Daily News Reports »

Rick Worthington Public Lands Farm Bill
by Rick Worthington, click here for bio

Program: Farm and Ranch Report
Date: June 21, 2018

Click on the play button to listen to report.

Download Report: Public_Lands_Farm_Bill.mp3

A Farm Bill rider, would reopen vacant grazing lands to cattle, even in endangered species habitat.

That is big news for Ranchers, but Conservationists are warning it could damage the nation's public lands and wildlife.

Erik Molvar with the Western Watersheds Project says giving the green light to just any targeted grazing project, for example, could put rangelands at risk for wildfire.

"You could end up with some very harmful targeted grazing projects that could actually increase the amount of cheatgrass infestation,” Molvar said; “without even consulting the public about what's going on, on the lands that the public essentially owns."

Molvar noted that federal law requires agencies thoroughly research land-management issues and involve the public in decisions that affect public lands. But some members of Congress and the White House argue that cutting regulations that burden industry will lead to economic growth and job creation.

Molvar said fencing in particular can be lethal to sage grouse, whose populations have declined by as much as 95 percent from historic levels.

"Barbed wire fences are guillotines for sage grouse, which are low-flying birds,” he explained. “And there's one study in western Wyoming that found that a single five-mile stretch of fence killed more than 100 sage grouse in the space of a year."

The public news service says the House is expected to hold a re-vote on its version of the Farm Bill before June 22. The Senate's version could reach the full floor as early as next week.

Recent Reports from Farm and Ranch Report

Click here to see Archived Reports