19 February 2011 - Some Interesting Points of View on BLM

On Samuelson Sez, when I ask for your input on a given subject, boy, do you respond, and for that I am truly grateful. The subject a week ago was rancher relations with the Bureau of Land Management and grazing on public lands. I begin with the shortest e-mail I received, “Please do not refer to the BLM LANDS as PUBLIC LANDS!!! They are FEDERAL LANDS. The term PUBLIC LANDS was attached by the ENVIRONMETALISTS! That from a federal lands rancher.

But most of the responses sounded like this. . . from a rancher in Montana, “Here in Montana, we have so many issues regarding the management of these lands that it is hard to know where to begin.” One of the items listed in that e-mail. . “There is a huge push in Montana by some groups to replace the domestic livestock grazing on public lands with bison. To the average Joe living outside the area, this may sound like a grand idea but let me interject some of that local common sense to the issue. People have been domesticating and refining cattle for centuries. One of the biggest reasons for this is to make the livestock as manageable as we can, and at the same time, be very efficient in the way they graze. Centuries worth of work have made domestic cattle far more manageable than a buffalo. An animal that can be easier managed can be easier protected against death and disease and when you can do a much better job of moving the livestock around, or keep them from moving, your land benefits and it benefits even more with a wise local manager in charge.”

Space doesn’t allow me to share several other serious criticisms of BLM, but the one mentioned most often...the growing influence of radical environmental groups in BLM decisions, and as one rancher said “coming from people who don’t live in ranch country and don’t have to make a living here”.

But there was a totally opposite viewpoint from a rancher in Arizona who said. . . “I agree the agency is out of control and needs to be reeled in but for a different reason. The BLM has bowed to cattlemen’s wishes and is removing America’s “National Treasure”, the wild horse and burro, from public lands. At the present rate of herd reductions, the existing wild herds will not be sustainable within a matter of years. With less than 2% of U.S. beef cattle production coming from grazing on public lands, perhaps it’s time that cattle grazing on public lands should be put to rest. It is as un-needed and antiquated as the no-longer-used cattle drives of a century ago.”

Thank you for your input and I close with a personal observation. Before ranchers and cattle arrived on the scene, I wonder who managed the grazing of the hundreds of thousands of buffaloes on the land and who fought the forest fires in the West?

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.