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Your Update from Ron Hays of RON
Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Cattle Groups Challenge the Endangered Species Declaration for the Lesser Prairie Chicken
Earlier this week, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association and state affiliates in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado and Kansas (the “Livestock Associations”) submitted comments to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in response to a June 1 proposed rule that would classify a northern population of the Lesser Prairie-Chicken (LPC) as threatened and a southern population as endangered. The proposal revives the Service’s previous efforts to list the LPC that was reversed in 2016 by a U.S. district court.

“The Livestock Associations believe the Service has incorrectly asserted that ESA protections are warranted at this time,” observing in the comments, “...the Service asserts that there is sufficient evidence to support the listing...” despite the fact that “...range-wide population estimates are, by all accounts, increasing across the range as a result of coordinated conservation efforts resulting from a centralized voluntary conservation method.” The groups emphasized to the Service that without protection of open space provided by agriculture and livestock operations, conservation efforts would be less successful.

Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association was one of the state groups signing the letter- in a statement- Michael Kelsey told us "The proposed designations of the Lesser Prairie Chicken under the Endangered Species Act represent not only is a disregard for the great conservation work that private land owners have and are doing, but more importantly, it is a significant proposed breach of private property rights. OCA is proud to be part of this strong coalition pushing back on this proposal that ignores the hard work and progress made in conservation and common sense practices by Oklahoma and adjoining state’s landowners."

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Tim West
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Ron Hays
Director of Farm Programming
Radio Oklahoma Ag Network