Community Ag Alliance: Ferry Carpenter was pioneer in Routt County’s modern range improvement process | SteamboatToday.com

Community Ag Alliance: Ferry Carpenter was pioneer in Routt County’s modern range improvement process

Greg Brown For Steamboat Today

Community Ag Alliance

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — In June of 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.

Operating under the process defined in the Taylor Grazing Act, Carpenter, a Republican, whose good friend Congressman Ed Taylor of Colorado, a Democrat, had initiated the legislation, oversaw the mapping of western rangelands, brought cattlemen and sheepmen together and 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 in this process, but because Carpenter was a stockman himself, becoming so through his efforts of homesteading east of Hayden, 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 whose membership comes from the permittees.

This is a fundamental difference between BLM grazing allotments under the U.S. Department of the Interior and U.S. Forest Service allotments under the United States Department of Agriculture. A portion of the fees collected on an AUM basis (animal unit month) is returned from the BLM Grazing District to the county where the grazing fees originated.

Prior to 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 BCC designated an existing board, the Weed Advisory Board, to solicit range improvement projects, review the projects and recommend projects to the BCC to be funded (reimbursed) with the Taylor Grazing Act Funds maintained by Routt County as the Range Improvement Fund.

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The Routt County Weed Advisory Board as directed by the Routt County Board of County Commissioners is accepting range improvement project proposals to be funded (as reimbursement) with the TGA 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 to be completed in 2018, though multi-year projects are eligible if organized with annual work plans. Each proposal shall 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: general nature of project; location; funds requested; in-kind contribution; start and end date; and contacts. Submissions are due by 5 p.m. March 12 in the office of the Routt County Weed Program, P.O. Box 773598, Steamboat Springs, CO 80477 or they can be emailed to gbrown@co.routt.co.us. Call 970-870-5246 with questions.

Greg Brown is supervisor of the Routt County Weed Program.