Senator grazing rights

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Two Senate terms ago Nebraskans sent our former Governor E. Benjamin Nelson to Washington to represent our interests. Senator Ben, Democrat, campaigned on his intentions to be an independent voice representing the conservative outlook for which our state is noted.

Many conservatives, me included, took him at his word and voted for him back then. The longer he stayed in Washington, which happens all too often, the more liberal his voice became. Rather than standing up to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Senator Nelson finagled a shameful deal that became known as the Cornhusker Kickback and sold his soul to pass Obamacare.

Then when Senator Ben came back home to poll the voters as to his chance of being elected to a third term, the "chickens came home to roost." He found that there was no chance in heck that the voters would be fooled again by his promise to be an independent voice and wisely decided to retire from the Senate to "spend more time with his family." Sadly he isn't going quietly into the night. He is now campaigning for Senator Harry Reid's hand-picked Democrat replacement, our has been Senator Bob Kerrey, current and longtime resident of New York.

Senator Kerrey is running against Nebraska State Senator and successful business person Deb Fischer from Valentine. In the primary Nebraska voters weighed the attributes of Candidate Deb Fisher, successful business person and chose her over professional lawyer/politicians Stenberg and Bruning much to the disdain of the power brokers from the Eastern end of the State.

Now the race is on. Deb Fisher and her rancher husband have built a successful ranching operation, part of which includes grazing on government lands. Enter Senator Ben Nelson in the Senate last Tuesday, June 12th.

He introduced an amendment to the farm bill that in the convoluted math of Washington would reduce the deficit by $1.2 billion. To quote Senator Ben "This is about fairness, fairness for America's farmers and ranchers, and fairness to all taxpayers." He continues: "In my efforts to identify areas for deficit reduction, I am proposing an amendment to eliminate a set of government subsidies. An elite two percent of the nation's livestock producers" (enter Deb Fisher here)"receive taxpayer subsidies for grazing on public lands. In the interest of fairness to all ranchers and taxpayers, we need to reform federal grazing subsidies. My amendment would require that ranchers pay grazing fees based on their region's market value, rather than the much-lower price that they currently pay," Nelson stated.

Take that, Deb Fisher, Senator Ben is going to break your operation by raising grazing fees out of sight. How dare you to even think of going to Washington to replace the one who has already embarrassed himself? The temerity of it all! Let's look at what Senator Ben is touting as a subsidy.

From the facts that his staff gathered and citing figures from the Government Accounting Office, Senator Ben notes that it costs the federal government $144 million a year to manage grazing rights on public lands. The federal government collects nearly $21 million each year in grazing fees from ranchers. That leaves a net cost to American taxpayers of over $120 million each year. Incidentally, another chunk of his proposed savings will be from eliminating direct payments which in his math will save $15 billion over 10 years which will be used for deficit reduction. Yeah, right.

Gee, I wonder who sets the price for grazing rights on public lands? Possibly it is the government bureaucrats that work indirectly for Senator Ben. Why don't they raise the fees to cover the whole cost of administering the grazing rights program, instead of reducing those fees by 40 percent as Senator Ben states they have done from 1980 to 2004? Hello, capitalism at work, raise the fees too much and nobody rents the grass. Set the price too high and there will be no $21 million to help offset the costs of the bureaucracy which of course can never be cut at all! There is nothing like killing the goose that lays the golden eggs. Can you imagine what a hassle it is to rent grazing rights on public lands? First, one has to deal with bureaucrats who are influenced by all sorts of environmental wackos. Streams have to be fenced off so cattle can't erode stream banks when they venture down to drink.

Wolves are the current wildlife du jour and disregard the fact that wolves prey on beef. Oh yes the government does not do fence, as would a private landowner, it is the responsibility of those who lease the grazing rights. Private landowners put down wells and maintain the waterworks for the renter, but of course not the government. The list goes on and on so it is little wonder that the federal government can't compete to receive the same rents that a private landowner would for leasing grazing rights. It is just not fair!

Senator Ben Nelson most likely knows that there is a reason that few ranchers want to face the hurdles involved in leasing federal grazing rights or at least he should as he likes to represent the voice of western ranchers and farmers. I feel that he is just trying to make political points and we are tired of it.

It is time that Senator Nelson back off the electioneering and slip quietly into the sunset. I think that most Nebraskan's would think more highly of him if he did just that. We want to be proud of our hometown boy made good but gee Senator Ben you are making it tough to do so.

That is the way I saw it.

Dick Trail

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  • do you suppose dear ben would even remember where he came from? or if he did, would he even still admit it?

