The Public Lands Council (PLC) and the United States Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service announced Nov. 28 the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to promote cooperative monitoring of grazing allotments on National Forest System lands. The MOU will help public lands ranchers and local Forest Service officials cooperate to collect and analyze data on rangeland health, ultimately ensuring better management of national forests and grasslands.
“As America’s original conservationists, cattle and sheep producers are stewards of millions of acres of federal land. Data is key to every decision permittees make on the landscape, and this MOU will allow permittees and the Forest Service to better share key information and strengthen the partnership between producers and agency officials,” said PLC President Mark Roeber. “The Public Lands Council is excited to join the Forest Service in this cooperative monitoring agreement and we look forward to our continued partnership on this issue.”
The MOU provides a clear path for more efficient data collection and sharing between grazing permittees and the Forest Service. These monitoring activities are integral factors in the decisions grazing permittees make to keep rangelands healthy through grazing activities. The data collected by permittees through approved and agreed upon methods will provide the agency with a larger set of reference points when evaluating rangeland health and resource needs. In short, more accurate data ensures that the Forest Service has evidence of the investments producers make that lead to better rangeland conditions across the country.
“The Forest Service values the importance of cooperative relationships,” said Forest Service Chief Randy Moore. “This MOU signifies our continued commitment to work cooperatively with our permittees and to build trust, while expanding our collective ability to gather important information about the health and productivity of National Forest System lands.”
The MOU is in effect from 2022 until January 2027.