WASHINGTON (September 12, 2016) – On Sat. Sept. 10, 2016, the annual Public Lands Council meeting wrapped up with a high desert range and operation tour in Southern Idaho. The meeting drew more than 150 public lands ranchers along with affiliate representatives to engage in the grassroots policy process, hear from agency officials, and discuss critical issues that are impacting the West. This year’s PLC meeting focused on top issues for public lands ranchers including preserving and enhancing sage grouse habitat through land stewardship, managing wild horse and burro populations at appropriate levels, and fighting regulation that threatens multiple use and vibrant western communities.
“We had a successful meeting this year, and we are pleased with the turnout of not only our members but agency officials that took to time to meet with us and hear our concerns,” said Ethan Lane, PLC Executive Director.
At the conclusion of the business meeting Fri. afternoon, Dave Eliason, a fourth-generation rancher from Utah was elected to serve the two-year term as PLC president, succeeding Brenda Richards who will serve as immediate past president. Bob Skinner of Jordan Valley, Ore. was elected to serve as vice president and Niels Hansen of Rawlins, Wyo. is the new secretary/treasurer.
“I am incredibly pleased to see the direction of our industry and the strides the PLC has made on behalf of public lands ranchers during my service on the board,” said Richards. “Dave will be a great leader as we continue to work with the federal agencies and public lands ranchers to ensure grazing and cattle production remain a viable and sustainable industry across the west, not just for us, but for the next generation and beyond.”
Eliason is a fourth-generation cattle rancher from Utah and has long been a leader in his tight-knit community. He and his wife Gaylynn work with their five children to run cattle in both Idaho and Utah on private and public lands. In addition to his active role in PLC, he has been president of many state and local cattlemen and beef industry associations and a member of the Utah state advisory board for the Bureau of Land Management. He was also appointed as chair of the Utah State Farm Service Agency board by President George W. Bush and the Governor’s Agriculture Advisory Board by Utah Governor Gary Herbert.
“Ranching in the west and ensuring we pass our operation on to the next generation stronger than we found it is my top priority as I look to lead PLC over these next two years,” said Eliason. “I look forward to working with our board, our members and affiliates to achieve the goals our members set out at the annual meeting.”
As president of PLC, Eliason will lead the organization’s policy work. To learn more about the public lands council, visit publiclandscouncil.org.