Phillips County News - One Nation, Under God

If APR threatens us, you may be next

 

April 18, 2018



Dear Editor,

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) 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 (APR) controls private properties tied to 18 BLM grazing allotments in Fergus, Petroleum, Phillips, and Valley Counties. They have submitted a proposal asking the BLM to modify their grazing permits.

Note that Page 2 of their 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 (551 AUMs) and Francis Jacobs (526 AUMs). State Leases #9266 and #9267 would also be assigned to 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 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 shared by APR, Francis Jacobs, and Lee and Perri Jacobs. In recapping their comment from item 2, they state that for the last 4 years they have solely used pastures 1 and 3, while the Jacobs family has solely used pasture 2 of the East Dry Fork Allotment.

We state that this description of the current usage of the allotment is a misrepresentation of the facts. The actual grazing use reports provided to BLM for the years 2014 to 2017 incontrovertibly indicate that the Jacobs family has used pastures 2 and 3 over the past 4 years. Grazing reports as far back as 2007 clearly indicate that the Jacobs family rotates through all 3 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.

Now let’s look at their proposal to split this allotment into 2 different units. APR correctly states the AUM’s allocated to the Jacobs Family as 526 to Francis and 551 to Lee and Perri. Elsewhere in their revised proposal they affirm that they have 1584 AUM’s in this shared allotment. According to the Malta BLM office this allotment has 2657 AUM’s divided into pasture one with 901 AUMs, pasture two with 865 AUMs, and pasture 3 with 891 AUMS. Again, APR’s proposal recommends that Pastures 1 and 3, comprising a total of 1792 AUMs, become their allotment and Pasture 2 with 865 AUMs assigned to the Jacobs family. If this proposal were to be accepted then APR would have assigned to them 208 additional AUMs to which they are not legally entitled. On the other hand, the Jacobs family would be shorted 212 AUMs of which they are legally entitled.

This plainly reveals that APR’s ultimate goal is to acquire as many AUMs as they possibly can in any fashion that will suite 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 in Phillips County 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 May 9, 2018.

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.

Sincerely,

Francis and Dolores Jacobs

Lee and Perri Jacobs

Jacobs Ranch, Inc.

Family owned and operated for over 100 years

 

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