BLM Will Allow Bison Grazing Permits in Montana

BLM Will Allow Bison Grazing Permits in Montana

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced that it would allow the grazing of bison on six allotments held by American Prairie in Phillips County Montana. The approved permits will total 63,500 acres of BLM-administered land providing 7,969 animal unit months of permitted use. The agency release notes: “One common allotment grazed with another livestock operator would remain approved for cattle-only grazing. Four of the allotments are approved for seasonal grazing with pasture rotation. Year-round grazing is approved for three allotments; two of which had been previously authorized for bison grazing. There is no change in animal unit months on any of the allotments. Most allotments will be managed under a pasture rotation grazing program.”

The decision has been met with concern by area ranchers and the Montana agricultural community that notes the decision is a significant change to grazing on federal lands and will have repercussions on BLM grazing across the West.

“To say we are disappointed with the final decision would be an understatement. Ranchers have worked diligently for over a century caring for the public land livestock graze. Ranchers are held to the highest standards by federal land agencies in the areas of range management, range monitoring, range improvements, and processes within the BLM’s grazing regulations, yet when concerns were raised regarding these areas in comments and protests, BLM did not acknowledge these concerns,” said Jim Steinbeisser, Montana Stockgrowers Association president in a release.

The announcement of the final decision opened a 30-day appeal period. Detailed documents including the final environmental assessment and responses to written comments can be found on the BLM’s project website.

August 15, 2022