Our Story

Margaret Byfield

“You either own property, or you are property.”

Margaret Byfield

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The story of our founders exemplifies why we fight for American’s right to own property. We know first hand how difficult it is for citizens to protect their rights when government owns the land.

Our executive director, Margaret Byfield was raised on Pine Creek Ranch in Central Nevada where the federal government owns 83 percent of the State. Her family was targeted by environmentalists and endured 13 years of unprecedented regulatory harassment. Then, in 1991, Wayne and Jean Hage filed the first federal lands grazing takings’ case in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims – Hage v. United States.

The family spent 27 years in court where they fended off two criminal charges brought by the government pressuring them to drop the landmark case. They also prevailed in State Court after the government filed claim to their water rights. Finally, after three federal trials, the Claims Court awarded the family $14.4 million for the taking of their property under the 5th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. It was a resounding victory for landowners.

However, it was erased by the D.C. Circuit who overturned the judgement claiming the case was not ripe and the family did not have standing. They lost everything. They never received a penny of compensation. They no longer own the ranch.

This is why Stewards of the Range was founded in 1992 — to help protect Americans from these types of attacks. Then in 2009, Stewards merged with another stellar property rights organization, the American Land Foundation (ALF). ALF was founded by our Chairman, Mike Dail and CEO, Dan Byfield who are seasoned defenders of private property rights. As a result, American Stewards of Liberty emerged as the premier national property rights organization.

“Property must be secured, or liberty cannot exist”

John Adams

Founding Father & 2nd US President