A story impacting agriculture has been brewing out west for the last couple of days. National news outlets have picked it up and it seems everyone has an opinion of the Hammond family ranchers who were re-sentenced after already spending time in jail after pleading guilty to arson on federal lands. But the story doesn’t end there. A self-proclaimed militia group, lead by the Bundy’s of Nevada, showed up to take over the headquarters of an Oregon wildlife refuge and are claiming support of the Hammond family in a more radical form.
The Oregon Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) say the Hammond’s are long-time members and have been in support of them for sometime, but they do not support the illegal activity taken against the government. Dwight and Steve Hammond reported to federal prison, as promised, on Monday, January 4 to serve there second sentence.
John O’Keeffe, current president of the OCA, said the ranchers in Burns strive to work together with surrounding agencies. “The community of Burns and the ranchers there have been very resourceful in working together with agencies on many wildlife issues,” he said. “Furthermore, OCA does not support illegal activity taken against the government. This includes militia takeover of government property, such as the Malheur Wildlife Refuge.”
“OCA feels the Hammond’s situation is a classic case of double jeopardy. The Hammonds were tried and convicted by a jury of their peers and have already served their sentence,” OCA’s Executive Director, Jerome Rosa said.
“We are circulating an online petition asking the White House to review the Hammonds case. In addition to clemency efforts, we are working through legal avenues to help the Hammonds get their BLM grazing permits restored,” said O’Keeffe.