The New Mexico rancher who renounced his U.S. Forest Service grazing contract at an event held by an armed group occupying a national wildlife refuge in Oregon posted a video to his Facebook page prior to his Saturday arrival.
Adrian Sewell of Grant County posted the short clip on Thursday — and it was recorded as he was driving a vehicle, presumably on his way to Oregon, although he doesn’t make that clear.
“There comes a point in time in every person’s life that they feel the call of duty,” Sewell said on the video. “Well, I’m answering the call. And I’m on my way into battle.”
At this point Sewell’s speaking voice became noticeably emotional.
“And I need your prayers,” he said. “Because there’s a lot at stake. My life, my liberty and my property. I feel the need to uphold the United States Constitution to the letter with no exceptions.”
After a brief pause, Sewell gathered himself again and said, “Ladies and gentlemen, I truly believe that the battle is for your mind, but the war is for your soul.”
He concluded by asking viewers to “spread the word, call your neighbors, call your family. And ask them to pray for America and ask them to pray for me. God bless you.”
Posted by Adrian Sewell on Thursday, January 21, 2016
Sewell renounced his government contract at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge to protest federal land use policies.
The group there led by Ammon Bundy began occupying the area in eastern Oregon’s high desert on Jan. 2.
Bundy has said the federal government has no authority to enforce federal grazing contracts with ranchers.
Sewell was the only rancher who showed up but said that didn’t bother him.
“I don’t mind standing out and standing alone,” he said.
Bundy had previously met with local ranchers urging them to tear up their federal contracts.
Sewell, who owns 160 acres, bought his ranch four years ago for about $1 million, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported, adding that it included grazing rights to 33,000 acres of public land.
Sewell told OPB his grazing contract allows for 140 head of cattle but that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service restricts him to 85.
“And they’re telling me that because there’s endangered species over in [a] certain pasture,” he told OPB. “They won’t let me fix the fence, so they’re restricting me from what I already have in contract. They’re not even living up to their whole contract.”
Sewell told the outlet that he may increase cattle to 200 this year.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.