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Most Americans are genuinely interested in the buffalo, or American Bison.
T hey are magnificent creatures and are an intriguing part of our history. As the west was explored and settled, the vast herds (estimated at 30-70 million) of buffalo awed explorers such as Lewis and Clark and the pioneers as they traveled the Oregon Trail."
Eldon and Alice Metz, Cascade Buffalo Ranch, Salem Oregon

News and Events for the Northwest Bison Association:

HELLO TO ALL NORTH WEST BISON MEMBERS

Hello all NWBA members,

Hope all is well for everybody.
The Spring meeting is quickly approaching and is confirmed for March 11th, 2017, so please save the date.

The meeting will be at L bar T Bison Ranch in Forest Grove, Oregon.

Tom Epler, Jr, has been kind enough to host us for this year's conference. Below is the information about hotle where he has reserved a block of rooms. It is 2 miles from the ranch.

Best Western University Inn & Suites
3933 Pacific Ave, Forest Grove, OR 97116
Call to reserve a roon: (503) 992-8888

For planning purposes, if you don't need to rent a car, you can fly in to PDX and take the MAX light rail (red line) in to Portland, transfer to the blue line, and have someone pick you up in Hillsboro. The Hatfield Station is the end of the line, and about 10 miles from the Ranch.

I will send some follow up emails with details as things are finalized. We are hoping for a good turn out this year.
Hope to see everyone there.
Thanks!

Chase Shoemaker

More information about the 2017 meeting will be added as it is finalized.
Please save the date and book your room if you need one.


Hotels:.
Nearest Airport: PDX

How to Get To the Ranch:

Itinerary for Saturday still being finalized. Generally speaking, based on past events:
1. Meeting time and location -
2. Sign ups, visiting, and renewals - ( 8:30 - 9:00)
3. Introductions and presidents updates- introduce new members ( 9:00- 10:00)
4. Speaker 1 - ( 10:00- 11:00)
5. Round table discussions of current events ( 11:00 to 12:00 )
6. Lunch break ( 12:00 to 1:00 )
7. Resume meeting (Updates, elections, etc. ) (1:00 to 2:00)
8. Speaker 2 – To be announced and is happening ( 2:00 to 3:00 )
9. Ranch Tour - ( 3:30 ish to 5:00 )
10. Happy hour and getting caught up at TBD ( 5:30 to 7:00 )
11. Casual dinner - Location TBD ( 7:00 on )

Sunday- ( 9:00 till.....)
 


USDA Report

The monthly report is available at Ams.usda.gov/mnreports/nw. Be sure to check it out to follow where prices are standing.

And for all of us grass fed operations, the USDA has announced a new monthly market report, just for the grass fed industry. The new report will include these three sections-
1.prices paid for live cattle.
2. wholesale beef prices.
3.direct market beef prices.

Let us put pressure on Dave Carter and company to push to get are GF Bison included in this report.


Ditch The Rule - EPA and Army Corps of Engineers Power Grab

Added May, 2014: As many of you may have heard, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have proposed a rule to redefine the term "waters of the United States."  This is critically important because it establishes the jurisdictional boundaries for federal regulation over all waters under the Clean Water Act. The new proposed definition for "waters of the U.S." expands federal jurisdiction over waters and may impact individual landowner's ability to develop, modify, or otherwise manage his or her land.  As a result, this proposal is one of the largest federal power grabs in recent history.
The link to the proposed rule is here.
 
In short, the rule proposes to change the definition of "navigable waters"-also referred to as "waters of the United States"-as it applies to the entire CWA. Certain permitting requirements and water quality standard mandates will apply to these new jurisdictional waters. That includes provisions that require water quality standards, issuance of "total maximum daily loads" for waters that do not meet those standards and spill-prevention regulations, not to mention the major 402 NPDES and 404 dredge and fill permit programs. The proposed rule would include many-perhaps most-smaller waters and even dry land (ditches and ephemeral drains that are usually dry) in the definition of "waters of the U.S." As a result, permit requirements that apply to navigable waters would also apply to most ditches, ephemeral drains, small ponds and even depressions in fields and pastures that are only wet when there is rain. If landowners are unable to secure permits to do things like build fences and use pesticides to control bugs and weeds-and permits are far from guaranteed-farming and ranching will be much more costly and difficult. For the same reasons, the proposed rule would make many routine farming and ranching activities vulnerable to lawsuits brought by environmental interest groups, threatening federal penalties of $37,500 per "discharge" per day. Other landowners, too, will face permitting roadblocks and potential liability for things they want to do, such as building a house or planting trees. It is clear from the language of the CWA that Congress did not intend for the law to extend federal regulations to such small, remote waters and land features; otherwise, Congress would not have used the term "navigable."
 
EPA claims in its promotional materials that it is not broadening coverage of the CWA. However, the details of the rule itself, as compared to the text of the existing regulations, say otherwise. The proposed rule provides essentially no limit to federal jurisdiction. It establishes broader definitions of existing regulatory categories, such as "tributaries," and regulates new areas that are not jurisdictional under current regulations, such as "adjacent non-wetlands." Location of a water in a riparian area or a floodplain, a connection through shallow subsurface water or directly or indirectly through other waters, and aggregation of similarly situated waters are some of the means that the proposed rule uses to capture waters that might otherwise be non-jurisdictional.
 
