National Cattlemen’s Beef Association criticizes new Proposed Forest Planning Rule which Weakens Environmental Protections

NCBA complains about the use of “best available science” and the mandate to protect sensitive species.

In a news release published yesterday, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) complained that the new proposed US Forest Planning Rule is too onerous to public lands ranching. In their press release they imply that science does not support such activities on public lands by expressing concerns that “best available science” be used when making decisions about those activities conducted on US Forest Service lands.

They go on to complain that the rule retains requirements that the USFS “maintain viable populations of species of conservation concern” even though the rule dilutes those requirements and dilutes many other environmental protections.

Frankly, the rule is bad and eliminates the ability of many people to participate in the decision making process for certain actions on USFS lands. It seems unseemly that the NCBA and the other public lands livestock industry groups complain about a rule that will benefit their industry while the they lobby congress and the agencies to eliminate the ability of the public to participate. Not surprisingly, they seem to want it all.


  1. Nancy Avatar

    “Plan Revisions: A number of national forests and grasslands will begin plan revisions early this year. As individual units begin to implement a new rule and revise their plans, we encourage you to become involved and provide input throughout the process”

    Tried to work through some of the layers connected to the article and ran into a “game show, you can win by participating” atmosphere when I clicked on the highlighted “begin” in the above paragraph.

    Anyone else?

  2. Brian Ertz Avatar

    Whine, whine, whine ~ it’s been their MO for a century, and it’s worked.

    The Obama Administration ought be ashamed of this proposed rule.

    1. Salle Avatar

      Indeed. I suspect this has something to do with that STOTU address the other night… the part about using the public lands for power generation projects – about which he was not specific. Guess you have to kick the cows and sheep out if you’re going to cut down all the trees or dig up the land for gasfracking and such… or maybe cover it all with solar arrays.

  3. Steve Clevidence Avatar
    Steve Clevidence

    BUY ” Predator Friendly” Beef, let the rest sit on the shelves! Predator friendly means raising livestock and working to co-exist with predators in a non-lethal manner, killing a predator is an absolute LAST resort. I’m from a pioneer ranching family in the Bitterroot valley of western montana. we do not use public lands to graze, nor do we support the anti wolf hysteria promoted by the anti wolf hunting groups. Conservation is the balance between humans and the land, That includes ALL wildlife, predators as well as ungulates. The predator slaughter that is presently being done by three western state wildlife departments is unethical, and mismanaged. It will continue to damage the image of the Wild life departments, the ethical hunter as well our state citizens in the national public eye unless present practices change.

    1. william huard Avatar
      william huard

      Well you got that right Steve.

    2. Paul Avatar

      Thank you Steve! I would be proud to buy meat from ranchers like you. It is wonderful to hear a voice from the ranching community that that doesn’t demonize predators and support the wholesale killing of them. The question I have is how do we know which suppliers are predator friendly? My wife and I currently only purchase organic meats that are raised humanely and that are grass fed from our state. We know this because we have visited the farms, and see how well the animals are treated. If I knew that a supplier was predator friendly I would go out of my way to buy from them especially if they are from your area. You are the type of rancher that needs to be supported, while the others should be ignored. Thank you again.

      1. Rita K. Sharpe Avatar
        Rita K. Sharpe

        Thank you,Steve,and I do mean, a good hearty thank you at that.

    3. Ralph Maughan Avatar
      Ralph Maughan

      Steve Clevidence,

      Thank you. How does a person find predator friendly beef so they can buy it?

    4. Doryfun Avatar


      Predator friendly beef, now that is an interesting concept. That sounds like an avenue for a lot of good joke material. Wolf A to Wolf B: “hey, are you hungry? Wolf B: “yes”. Wolf A: “well, if you are as tired as me of enduring dangers taking down elk, I know where there is some predator friendly beef ” Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

      Seriously, that is a great marketing idea, and it is encouraging to see this type of thinking and direction, If you lived closer to my area , and I was to buy beef, you would get my dollars.

    5. Mike Avatar

      Thanks Steve.

