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On the subject of property rights

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Soapweed

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There was a meeting last evening on the subject of property rights. It was a well-attended, well-organized function. I commend the two ladies who put on the event, for their research and for presenting the information to all interested spectators.

Basically, they shared their findings that there is a world-wide movement to "preserve" large natural occuring areas, such as the Sandhills. Ranchers are already the world's best environmentalists. We understand that if we take care of the land, it will take care of us. We don't "need" (or want) outside "help" from bueaucrats and do-gooders. This country is much better off than it was when my great-granddad and his brothers walked into this area in 1885 and filed on their homesteads. As one old rancher pointed out, "Even the worst management is better than no management."

Ted Turner is buying up large ranches and turning them into buffalo preserves. Basically, his tracts of land come under the heading of "no management" and the once great historic cattle ranches are becoming ruined. Parts of them are over-grazed and parts are under-grazed. Buffalo don't have very big brains, and with no cross fences and no management on these large parcels of land, the buffalo are just aimless wanderers with no purpose.

The buffalo of old are what tore up this country to the extent that it was called "The Great American Desert" in the mid 1800's, and was shunned by the early day settlers. After the buffalo were killed off, the "sandhills" were naturally allowed to rejuvenate. They grassed over, and cattle were introduced. They thrived, as did the ranchers who took care of the cattle. Barbed-wire came into being, fencing became possible, and good management prevailed. The Nebraska Sandhills evolved into one of the best cattle-producing areas of the world. Where cattle thrive, so do wildlife and birds of the air. It is a great situation.

If something isn't broken, why is there some bureacrat always trying to "fix" or change things, just to justify their existence? The Nature Conservancy is another example of an unwanted, unneeded entity. The
"easements" that they are willing to pay for, become a burden on the actual land-owners when all the dust settles. These easements are usually bonding "in perpetuity" which means "forever". They are a cloud on a real-estate title from then on. Money lenders take all of this into consideration, and pull in their horns because of it.

At the meeting, it was brought up that North Dakota has a law on their books that easements can only be in force for ten years, before it becomes necessary to re-negotiate. This looks to me to be an ideal law. Some easements are probably for the good, but if they would have a "window of opportunity" to be re-negotiated, they would be a lot more desirable.

As one of the meeting coordinators poined out, "It's a good thing the early settlers didn't tie up the land with easements back over a hundred years ago. Railroads, power lines, highways and cell phone towers could never have been built."

Conditions are always evolving. It is best to not get locked into situations where there is no way to change when different circumstances make change a necessity.
 

Big Muddy rancher

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I feel fortunate to live in Saskatchewan. As I talked to a friends that had just gotten back from the SRM conference in Vancover we both noticed that the conservation movement in SK. is very friendly towards cows as a conservation tool. Many other areas the "Conservationists" want to protect areas by keeping cows out. Almost 10 years ago the push was on to start a Prairie Conservation Action Plan PCAP. it is where the the government ,industry and NGO's and the universities all sit at the same table to try to work together and coordinate conservation efforts. The stockgrowers president at the time said if we sit at the table we chair it as all this work directly affects the land owners.
I feel that this has opened the eyes of many "Do Gooder" envrinmentalists to the management that many ranchers do put into their ranches. It has also given many ranchers acess to information that they can use and given them contacts for funding scources for riparian protection thru water development and other mutualy benificial projects. We as land owners have the ability to affect much more land more quickly then many of these other orgs.
The goal of most Conservation groups is to see better management and if the land owner can get funding to help since a healthy environment is a benefit to the great good we should use these opportunitiesd when available. The catch is what do you give up to do this. That is something that each landowner has to be comfortable with and think long and hard and not just look at up front cash.
Easements are a issuse that is facing most ranching areas with any amout of Native prairie left. We have debated and argued them many times in Sk. and are working on getting a fact sheet printed giving as many sides to the issue as possible. The "Sunset " clause is something that the signers of easements don't want because they want it signed into perpetuity so they don't have to do it again but before you sign remember it is your land.
 

