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Cloud Seeding Fools and Other Droughty Thoughts

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 W.R. McAfee

Copyright©2012 by W.R. McAfee.  All rights reserved

OP-ED

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Travel IH-10 West from San Antonio and you will eventually pass through Fort Stockton, Texas. Continue on and you will notice grass-covered mountains coming into view on the left side of  IH-10.  These mountains are the Barrilla Mountains. They blend with the Davis Mountains and others that  stretch south of the highway for more than a hundred miles to the Rio Grande;  mountains covered with rich, rocky, volcanic soil that can’t be plowed; mountains good only for ranching—the bigger the better.  Water in theseThunderhead mountains is scarce and deep except for an occasional spring. Ranchers there are totally dependent upon rainfall to produce the protein-rich gramma grasses for which the mountains are known.

Opposite the mountains and to the right of IH-10 west, the land is level and stretches miles north, checker-boarded by farms sitting atop good soil and an aquifer that supplies water for crop  irrigation or sprinklers or cienegas.

Thunderheads bring rain to both sides of this stretch of IH-10.  They form naturally in the west and northwestern sky and move east, raining on rancher and farmer alike. The ranchers watch these thunderheads and hope for rain.  The farmers watch these thunderheads and hope it doesn’t.

The hardest drought ever to hit West Texas began in the 1950s.  Southwest Weather Research, a company that seeded clouds, began to dissipate forming thunderheads to eliminate the possibility of  hail north of IH-10.

Ranchers in the Davis Mountains asked the farmers to not do this. They needed the rain.  Many were teetering on the edge of bankruptcy and one more dry summer would  push some over the edge. They were running out of water and grass and watching livestock die as springs and dirt tanks went dry.

The farmers said no.  Lines were drawn. Thunderheads would form, the cloud seeding planes would arrive, and 20 minutes later the cloud would be dissipated. In desperation, some individual(s)—no one is quite sure who—climbed atop their windmill(s) in the afternoon when the thunderheads formed and seeded them with lead when the  planes arrived.

They never downed any, but seeding pilots began discovering an occasional bullet hole during preflight checks. Protests were lodged with local gendarmes.

“You get a look at who it was ashootin’ at cha?”

“Hell no. I was too busy flying.”

“You sure someone was ashootin’ at cha?”

“Hell yes I’m sure. I got a bullet hole right here in my plane you can stick a finger in.”

“Well, see if you can get a good look at who it is that’s ashootin’  at cha, and where he was ashootin’ at cha from, and we’ll go talk to him. Otherwise, ain’t a whole lot we can do.”

Or words to that effect.

Pilot enthusiasm for seeding clouds above the Davis Mountains faded. More

Harry Reid’s latest assault on America: The land theft act

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By Dan Byfield | December 21, 2010 Call Your Senators Today!

This means additional wilderness, wild and scenic rivers and trails designations, the expansion of EPA authority to control ocean beaches through regulations that will adversely affect all farms and ranches, and multiple land transfers, among other significant negative implications for America.

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As feared by everyone, the U.S. Senate and Harry Reid are bringing those the CLEAR Act, fears to fruition and are set to destroy America’s future by taking all the private property they can with one bill, unless we act this week! It used to be called the CLEAR (Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic Resources) Act of 2010, but Mr. Reid pulled a legislative trick and substituted the CLEAR Act for a completely unrelated, bill S. 303, and now calls it the “America’s Great Outdoors Bill of 2010.” More

NAIS ALERT!!!

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FA-RM  Is another website we found that is dedicated to fighting back against NAIS.  Visit their site to read the full article on the latest move by the USDA to make NAIS mandatory. 

http://www.fa-rm.org/blog/2009/01/action-alert-on-nais-usda-is-moving.html

Saturday, January 17, 2009

ACTION ALERT on NAIS: USDA is Moving Fast!

“Excerpted from the full aricle:

In regard to advancing NAIS, the four most important aspects of the USDA/APHIS Jan. 13, 2009 rule are:

1. As of the effective date of the final rule, the NAIS Premises ID Number (PIN) would be the only form of PIN allowed for certain official uses.
(Note on timing — the comment period is open until March 16, 2009. Then USDA reviews the comments and at some point can issue a final rule. That date of issuance would be the effective date for the mandatory assignments of the NAIS Premises IDs.

However, a large number of unfavorable comments might result in the postponement, or even retraction or cancellation, of the rule.)

2. Although the system announced in this proposed rule supposedly permits the continued use of the National Uniform Eartagging System (traditionally, metal tags) and a “premises-based numbering system,” in fact, these systems would be used in the same way as NAIS Animal Identification Numbers. The older forms of eartags and individual IDs would all be connected into the NAIS Premises ID database through the Animal Identification Number Management System (“AINMS,” the USDA system that keeps track of what individual animal identification number is assigned to what farm or ranch). In other words,

under the system of this proposed rule, anytime a farmer/rancher has metal tags applied to livestock (such as for TB or brucellosis testing), the farm/ranch will be placed into the NAIS Premises ID system and the numbers on the tags will be tied to the farm/ranch through the USDA’s AINMS system.

3. Some requirements are being added for official eartags and these new requirements might make it very difficult or even impossible to obtain metal tags instead of the NAIS tags.

The additional requirements include a “U.S. shield” printed on each tag, and tags must be “tamper-resistant and have a high retention rate in the animal.” The APHIS Administrator must approve all tags. The NAIS tags now available already meet these standards. It is not clear that metal tags have ever been judged by these standards, so it is possible that the APHIS Administrator could fail to approve metal and other non-NAIS tags.

Also, tag manufacturers will have a clear self-interest in abandoning production of cheap metal tags in favor of expensive NAIS RFID tags, so non-NAIS forms of tags may quickly become extinct.

4. The addition of a definition of the AINMS to the animal-disease program rules in the Code of Federal Regulations is huge.

Previously the AINMS has only been defined in the non-rule NAIS informational documents (Draft Strategic Plan, User Guide, Business Plan, etc.) so it did not have any defined legal status.

Now this proposed rule adds a definition of the AINMS and also provides that eventually the AINMS will be used to tie all types of “official” tags — not just the NAIS 15-digit tags — to a NAIS registered premises. The proposed rule accomplishes essentially a mandatory system for the first 2 elements of NAIS — NAIS premises ID and NAIS individual animal ID. The only difference from the original NAIS plan is that now the metal tags and other traditional forms of individual ID have become additional forms of numbering/tagging that are used as part of NAIS.

Note that even if your state has passed a law to keep NAIS “voluntary,” that will not necessarily save you from this rule. The Federal Register notice specifically states: “All State and local laws and regulations that are in conflict with this rule will be preempted.” (p. 1638.)

However, if you are working to pass a state law limiting NAIS in the present legislative session, keep working — such a law could still be very important. It shows the opposition of animal owners and consumers to NAIS, which may help get the rule postponed or rescinded. In addition, the question of whether this rule would pre-empt contrary state laws in all circumstances may someday be open to legal challenge.” (end quote)

 

Read the fullarticle here: http://www.fa-rm.org/blog/2009/01/action-alert-on-nais-usda-is-moving.html

I urge everyone to sumbit comments on this sneak introduction of NAIS onto producers and consumers via the Federal Rulemaking Portal. The proposed rules may be read in full here in the Federal Register. Clearly state that your comment refers to Docket # APHIS-2007-0096.

FA-RM Action

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