Montana Stockgrowers comment on Sage Grouse plan
September 15, 2014
Following are comments from Errol Rice, Executive Vice President of Montana Stockgrowers Association:
On Tuesday, Sept. 9, Governor Steve Bullock signed an executive order establishing the Sage Grouse Habitat Conservation Program. The program has been in the works for some time with several Montana groups having opportunity to provide input on maintaining state management of the Sage Grouse species and its habitat in the state of Montana.
The Montana Stockgrowers Association has been involved in this process from the earliest stages, representing the interests our ranching family members and property owners across the state. During the development process of this plan, we recognized a few important principles
· to keep the management of this species in our state,
· to develop a plan with Montana priorities and values
· and most importantly, to have a plan that works for Montana
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We appreciate the work of the Advisory Council and the process in which they deployed in making recommendations. The series of meetings provided a platform in which all stakeholders could participate and provide science based information for the Council to consider. The Montana Stockgrowers Association along with our colleagues from other important Ag groups, like the Montana Farm Bureau, were able to express our interests in a fair and transparent way.
Stockgrowers feels that in-state management of the sage grouse is critical as 64 percent of the species' Montana habitat is in private ownership and livestock grazing is the most common land-use activity across the sagebrush spectrum.
Even though the plan is finished, we know there is a considerable amount of work to be done. We look forward to continuing our work with Governor Bullock and his team to put forth Sage Grouse solutions that work for Montana and minimize the impact to Montana ranching families and livestock grazing.
For more information on how Sage Grouse programs affect Montana ranching families and land owners, please contact the Montana Stockgrowers Association, 406-442-3420, or visit mtbeef.org. F