By Tim Leeds 

Park board continues to look at hardship policy for grazing


The Hill County Park Board may set policy to give hardship allowances to ranchers with grazing allotments on Beaver Creek Park.

County Commissioner Kathy Bessette said during Monday's board meeting that she would bring the language proposed by the board to County Attorney Gina Dahl today for her review.

"She's going to have to defend this if somebody says you guys are not playing fair, " Bessette said.

The board, during its August meeting, extensively discusssed the issue and drafted a tentative proposal.

Local ranchers contract allotments with the county allowing them to let cattle graze on the park between the day after Labor Day and Jan. 1. The number in the allotment is based on the previous year's allotment, with the amount reduced for the next year and and the difference spread out to other ranchers if the number drops.

The grazing allotments are the single biggest source of revenue for the park.

Two grazers are facing difficulties including injuries this year, and requested they be able to keep their allotments, while letting others use the numbers of the alotments to graze.

In August, the board proposed giving ranchers, on a case-by-case basis, up to three years of hardship allowance. The grazer would have to pay half of their allotment cost to keep the allotment, and the park would charge other ranchers to let their cattle graze on a temporary basis.

If the rancher given a hardship allowance is not able to start grazing the cattle again by the end of the three years, that rancher would lose the allotment.


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