Friday, February 27, 2009

Ranchers meet conservationists

Skye Krebs, a third-generation sheep and cattle rancher from Ione, is on a mission to create more understanding between two groups that have historically been at odds: conservationists and cattle ranchers. The newly minted president of the Public Lands Council, Krebs is passionate about preserving the West's open spaces and natural resources. And grazing animals are essential to the management of those open spaces, he believes. Grazing on public lands, he said, is increasingly threatened by environmental groups who wish to ban the practice. He also worries about negative publicity that portrays the ranching industry as bad for endangered species or responsible for problems like the mad cow scare. To foster communication among conservationists, ranchers, and the public agencies that manage the land, the Public Lands Council conceived of a solution meeting where the parties could talk and come to solutions to problems that affected them all. The council put the word out, and was surprised by the response. So many groups wanted to get involved that the event snowballed into the two-day Summit on Ranching and Conservation in the West in Salt Lake City. At least 100 different organizations and agencies will attend the event, including the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, The Nature Conservancy, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Sheep Industry, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service. The summit starts today...East Oregonian

No comments: