PAST TRAILER WINNERS
The Arizona Rancher’s Legal Defense Fund Litigation Raffle an anticipated annual event. Members often add the $300 to their membership dues for a ticket, as well as buy tickets at the special cattle sales or at ACGA’s summer convention. This year Farm Credit Services Southwest has again joined to support the Arizona Cattle Growers’ Association through sponsorship of the ACGA Litigation Fund stock trailer. As of 2018, the raffle has raised over one million dollars to benefit Arizona ranching.
Ann Jeffers - 1998
Hugh & Joyce Foraker - 1999
Norm Hinz, Jr., - 2000
Pinal Feeding - 2001
OX Ranch, John & Joan Murphy - 2002
Shelby Bennett -2003
Sands Ranch - 2004
Walter Lane - 2005
Willcox Livestock Auction - 2006
Tom Hendrickson -2008
Oswald Cattle Co. -2009
Marvin & Marcia John -2010
Gary Peterson Gable - 2011
Wally & Lew Armer - 2012
Allen & Julieana Grantham - 2013
Manny & Aurora Ruiz - 2014
Nichols Cattle Co. - 2015
X-One Ranch - 2016
Rob Boyle - 2017
Despains Ranch - 2018
ACGA first became involved in lawsuits on behalf of its members in the early 1980’s when the Center For Law in the Public Interest brought suit against the State Land Department to invalidate all state grazing leases, alleging that grazing fees were set at an unconstitutionally low rate. That lawsuit went on for about two years, costing ACGA about $80,000 and resulting in a victory for state grazing. Leases were saved from cancellation by court order and then existing grazing fee system was upheld – a system which has since been modified by the legislature.
In the 1990’s, a number of lawsuits by environmental groups against the Forest Service resulted in increasingly more harmful court rulings regarding protecting the goshawk, a “threatened” but not “endangered” species and later the Mexican spotted owl, which in turn caused problems that Forest Service grazing permittees continue to deal with today. Later, the BLM was sued for a long list of endangered species related reasons, some of which our industry is still dealing with.
In order to stem the tide of unanswered lawsuits producing increasingly adverse results, ACGA raised litigation money to comment on and then sue over a Forest Service plan amendment which imposed drastic reductions in grazing capacity in order to preserve ground cover for the Mexican spotted owl. In the end, ACGA lost its case, but not before receiving an order from the trial judge limiting the effect of Forest Service actions.
Sometime afterwards, the cactus ferruginous pygmy owl was listed as endangered and the BLM was sued to remove all grazing in Southern Arizona because cattle might harm the owl’s habitat.
By then, ACGA’s leadership concluded it necessary on an ongoing basis to provide counterweight to the “cattle free” side, and to inject reason into the legal arguments. It soon became clear that our association needed a sustainable fundraising mechanism to deal with this continuing series of legal challenges that are a fact of life for both state and federal land lessees.
To address this, Farm Credit Services Southwest agreed to help its ranching customers by assisting in the ACGA litigation fundraising more directly and the trailer raffle was born. These efforts have permitted the ACGA to respond to, on an as needed basis, legal actions which threaten our members’ ranches. The results of those efforts have benefited us many, many more times than their cost.