sw

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Two points Soapweed, on Turners place at Gallatin Gateway, they went in and tore all of the fences out cause buffalo wont overgraze and they are good for the land. After about 5 years, they almost totally ruined Spanish creek, all they would do is lay around the riparian area, grazed it to death, killed out all of the willows and destroyed the stream bank. They had to go back in and replace miles and miles of fences to keep them off the creek. hahaha. Spanish creek is also a spawning stream for Yellowstone cutthroat trout. Oh yea, this is also where the studies were done to sensitize the wolves to the fact that eating calves was bad, they could only eat deer and elk. Boy did that turn out well :wink: And while on the subject, Turner went in and dug a big lake in front of his house rith in the middle of a nice meadow, because Jane wanted a "reflecting pool". Bet he's reflecting on that choice himself.
On the easements, not all of them are bad, although I don't trust TNC at all. This land is in an easement with The Montana Land Reliance, whose goal is to keep lands in the hands of agriculture, as they know that no one is going to take better care of the land than ranchers and farmers. I realize that for ever is a long time, but I know this place will never be sub divided, and even as remote as this place is, there is a subdivision of 40s on our northwest corner, and the sad thing of it is, the people who bought up those could not afford anything else, they put used trailer houses on them to live in, and have no clue about weeds, wildlife our anything. Most of them have now moved on and left their messes behind
 

Big Muddy rancher

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SW what you said about easements is right on. SALT Southern Alberta Land Trust sounds like what your dealing with. A group of ranchers holding easements to ward off urban sprawl and acreages. The stockgrowers have had many discussions about whether we should be holding easements as a alterative to TNC or DU or others. Of course philisophical differences arise and we don't decide anything. :wink:
 
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Big Muddy- I think the "Big Opens" plan includes part of southern Saskatchewan--That is one reason they were trying to get the Bittercreek area, near me, designated wilderness, so they could tie it right to your Grasslands National Park to start their project- which is supposed to extend south thru Soaps area....
 

Big Muddy rancher

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Oldtimer said:
Big Muddy- I think the "Big Opens" plan includes part of southern Saskatchewan--That is one reason they were trying to get the Bittercreek area, near me, designated wilderness, so they could tie it right to your Grasslands National Park to start their project- which is supposed to extend south thru Soaps area....


All the way to Texas.

I hate to call anyone names but there sure are some nut cases out there. Free roaming buffalo from Sask/Alta thru to Texas. What do you say? :roll:
 
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Big Muddy rancher said:
Oldtimer said:
Big Muddy- I think the "Big Opens" plan includes part of southern Saskatchewan--That is one reason they were trying to get the Bittercreek area, near me, designated wilderness, so they could tie it right to your Grasslands National Park to start their project- which is supposed to extend south thru Soaps area....


All the way to Texas.

I hate to call anyone names but there sure are some nut cases out there. Free roaming buffalo from Sask/Alta thru to Texas. What do you say? :roll:

Been wanting to buy one of those old Sharps Buffalo guns :wink:
 

theHiredMansWife

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Soapweed said:
Basically, they shared their findings that there is a world-wide movement to "preserve" large natural occuring areas, such as the Sandhills. Ranchers are already the world's best environmentalists.

99% of the time, this is true. But you know as well as I that there are folks out there that do *not* take care of their land as well as they should...
'That place is just a big blowout...'
I think that the folks that try a little farming cause far more problems than anyone else. :roll:

Soapweed said:
We understand that if we take care of the land, it will take care of us. We don't "need" (or want) outside "help" from bueaucrats and do-gooders.

Is there something new going on? The last I heard re: TNC is that they were helping somehow with the beginning "farmer" program in that they would kick in extra monies with the clause that an easement was signed.
Is there something new that's being proposed for existing ranchers?

Soapweed said:
The buffalo of old are what tore up this country to the extent that it was called "The Great American Desert" in the mid 1800's, and was shunned by the early day settlers. After the buffalo were killed off, the "sandhills" were naturally allowed to rejuvenate.

I hadn't heard this theory before. The most commonly accepted theory is that the prairies were still recoving from a centuries long drought and the Sandhills, always more vulnurable than everywhere else, were just one of the last to recover.
That's part of why there are several studies going on right now about the Sandhills and their reaction to short-term and long-term drought.




I'm curious though; if you're in favor of property rights, why is TNC a problem? If they're willing to pay the owner to assure the easement, isn't it ultimately the landowners decision?
 

katrina

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Ted Turners buffalo have tried to get away from the flies and gone to the top of those big old sandhills and ruined them into blowouts. Fly over his place for a real eye opener. The sandhills are very fragile and once ruined almost impossible to change back. Sad deal. :cry:
 

Big Muddy rancher

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katrina said:
Ted Turners buffalo have tried to get away from the flies and gone to the top of those big old sandhills and ruined them into blowouts. Fly over his place for a real eye opener. The sandhills are very fragile and once ruined almost impossible to change back. Sad deal. :cry:


A prime example of a "DO GOODER"" TREE HGGER" trying to save us from ourselves.

