OWYHEE COUNTY FARM BUREAU PRESIDENT TIM LOWRY GIVES THANKS AT ANNUAL BANQUET
BOISE--It started as nightmare for Tim Lowry and Paul Nettleton. Nearly a decade ago the Bureau of Land Management hauled the two Owyhee County ranchers into state court to determine who owned the water rights on grazing allotments utilized by the ranches since the late 1800’s. The U.S. Grazing Service, which eventually became the BLM, was not established until 1934. This turned out to be a key factor in the court decision.Eventually, the Idaho Supreme Court ruled for the ranchers nullifying the attack on state water rights by the BLM.
While the fight was successful, the legal defense of the ranchers cost a small fortune and they were denied reimbursement of legal fees.The Idaho Farm Bureau Federation kicked off a fundraising effort by producing a 16 minute documentary telling the ranchers’ story. The two families won victories against an army of federal lawyers and against long odds. The outcome of the case benefits every Western Farmer and Rancher, every ATV owner, every hunter and set a precedent that protects stock water rights throughout the West.
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