Tuesday, August 30, 2016

‘We are not all Cliven Bundys’: Rich County ranchers partner with BLM to revolutionize grazing

In one large northern Utah grazing district, fences are expected to play a key role in transforming the way public lands are managed. Cattle and sheep operators in Rich County may soon pool their herds for the summer grazing season in the hills rising west of Randolph under an idea hatched by rancher Alvin Shaul and his neighbors. As a young man, after his dad sold the family ranch, Shaul went to work for Deseret Land and Livestock, which runs a cattle operation just south of Randolph on a large tract of private land. Deseret used a rotational system of pastures that left the range in better shape while producing lots of fat calves. He and his wife went into business for themselves in the early 1970s. "I started with one cow and kept building. Eighty acres came for sale in Randolph and I bought it," said Shaul, who grazes 250 cows in the New Canyon allotment he shares with a dozen other ranchers. Shaul is now putting into practice what he learned at Deseret, and he has the backing of his fellow ranchers, the Rich County Commission and the federal agencies that administer the Three Creeks region where 29 ranchers run livestock from May 15 to Sept. 15. At the request of county commissioners, the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service are poised to consolidate 10 grazing allotments into one 135,000-acre management unit. After five years of study, the agencies have released a draft Environmental Assessment of the project and expect to issue a final decision by year's end. The county-driven proposal stands in sharp contrast to the angry rhetoric coming from other ranching communities where public-land users complain federal "overreach" is putting them out of business and destroying the custom and culture of rural areas. "We are not all Cliven Bundys. For people who are just watching the news, it's like all these ranchers don't want to pay their assessments and want to tell the federal government what to do," said Dale Lamborn, president of the Three Creeks Grazing Association. He also runs the local school district, and his ranching roots run deep into Rich County, stretching back into the homesteading era...more

1 comment:

Dave Pickel said...

Hurray! Some positive news of the West. The Bundy's are a miniscule exception to the rule of responsible grazing allotment management by Western ranchers.