Dr. Dave Daley, a leader in the California Cattlemen’s Association, Public Lands Council, and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) recently testified before the House Natural Resources Committee in a field hearing titled “Conservation in a Crown Jewel: A Discussion About Wildfires and Forest Management.”
In his testimony, Dr. Daley pointed out that historic wildfire seasons in recent years have made even California realize the value livestock bring to wildfire resilience. “Wildfire resilience practices such as livestock grazing work, and confronted with the very real threat of worsening wildfire conditions, there ought to be bipartisan consensus endorsing these effective tools.”
According to CCA Vice President of Government Affairs Kirk Wilbur, the Daley family experienced the devastating impacts of a catastrophic wildfire three years ago when their cattle herd and the forest lands were decimated by the Bear Fire. Wilbur said, “We appreciate policy makers taking the opportunity to visit California, hear Dr. Daley’s firsthand experience with wildfire, and discuss solutions. We urge decisionmakers to include grazing and California cattle ranchers in the toolbox of solutions for mitigating extreme wildfires.”
Dr. Daley’s testimony focused on the need for the federal government to look holistically at land management and recognize that livestock grazing is an important tool for reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfires. He also recommended that Congress utilize federal legislation, like the forestry title of the 2023 Farm Bill, to strengthen tools like grazing, prescribed fire, timber thinning, and other effective forestry management practices. In addition, Dr. Daley acknowledged the need for federal agencies to conduct post-fire operations, the importance of federal use of fuel breaks, and historic management failures that have hampered the federal government's ability to make meaningful improvements in landscape resiliency.
“Cattle producers are in a unique position to help reduce the threat of wildfire if the federal government only acknowledged their critical role and relied on their land management expertise,” said NCBA Vice President of Government Affairs Ethan Lane. “NCBA appreciates the House Natural Resources Committee traveling away from Washington to see conditions on the ground and hear from local producers like Dr. Daley.”
Public Lands Council Executive Director Kaitlynn Glover said: “Decades of mismanagement have left the West ravaged by catastrophic wildfires, especially as federal agencies ignore one of the most helpful tools at their disposal—livestock grazing. The Public Lands Council is proud of our Ecosystem and Environment Committee Chair Dr. Daley for delivering the message to Congress that federal agencies should work with ranchers and local land managers to protect these landscapes across the West.”