New coalition promotes conservation through ranching

Sep 18, 2009
by WLJ

A group of ranching and conservation organizations announced they have come together to form a coalition to enhance ranching practices that consider important conservation issues throughout the West.

The Coalition for Conservation through Ranching is a new partnership between national conservation-minded groups that share an interest in promoting open space for ranching and healthy landscapes. Steering committee members of the coalition include the Public Lands Council, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), National Association of Conservation Districts, Environmental Defense Fund, Family Farm Alliance, and the World Wildlife Fund. Other organizations that have joined the coalition are the American Farmland Trust, the American Forage and Grassland

Council, the California Farm Bureau Federation, the Society for Rangeland Management, the Wild Sheep Foundation, and the Wilderness Society. The Bureau of Land Management serves as an advisor to the group.

The coalition will support ranching on public and private lands in the West that is conducted in an ecologically sustainable way. It will also aim to increase the understanding of complex issues between ranching and conservation and provide a forum to discuss the interaction between natural resource management and ranching.

The coalition will work on issues such as a prograsslands agenda including grassland research projects, specific species conservation projects, and climate change, including raising the awareness of the role of grasslands on carbon sequestration.

“As cattlemen, we rely on healthy land to produce healthy livestock. And one of the biggest gauges we can use to judge the health of our land is the co-existence of wildlife alongside of our livestock,” said Gary Voogt, NCBA president. “America’s farmers and ranchers are always looking for ways to increase efficiencies and build upon existing stewardship practices to keep our land and animals healthy and continue providing safe, highquality food for America’s families. By bringing together leaders from industry and the environmental community, we can help further these goals in a way that benefits our nation’s land, animals and citizens.” — WLJ