Community Agriculture Alliance: Taylor Grazing Act and Routt County Range Improvement Fund
In June 1934, Hayden area attorney, homesteader and cattleman Farrington Carpenter became instrumental in the process that changed livestock grazing in the West from a frontier free-for-all to a system of managed grazing on public lands. Carpenter and his good friend Congressman Ed Taylor, of Colorado, initiated the legislation for the Taylor Grazing Act. In just a few months’ time, Carpenter oversaw the mapping of western rangelands and brought cattlemen and sheepmen together. He began the task of stopping destructive grazing practices, restoring the rangeland and adding stability to the economics of western livestock grazing.
There were plenty of conflicts along the way, but because Carpenter was a stockman himself, he could speak their language and was familiar with their concerns. As part of the process, permittees to this day operate within grazing districts originally defined in 1934 under the oversight of local Grazing Advisory Boards.
This is a fundamental difference between Bureau of Land Management grazing allotments under the U.S. Department of the Interior and U.S. Forest Service allotments under the U.S. Department of Agriculture. A portion of the fees collected on an animal-unit monthly basis is returned from the BLM Grazing District to the county where the grazing fees originated.
Before 2010, Routt County returned those fees to the Grazing District, but analysis revealed that the funds were not being spent in Routt County because, technically, Routt County was not part of a Grazing District and the Board of County Commissioners was designated to distribute the funds by state statute.
To facilitate the distribution of the funds within Routt County, the commissioners designated an existing board, the Weed Advisory Board, to solicit range improvement projects, review the projects and recommend projects to the commissioners to be funded or reimbursed with the Taylor Grazing Act funds maintained by Routt County as the Range Improvement Fund.
The Routt County Weed Advisory Board is accepting range improvement project proposals to be funded as reimbursement with the Taylor Grazing Act funds. Projects to be considered may include weed control, fencing improvements or new construction, water development, predator control and livestock handling facilities. Priority will be given to BLM permittees but not to the exclusion of other applicants where projects will benefit range management in Routt County.
All projects must be for work in Routt County with a completion date in 2019, though multi-year projects are eligible if organized with annual work plans. Each proposal must include contacts, a comprehensive project description, map(s), anticipated start and completion dates and a budget which includes in-kind contributions. A one-page summary of the project should include the general nature of project, location, funds requested, in-kind contribution, start and end date and contacts. Submissions are due by 5 p.m. March 4 in the office of the Routt County Weed Program, PO Box 773598, Steamboat Springs, CO 80477 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Call Greg Brown 970-870-5246 with questions.
Greg Brown is the supervisor of the Routt County Weed Program.
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