It's time to take back the Board of Livestock in Montana
To the Editor:
Everyone who has any interest in the livestock industry of Montana needs to be in the board room of the Department of Livestock in Helena, Sept. 17 and 18 to remind the members of the Board of Livestock that they are in place to represent ranchers, not bend to the will of the governor.
The governor was elected to represent all of the people in Montana. Because the livestock industry makes up a large part of Montana's economy, our concerns should be represented. The Board of Livestock has been representing livestock producers in Montana for over 100 years. Today, the board has been commandeered by the governor. Rumor has it that the board has been asked to move on the governor's regionalization plan or "buffer zone"—a plan that would foist the burden of dealing with the threat of brucellosis squarely on the shoulders of ranchers instead of forcing Yellowstone National Park to acknowledge and deal with its diseased wildlife. A vote to implement this plan could take place at the board's upcoming meeting.
The Governor has taken charge of the Board of Livestock. He has ordered the board to act against the protocol of the Interagency Bison Management Plan and he has pushed his "buffer zone" idea on the national stage with no input from the Board of Livestock or the ranchers the board is supposed to represent and serve. The diseased bison and elk of Yellowstone are a problem for Yellowstone and not the rancher. The millions of tax payer dollars that have been spent to expand Yellowstone's range through a private corridor to Forest Service lands on the Northern boundary is not a solution.
The problem is no closer to being solved with that approach than it was 15 years ago. If the Wyoming Governor and his Attorney General can stand up to the Federal Government with the help of a Federal judge why can't we?
I hope you will attend the meeting to remind the board to stand up for the livestock industry in Montana, even if that means standing up to the governor himself.
Tom Lane, rancher