Donations to Lowry-NettletonPocatello--Members of the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation are continuing their efforts to help two Owyhee County Cattlemen stay on their ranches after an epic, million dollar court battle over stock water rights on the range.
Online donations can be made at Idahofb.org
Idaho Farm Bureau Member Services director Joel Benson says donations can now be made through the Farm Bureau's new website.
"In 2017 the Idaho Farm Bureau developed a new website that allows us to handle financial transactions for a host of different things like the Lowry-Nettleton settlement and there are people that want to help. The site is https:\\www.idahofb.org/donate. It gives members or anyone the chance to donate," said Benson.
In the late 1990s, the Bureau of Land Management hauled the two ranchers into state court to determine who owned the water rights on grazing allotments traditionally used by ranchers since the late 1800s.
Lowry and Nettleton fought the BLM’s challenge of their stock water rights during the Snake River Basin Adjudication when the US government filed overlapping claims to the ranchers’ stock water rights.
While the decade-long legal fight was successful, the rancher's legal defense cost more than a million dollars and they were denied reimbursement of legal fees. The ranchers have negotiated their legal fees down to $300,000 apiece and have secured 20-year loans to cover their bill. Last fall the Ada County Farm Bureau donated $50,000 to help offset the rancher's legal fees.
"Their legal battle secured water rights on the range for generations, those water rights saved ranching in Idaho as we know it, this was least we could do because they’ve sacrificed a lot," said former Ada County Farm Bureau President Don Sonke. "I think this was a good cause and now everyone can make a difference and help out."