Main Street in Ketchum, Idaho, was home to some unusual visitors this past weekend. Hundreds of sheep trailed through town on their way to winter pastures. The “Trailing of the Sheep Festival” is an annual event that celebrates a tradition that goes back generations.
The number of ranchers in the U.S. is on the decline. There’s no recruiting for the gig and some of the generational ties to ranch land in the west have been severed, so it’s not clear who will take on the business in the future. One answer may be women.
Ranchers in eastern Oregon are trying to cash in on eclipse visitors by opening their spreads to campers. Some have already signed on hundreds of visitors while others are hoping for a rush of last-minute eclipse-ers.
Low temperatures, snow drifts, and northeasterly winds east of the Cascades are making things difficult for Northwest ranchers and dairy owners. They are struggling to keep their animals hydrated, fed and warm.
Some southeast Oregon ranchers near Burns can sympathize with the armed group that’s taken over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Ranchers in Harney County said they are frustrated with federal policy that can complicate ranching, logging and farming.
In the poem “Mending Wall,” Robert Frost lays down the well-worn quote, “Good fences make good neighbors.” In this year’s dramatic Northwest wildfires, ranchers and neighbors are cutting down “good fences” of all kinds.
The Soda Fire in southwest Idaho and eastern Oregon has burned more than 400 square miles -- most of it federally-managed grazing land. Extreme temperatures fueled the Soda Fire. But farmers and ranchers are also blaming federal policy.