Jackson County Stockmen meeting February 8, 2012
Being a stockman in Jackson County is like playing Russian Roulette with five live rounds out of the six. It seems disaster is facing them no matter which direction they turn.
Recent activity in the State Legislature, which on the surface (HB 4095) seems benign, could be just the opposite. That legislation would return some control to three southern Oregon counties to determine land use, that has been mis-zoned in a “one-size-fits-all” approach to land planning.
Member Don Rowlett has been studying the situation and cautioned members not to jump to conclusions. Citing his own property as an example, Don says that one 20-acre parcel is literally a “rock pile.” However, that land is useful in support of the rest of the ranch as a place to store machinery when not in use. The parcel does not fit the criteria of “productive” land, but is nonetheless used in the production of income from the rest of the property. Other members echoes that same sentiment and some went so far as to express distrust of Jackson County having a say in the use of lands.
The Association did support putting the pilot program into effect, with the reservations noted above.
A meeting-day article in the local paper noted that Oregon Wild has filed suit against the Bureau of Reclamation. If successful, much more of available eaters would have to be diverted back into the Rogue River essentially destroying much of the irrigation projects in the Valley. According to member Bob Morris, this will greatly affect Talent Irrigation District, Medford Irrigation and Rogue River Valley Irrigation.
Just to make matters worse, ranchers are feeling the pinch in other ways. Like cinching a drawstring on pasture fences, federal agencies are not renewing grazing permits on federal forest lands.
The final agenda item at the February 8 meeting was a presentation of OSU Livestock & Forage specialist on “Critical Control Points of Livestock &Forage Production. Filley’s rather hurried presentation focused on Ranch Economics, Forage Management, General Nutrition, General Health, Beef Cattle Management, Sheep Management and Marketing.
At each step, members were encouraged to rank their performance to see if they were utilizing every avenue to maximize production and profits while minimizing liabilities. Member Charlie Boyer said of a New Zealand trip, that of neighbors got together to analyze every aspect of an operation, then offered suggestions to improve that operation. The following month, they would go to another operation and do the same thing. That way, each ranching operation got the benefit of observation through different eyes and different experience.
Jackson County Stockmen’s Association meet monthly, normally on the second Wednesday of each month at a place designated by the President. He next meeting will be March 14, 2012. Randy White is currently president and is available by phone at 541 776-4270 (ext 111).