I thought i would type out the PCAP vision

" The vision of all PCAP partners is that the native prairie be sustained in a healthy state in which natural and human values are respected."

The grass lands park that OT refers to started out never going to graze they have now lost much of the wildlife because it prefers the ranchlands beside the park because the grassis rejuvinated more often and not full of old bottom. Unfortunatly they are using buffalo on some but are again looking at cattle and horses on some of the land. That's a 180 turn around. Partly I like to think from the parks involvment with PCAP.
 

frenchie

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Soapweed said:
At the meeting, it was brought up that North Dakota has a law on their books that easements can only be in force for ten years, before it becomes necessary to re-negotiate. This looks to me to be an ideal law. Some easements are probably for the good, but if they would have a "window of opportunity" to be re-negotiated, they would be a lot more desirable.

.

Soapweed....I would not trust a law that could be overturned.
 

Big Muddy rancher

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frenchie said:
Soapweed said:
At the meeting, it was brought up that North Dakota has a law on their books that easements can only be in force for ten years, before it becomes necessary to re-negotiate. This looks to me to be an ideal law. Some easements are probably for the good, but if they would have a "window of opportunity" to be re-negotiated, they would be a lot more desirable.

.

Soapweed....I would not trust a law that could be overturned.


Is it the law or the easements that would be rengotiated?

Soapweed I think your "window of opportunity" is called a "Sunset clause' in that the easement has a end date and not into perptuity.
 

Cal

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I see that their 2015 goal is, in their words, "effective conservation of places that represent at least 10%* of every major habitat type on Earth."


http://nature.org/aboutus/howwework/cbd/


theHiredMansWife wrote:
Is there something new going on? The last I heard re: TNC is that they were helping somehow with the beginning "farmer" program in that they would kick in extra monies with the clause that an easement was signed.
Is there something new that's being proposed for existing ranchers?
I couldn't find anything on their website about helping beginning farmers, maybe you can, but they were certainly encouraging landowners to sign easements so that land could legally never be developed, ever.
theHiredMansWife wrote:
I hadn't heard this theory before. The most commonly accepted theory is that the prairies were still recoving from a centuries long drought and the Sandhills, always more vulnurable than everywhere else, were just one of the last to recover.
That's part of why there are several studies going on right now about the Sandhills and their reaction to short-term and long-term drought.
Considering the root depths of many Sandhills grasses and the short distance to ground water in general, and how the Sandhills fared comparatively well during recent drought years that had rainfall amounts less than what was received during the driest time of the Great Depression, I'd say that the theory that Soapweed just conveyed makes a whole lot of sense.
 

Soapweed

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Big Muddy rancher said:
frenchie said:
Soapweed said:
At the meeting, it was brought up that North Dakota has a law on their books that easements can only be in force for ten years, before it becomes necessary to re-negotiate. This looks to me to be an ideal law. Some easements are probably for the good, but if they would have a "window of opportunity" to be re-negotiated, they would be a lot more desirable.

.

Soapweed....I would not trust a law that could be overturned.


Is it the law or the easements that would be rengotiated?

Soapweed I think your "window of opportunity" is called a "Sunset clause' in that the easement has a end date and not into perptuity.

It was confusing the way I wrote this, but the easements would be renegotiated. The law itself would stay intact. Thanks for clarifying this, BMR. Personally, I think it would be a good way to handle the situation. Also the "land grabbers" would not be so persistent in trying to get their way, if the easement would in fact have to be renegotiated after a period of years.
 

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Soapweed,
thanks for bringing up things that we all need to discuss in an open forum with out a bunch of name calling, innuendos and BS. I just wish that the BS session had some sense so we could discuss marketing without name calling, innuendos and flat out lies. I will leave it at that, I cannot hardly read the crap in that forum and most times don't. I know that I am a strong believer in easements as I have seen what they have stopped, but the TNC using taxpayer money to take over the land is wrong, and Ted Turner is one of the worst land managers in the world. I have seen it, one of my former bosses runs his place on Spanish Creek and he is nothing more than a whore to the money, and he knows it, I quit, don't want to be involved in the Sandhusker, SH, Econ type of debate.
 

