Famous country and western singer Merle Haggard is no friend of his local cattle ranchers-

“The thing that bothers me the most is the recklessness and greed of the local ranchers, who run too many cattle back here, choking with waste the creek that runs through my property.  There’s certain times of day that the cowboys like to send them turds down the river.  Them fuckers piss me off.  if you gotta mess up the ecology of the world in order to raise a bunch of cows, well eat somethin else.  I’m not a fan of the cowboys.”   –  Merle Haggard,  Rolling Stone, 10/1/09

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan's Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of "Hiking Idaho." He also wrote "Beyond the Tetons" and "Backpacking Wyoming's Teton and Washakie Wilderness." He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

24 Responses to Merle Haggard, tell us how you really feel about your local ranchers!

  1. Virginia says:

    I used to think I couldn’t stand Merle Haggard, but he has redeemed himself!

  2. Brian Ertz says:

    sounds about right.

  3. Rick Hammel says:

    Well stated, Merle. We need more people of your stature to speak out against livestock ranching.


  4. Ken Cole says:

    I laughed myself silly when I got this email this morning.

  5. Cliff says:

    Adds a whole new meaning to “I’ll never swim Kern River again.” You tell em Merle. Seems like it’s always greed that messes up the ecology.

  6. ProWolf in WY says:

    Nice to see a celebrity arguing about a good cause.

  7. 2S6CUTT says:

    Love that Merle Haggard. Heading to buy one of his CD’s.

  8. Karen V. Stefanini says:

    Thanks for sharing Merle! Your opinion is highly appreciated. Please become an environmental activist! People will listen when you speak.

  9. Salle says:

    Reminds me of an old song about him:

    “Oh I’ll change your flat tire Merle.
    Don’t you get sweet country pickin’ fingers all covered with dirt. You’re a honky I know, but Merle you got soul
    So I’ll change your flat tire Merle.”

    Can’t recall the artist who wrote/recorded that song.

  10. tim says:

    the degraded, unnatural condition of our western public lands from cattle ranching is a silent, little known tragedy.
    go, merle!

  11. Devin says:

    Salle, the song was recorded by the Pure Prairie League from their album “Two Lane Highway.”

  12. janet says:

    I’m a WY country girl who agrees with Merle whole heartedly. Always like his music but now I like “him” too!

  13. ProWolf in WY says:

    Can Merle go on a speaking tour?

  14. mikepost says:

    If you ever get to the ranch country just east of Bakersfield’s airport, in Merle’s home town, you will find moon scapes: treeless hills terraced into brown lifeless wastelands. Now 3 years of nasty drought have put the bite on any rancher trying to do the right thing but this is pretty bad.

  15. Pard says:

    Our Public Lands have made welfare cowboys into Rolex Ranchers. Hell even Ted Turner gets help from tax payers.
    YUP…BOYCOTT BEEF …It’s time !

  16. ProWolf in WY says:

    Pard, better boycott wool and lamb also.

  17. gline says:

    and leather? there is a lot to give up to truly boycott

  18. Angel says:

    I love you Merle Haggard.
    Tell it like it is.
    God loves Merle Haggard too.
    Look out what you say about ole’ Hag.
    Jesus is a friend of his.

  19. Linda says:

    I went to Rolling Stone Oct 1 2009 edition and I can’t see any where Merle said what you printed. Were there two different articles and I just missed it??

  20. Petticoat Rebellion says:

    Hopefully Merle will not suffer the same nasty treatment from the Country music industry & fans for speaking out against cattle ranchers as the Dixie Chicks suffered when they spoke their mind about our former prez, G-Dubya …

  21. Killer says:

    Watch put Merle , down in Texas it’s a punishable crime to speak out against the beef industry, ask Oprah.

  22. kip goozee says:

    I am a writer, a guitar player, I’m 64 and play his songs,his life and leasons are semilar to mine, I live way up North on an Island,its common sense what he is always saying and singing, The Rich get richer, and common folks clean up their mess, hang in there Merle, I got your back! KIP

  23. Bruce Jensen says:

    Loved Merle for a long spell, and this is just one more reason to do so.

    Bruce Jensen, Beef-free for 20 years.


September 2009


‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey