Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Tempers Flare Over Bison; Judge Gets Involved

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One of the most significant events for producers in the greater area of Yellowstone National Park so far in 2011 is focused around a new bison management plan from the Interagency Bison Management Plan, or IBMP.  In the first couple weeks of May, the decision was made to release more than 700 head of wild bison that had been spending the winter in the Stephens Creek Facility back into the Park.  Here’s the kicker: 40{dfeadfe70caf58f453a47791a362966239aaa64624c42b982d70b175f7e3dda2} of those bison have tested positive for brucellosis exposure.  Haylie Shipp posted a story on the news feed earlier in the week explaining more of the details on this plan as well, and included audio from Al Nash, Chief of Public Affairs at Yellowstone National Park and a press release from the Park.  Click here to read that story.  On Monday, May 9th, the YNP issued a press release explaining the details of the plan.

The Interagency Bison Management Plan is available on the IBMP website.  Click here to read that official document.

Several meetings took place in the first two weeks of May; attendance included citizens of the surrounding communities, farmers and ranchers of the area, and several MDOL representatives.  The producers who have spoken to Northern Ag, both on and off the record, are disgruntled to say the least.  Charlie Rein is the Crazy Mountain Stockgrowers President and told Northern Ag on Wednesday, “It’s [the bison management plan] being received very negatively by our membership.  Buffalo is a species that we feel we can’t coexist with if they are in a free-ranging, wild game species form.  Just because of their nature, there is property damage that would occur. They’re competition for the foliage that we use and their choice of habitat, which is down along the riparian areas where there’s more infrastructure, both public and private, is a public safety concern and a huge challenge for livestock producers.”

On Wednesday, May 11th, Park County’s Judge Nels Swandal issued orders per request of Park County and the Park County Stockgrowers Association to put into action a restraining order that would temporarily halt the execution of the management plan until the court has had a chance to intervene.  The Billings Gazette article from Wednesday explains this situation in more detail.

Northern Ag radio programs have, and will continue to feature audio and testimonies from involved parties on both sides of this heated debate.  Make sure to keep an eye on our website’s news feed as well as radio and television broadcasts for continued coverage.

© Northern Ag Network 2011

Kaci Switzer

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