Stockmen hear BLM, set Pie Social, Annual Picnic

Steve Slavek of the Medford BLM is certainly a breath of fresh air where governmental agencies are concerned.  Slavek believes that permit holders should get a fair shake.

He was the principle speaker at the May 9 meeting of the Jackson County Stockmen’s Association at the Black Bear Restaurant in Medford.  While racing through a variety of topics of concern to cattlemen, Slavek  explained that few of the agency people actually follow the rules as written.  As a consequence, grazing permit holders are getting the raw end of the deal.  He has set himself to straighten out that discrepancy.

Despite   a significant reduction in staff, he is working to make decisions based on provable scientific fact rather than how someone “feels” about  conditions on the ground.  Slavek cited instances  where stream flows on some allotments are cooled rather than heated as water flows to lower levels.  Likewise with sediment, it should be directly attributable to animal use, rather than some other cause before any corrective action is taken.  He said that there is always some stirring of sediment from when cattle enter streams, but that is to be expected.

Many environmental lawsuits are generated because someone hasn’t followed procedure.  By following correct procedures, making decisions based in fact, he believes many of the frivolous lawsuits can be averted.

Slavek also encouraged stockmen to speak out about road closures.  He attended workshops on the east side where thousands of miles of roads have been abandoned even though many were main travel routes for farmers, ranchers, hunters and others.

Stockman Don Rowlette, Private lands chair, urged members to support measures 15-110 and 15-111.  110 restores local control of lands to Jackson County lost when that authority was all given to LCDC.  This measure returns that control to the county government.  Rowlette also urged caution for members to make certain that their lands will be properly designated, not just dropped into the higher tax bracket.  Measure 111 would require just compensation when new land use regulations limit the right to use, divide, possess, sell or improve private property.  It would also require the county to honor measure 37 claims previously ratified by the Board of Commissioners when measure 37 was in effect.

It was reported that Hands On Ag Day was a success, with several area schools participating.  The budget didn’t allow for lunches both days of the event, but president Randy White said that next years event they would make certain that the youngsters got their lunches to experience the event to the fullest.

White also reported that the issue of starting a slaughter house in Jackson County is still on the burner. He did however express concern that a study needed to be done and that would need funding. Some members thought that an area location, perhaps in Siskiyou County might serve the purpose even better.

It was announced that the June meeting of the Stockmen’s association meeting would be the pie social at Del Rio vineyards in Gold Hill beginning at 6 p. m. on June 16.  The annual stockmen’s association/Farm Bureau picnic will be held at the Elks Picnic grounds north of White City.  Normally the picnic is the third Sunday in August, although White will confirm that in time to notify everyone.

The next quarterly meeting of the Oregon Cattlemmen’s Association will be held in Pendleton June 28-30.  Several members expressed a desire to attend.  The third quarterly meeting of OCA was supposed to be held in Jackson County, but there is talk that it will be held in another location.

Remember, the June meeting is the pie social at Del Rio vineyards on June 16.

Steve Slavek shared that the BLM has several horses and Burros that are available to adoption.  He can be reached at 541 618-2471 for information.

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