by Ben Neary, Associated Press
CHEYENNE, Wyoming — Some Wyoming lawmakers are pushing to protect domestic sheep in the state from a possible federal effort to remove them from public lands.
The U.S. Forest Service recently curtailed domestic sheep grazing on the Payette National Forest in Idaho to protect bighorn sheep from disease. The agency is developing a larger plan to consider whether it needs to curtail domestic sheep in Wyoming and other western states to reduce the threat to bighorns.
Domestic sheep producers in Idaho and elsewhere last year appealed the Forest Service's decision to curtail grazing on the Payette National Forest to a federal appeals court in San Francisco. Wool growers' associations in Wyoming, Colorado and Idaho have joined the fight.
Amy Hendrickson, executive director of the Wyoming Wool Growers Association, said Thursday the prospect of coming federal cuts to grazing allotments has created great concern among sheep operators in the state.
“It's hard for a lot of our producers to make management decisions, decisions what to do, because they just don't know whether they're going to be able to graze or not,” Hendrickson said.
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Source: Associated Press