Farm Bureau Comments on Sage Grouse Policies


The following is a press release from the Montana Farm Bureau Federation:

The American Farm Bureau Federation, Western Energy Alliance and Public Lands Council have questioned the administration’s commitment to job and economic growth in comments submitted to the Bureau of Land Management on greater sage-grouse policies in the West. Montana Farm Bureau has worked with AFBF on the comments, and feels strongly about keeping the sage-grouse off the endangered species list.

“The success of any program hinges on allowing the individuals on the ground to have a voice in developing a plan that protects Sage Grouse and provides for agricultural interests,” notes MFBF Vice President of Governmental Affairs John Youngberg. He explains there is nobody better than landowners to keep a species thriving. “Rather than top-down, federal directives, greater sage-grouse conservation must be guided by initiatives developed at the state and local levels to achieve practical and common-sense management policies.”

In December 2011, BLM released a short- and long-term conservation strategy for the greater sage-grouse on public lands. BLM intends to update 68 Resource Management Plans by September 2014 before the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s court-ordered 2015 deadline for making a decision about whether to fully list the sage-grouse under the Endangered Species Act. Fortunately, BLM will allow state sage-grouse conservation policies that have been approved by the USFWS to supersede their policies. 

“Local community groups in several states with sage-grouse populations have been working together to develop plans for preserving sage-grouse habitat while at the same providing a viable economic climate for ranchers,” noted AFBF President Bob Stallman. “It’s important the BLM plan recognize these local efforts and not override the work that has already been done.”

Youngberg agrees. “Montana farmers and ranchers have been enhancing habitat for the Greater Sage Grouse for more than 100 years,” he explains. “They have developed water, improved forage and controlled predators. I truly believe they must receive recognition in any plan for their good stewardship. The worst scenario is when landowners are forced to comply with a strict regulation imposed by the government. It doesn’t do any good for the landowners, and it certainly in the long run doesn’t help the species the government claims they want to protect.”


Source:  Montana Farm Bureau Federation

Posted by Haylie Shipp


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