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News From the RangeNet 2004 Meeting in Albuquerque

The 2004 RangeNet meeting held in Albuquerque November 11-13 was sponsored this year by WWP's co-National Public Lands Grazing Campaign member group, Forest Guardians (http://www.fguardians.org/). The conference was very successful.

WWP would like to express thanks to the Forest Guardians staff for their good efforts with a special thanks to Rosie Brandenberger and Billy Stern for their hard work organizing the conference this year.

Among the conference high points was a debate between Courtney White of the Quivera Coalition (http://www.quiviracoalition.org/), a New Mexico based group that supports helping ranchers become better stewards of public and private lands, and WWP Advisory Board member, George Wuerthner.

George effectively used Courtney White's own slides to question White's message that ranching is compatible with arid western public lands. George's success in this panel was one of the high points of this year's conference.

Another high point was the keynote talk by Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva from Tucson who explained in detail why he is co-sponsoring the federal legislation proposed by the National Public Lands Grazing Campaign to offer public lands ranchers a generous buy-out of their grazing permits in order to permanently retire federal grazing allotments on federally managed lands. Congressman Grijalva's talk was an excellent overview of why the bills need to pass.

Interested readers may review copies of the Arizona and National buy-out bills at the National Public Lands Grazing Campaign's web site: http://www.publiclandsranching.org. The bills now have more than twenty co-sponsors each in the House of Representatives. More than 220 public lands ranchers in Arizona alone support the Arizona specific buy-out legislation.

WWP also especially enjoyed the "oldtimers" panel with grazing luminaries Steve Johnson, Jane Baxter, Jim Fish and Brett Matzke, all ably moderated by Sam Hitt. Thanks to all of them for their work over the years.