (not verified)
on Apr 18, 2014

Really well written article and the link to the Nevada Cattlemen's Association letter was good too. People living back east and even those living in the west with no ties to ranching or farming will never understand what this about or how important this issue is. Some times I wish I could wave my magic wand and make all the grocery store shelves bare. I would like to see starving Americans asking Big Government to feed them. In countries where this is the case a lot of people starve to death. I have spent some time in these places and I can tell you it wasn't pretty.

Dustin Cox (not verified)
on Apr 18, 2014

Thank You Troy,
Everyone that cares about the constitution look up americanlandscouncil.com
Remember
"Rebellion to a tyrant is Obeidence to God"
Thomas Jefferson
I have so much more to add. Like me on Facebook Dustin Cox picture is me and my horse silhouette, also like Bundy Ranch.
Get there side of the story.
The stopping paying started when BLM said get off. He took a stand for a grazing Right.
I stand with the Bundys Principle
Thanks Again Troy.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Apr 18, 2014

What people don't realize is that these grazing rights are surface rights bought and sold on the open market In most cases, sale of these rights are usually the only retirement that the rancher has in his older years. The stock pond, well and ditch water rights are state not federal rights also owned by the rancher. Years ago, the BLM forced the ranchers to sign an agreement that took the amount they could graze down to the point that Bundy and other ranchers couldn't make any money and also took away other rights to the property. Other ranchers signed the agreement, but Bundy didn't. All the ranchers who did had their cow numbers reduced and reduced and that agreement used against them and are no longer ranching cattle in that area. Bundy wouldn't sign the agreement so they wouldn't take his money if he tried to pay them so he paid the fees to the State of Nevada, but the state quit taking his money and gave it back. Likewise, if Bundy had taken his cattle off the range he would have lost his water rights because of non-use of the water. It is so much bigger than "he didn't pay his fees." There are also two more ranchers that are being run off their BLM allotments because of the turtle in Arizona. People who don't graze their cattle on BLM don't understand the position Bundy was put in. Those who do or have been run off of their permit on BLM understand it all too well.

on Apr 19, 2014

To Troy Marshall, Sir, I am a Rancher in the "east", please refrain from drawing the conclusion on all easterners. Yes, I ranch in the Northeast corner of all places "New Jersey", Black Angus. Granted, nowhere near the size operation as those in the Mid-West, but an 85 head ranch nonetheless. You'd be surprised, our town has one blinking light and more head of cattle than people, a town of 1,900 people. A Dairymen across town runs a farm of 400+ head, plus probably about 20 other small cattle ranches and farms around town. We in this part of the northeast corner of the state are largely Church going, God fearing Christians, and "yes", ardent 2nd Amendment and Constitutional Conservatives. I am a former First Frontier Circuit Bull Rider as well, so ya'll ain't just got Cowboys in the MidWest. Trivia question: Where is the oldest weekly rodeo in the United States? Cowtown Rodeo in Salem New Jersey, fact. Thought I'd just give ya'll a little lesson on how New Jersey really is, not like that BS "Jersey Shore" or "Soprano's" shows that depict NJ as a bunch of a-holes, that's down by the NYC. There are some good here as our County is extremely rural with 86% voting Republican, unfortunately we are outweighed by the population by 7 of our 21 counties. NJ is also the largest cranberry producer in the world. Texas has 27 horses per square mile, NJ has 10 horses per square mile for a total of 83,000 horses. Take out the 7 heavily populated liberal counties because the only horses they have are the horse's ass leftist/liberal politicians, and our horse population in the remaining counties is approximately 23 horses per square mile. Betcha didn't know all that. Our only advantage is we have GREAT fertile grazing, hence, "The Garden State", and we have a great selling opportunity at high premiums only 1.5 hours east of us. So, ya'll got some great Ranches that I am well familiar with as I have visited many, but please do not besmirch your fellow Rancher's in the East by referencing some snot nose Fed punk that may come from the East to break your balls. Now I feel better........ Have a Blessed Easter to ya'll.

John R. Dykers, Jr (not verified)
on Apr 19, 2014

I must tell you about 'the infamous crossing' a perfect example of DC telling us what to do. I was the first in our county to fence off our Meadow Creek from our cattle and install concrete troughs as an alternate water source. The water came from our pond in the same watershed. Cost sharing for the fences and clean water for the cattle and in the name of 'protecting water quality'. OK.
For many years I had picked up field stone and put in the creek, big stones down stream and smaller upstream and had such a solid crossing that sludge trucks crossed it without a trace.
The 'kid' from the county was as ignorant as I but was armed with a booklet from DC telling him/us how to put in a crossing. This called for 'filter cloth' and I thought that had something to do with the water quality. Turns out it was just to keep the crusher run from sinking into a sandy bottom! I have to pay $1500 for a backhoe to dig up my perfect crossing made by my own labor and pour in gravel which washes away with the first big rain! After that I told them to GTH and poured concrete!

on Apr 20, 2014

My, my. The right wing grievance machine has ginned up you're on board defending a welfare queen that finds getting his largess from the corporate welfare machine too frustrating and now wants to overthrow the government. What a pathetic bunch of losers. No one tells me how to farm because I don't take any hand outs.

