Property rights: Top priority

Continuing with the theme I started last week and have hopefully addressed for the past 20 years, I am standing for our property rights and will again look at being a “Champion of Abundance.” We are now days away from the third annual Range Rights and Resource Symposium in Modesto, California. This year we chose to go to the heart of farming country in the San Joaquin Valley of California and show support for the Duarte family, who has paid the price as much as any in the erosion of property rights.

Last week, John Duarte joined me on Rural Route Radio to lay the groundwork for a tremendously provocative and solution-focused two-day symposium. In case you have forgotten or missed it, the Duarte family was targeted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which placed a fine on them for tillage in a field to plant wheat without a permit.

To listen to John walk through the events that ultimately led to a multi-million dollar fine was bone chilling. I suppose if we need to find a silver lining in every storm I would say the silver lining here is that the Duartes survived, became stronger and now have the ability to turn their experiences into a platform to explain to others what is really going on.

I am very honored to once again be the emcee for this event April 20 and 21 at Modesto Junior College. John Duarte will set the stage for what we expect to accomplish. This year the committee has chosen to break each day into a given theme. Day 1 will be “Food Fight” and will share experiences from people all across the country and the hurdles they have had to overcome.

Day 2 of the event will be “Champions of Abundance” illustrating just how we, in the United States agricultural system, have the ability to produce the food needed to feed the world if government entities will just do their job instead of creating barriers to progress.

The U.S. Constitution will once again be the overall theme beyond what we talk about at this event. I am really excited to get 17-year-old Weston Jones from rural Oklahoma on stage talking about what he has challenged himself to do since last year’s symposium in Omaha. He has handed out more than 200 Constitutions and asked those recipients to sign it in front of him as a commitment that they will read it. How many have actually read the Constitution? It really doesn’t take long if you just sit down and do it.

Not surprisingly we have received some pushback this year. There have been two different reasons that people have tried to throw a fit about the Range Rights and Resource Symposium. First, the organizing committee has been all about empowering citizens to stand up for your rights and not cower and hide. That has led some in the legal profession to say we must pursue legal channels only and not endorse “self help.” Excuse me! The whole concept of stand up for what is right is the basis behind what the Founding Fathers ensured we could have.

Second, we have Ammon Bundy on the program in the final day. At this moment in our nation nothing brings out the fearmongering socialists quicker than mentioning that a Bundy will be involved. I first met Ammon when I visited with him during the Malheur Wildlife Refuge occupation in January 2016. After a 20-minute video interview with this man, I quickly came to respect and appreciate his conviction and faith in doing the right thing. We don’t need to relive why and what they did at Malheur but what we do need to do is learn from this man as to how you have complete faith and never cave no matter how severe the torture is.

I realize this event has the words “Range Rights” in the title and too many people get hung up on the fact that only 11 states have “Range Rights.” But folks we must all recognize that our “Rights” are our rights. They have been eroding significantly since the day the U.S. Constitution was ratified.

Once again I believe we are at the right time in the right place. The farm families in California have been on the front line of losing these rights tenfold faster than others. From water to air quality to land easement, they have endured it all. In closing, the statement that John Duarte shared on Rural Route last week summarizes in my mind the best approach to going forward.

In reference to the laws and regulations the governments are forcing upon the food producers of our nation, Duarte said, “To be represented by the archeology of the past does nobody favors for the future.”

We have the ability to overcome any food scarcity if a few more of us are willing to stand up and get busy doing what we do best. #FarmersFeedTheWorld.

Editor’s note: Trent Loos is a sixth generation United States farmer, host of the daily radio show, Loos Tales, and founder of Faces of Agriculture, a non-profit organization putting the human element back into the production of food. Get more information at, or email Trent at [email protected].