Ranchers may shape policy through survey

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— Ranchers in Routt and Moffat counties are being given the chance to offer opinions about public policy issues shaping the industry through a Colorado State University survey.

Surveys were sent to 700 ranchers in Routt and Moffat counties. Ranchers who receive the survey are urged to take the time to fill it out.

"It is a pretty extensive survey," said C.J. Mucklow, Routt County extension director. "It will take about 20 minutes to fill out."

The university is sending out the survey because state and federal agriculture agencies are seeking broader public input on agriculture policies.

"We want to know more about our ranchers' views of critical issues facing the future of ranching in Routt County," Mucklow said.

The results of the survey will be made available to state and federal officials who decide policies regarding ranching.

"Policy makers need to know what local ranchers think about policies that directly affect their operations and the future of a key agricultural industry in Colorado," said Tom Bartlett, a CSU professor of rangeland science.

Individual answers are strictly confidential and will be protected by the university.

However, total survey results will be compiled and made available to policy makers and the public.

"We expect this survey to assist policy makers in getting the concerns of local people directly into policy implementation," said Lou Swanson, chairman of the university's sociology department.

The results of the survey will also be used to help other counties in the state understand the opinions of ranchers on key issues.

Officials used information from Routt and Moffat counties' assessor's offices to identify ranchers to survey. Mucklow expects the results of the survey to be complete later this summer.

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