By MATTHEW WEAVER
The new president of the Cattle Producers of Washington says the industry's biggest need is to be left alone by bureaucrats.
"We can take care of ourselves if they let us," Dave Dashiell said. "You read back in history and we're still fighting the same battles they were a hundred years ago. They might have a few different words, but they're just about the same thing. You can never give up or relax too much, because it just keeps popping up. You've got to be on the ball all the time."
Dashiell manages 250 to 300 head of cattle. He ranches in Hunters, Wash., in the summer and in Eltopia, Wash., in the winter.
A lifelong rancher, Dashiell expects animal traceability to be a priority in 2013.
"I'm thinking they already have enough rules," he said. "If they would just use the system we've got, we'd be fine. It's been working for 50 or 100 years."
The livestock industry is awaiting a ruling in the case between Dayton, Wash., rancher Joe Lemire and the state Department of Ecology. The state supreme court heard arguments in November from Lemire and the Department of Ecology over whether Lemire represents a significant potential to pollute and is required to protect a nearby creek from his cattle.
"I'm pretty sure water issues aren't going to go away, no matter what happens," Dashiell said.
Dashiell also expects more discussion of wolves in the spring.
There hasn't been an impact to his operation yet, he said.
"It just hasn't been our turn yet," he said. "I've heard wolves just above the house last spring."
The Huckleberry pack runs near his Hunters operation.
Dashiell thinks the state and cattle and sheep producers could work together to develop a plan if it weren't so politically charged.
"The wolves are here, we're going to have to deal with them," he said. "I just don't want everybody to become a criminal just because they're trying to make a living."