After working in the U.S. Senate for 7 years, I recently moved back to Utah. In my transition to the private sector, there are several business opportunities I am pursuing. Rangeland Strategies is one of the ventures I am most excited about.
A little over a year ago, I met a retired employee from the United States Forest Service. Since retiring, he had started working as an independent consultant helping ranchers protect their public land grazing allotments. In the small pockets of the West where he chose to work, his business was exploding through word-of-mouth for the simple reason that he was getting results. He was helping ranchers beat the agents and bureaucrats at the BLM and USFS at their own game. His customers learned that somewhere in between losing their business and fighting six to seven figure lawsuits with the government a consultant with inside knowledge of how these agencies work could help them resolve and prevent conflicts for a fraction of the cost and headache.
I told him we need fifty more people just like him doing what he’s doing.
He responded by saying, “Come join me.”
Long story short, I did. As did one of my other colleagues from the Senate. Our long term plan is to build a network of consultants that knows how to do what we know how to do.
This is a new venture built on a foundation of decades of experience. We are just starting to get our brand out there, so that we can “ride for the brand” of the many ranchers out there who find themselves facing government agencies that are hostile to their livelihood and success.
If you know someone who maintains grazing allotments on public lands, I hope you will connect them to us. Even if they don’t end up using our services, we hope they will learn a lot as we share what we learn from helping those who do need our help.
Once our customer base begins to grow, we hope to find others with the right skills and background to join our network. If you know anyone who might be interested, I hope you will connect them to us.
Each of the consultants in our network has other sources of income, so our primary motive in building this service is to help ranchers who need it. We know enough ranchers to know that they can be a pretty independent bunch. As a result, they wait until it might be too late to ask for help. It’s always easier to prevent conflict with government agencies than it is to resolve conflict with government agencies. For this reason, we’ll never charge for an initial consultation.
Finally, on some level, I wish this business opportunity didn’t even exist. Ranchers provide meat, leather, wool, and other products that most of us value and use. When they follow responsible practices on public land, they provide valuable ecosystem services such as reducing fire fuel loads, protecting watersheds, and improving wildlife habitat. Their demand for other agricultural products and services keeps many rural communities in the West alive.
I would like to think that the default relationship between ranchers and public land managers would be a strong mutually beneficial partnership. Sometimes this relationship exists, but our experience tells us that more often than not agencies are staffed by those who want to eliminate grazing on public land completely. Public land managers have extensive resources and significant political power to accomplish their goals. Ranchers don’t. We think we can help level the playing field. We hope you will help us get the word out.