  4. Steve Clevidence Avatar
    Steve Clevidence

    Get in touch with Jim Dutcher who has the LIVING WITH WOLVES facebook site. He can explain a lot on the process, and finding predator friendly Beef. Jim and his wife were the two film makers who lived with and studied the Sawtooth pack. They are helping ranchers who previously had predator problems,and showing them how to live with Wolves. Its a learning process utilizing steps that help the rancher avoid problems with wolves and his cattle. From what Jim has told me, there are presently a group of 40 ranchers who are utilizing the process and have almost eliminated beef being killed by predators. Killing a predator is the last option in the process. Wolves learn and also teach their young what they have learned. If its a problem wolf that has a taste for beef, and targets beef rather than hunt wildlife as it was meant to, then quite possibly it will have to be removed. Wolves that do not prey upon domestic stock should not be eliminated as they are providing a necessary balance to our ecosystem. Removing a ” good” wolf causes pack disorder and quite possibly others within the pack will learn bad habits that get them into trouble with humans. These ranchers that are learning to be tolerant of the predator and learning how to raise their stock and also co-exist, have the ability to have Predator Friendly labels placed on their beef that shows up on the public market, there by helping to increase the sales of their beef, bringing more revenue into their business.
    Its a wonderful Idea that I personally feel has a lot of merit and is a win win for both the stockman as well as the Predator. My family has always been tolerant of predators and wildlife as a whole. We have experienced the same issues most ranchers do when beef is exposed to areas where predators exist. The difference is, we explore every option available to resolve the issue, even if it means relocating our cattle to a different area. The kill option has and will always be the very last resort.
    I do believe the concept of PREDATOR FRIENDLY beef could help many ranchers learn how to co-exist and a way of helping themselves by doing so instead of just ranting and wanting to eliminate wildlife that interferes with their old habit of doing what they have always done before, Exterminate the predator.
    Folks have to, in my opinion, Stop the ranting, the hatred, and work to find workable solutions that not only benefit humans, but also the wildlife in question. That includes the predator.

    1. somsai Avatar

      Steve there is no “balance”. The balance of nature is a fallacy given up decades ago. Despite being discredited by ecologists the zombie lives on even amongst many science majors. It belongs over there in the far right field right amongst Social Darwinism one of it’s fellow travelers.

      1. Steve Clevidence Avatar
        Steve Clevidence

        Perhaps Somsai, but there are such things as co-existence and tolerance. That, to me, is part of the definition of conservation. I’ll continue to explore every option that will allow that to happen.

        1. william huard Avatar
          william huard

          Unfortunately Somsai is clueless. Co-existence…..Tolerance- to Somsai- co-existence includes killing month old pups in their dens and killing pregnant wolves. I think it’s a Wyoming thing.

        2. somsai Avatar

          Perhaps look up coexistence, conservation, and tolerance, words are important and often misused.

          Coexistence in the sense of two species living without wiping out the other is easy, we attempt too do this with all species. To live at peace with each other as a matter of policy is impossible, animals aren’t capable of policy, to imagine them to do so is anthropomorphism in it’s worst sense. I doubt too that carnivores (which seem to be the word for animals) tolerate us, their more likely nervous after being killed for a half a million years and are scared of us. Using the words of human interaction for animals is misleading.

          1. CodyCoyote Avatar

            It’s also difficult if not downright impossible to use ” best available science” and ” cattlemen’s association ” in the same paragraph , when attempting to apply all of the former to any percent of the latter. In my entire 61 years on Earth I have met exactly one rancher ( ranch manager for the Deseret Ranches, a Mormon Church offshoot ) who used a scientific methodology in his animal husbandry. He is alone in my mind as the modern progressive cattleman that I wish they all were , alas. But at the least I know they can exist , if willed into existence from the clays and primordial muck of the antediluvian cattle baron empiracy.

            We need a clearinghouse for locating Pedator Freindly beef raisers in the NRM . I will join the chorus of those who would support them by purchasing boxed beef. The only meatcutter enterprise in my hometown gets its carcasses from local wolf hater ranchers, so they get none of my disposable income no matter how good their product is. And it is the best red meat you could want, but the end does not justify the means.

            Having said all that , Somsai, you are so full of it… that which emanates from the posterior outlet of the cows four stomachs and entrails.

          2. Salle Avatar

            “…so full of it… that which emanates from the posterior outlet of the cows four stomachs and entrails.”

            What a wickedly wonderful wordsmith you are!

          3. Mike Avatar

            ++animals aren’t capable of policy++

            Really? Are you this clueless?

      2. mad Avatar

        I think what bothers me more than people using incorrect terms like “balance of nature” is the hatred-fuelded, biased, close-minded, greedy fools in the expoloitive or extractive industries who mock others while dismissing the real issues at hand – like “predator-friendly” beef techniques which may in fact save predators from being killed.

