From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 2, Number 48 - February 27, 2003
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

GRV Cattlemen's Association on grazing
Guest Editorial
by Jim Bousman, Green River Valley Cattlemen's Association president

After reviewing the Management Situation Analysis document prepared during the scoping phase of the Pinedale Resource Management Plan, the Green River Valley Cattlemen's Association feels that the timing its "roundtable" meeting scheduled for March 8 is more pertinent than ever. Ranchers and members of the GRVCA will have a chance to express their concerns over the BLM document which portrays livestock grazing in a negative tone.

The GRVCA is excited to have Conrad Lass, the chief of staff to the national director of the BLM, and Bob Bennett, the Wyoming State BLM director, attend the meeting. This way these gentlemen can see what is happening on a local level in the Pinedale Resource Area.

The key to successful management and agency relationships is based on scientific data, not brash generalizations that support individuals' personal agendas. The livestock producers in this area have had success working with their federal agencies in the past and feel that this meeting will lead to continued success.

I feel that one of the main concerns with regard to the MSA document is the negative tone with regards to grazing. It is easy to make generalizations about grazing, but where are the facts about the impacts caused by the grazing practices of ranchers in Sublette County? Where is the scientific data?

For example, when the MSA states: "In most years there is very little growth in the majority of the Pinedale RMP...", what does very little growth mean? When the MSA indicates that "grazing allotments are grazed intensively during May and June ..." what does grazed intensively mean? These statements do not take into account the grazing practices of each individual allotment. Some people rest their allotments periodically, while others have historically reduced their stocking rates voluntarily to maintain the sustainability of our resources. The document also states that "Livestock grazing has a very direct effect on the vegetation ..." which I would argue may very well be true, and that the effect on many allotments has been positive with the grazing practices currently being implemented.

The GRVCA hopes that the public will also participate in the meeting so they can get a true sense of the nature and desires of the agricultural people in Sublette County. The MSA indicates that people are "attracted to the region for the abundant and high-quality air, water and land resources that offer a rich quality of life and a western wilderness heritage."

We hope the public will come away with an understanding that the people in agriculture play a large part in providing these values. If people support agriculture and family ranches, they get open space, rural character, wildlife habitat, clean air and a rich quality of life for free. If the public does not support federal land ranchers, they will get a bunch of subdivisions.

On a similar note, the BLM document states, "Livestock grazing can cause increased dispersal of wildlife as well as competition for forage and water." The document fails to mention that most of the water sources for wildlife on the many of the BLM allotments were created by livestock producers, including reservoirs and windmills. The agricultural community has also created much of our wildlife's winter range on private property by historically developing riparian areas through irrigation.

The GRVCA and its members have never been afraid of true science. We hope to come away from the meeting with goals and management objectives that are based on the facts. The GRVCA encourages all of its members to participate and voice their opinions on these important issues.

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