At its annual meeting last week in Deadwood, S.D., members of the Public Lands Council approved new policies and policy priorities for the coming year.
Brice Lee, PLC President and a cattle rancher, said the meeting was an effort to discuss strategies and ensure that PLC provides a stable business environment for its members.
"This is important work: at stake is the health of the economies and landscapes of the West," he said.
At the meeting, PLC's Executive Director, Dustin Van Liew gave an update on PLC's efforts promoting priority legislation such as the Grazing Improvement Act, and vowed to fight any legislation that could jeopardize public grazing.
The Board of Directors later approved funding for several projects through the Public Lands Endowment Trust, including research efforts, software development and PLC expansion. The Trust, established in 2011, was formed to protect and enhance the public lands grazing industry.
PLC members also celebrated BLM's Range Stewardship Award, which was presented to the Beyeler family, and heard from South Dakota Secretary of Agriculture Larry Lentsch.
Congressional staff and Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service Officials were also on hand to meet with PLC members.
"To me, this year's meeting revealed a turning point for our industry," President Brice Lee noted. "Thanks to the hard work and foresight of our staff and some of our industry's leaders over the past few years, we have opportunities available to us that we've never had before—and it's generating a can-do, optimistic attitude."
Lee said he was pleased with the turnout, and noted that PLC's influence is growing.
"I want to thank those individuals who took the time to come. Their impact on our industry's future cannot be overestimated," he said.