from BH: There are many, many things wrong with BLM's proposal. To
start with, just how is BLM's latest scam "a step forward for
ranchers", when the agency intends to "Allow a grazing
permittee to share title in certain
permanent range improvements, i.e., fencing, wells, pipelines"
that ranchers currently [already] own, free and clear, under
existing statutory and case law??? Wake up, folks!)
Farm Bureau in many states is now scarcely recognizable as
the actual farmer-run entity that it once was. In fact, it much more
closely resembles -- and may well be -- a subordinate, shadow 'lead
agency' of the Department of Interior, a 'Judas goat,' if you will.)
P.O. Box 1000
Vernal, Utah 84078-1000
The Bureau of Land Management's proposed grazing rule announced
today is a major step forward for ranchers in Utah and those in
other western public [Federal] lands states, the multiple use
concept " in particular, increasing grazing opportunities for
the ranching community.
"This announcement by Interior Secretary Gale Norton
demonstrates this administration's commitment to effective public
land management and recognizes the social and economic
contributions of our state's ranchers," said Randy N. Parker,
UFBF [Utah Farm Bureau Federation] chief executive officer.
"It is significant that today's announcement ensures that
grazing will continue to be one of the legitimate uses of public
lands into the future," he pointed out.
Utah Farm Bureau, the state's largest agriculture organization
with over 21,500 family members, has argued that balanced
administration of the public land resource is important to the
economic future of Utah industry, contributing nearly 80 percent
of the $1 billion in farm gate sales.
This contribution is significant in rural Utah, where livestock
sales have a far-reaching ripple effect that is considerably more
important to the aggregate economy of the state. Rural businesses
rely on the new wealth that is generated by agriculture, timber
"This is welcome news to many rural Utah communities that
have been suffering from the effects of a prolonged drought, low
agricultural prices and the uncertainly of continued access to
public lands. The public lands offer a forage resource that is
annually renewable and livestock grazing is the best way to
harvest it. Grazing provides a benefit from the public lands that
benefits all Americans," Parker said.
The Utah Farm Bureau Federation applauds the grazing rule changes
that will improve BLM relationships with permittees and
stewardship of lands critical to open space, wildlife habitat and
quality of life in the rapidly growing American West. In addition,
the proposed rules will: " Consider and document social,
cultural and economic consequences of grazing decisions.
" Allow a grazing permittee to share title in certain
permanent range improvements, i.e., fencing, wells, pipelines, if
constructed under the Cooperative Range Improvement Agreement
which had existed prior to 1995.
" A phase in of decreases (and increases) in grazing of more
than 10 percent over a five-year period, unless a quicker phase in
is agreed to by the permittee or necessary to protect the resource
to minimize economic impacts. " Expand the definition of
"grazing preference" to include an amount of forage on
public lands attached to a rancher's private "base"
property, which can be land or water, similar to one that existed
prior to 1995.
The proposed rule will help ranchers be better stewards of the
land through: 1) An improved assessment and monitoring process
that evaluates rangeland health. 2) Extending the deadline to
24-months for making remedial changes allowing adequate time to
determine appropriate actions. 3) Removing the current 3-year
limit on temporary non-use of a grazing permit and allowing
temporary non-use of a grazing permit for up to one year at a time
whether for conservation or business purposes.
Farm Bureau supports BLM in addressing numerous legal challenges
which will enhance the agency's efficiency and interaction with
permit holders. These include: " Compliance with the federal
court (Public Lands Council v. Babbitt) in eliminating the
long-term "conservation use" permits upholding the 1934
Taylor Grazing Act.
" Clarify how the BLM will authorize grazing if a decision
affecting a grazing permit is "stayed" pending appeal to
provide continuity while under appeal.
" Clarify that if a livestock operator is convicted of a
federal, state or other law, such acts are only subject to BLM
sanctions when the acts affect the permittee's allotment.
" Improve efficiency of BLM management by reducing the
occasions when BLM is mandated to involve the interested public.
BLM could, but would not be required to, seek public input on
day-to-day grazing administration, but would continue to do so on
major planning decisions.
" Remove the 1995 mandate that BLM will seek sole ownership
of livestock water rights. This will provide flexibility in
negotiating construction of watering facilities, consistent with
" Clarify that a biological assessment of the BLM, prepared
in compliance with the Endangered Species Act, is not an agency
decision, therefore, not subject to appeals and protests.
" An increase in certain grazing fees to reflect more
accurately the cost of grazing administration.
"It is apparent that the BLM is seeking to clarify the place
of livestock grazing on the federal lands. In my professional
experience, it is clear that the former Interior Secretary Bruce
Babbitt was hostile to livestock grazing on the public lands. No
other conclusion could be reached through a review of his rule
making," Parker pointed out. "Farm Bureau believes it is
time to recognize the economic and social contribution a healthy
livestock industry makes in these western public lands