Courtesy of Lorna Steiner
The Owyhee Cattlemen’s Association Board of Directors on July 28 elected Lorna Steiner of Oreana, Idaho, as the organization’s new president.
She succeeds Bruneau rancher Lynn Bachman, who remains on the board as past president, succeeding Chad Nettleton of Murphy. The board elected Paul Nettleton of Murphy to succeed Steiner as vice president.
Association leaders for years have been working to preserve grazing rights in Owyhee County in southwest Idaho. Steiner said she and Bachman will continue efforts to work with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management on the issue.
BLM, aiming to reduce potential damage to lands, in the mid-1990s began limiting the number of cattle that ranchers could graze, expressed as an Animal Unit Month measure, on 68 allotments in the nearly 4.9 million-acre county that occupies the southwest corner of the state.
The total affected grazing area is more than 100,000 acres. Ranchers argued this reduces their economic viability while increasing wildfire fuels, and pointed to their interest in keeping land resources sustainable in the long term.
Steiner said resolution is still needed by about half of the affected permit holders. Bachman has been instrumental in initiating and continuing discussions with BLM — work they plan to continue, she said.
“I will be involved with that and Lynn will be involved with that,” Steiner said.
They are setting up an August meeting with BLM field, district and state office leaders, she said. A date and location aren’t yet determined.
As the new Owyhee Cattlemen’s Association president, “I also want to work with BLM in general,” Steiner said. “As ranchers, we are going to have to find some way to broaden our minds and work through different types of grazing programs and look at the land a little differently. We’re all hoping we can do more.”
Nearly all OCA-member ranchers lack sufficient water at some point, she said. She aims to work with BLM to help improve the situation. Solutions are yet to be determined but may include approaches like adding pipelines, developing more springs or placing troughs where springs are available, she said.
Steiner, 57, grew up in Meridian, where her father farmed. She co-owns Triangle Ranch with her husband, John Steiner, whose parents previously operated the Triangle property.
With help from their two grown sons, the Steiners grow hay and other feed crops on about 280 acres near Oreana, and operate the ranch 29 miles south and west in the Owyhee Mountains. The ranch includes about 5,000 deeded acres plus leased state and federal grazing land that brings the Triangle footprint to nearly 20,000 acres.
“We run, depending on the grass year, 400 to 450 head,” Lora Steiner said. Triangle Ranch “has a couple of pretty good-sized reservoirs and we can irrigate some meadows. It goes from sagebrush hills up to a lot of juniper-infested country at higher elevation.”
The ranch produces hormone-free cattle - mostly Angus, with some Brangus, which are known for browsing and overall grazing efficiency.