For many years, BLM has announced the recipients of the Rangeland Stewardship Award and the Sagebrush-Steppe Award at the Public Lands Council’s annual meeting in recognition of the BLM’s partnership with ranchers whose grazing permits provide critical management of millions of acres of western rangelands.

The 2022 Rangeland Stewardship and Sagebrush-Steppe Awards were presented to Charles Hibner of New Mexico and the Cedar Creek Grazing Association (CCGA) of Montana, respectively.

BLM touted Hibner’s longstanding work as a soil conservationist at the Natural Resources Conservation Service and 50-year status as a grazing permittee as part of his work to improve native vegetation and promote biodiversity near Cebolla, New Mexico.

Similarly, the CCGA’s work includes the dedication of 20 members who work collectively to improve sage grouse habitat through their grazing activities and have outlined wildlife habitat improvements, riparian protection, and noxious weed mitigation as high priorities during their 55-year history.

“These awards recognize outstanding investments and the people who continue to demonstrate that livestock operations are critical to sustainability and resilience of Western landscapes”, said Public Lands Council President Niels Hansen. “PLC is proud to continue to work with the BLM to support the work these ranchers do to protect sage grouse habitat, encourage retention of native grass stands, and improve diverse wildlife habitat. Congratulations to these recipients for this well-deserved recognition of their work that supports food and fiber production while making western public lands healthier for us all.”

“The BLM has worked for over 80 years with generations of American ranchers whose livestock graze public rangelands to provide food and fiber for the nation and who are the backbone of many rural communities,” said BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning. “The exemplary stewardship demonstrated by these awardees create new benchmarks for locally led and locally designed conservation.”

The Public Lands Council represents more than 22,000 cattle and sheep producers who hold public lands grazing permits. Federal grazing permit holders provide essential food and fiber resources to the nation, as well as important land management services like the eradication of invasive species, mitigation of wildfire risk, and conservation of vital wildlife habitat. The Public Lands Council works in active partnership with the BLM, the U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and local land management offices.