Ranchers Meet in Cody, Wyoming for Public Lands Council Annual Meeting

August 26, 2022

This week Cody, Wyo. hosted the Public Lands Council Annual Meeting. And as always, there were a lot of important issues covered. Incoming PLC president and Colorado rancher Mark Roeber says the main mission of PLC is keeping ranchers on America’s federal lands.

"Our main objective is keeping ranchers in business on the land and keeping the land healthy with using livestock as a tool," said Roeber. "And that that is really our main mission,"

However, ranchers are worried about the future of grazing on federal lands especially with the Biden Administration rolling back many of the Trump Administrations favorable changes. Former Montana Stockgrowers Association Executive Vice President Errol Rice-now a Senior Policy Advisor to the BLM Director hopes he can ease some of those worries.

"I think hopefully with this opportunity, we can better equip ourselves as a beef industry to build these relationships with federal agencies, not only at the field level, but the state federal level too," said Rice. "Getting access to the important decision makers within these agencies provide the credible information that public lands ranchers need to get on the table for discussion. Then I think a big part of my role is to is to articulate that, yes, grazing is important. It's important to the ecology of the lands in the West, and it's important to the to the business economics of public land ranching in the West, too. So, hopefully I can help be that bridge, be an open door for the for the public lands industry and hopefully move the needle on a few of these issues."

For ranchers one of the big challenges are federal regulations. And the Endangered Species Act is one of those federal regulations that can literally put farmers and ranchers out of business overnight.

The American Sheep Industry Association’s Vice President and Wyoming rancher Brad Boner says ASI is glad to have the support of the Public Lands Council on critical issues like this.

"I think what we've learned over time and the Sage Grouse Initiative is a great example of that is the only way we really solve these problems is with a collaborative effort," said Boner. "We don't solve the problem by being on one end of the spectrum or the other. Solutions actually come out of a collaborative effort and PLC helps us accomplish that. I think we just need to continue looking for those solutions and not continue talking about problems. Let's get to solutions that actually work for everybody."

Roeber agrees and says building coalitions with others is important to the organization and its members.

"We're going to be continuing to build partnerships with other multiple use groups so that we can have a bigger group to draw from," said Roeber. "We're going to be concerned about issues like the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and defend the ranchers rights to be out on that public land. So, it's going to be a three phased attack and we will be busy. There's no question about it."

For more information about the Public Lands Council, click here.

Source: Western Ag Network