The Public Lands Council (PLC), which represents cattle and sheep producers holding public grazing land permits, alongside the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and the American Sheep Industry, among others, said its priorities will “restore balance” to federal land management.
Within the first 100 days of Donald Trump’s administration on 20 January, the associations want to see the Sage Grouse Resource Management Plans – set up to protect the bird’s natural habitat – stopped immediately. A statement from the NCBA goes on to list three further priorities: for the US government to repeal monument designation made via “abuse” of the Antiquities Act; to address habitat designations imposing “stifling restrictions” on landowners; and withdraw from the Environmental Protection Agency’s waters of the US rule and the Bureau of Land Management’s planning 2.0 rule.
Responsible grazing ‘attack’
“Ranchers that operate on federal lands protect water sources used by livestock and wildlife, maintain fence lines, reduce spread of invasive weeds like cheatgrass and medusahead, and decrease the fuel loads that lead to catastrophic wildfire,” said Tracy Brunner, NCBA president in a statement.
“Despite these contributions, beneficiaries of our work continue to attack responsible grazing, essentially biting the hand that feeds them. It is time these groups – whether they be wildlife advocates, environmental organizations, or recreational interests like hikers and sportsmen – put politics aside and appreciate the hard work required to provide them with the quality outdoor experiences they all cherish.”
Alongside the four immediate priorities, the associations want the National Environmental Policy Act reformed. Demands have also been made to “address the exploding population of wild horses and burros”, although no concrete proposals were suggested for this.
Dave Eliason, president of the PLC added livestock ranges in the US west have been subjected to a “wholesale shift” in land management policy under the Obama administration. He called the new proposals laid out by the PLC and others “necessary”.
Donald Trump is yet to pick a candidate to succeed incumbent US Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. This person will likely be involved in dealing with the demands made by the livestock assoications.