« PreviousContinue »
forest reserves, and we try to hold a string on the use of it and encourage them to utilize it for their best advantage, and to take in all the grazers that are legitimately entitled to graze in that area. It has worked out very satisfactorily. There are other sections of the State where we can not get them to do that, and there is always trouble.
Mr. BOWDEN. How do you find the grazing in regard to the effect it has upon the forage? Is it overgrazed or do the lessees graze it properly?
Mr. NASH. Well, some sections are overgrazed. But after we get to going pretty well they try to cut down their herds in accordance with the amount of grazing forage there.
Mr. BOWDEN. And do you find that when your system is installed on certain lands for a period of time that the grazing is carried on economically?
Mr. NASH. Yes.
Mr. BOWDEN. How long leases do you give?
Mr. NASH. Five years.
Mr. BOWDEN. Do you have a renewal clause in them?
Mr. NASH. NO. We try to justify ourselves, though; there is a renewal clause, too, provided that the man makes application during a given period. But if it is felt that the conditions surrounding that lease are such that some changes should be made, the landlord has the power and authority to change it. That is done under a
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Nash, has it been your policy to assist livestock men in controlling and conserving the range by the placing of lieu land selections on watering places?
Mr. NASH. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. And have you found that to work to the welfare and betterment of the ranges?
Mr. NASH. Yes: I think it has.
The CHAIRMAN. Has that brought the public domain and ranges even within the forest reserve under a better control?
Mr. NASH. A better control. Speaking of the value of the grazing, I suggested that we get an average of 7 cents per acre. I feel that our grazing, on an average, is worth more than the average of the forest reserve, because they take in all classes of land within their boundaries, and we have made selections and made them as choice as we could offer for agricultural purposes or for grazing. And, as Senator Stanfield has said, we try to get the watering places.
Mr. BOWDEN. It is hardly fair to make a comparison between your lands and the forest reserve?
Mr. NASH. I should think so. I would say that we have almost an equal acreage that we are unable to lease. A part of it is timber and part of it is in the desert. But where we can get it in compact bodies in fairly good grazing areas we compel associations within that area to take all within that area.
The CHAIRMAN. You largely leave the method of grazing to the discretion of the tenant?
Mr. NASH. Yes. A practice that we should, I think, put some restrictions on. We are weak there.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you think that some restrictions might be beneficial?
Mr. NASH. I think so.
The CHAIRMAN. But in the main the freedom with which you permit the usage perhaps enhances the value thereof to the tenant? That is, I mean to say the tenant would, you think, and probably does, get more benefit out of the land that he leases from the State than he would out of the forest reserve, where the restrictions are more or less inflexible?
Mr. NASH. Well, I could not say that. I believe this reduction that Senator Gooding has spoken of has been in the interests of the stock already there, because they get more forage.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, that is as to a control of overgrazing?
The CHAIRMAN. Of course, you are not of the opinion that undergrazing should be tolerated any more than overgrazing?
Mr. NASH. No; that is where I feel that we are a little weak in our State; that is, in not providing against overgrazing on the lands we
The CHAIRMAN. I believe you stated that generally you find the tenants where they have long leases inclined to conserve the forage? Mr. NASH. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. Are there any further questions? If not, that will be all, and thank you, Mr. Nash.
FURTHER STATEMENT OF MR. GEORGE F. NESBITT
Mr. NESBITT. Mr. Chairman, if I may be permitted, I would like to make a statement in regard to what Mr. Nash has stated. He was speaking I think, as I got it, about the dairy industry, to take care of their young stuff on the forest reserve. Now, in cases where that has been tried out to my personal knowledge it has proved a detriment for this reason, that those cattle are not range-grazing cattle, and I think a majority of the Forest Service officials will bear me out on that from their handling of that same class of stuff; that is. I know a number of them have talked along that same line, that it is not practical to take on this dairy class of cattle for range grazing. That is something that they have had to do in taking on small men, and it is something that they would have liked to have got rid of. But that class does not utilize the range as well as range-bred
The CHAIRMAN. And it interferes with the proper breeding so far as beef breeds are concerned?
