Letter to the Editor-Pahlka

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As I was about to use an old issue of your newspaper, I noticed a column by Thomas Mitchell, I neglected to read. Before using it to start my BBQ, I read it. It was about how the BLM was wrong in their facts that cattle are causing the demise of the desert tortoise. It was very informative and well thought out.
As chance would have it, I took a hike to Rodger’s Springs and met a man from Las Vegas, who verified Mitchell’s facts. The Las Vegas man said he bought his home years ago when it was surrounded by ranch lands and the desert tortoise was common. He said it was the wild horse and burros who compete with the tortoise.
I added due to the bad economy, ranchers need to get second jobs and have little time to care for their horses. Either they hire someone or turn them back to the wild. He said the BLM said the local herd of wild horses were only 50 but when they had a round up, it was five times that amount.
Well, I just wanted you to know Mr. Mitchell is often right on the money with his columns. Keep it upn logo.

David Pahlka

Mesquite, NV


  1. johninnv says:

    HUH? “due to the bad economy ranchers need to get second jobs”? The price for beef is near an all time high. If a cattle rancher can’t make money with these sky high prices, they are doing a lot of things wrong, like maybe trying to raise cattle in the Mojave Desert.! Instead of listening to an anecdote from “a man from Las Vegas”, how about looking at the scientific and long-term studies easily available online. The Desert Tortoise population has declined by 95% since 1950.

    • MHarper says:

      Instead of “a man from Las Vegas”, perhaps you would have more confidence in the opinion of a national entity that tracks the sale prices, costs of production and profitability of raising beef, such as The National Ag Report. As of this evening, they agree with your statement that prices are at or near all time highs. The rest of the story is that production costs continue to be higher than sale prices. Sales today of a 750 pound beef, finished and ready for slaughter (after 150 days in a feedlot- which is the average time) would give you a loss of $154.76. If you were a very very small cattle producer, you might want a second job to offset that $154.76 loss. If you were a larger cattle producer with 1,000 head to sell, your wife and all the kids might need a second job to pay off the loss of $154,760. Reports also indicate that due to the high cost of feed, an usually large number of heifers are entering feedlots to be prepared for slaughter (feeders) – reducing the number of reproducing cattle in the country. The result will be a smaller number or cattle available for slaughter in 18 to 24 months. With the lower supply of beef, will there be enough consumer demand to push the sale price high enough to overcome the cost of feed? And you thought the only gamblers were in our casinos!

      Quoting from todays’ National Ag Report —
      The Cattle Report estimates current profit or loss on cattle placed on feed 150 days ago. This report generated from industry averages attempts to simulate a typical close out based on prevailing purchase prices for a feeder steer 150 days ago. The close out assumes grain was purchased at market each month. Selling prices and interest rates are based on prevailing benchmark quoted prices.

      750 # Feeder Steer OKC 150 days ago 1,200.00
      Cost of Gain 600 pounds 480.89
      Estimated Interest(Prime + 1%) 26.64
      Resulting Breakeven 1,707.53 126.48
      Current Texas Panhandle Cash 1,552.77
      Net Profit / Loss -154.76 “

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