By Austin Snedden, Ranching Contributor, Valley Ag Voice
On October 14, 2020 in Fallon, Nevada, approximately 700 ranchers and patriots gathered from western states for the “Ranchers for Trump” steak lunch and live auction at the Nevada Livestock Marketing LLC sale yard. The crowd heard speeches from Donald Trump Jr., Charles W. Herbster, and Adam Laxalt. Many auction items were donated ranging from golf outings to guided Mountain Lion hunts. Over 200 head of cattle were donated from over 150 individuals, with all the proceeds being donated to the Trump Victory Campaign. Many cattle donated to the live auction were bought and re-donated multiple times in what is called a “roll over.”
The event started with an outstanding western barbecue steak lunch put on by a host of volunteers to kick off the fundraiser. The parking lot of Nevada Livestock Marketing was ringed with ten cattle trucks from around the west, adorned with Trump flags, “Cattle for Trump” flags, and “USA Beef” banners. After the lunch fundraiser, the parking lot filled with folks to rally in support for President Donald Trump. The crowd heard from Adam Laxalt, former Nevada Attorney General and current Nevada Trump Campaign Co-Chair. Laxalt spoke of the Biden family corruption and the refusal of the partisan media to show journalistic integrity in their coverage. Laxalt spoke of the news stories of Hunter Biden’s payouts from Ukraine and Russia while Joe Biden was vice president and the partisan social media efforts to suppress these stories.
Charles W. Herbster, Chairman of the Farmers and Ranchers for Trump Coalition took the stage next. Herbster, businessman and Nebraska farmer and cattleman, gave an energetic speech outlining the importance of this election and our vote. Herbster then introduced, Donald Trump Jr. who, with his quick wit and enthusiasm, quickly made a connection with the crowd filled with cowboy hats. Donald Jr. outlined the contrast between his father and Biden and Trump’s connection to industry versus the Biden family enriching themselves on politics and political connections. Donald Jr. pushed back against the “identity politics” that have defined the Democratic party and the Democrats goal to categorize everyone by race, gender, and sexuality. He touched on “The Green New Deal” endorsed by Biden and other democrats and the devastation it would have on U.S. industry.
Following the speeches, folks filled the sale ring to bid on donated cattle. Breeding bulls, cows, stockers, feeders, fats, a handful of goats and even a mule flowed through the sale ring until after 10 p.m., with all proceeds going to the Trump Victory Campaign. Col. John Hanger and Col. Corbitt Wall split time on the auction block taking bids from an enthusiastic crowd.
This event was facilitated and hosted by Jack Payne of Nevada Livestock marketing LLC, and Demar Dahl, Nevada rancher and public lands ranching advocate. Jack and Rachel Payne and their crew and volunteers worked tirelessly on this event. The goal was primarily to help Trump get re-elected, because the alternative is highly detrimental to our industry. The secondary objective was to draw Trump Administration attention to the needs of the independent western rancher. This industry is at a crossroads on public land and trade issues. Ranchers are being targeted, science is being ignored, and the very folks that care for the land and prevent devastating wildfires are being removed. Packer consolidation and misleading labeling on the imports of cattle and beef have stagnated the domestic cattle market. These are folks not looking for a handout, they are looking for sound public land policy and healthy markets.
I have been to my fair share of political events and fundraisers, but this one was markedly different. Your typical political event is usually filled with corporate sponsors or trade unions looking to profit off of politics, that type of behavior was noticeably absent at this event. These were real ranchers, real cowboys, sole proprietors and employees, folks from an industry that has been economically challenged by corporate leverage – an industry that has been economically challenged by bad environmental and trade policy. Yet, these folks from an economically challenged industry were giving out of their own pockets because the stakes are that high.