BOZEMAN – The Montana Farm Bureau has submitted comments to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) regarding changes that could reduce or eliminate grazing on BLM lands. Montana Farm Bureau supports the current management plan that is based on the Montana Sage Grouse Habitat Conservation Program.  

Montana developed the successful Montana Sage Grouse Habitat Conservation Program which was created by the Montana Legislature’s passage of the Greater Sage Grouse Stewardship Act in 2015 taking an “all hands, all lands” approach. Montana’s Sage Grouse population is unique in that approximately two-thirds of the sage grouse habitat is on non-federal land. 

“Montana ranchers are true stewards of the land and many of them have been conservatively managing this resource for generations. Our state is a notable example of success in managing a healthy ecosystem including sage grouse and domestic herbivores,” noted MFBF President Cyndi Johnson.  

Montana’s program is recognized by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as the premier example of a successful Sage Grouse management program. 

“In addition to the simple increase in bird numbers, our population of Greater Sage Grouse is so healthy we have been able to share birds with Canada to help increase their populations and genetic diversity of the species,” Johnson shared. 

“The citizens, landowners, Montana Legislature, and state government of Montana, along with other states in the West, are doing the right thing and effectively managing to keep Sage Grouse populations healthy,” Johnson said. “We encourage BLM’s adherence to Montana’s existing program and recognition of the other existing federal programs that have proven success at improving sagebrush habitat. No change is needed to the current plan.”