A group of respected Montana farmers and ranchers submitted an op-ed to statewide newspapers last week encouraging support for the partnerships and public funding that help conserve private lands.
“If we are to protect the Montana product by conserving working lands and supporting the stewardship they perform, increased public investment is needed,” the op-ed reads. “We could start by enhancing the partnerships and tools that have gotten us this far. For example, conservation districts and watershed groups like Blackfoot Challenge, The Ranchers Stewardship Alliance or Winnett ACES continue to facilitate local stewardship of natural resources and wildlife. Yet, these collaborations consistently struggle to find adequate operational capacity. Voluntary, incentive-based tools like purchased conservation easements have helped keep millions of Montana acres intact for people and wildlife, yet demand far exceeds available funding.”
The op-ed was signed by Heath Martinell of Dell, Leo Barthelmess of Malta, Denny Iverson of Potomac, Jeff Reed of Emigrant, and Laura and Levi Nowlin of Winnett.
“New solutions are also needed…” the op-ed continues. “The continued stewardship of working lands is the foundation of the Montana economy, and yet our state needs to adequately support that stewardship. We look forward to working together.”