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The Bureau of Land Management is asking for the public’s help in determining what it should analyze as it considers proposed changes to several grazing leases. American Prairie Reserve has submitted a proposal asking the BLM to modify their grazing permits.

Note that Page 2 of the APR proposal lists “other terms and conditions of APR proposed action”. Item 2 of this says, “Split BLM East Dry Fork allotment into two separate allotments made up of: 1) Pastures 1 and 3 being an allotment called East Dry Fork with the permit issued to American Prairie Foundation; and 2) Pasture 2 being an allotment named South East Dry Fork issued to Lee Jacobs and Francis Jacobs. It is important to note this is how the permit has been managed for at least the last four years. If Jacobs are unwilling to split the allotment another alternative is to run APR indigenous animals (bison) in common with Jacob’s cattle on the entire allotment.”

If you are reading this, you need to understand that the existing East Dry Fork allotment is an allotment in common, made up of three pastures, shared by APR, Francis Jacobs, and Lee and Perri Jacobs. The actual grazing use reports provided to BLM for the past 10 years clearly indicate that the Jacobs family has utilized all three pastures. APR is misinformed as to the use of the East Dry Fork Allotment in recent years. It would seem to us that this indicates their inability to properly observe and manage their allotments.

According to the Malta BLM office, this allotment has a total of 2,657 AUMs (animal unit month is the amount of forage needed to sustain a 1,000-pound steer for a month). The APR proposal, if approved, would give them 1,792 AUMs and the Jacobs family would have access to 865 AUMs. The APR proposal would have a negative impact on the Jacobs family because we would lose access to 212 AUMs to which we are legally entitled. Imagine the federal government coming to you and telling you that you have to give 25 percent of your home or business to the neighbor just because they requested it.

This plainly reveals that APR’s ultimate goal is to acquire as many AUMs as they possibly can in any fashion that will suit their purpose. Note that their proposal indicates if they do not get their way, then the Jacobs family will just have to run their cattle with their indigenous animals (bison). We find this to be a bullying tactic, plain and simple. If they threaten to do that to us, then you may be next.

That is why we encourage every property owner, who values their private property rights; to be sure they send comments to the BLM scoping process. They can do that by email to blm_mt_scoping_ncmd@blm.gov or U.S. mail to APR Scoping Comments, BLM Malta Field Office, 47285 Hwy 2, Malta, MT 59538. Comments are due by June 11.

We ask that you consider requesting that the EA (environment assessment) analyze all allotments in common to assure that all permittees have access to the AUMs to which they are legally entitled through their base property ownership.

Francis and Dolores Jacobs and Lee and Perri Jacobs operate the Jacobs Ranch Inc. at Malta, which has been family owned for over 100 years.

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