        When folks mention the term “balance of nature” they are NOT really implying that there is some magical stasis or static condition or an actual “balance.” People are rather referring to a situation in which Nature is allowed to act and influence systems without human interference or oppressive, controlling influence. Unbridled Nature produces huge variations and shifts in climate, predator-prey ratios, and localized ecosystem conditions. It’s unfortunate that the term “balance of nature” was ever used and caught on with the media as a catch phrase, but it’s really no different than those 200 pound, non-native species, alien, Canadian, killing-for-sport wolves the gov’t illegally imported and forced on the residents of the Northern Rockies and Yellowstone.

        Steve, I applaud you for your efforts and thanks for the info about ranchers who are trying to be a part of the solution instead of the problem. I wish there were more folks that were willing to try new things instead of falling back on the same old tired arguments. Bravo.

        1. somsai Avatar

          I’d suggest a more descriptive word than balance then. I’d suggest “fundamentalist” as it suggests a return to a non existant past when man wasn’t here, when man didn’t hunt. It also brings to mind the religiosity of Fundamentalist Christians and Muslims imposing their strict interpretation of life on everyone else.

          1. Salle Avatar

            Then I would suggest that your recommended term “fundamentalist” is not applicable as it careens far from the topic at hand by implying that a pejorative element is required to make the argument. This a semantics argument not one of substance.

            I would suggest that some term referring to the cyclic nature of nature itself… wouldn’t that be more appropriate? It is similar to the term “environmentalist” which is a term that the corporate media created in an attempt to define the narrative years ago. I think that most folks who would be defined as “environmentalists” by the MS/Corp Media are actually advocates for the biosphere. So what’s a good catch phrase for sound-byte reporting?

            Maybe something like, “the cycle of life” in the natural world… as opposed to the areas of the planet that have been excavated beyond recognition or simply paved over? I just think we need to come up with less volatile terminology including descriptive terms for groups who identify with collective values.

    2. Jon Way Avatar

      Thank you very much for your forward thinking philosophy. While I don’t eat any mammals (only chicken) as my meat source (for many reasons) I would reconsider if/when I see predator friendly beef option – and the only reason why I would be purchasing it would be to support folks like you. Thank you…

    3. JEFF E Avatar
      JEFF E

      Maybe I missed it Steve..but.. how do you keep your beef separate from the rest throughout the entire process to where it is setting in the local market with the PF tag on it?

      1. JEFF E Avatar
        JEFF E

        And just a general FYI. Most areas it is pretty easy to find small operators that grow “custom” beef for a small clientele. That would be beef pastured on private land, only given the required vitamin and worm shots, finished how you want with the grain of your choice, custom butchered, and cost the same or less than what you pay in the store.
        It may take a season or two to get in with one but after that it is pretty straight forward.
        In the spring you say how much you want, usually a half, and then in the fall tell the butcher what cuts you want.

  5. Steve Clevidence Avatar
    Steve Clevidence

    Living with wolfs website and how to contact Jim
    Thanks everyone, we can and should explore every option available that will help us all co-exist with other species and our environment. 🙂

    1. Salle Avatar

      Indeed. And thanks for reminding us what a pleasure it is to encounter one of those “cooler heads” (who should prevail) in places like this.

    2. WM Avatar

      Steve Clevidence,

      ++I do believe the concept of PREDATOR FRIENDLY beef could help many ranchers learn how to co-exist and a way of helping themselves…++

      Any ideas or knowledge on what the additive cost of “predator friendly” measures might add to the cost of a pound of beef or lamb in the market place? Is it likely to be a small cost which makes it available to all, or is it a larger cost which, when given the choice, most consumers still reaches for the cheaper stuff?

      Thinking along the lines of organic vs. non-organic produce, or organicly grown meats, it is still a tough sell, although the market is growing as there are more organic local farms in some places. Then there is the regulation (which would eventually come) for certifying that a particular beef/sheep operation was in fact “predator friendly.” Otherwise, one might get some sleazeball saying their product was, when it was really not – predator friendly.

      1. Steve Clevidence Avatar
        Steve Clevidence

        WM, valid questions and concerns. My personal thoughts are that most likely it would increase the cost of the beef to the consumer, much like organic versus non organic foods on the shelves. Being that this particular market is in its infancy stages, there will be a lot that will need to be worked out, but the possibilities are worth exploration. Personally I feel there is definitely a market available for it today. It is one solution, opening the door to explore other possibilities.
        I do apologize to those who find my use of certain words upsetting, it is not my intent. I am simply doing my best, even in a small way, to stimulate folks in the beef industry to consider other possibilities, rather than simply moving on with their present views and policies.

