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Livestock Groups Support Grazing Legislation

Legislation will provide efficiencies for federal agencies.

Published on: Mar 23, 2012

Congressmen Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, and 10 lawmakers from both sides of the political aisle took a firm stand on the side of America's federal lands ranchers by introducing the Grazing Improvement Act (H.R. 4234), which would increase efficiencies in the federal lands grazing permit process and create a more stable business environment for the ranchers who manage the land and its resources. The Public Lands Council, National Cattlemen's Beef Association and the Idaho Cattle Association urged Congress to immediately consider H.R. 4234.

Bill would increase efficiencies in the federal lands grazing permit process.
Bill would increase efficiencies in the federal lands grazing permit process.

John Falen, PLC president and NCBA member from Nevada, said for more than a decade federal lands ranchers have relied on language being included into annual appropriations bills to allow the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management to renew grazing permits on federal lands under current terms and conditions until the renewal process is complete. Falen said the Grazing Improvement Act codifies that language, extends the life of grazing permits from 10 to 20 years and implements a more balanced appeal process.

"As a rancher who relies on federal grazing permits for my operation, I speak with authority when I say the uncertainty surrounding the current grazing permit renewal process has forced me to spend more time trying to comply with rules and regulations rather than improving my herd and managing the range. This commonsense legislation will provide certainty to livestock producers, ensuring them that bureaucrats are not going to pull the rug from under the grazing permits they rely on to raise healthy animals," Falen said. "We look forward to working with Congressman Labrador to build support for the Grazing Improvement Act."

Richard Savage, ICA president and cattleman from Hamer, Idaho, said H.R. 4234 would result in a more efficient federal lands grazing permit process.

"At a time when our nation is in need of greater government efficiencies and relief from duplicative, burdensome regulations, this legislation comes at an opportune time. H.R. 4234 takes important steps to improving the administration of federal lands by taking management decisions out of the courtroom and putting them back out on the ground where they belong," Savage said. "Sound management of our rangelands has been hijacked by environmental extremists who care little for the actual conservation of the land but rather pursue an agenda of putting a halt to any sustainable use of our natural resources.  I applaud the efforts of Congressman Labrador to restore some common sense to government."

H.R. 4234 is a companion to Senator John Barrasso's, R-Wyo., Grazing Improvement Act.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    This article states that the ranchers manage the land. For one, ranchers always say they are stewards of the land but if I were a rancher I would be terribly embarrassed and ashamed of how bad the public's lands look. Second, the renters (ranchers) of public lands don't manage them, a landlord (government agency) is suppossed to do that. However, the range specialists cower (pun intended) to the ranchers. The BLM range person that commented should be embarrassed and ashamed as well. The range looks terrible and no, I am not a rabid environmentalist. I am just someone that uses public lands and I am sick of seeing riparian areas and rangelands trashed by the "stewards of the land". As for needing a trend plot for 15-20 years, I call BS. The trend for the last 100+ years is obvious, it's downward, just like it always has been. The Great American Rancher; he has one hand out asking for some welfare while the other hand is stabbing the government and public in the back. And to you BLM Range Managers, my taxes pay your way so buck up and do your job. Remember you work for the people and not the ranchers.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Mr. Falen! As a BLM Range Manager I have advocated a 20 year permit since 1999. The Park Service does it! It is hugely more efficient, immediately cutting grazing permitting bureaucracy in half. This in turn increases the amount of time that a Range Manager can be in the field and conduct studies. The lack of boots-on-the-ground Range Managers is a big problem. When we are challenged in court, one of our biggest weaknesses is that we have poor or insufficient science to defend our cases. That’s because we are spending the lion’s share of our time doing permitting instead of applying our talents toward protecting rangeland resources. The range suffers as does everything dependent upon healthy rangelands. In terms of rangeland ecology it takes about 20 years to evidence the effect of a particular management action. Ecology moves slowly on rangelands. Trend studies should be done every 3-5 years, but that does not mean that we expect to see change in 3-5 years. The reason trend studies should be done every 3-5 years (and not more frequently) is that we really don’t expect to see any discernible change over a shorter time. Like watching grass grow (pun intended). We would otherwise be wasting our time, or at least be super inefficient. Similarly, the time it takes to see a definitive trend change is about 15-20 years. There are two reasons to even have a permit renewal process. One is to assure the permittee that they have a stable business environment in which to work. Their permit will not be capriciously pulled out from under them. They can feel safe investing time or effort into maintaining their allotment. Secondly it gives/requires the opportunity to evaluate how things have been going and make necessary changes. For both of the above stated purposes a 20 year permit length is superior. Thank God for the public coming to the BLM’s rescue. It’s ironic how the more that special interest advocacy groups pressure us, the more time we spend being intimidated and trying to appease them, instead of engaging in good natural resources science. This results in degraded resources, which they supposedly are advocates of. Why is the USA behind Argentina, South Africa, and Australia in terms of Rangeland Science? It’s because they actually spend their time engaged in science!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Better yet, how about legislation to undo all Agenda 21 related initiatives and programs!

  4. Anonymous says:

    When ever I hear "common sense" in political conversations it means "ultra conservative" or "right wing" to me. The livestock grazing programs on public lands cost tax payers $120 million per year. That is money lost to the treasury to subsidize cattle production on everyone's land. The loss of wildlife, watershed function, and the cost to recreation and future generations in damaged lands is incalculable. As a conservative, I urge everyone to oppose the Grazing Improvement Act. It is hypocritical for us to demand smaller government then increase subsidies and reduced environmental protections. We can't have it both ways folks?