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Source: National Cattlemen's Beef Assn news release

Congressmen Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) and 10 lawmakers from both sides of the political aisle took a firm stand on the side of America's federal lands ranchers by introducing the Grazing Improvement Act (H.R. 4234), which would increase efficiencies in the federal lands grazing permit process and create a more stable business environment for the ranchers who manage the land and its resources. The Public Lands Council (PLC), National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) and the Idaho Cattle Association (ICA) urged Congress to immediately consider H.R. 4234.

John Falen, PLC president and NCBA member from Nevada, said for more than a decade federal lands ranchers have relied on language being included into annual appropriations bills to allow the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management to renew grazing permits on federal lands under current terms and conditions until the renewal process is complete. Falen said the Grazing Improvement Act codifies that language, extends the life of grazing permits from 10 to 20 years and implements a more balanced appeal process.

"As a rancher who relies on federal grazing permits for my operation, I speak with authority when I say the uncertainty surrounding the current grazing permit renewal process has forced me to spend more time trying to comply with rules and regulations rather than improving my herd and managing the range. This commonsense legislation will provide certainty to livestock producers, ensuring them that bureaucrats are not going to pull the rug from under the grazing permits they rely on to raise healthy animals," Falen said. "We look forward to working with Congressman Labrador to build support for the Grazing Improvement Act."

Richard Savage, ICA president and cattleman from Hamer, Idaho, said H.R. 4234 would result in a more efficient federal lands grazing permit process.

"At a time when our nation is in need of greater government efficiencies and relief from duplicative, burdensome regulations, this legislation comes at an opportune time. H.R. 4234 takes important steps to improving the administration of federal lands by taking management decisions out of the courtroom and putting them back out on the ground where they belong," Savage said. "Sound management of our rangelands has been hijacked by environmental extremists who care little for the actual conservation of the land but rather pursue an agenda of putting a halt to any sustainable use of our natural resources. I applaud the efforts of Congressman Labrador to restore some common sense to government."

H.R. 4234 is a companion to Senator John Barrasso's (R-Wyo.) Grazing Improvement Act (S. 1129), which is scheduled to be considered during a hearing of the Senate Subcommittee and Public Lands and Forests on Thurs., March 22, 2012.

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