The proposal also ignores the Supreme Court's mandate that imposes limits on federal jurisdiction and specifically rejects EPA/Corps theory that the agencies should regulate a water feature or dry land if one could find any hydrological connection to a traditional navigable water. The proposed rule will extend coverage to many water and land features that are physically remote from any traditional navigable water or carry only minor volumes of stormwater when it rains. When one reads the proposed rule and preamble closely, it is clear that the proposed rule would recognize no reasonable limit to federal jurisdiction.
 
EPA and the Corps claim that the key goal of the rulemaking is to provide clarity, but major sections of the proposal leave key concepts unclear, undefined or subject to agency discretion. For example, the rule asserts jurisdiction over waters or wetlands located within the "floodplain" or "riparian area" of a water of the U.S. Those are ambiguous terms that could result in large areas of farmland falling under federal jurisdiction. The agencies are allowed to use their "best professional judgment" to determine what flood interval to use (10? 100? 500?) or what constitutes a riparian area. Such vague definitions and concepts will not provide the intended regulatory certainty for farmers and ranchers and will likely result in large geographical areas where all remote and unconnected waters fall under federal jurisdiction because they are in a floodplain.
 
Impacts on agriculture
* Because of the proposed rule, farmers, ranchers and other landowners will face a tremendous roadblock to ordinary land-use activities, from building a fence to spraying for or pulling weeds and insect control.
* By increasing federal jurisdiction over lands (by calling them "waters of the U.S."), the rule would establish federal veto power over farming and other land uses.
* There is no legal right to a Clean Water Act discharge permit. EPA will have ultimate control to deny a permit and restrict a farmer's ability to farm.
* The proposed rule is nothing short of a license for EPA, the Corps and NRCS to dictate and micromanage land-use across the country.
Exemptions
* The exemptions EPA and USDA claim will protect farmers only apply to long-standing operations, not new or expanded farms.
* The exemptions don't cover weed control, fertilizer use and other common farm practices.
* The exemptions have existed for years but have been narrowed by EPA guidance issued simultaneously with the proposed rule.
* Just as it did with this new guidance, EPA can further narrow the exemptions at the drop of a hat. Farmers can't depend on them.
Other Points
* EPA and the Corps are manipulating science and using flawed economics to expand federal regulatory jurisdiction while grossly understating the cost of that expansion.
* EPA and the Corps have said the WOTUS rule provides clarity and certainty. The only thing that is clear and certain is that, under this rule, it will be more difficult to farm and ranch, build homes or make changes to the land-even if the changes would benefit the environment.
 
OFB (in coordination with AFBF) will provide members with draft comments to submit to EPA.  In addition, both OFB and AFBF will submit organizational comments to clearly articulate the farming and ranching community concerns with this proposal.  Comments are due July 1, 2014.


Presidents Report

Here are websites and current topics of bison interest that I think that you will find interesting.

1. Meatingplace.com This website releases a morning and afternoon update that keeps you current in the meat world. It also consists of a group of blog writers and topics that I find most interesting. Some of my personal favorites are Activist Watcher by Emily Meridith, and the Gentle Vet by Scott Hurd. Read the article on the Google financed artificial meat substitute experiment. A most thought provoking piece, and a true barometer of what direction the meat industry could be going. Give it a read, and let us hear your thoughts..

2. For those of you who are not NBA members, I would suggest you join. Check out their site. One of the main reasons above and beyond the importance staying in touch with what the big boys of the industry are doing, is reading the weekly update that they email out every Friday afternoon. It is a wealth of current knowledge, and well worth reading cover to cover. It is always good to now what is happening at the national level, and Dave, Jim and company are always swinging away at doing a good job for us and are industry.

3. Take a moment to read the USDA report on climate change and how it could impact are industry. Ok, I admit that this is a real area of interest for me, but I cannot underestimate the importance of looking down the road climate wise, and doing are due diligence on preparing for what Mother nature has in store for us weather wise in the upcoming future. Thank you Bison gods for producing such a fine animal that is highly adaptable to all types of adverse weather conditions. Something tells me that we are going to be putting this admirable trait to a real test in the upcoming years.

4. Check out "The bison council " website when you can. This is a good venue for the general public to be aware of, and the recipes that Ellie Krieger is posting are worth the read. It is nice to see this kind of exposure that are industry is getting.

5. Lastly I want to reach out to all our members to send in any pictures or items of interest that you think that we would enjoy to update are web site, and to ask for new items to add to are little used classified section, that we should be taking better advantage of.

The cost is free, so let us put it to use by listing such things as Bison golf putters, yes that is you Dave, or advertising your valuable mentoring skills for hire, and that would be you Garrett. We are all in the business to sell or promote bison, so lets get after it folks.

I will be talking more about these topics later in future, and I realize that we are all busy with are ranch and personal lives. But take the time, and stay engaged. Till the next time-Alan