Earnest Christ (not verified)
on Apr 21, 2014

Hey, we got a late freeze here that pretty much shot my wheat. It was dry anyway so I didn't get much wheat pasture. I'm not gonna make much money other than crop insurance this year...if I don't pay my cash rent, will you call me a patriot and come down here with guns to make sure my landlord doesn't rent to someone else? I know it's his land but he is hard to work with and I'm broke. That means I can stiff him and I'm a hero, right?

Just making sure I understand how this works...

State land leasee (not verified)
on Apr 22, 2014

Troy mostly got it right except for the great state of Colorado's state land leases. The state land board is charged with conducting lease surveys periodically for the purposes of making sure there is not such a divide between public and private leases. This next round of increases for the Northeastern quarter of the state is 19%. Our lease will then actually be higher than some of the private leases we operate on. No sweet deal especially considering the hoops we have to jump through to conduct business with the state.

Anonymous Angus Rancher (not verified)
on Apr 22, 2014

“I don’t recognize [the] United States Government as even existing.” - Cliven Bundy

If you don't recognize the Federal Government then you don't get to use the Constitution for protection...Including the Second amendment! The statement about 100 years of land ownership is in question.

http://crooksandliars.com/cltv/2014/04/bundys-ancestral-rights-story-load-0

California Native (not verified)
on Apr 22, 2014

The issue here is violation of equity under the law, weather it is by federal,state, county or city government.The "government enity" under the guise of protecting the "people and their lands", have violated property rights and persons(American Indians) since the establishment of the US government.A in depth look at how the federal ,state, county and city governments have aggresively taken away personel & real property rights from whom ever they deceided to steal from for the last 280 years. It has perceptively become worse after 1948 when the strength of the governments grew so enormously post WW II and prior to the multiple use doctrine that the politicians thoughtfully used to control the populace, that had a different life style and free thinking mind set. The western states and their lands have been the target of the invironmental groups for years and the way to win their war has been to divide and conquer. They did this by becoming employees of the different branches of the Federal, state, county and city governments so as to inact different rules and regulations that subverted real & personel property rights of the "user's of the the land". The real basis for this invironmental movement has been a jealousy of interprising free thinkers and their attempt to squash such individuals. The long term Bundy family enterprise and the neighboring ranches that don't exist anymore, is a excellent example of this movement within invironmental groups using the "government" . The term "I love my county--But don't trust the Government " has it's merits in very actual facts.

Hackamore (not verified)
on Jul 22, 2014

I think what every one is not talking about is the fact that Bundy, did not own the land, it was owned by the Federal Government, which gives them the right to do what they see fit to do. He signed a lease agreement with them to use and care for the property to run his cattle on so he could make more money. He violated that lease agreement and lost his rights to the land. He also lost his court cases and was told by the courts to move his cattle. He was also told if he didn't move his cattle and pay his back lease that he had stopped paying 20 something years ago, that the BLM had the right to take his herd and sell them for back fees owed. I don't see where this has anything to do with the government or any bueracratic mess. I don't like the way the government of this country does things anymore either. But the law is the law, and if you sign a lease with anyone, government or individual it is a binding agreement enforceable, by law and force if necessary. I personally feel he is a disgrace to the true cattle man and cowboy of America today. He is a liar a fraud and a cheat, anyway you look at it, he is wrong and should be kicked off the land. Now let me say that I am a 73 year young cowboy, still doing it today. I worked a ranch In Colorado that had leases from the BLM, and also the National Forest Service. If you do as your lease agreement stipulates and obey's it, they will bend over backwards to assist and help you out. So I know what I am talking about, I was there on that ranch for 15 years taking of the grass and lease like it was supposed to be done. When I took over the ranch was fixing to get their lease count cut by 50 percent. I took it and did it like it was suppose to be done and made it work and they helped me out every way I ever asked them to. The problem is that even in Colorado, the old time people bred born and raised on their places don't like the government to tell them what to do. They are hard headed and refuses to accept change, and they pay for it in the long run. It's just fact, the government own's that land and they can do what they want to do with it. Especially if you break your lease and overgraze the land and abuse it, they will kick your ass off and it is their rights to do so. "WAKE UP AMERICA".

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What's My View From The Country?

As a fulltime rancher, opinion contributor Troy Marshall brings a unique perspective on how consumer and political trends affect livestock production.

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Troy Marshall

Troy Marshall is a multi-generational rancher who grew up in Wheatland, WY, and obtained an Equine Science/Animal Science degree from Colorado State University where he competed on both the livestock...

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