      2. CodyCoyote Avatar

        What if your beef comes from Brazil, Argentina, or Australia to begin with ? Because it is the cheaper chubb or cut… the whole ” Country Of Origin Label ” argument ( COOL) that American ranchers hang their Stetson hats on.

        Well, I want a SOOL provision…State of origin label. If that label has Wyoming, Montana, or Idaho on it, I wouldn’t buy it because those states cattleman’s associations are vehemently and nearly unanimously anti-predator, among other shortcomings not related to this topic.

        On the other hand, if I were assured the beef was more or less organic ( grass fed without a slew of antibiotics and other enhancers , then fed out in a local feedlot ) from producers who weren’t rabid about wolves, I would be first in line to buy their stuff. Problem is I have no idea if those producers and supply chain exist here in the Cowboy State.

        Unfortunately , a chubb of burger from a big Midwest packing plant can have meat from a thousand different carcasses in it , and USDA meat inspection is far from universally competent.

        Sometimes it’s better to not know where your meat comes from in this day and age of Food, Inc.

        The beef industry is in need of some serious reform , especially the 6 percent gross of carcasses that spends some of their lives on public lands mainly in the West, in a time warp.

  6. Louise Kane Avatar

    How amazing to hear your voice out there. Thank you. I am an unabashed wolf lover, and also a food lover. I have some really lengthy discussions about how the food industry is changing and that people want to spend their dollars on food that they feel does not conflict with their moral codes. Some very smart and very wealthy organizations have made a lot of money on buying and selling primarily organic foods. Whole Foods, Natures Choice, Trader Joes, Earth Choice etc. People are becoming more attuned to the idea that what they put in their mouths impacts their health, their environment and can make the difference between an animal suffering relentlessly or being raise more humanely. People are literally putting their money where their mouths are. Your idea is one of the first that I have heard which could have a profound impact on how western ranchers raise cattle and how they could conceivably convert to a wolf/predator friendly means of raising beef. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if ranchers started getting paid better money to raise cattle on predator friendly ranches and certification was provided for the labelling. I bet a lot of ranchers would start liking wolves a lot better. I have always had a tremendous amount of respect for the Dutchers, that respect has just grown exponentially. I hope that you will look into a grant that can help you to market your beef and help your neighbors to learn this type of ranching. Very exciting and kudos to you for helping wolves. They need all the help they can get with the old guard still presiding in states like Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. I eat meat, rarely if ever, anymore because it conflicts with my ethics but if you tell me where to buy your beef I’ll buy it just to put dollars in your pocket and I’ll make sure everyone I can talk to about it knows where they can get it. I hope you can get a contract somewhere like Whole Foods or Trader Joes and that you prosper and live long! Your comment is one of the most hopeful comment about wolf conservation that I have seen in a sea of bad news. I knew all ranchers could not be wolf haters. Thank You!

  7. Steve Clevidence Avatar
    Steve Clevidence

    Thank you Louise, I’m moving on to a national level on behalf of wolves and wildlife, I hope to soon be working with ranchers and hunters as well to promote a better understanding of the predator. With hopes of finding workable solutions that will not only benefit humans, but the predator as well. Your letter means a lot and is greatly appreciated

  8. Louise Kane Avatar

    Steve, when you get yourself sorted out… I have also been working on starting an organization that is now called Justice for Wolves, the website will be up next month, please check in with us as I would like very much to keep up with your progress and to advertise and help you to promote your program. Once again thank so much!

    1. Steve Clevidence Avatar
      Steve Clevidence

      The “Predator friendly” beef program, was not my idea but in reality it is a program being researched and put to use by the Living with Wolves organization, one attempt of many to expand on the work of Jim and Jamie Dutcher who filmed the sawtooth pack.
      I read “Wolves At Our Door”, and believe me, the feeling and impact the book had on me was incredible. I felt I was right there experiencing all the emotions that they were feeling. Its an incredible book and I wish it was mandatory reading in state and federal legislation, and ranchers as well. I suggest it to many people who want to learn about the wolf. It can’t help but touch a person’s heart unless they have no heart at all. I will look into your new organization most definitely, and I am so thankful for Mr. Maughan and The Wild Life News, for the information they provide to the public. A huge Thank you for all that you do.


Ken Cole is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He is the interim Idaho Director for Western Watersheds Project.

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Ken Cole