Big Muddy rancher

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SW I know how you feel and I know how Soapweed feels. We have been dealing with the issue of Easemants thru the SSGA and PCAP with not much resolution. They have good and bad points that I wish we could work around. Some times it's personalities that clash.
Things aren't much different up here as I forwarded Soaps opening comments to the PCAP manager just saying a" Sandhill point of veiw." I was talking to her later and she wondered who held the meeting in the Sandhills? We have the great Sandhills up here and she thought it was here,the issues are so close to the same.
Even on the idea of SSGA holding easements some think it is a good idea as we can put in them what we want and others say we shouldn't have anything to do with them. How do you win?
 

Rowdy Ranch

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On this subject-seems as if the land owner is losing control of the ownership rights around here also. For example,purchased a pasture 2 yrs. ago and thourghly had check out to make sure no easments. WEll, 2 parties had been going thru to their pasture simply because it is easier to go that way instead of thru another owners pasture and better than the path leading to the pasture. We have been trying to get this stopped,finding out that if they have been using that route for 15 yrs. it is a permanent easement. We are still working on it and in the meantime the township(2 pasture owners on the board) had our road fence staked for being on township right away(as all the old fences are,if you get to looking) so giving them the right to take out our fence any time they ----well please. The fence is okay shape. So it all comes to jealousy as they could have bought the pasture as it was a public sale.Always have to fight something anymore as if we don't have enough work to do!
 

theHiredMansWife

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Cal said:
theHiredMansWife wrote:
Is there something new going on? The last I heard re: TNC is that they were helping somehow with the beginning "farmer" program in that they would kick in extra monies with the clause that an easement was signed.
Is there something new that's being proposed for existing ranchers?
I couldn't find anything on their website about helping beginning farmers, maybe you can, but they were certainly encouraging landowners to sign easements so that land could legally never be developed, ever.

I have no idea whether it's on their website or not. However, there've been several write-ups in the Omaha World Herald about a couple of ranches that have gotten help from TNC via that easement clause. I can't remember who they're working in cooperation with here in NE, but I spoke to the cooperative agency one day about it.

Cal said:
theHiredMansWife wrote:
I hadn't heard this theory before. The most commonly accepted theory is that the prairies were still recoving from a centuries long drought and the Sandhills, always more vulnurable than everywhere else, were just one of the last to recover.
That's part of why there are several studies going on right now about the Sandhills and their reaction to short-term and long-term drought.

Considering the root depths of many Sandhills grasses and the short distance to ground water in general, and how the Sandhills fared comparatively well during recent drought years that had rainfall amounts less than what was received during the driest time of the Great Depression, I'd say that the theory that Soapweed just conveyed makes a whole lot of sense.

I take it you've never heard of the centuries long drought. They think it was part of what drove the Anasazi out. It made the drought of the Depression look like a dry year...
And I didn't say that Soapweed's theory didn't make sense. Just that I'd never heard that one, whereas there's a multitude of info relating to the idea of a long drought.

(BTW, I lived on a 6000 head buffalo ranch for several years. I know exactly what they can do to the landscape. )


Edited to add: Sandhills Task Force. Thats the cooperative agency. Here's an article.
http://sandhillstaskforce.org/STF_Beginning_Rancher_Article.pdf
 

theHiredMansWife

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but the TNC using taxpayer money to take over the land is wrong

TNC is privately funded. The land they 'take over' is land they've actually purchased. In this case, they're offering to buy easements. And unless I'm reading this wrong, it's up to the landowner whether to take the offer or not.
 

Big Muddy rancher

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theHiredMansWife said:
but the TNC using taxpayer money to take over the land is wrong

TNC is privately funded. The land they 'take over' is land they've actually purchased. In this case, they're offering to buy easements. And unless I'm reading this wrong, it's up to the landowner whether to take the offer or not.

I think your mostly right Erin, TNCand, Nature Conservency Canada all tho say they aren't the same do have ties. They are funded by donations but up here they do have one ranch they have control over with a arrangement with the Sask. government and money from the Provincial power company.
They are a strong lobby force and we need to support our "stockgrower" orgs that are dealing with these issues on our behalf. The Stockgrowers also need to know how the membership feels.
 

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