    -- Posted by BlackRifle on Tue, Jun 19, 2012, at 2:09 PM
  • I am against ALL government subsidies -- period. However, if Ben Nelson really wants to talk about deficit Ag. subsidies, he should mention the BILLIONS in corporate welfare he doles out every year under the name of ETHANOL. Besides the campaign kickbacks and vote buying Ben Nelson gets from Ethanol welfare, he is also promoting the burning of 1/3 or our corn food stocks that drive up food prices here at home and around the world.

    Nebraska has never known a politician that is so corrupt, hubristic, and deceitful as Ben Nelson become under Obama. If Ben Nelson doesn't take his statue with him when he leaves office, then the good folks of McCook should sell it for scrap, or even better, move it out to the sewage treatment plant where it might be useful in scaring off the buzzards...

    -- Posted by 9th ID on Tue, Jun 19, 2012, at 4:22 PM
  • McCooks own Ben "has been" Nelson is flaming out with his politcal glory long past him and he only left to wonder how did this all happen??? Selling out your soul and your voters that put you in office to the devils in Washington like Reid and Polisi is the answer and supporting a carpet bagger like Bob Kerry to take your seat is only making your career look like a wasted vote in a longer term perspective..

    -- Posted by Cornwhisperer on Tue, Jun 19, 2012, at 11:17 PM
  • Oh I get it Dick, some subsidies are just fine while some are not. You talk just like the politicians you rant about. I remember you saying that all subsidies were bad when speaking of the wind generators. So please, which is it? Please take on the subsidies that directly affect people in S.W. Ne., ag, rail, farm, and air travel.Please.

    -- Posted by hulapopper on Wed, Jun 20, 2012, at 8:40 AM
  • What is being said is this; Ben is changing his attitudes as the winds of the Democratic Party tell him to. I am sure that Ben supported these government grazing rates indirectly as a way of currying favor with the rural sides of his constituents. (As in 'see what I have done for you and how much more money you now have in your rural communities') Now that he is officially retiring and the democratic winds have dictated to him that his replacement will be Bob, and he has to do what he can to discredit Deb Fischer, or else. Let's look at these supposed benefits that the Fischers received. So they got a good deal on the land rental rates. Didn't every other rancher have a chance to get in line to rent that property as well? Plus, no one has ever said that this was the same quality of land as what is held in private hands in that same area. Most of the time in Nebraska, publicly held lands are either one of two things; taken from private land owners for the public good, or land so unproductive that no one wants to own it. I have never heard if this ground was good, bad or indifferent. And on the subject of business expenses... Hello? What businessman in their right mind would turn down a good deal on an operating expense? "No, I want to pay as much money to rent substandard land, with no fences nor water, nor easy access; as I would to rent good ground, with good water and good roads." Why was this not an issue before now? Why should we care about this one issue? Both questions can be answered by two words. Fischer Wins! If that is all that the democrats can come up with to discredit Deb Fischer, then they really don't have much in the way of ammunition to fight her.

    -- Posted by quick13 on Wed, Jun 20, 2012, at 10:27 AM
  • *

    hulapopper, What difference does Dick Trails opinion on subsidies matter? He has no office or assertion of power to influence any company or market regarding taking or relinquishing subsidies.

    -- Posted by Mickel on Wed, Jun 20, 2012, at 10:37 AM
  • For the record, how fast a lot of you forgot how

    Trail spent the tax payers money when he was a

    commissioner. He lauds the liberals, yet he was

    a liberal republican. You go back & read his

    record he spent money like it grew on trees.

    There was alot he done that was never told.

    -- Posted by S&P1958 on Thu, Jun 21, 2012, at 8:55 PM
  • Instead of attacking the messenger, why don't we try and have a constructive conversation about the topic?

    -- Posted by quick13 on Fri, Jun 22, 2012, at 2:01 PM
  • *

    The topic, as I understand it, is that Mr. Nelson seems to have favored grazing rights by qualified applicants; until he found out that it may be aiding his parties' political opponent. And only now he seems to be attempting to use his power to injure the business of an American, whose only apparent crime is that she is of an opposing political party.

    If that is true; then it is wrong and quite sad.

    S&P: I'm not excusing, condoning or defending Mr. Trail and his actions in a past political office...he was out of office before I moved to McCook...(he may have been on the city council when I moved here).

    However, what he is doing now is shedding light on conduct by a public official, that I have not seen voiced elsewhere. If nothing else; he is providing a credible service voiced in a colorful manner. Personally, I appreciate it.

    -- Posted by Mickel on Fri, Jun 22, 2012, at 9:19 PM
  • Bravo! Mickel.

    -- Posted by quick13 on Sat, Jun 23, 2012, at 11:49 AM
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