Mr. NESBITT. Well, we are protected in that respect in this State, because they can not turn that type out. Of course, the dairyman would suffer in that respect if he would want to make dairy cattle out of them, and not us. We are protected with a statute on the books in that regard. But the cattle are dairy raised generally, and they want to lie around a ranch every night. They have tramped out some around the watering places. I think there are a number of Forest Service officials here that will bear me out in that statement. The CHAIRMAN. Mr. McDermott.
STATEMENT OF MR. T. H. MCDERMOTT, VICE PRESIDENT STATE CATTLE ASSOCIATION, MERIDIAN, IDAHO
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. McDermott, will you give your name and address, also your association?
Mr. MCDERMOTT. T. H. McDermott, Meridian, Idaho. Stockman and vice president of the State Cattle Association.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. McDermott, you are engaged in the livestock business?
Mr. MCDERMOTT. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. What branch of the livestock industry are you engaged in?
Mr. MCDERMOTT. Cattle business.
The CHAIRMAN. How long have you been engaged in the cattle business?
Mr. MCDERMOTT. All my life.
The CHAIRMAN. Are you a user of the forest reserve ranges?
The CHAIRMAN. Do you graze upon the public domain?
Mr. MCDERMOTT. Not to any extent; no, sir. We go in and out very little on the public domain.
The CHAIRMAN. Have you a statement to make to the committee? Mr. MCDERMOTT. Yes. It seems to have been rather customary at most of the meetings for the speaker to preface what he has to say by putting himself in good with the Forest Service by saying that he has no axe to grind with them, especially with the local men. I could well say that, because our relations have been very satisfactory as far as the local men are concerned, and in a general way altogether.
I happen to have here a copy of a letter which I wrote to a friend, which contains the subject of what I might like to say to you, and with your permission I would like to give that instead of trying to recall just what I have to say. We had a meeting of cattlemen and sheepmen here in Boise some time ago, and it is in reference to that meeting and the matters that came up for consideration that I wrote to Mr. Bacon, and this is the expression that I undertook to give him [reading]:
** Personally I'm not inclined to look upon the situation with undue alarm for no matter how bad it may be, if stockmen will go into the matter and find out wherein their industry is jeopardized and exercise intelligent and concerted action they should be able to get their rights. But there is the rub." To get them first to inform themselves and then to act. Of course, Bacon, the whole matter is going to resolve itself down to whatever a comparatively few of either sheepmen or cattlemen can and will do as far as formulating any legislation and getting it across. It is to be hoped both and all will be able to finance the effort sufficiently to make it possible to have the best help available.
I confess, the Boise meeting did much in bringing to my mind the importance of a proper public land policy. Here is the way this matter has run through my mind from the discussions I've heard and from general knowledge and observation. The Federal and forest reserve lands in Idaho constitute the major portion of the State. As between agriculture and grazing there is no question but that very little of the lands now being grazed will ever be used for agriculture. But, here are others interested in those so-called grazing lands-the timber industry, mining reclamation (as to water sheds), power, recreation, sportsmen, etc. I don't have technical knowledge as to how, when the State was organized, certain lands remained in control of the Federal
Government. What the reason was for holding certain lands and what the policy for so doing was. As Eagleson brought out, the Government has incurred some expense in survey, etc.
Mr. Eagleson, by the way, at our Boise meeting suggested turning the whole proposition over to the States or asking the Government to release the lands in question and turn them over to the State. [Continuing reading:]
and while his proposition has some appeal in it, as I see it, I doubt if the Government could be persuaded at this time to surrender those lands to the State or whether others interested would want to consent. Then, too, while the stockmen away from State border might have no difficulty the man using lands in two or more States would be up against that many different State policies. It is quite apparent that the Forest Service has gotten a long way from the purpose and intent of its duty and jurisdiction as understood at the beginning
This is my personal opinion from observation and what informa-. tion I have. [Continuing reading :]
that the use for grazing has developed into a rather easy source from which to exact revenue, and that it has been pretty rigorously applied regardless of principle or anything else. And along with that regulations have followed that in many cases seem impractical and put into the hands of men for execution that have not a practical knowledge of the stock business. I look upon
the Rachford investigation and report as having been very ill timed, as far as Forest Service is concerned, due to bad condition of markets and finances, as far as stockmen were concerned, but just the thing to awaken and spur forest-reserve users to some action by the contemplated move on the part of the Forest Service. All this might not be so bad, if as has been said the user had any recourse for relief but to the same department that makes the rules. I don't know what per cent of grazing fees is spent in administering what might be considered grazing matters. If the Government feels that it has a future equity in its mines, power development, game, recreation, or what not, it does not seem right to tax the stock industry at the time to protect the future interest.
As the whole proposition appeals to me, with what knowledge I have of it, I would like to see a policy worked out that would place all Federal grazing lands in the State, whether " open" now or in the forest reserve, under a strictly grazing administration in the hands of men qualified to handle it— And, by the way, I think we have many men in the Forest Service now to meet that situation
as free from commercialism and politics as it is possible to have it. And whether it be on a lease or per load basis that it insures to the permittee the use of certain grazing lands for a period of years that would insure permanency to his operations.
Now, there isn't so very much more that I would care to undertake to add in the way of a statement. But there are two or three little matters that I might touch upon. I do not take the position that the Forest Service by any means is responsible for all the ills of the stockman at the present time or that the raising of the fees at this or any other time would necessarily, because of that in itself, put him out of business.
But there is one thing that has appealed to me all the years that I have had to do with the forest reserve and the use of its grazing lands, and that is this: That the man who is not familiar with the conditions out in the West when it comes to the point of utilizing this grazing on the Government land is not in a position to judge to even the smallest extent as to what that grass is worth. What I have in mind is that it is a proposition of the Government having something to sell to the user of the range. And I do not know in
what way the proper impression could be given to those men. I would like personally, and I know the cattlemen will agree if it were possible to work it out, if we could in some way picture to those men or get them out here with us, let them ride with us, if possible, let them go out with our cattle in the spring and get an understanding of what it means to take all your cattle off your feed ground, if you haven't any other place to leave some of the weaker ones or those that are about to calve or are crippled in some way, and distribute them over the range that you use as you go in; have to gather them again and move them to your summer range. I don't know of any way that it would be possible to get them to understand what it
This, for instance, happens: You turn your cattle loose when the grass is short along the trail. They naturally work up if they are permitted 3 or 4 miles from the trail. In the course of a few weeks they get up to very good feed. You take an eastern man who is particularly opposed to permitting us to have this grazing at the present price, take him in an aeroplane if it were possible and land him upon some of those mountain places and let him see the grazing contented cattle that are there around the water and in the brush and he would say, "Heavens, you are just giving those people something for nothing in here," but if he had to ride and gather those cattle from the middle of May to the 1st of June and get them down out of the trail and up to the summer range, I will venture to say that 9 out of 10 of them would conclude that as far as that grass was worth to him if he had to use it, it would not be worth a penny, and that the Forest Service or any other department that has to do with collecting fees is doing a pretty good job of financing if they are getting what they do out of it.
I do not think I can make that too strong. There is nothing fictitious about it. And no man will understand what the situation is unless he gets up in the morning at 4 o'clock and works with his stock until 7 o'clock at night, with nothing perhaps in the way of refreshment, unless he is fortunate enough to strike a friendly sheep camp for a rest; he would get a little understanding of what it means then to get that grass into your cattle. The same would apply to the sheep, of course, but I refer to the cattle because it has been with them that my observation has been.
Now, that is very good as far as it goes. You get your cattle in pretty good condition. You find that you are sixty or seventy or a hundred miles from market when it is time to gather them and lead them, and cattle have gone off our range this summer when they had to go two days without water to get down to the scales. Now, anyone can imagine what that would mean in loss. And so many things enter into the handling of cattle on the range; in other words, in trying to get from your ranch or your winter feed ground in the summer up to where you can get this grazing and get back again you have got a chance of a loss from poisoning, from stealing, in two or three different ways.
It happened, as an illustration, that a band of cattle went up this spring ahead of us two or three days. When our men came along on a certain morning they met eight cows coming back looking for their calves. It is not hard for us to understand what happened.