Cattlemen put on someone else’s boots

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WASHINGTON – The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are launching a cooperative exchange program between cattle ranchers and wildlife service employees.

Learning experience. The initiative, called Walk a Mile in My Boots, lets cattle ranchers and wildlife service employees to learn more about each other’s lifestyles.

“Over the years, many association members have brought up concerns that their local FWS officials do not understand the priorities and challenges of cattle producers,” said Myra Hyde, the association’s director of environmental issues.

The program was made official July 18 in the association’s Washington D.C. office.

Local interests. Any cattle producer or wildlife service employee can apply for the exchange program. The average length of the actual exchange could run from two to 10 days. The coordinators of the program will help pair cattlemen and government employees in an exchange that is local and relevant to personal interests.

Activities. During the exchange, cattle ranchers can visit an wildlife service office, refuge, regional office or even travel to wildlife service headquarters in Washington D.C. They will have the opportunity to shadow biologists, managers, educators, conduct outdoor field activities, attend government meetings and work with other officials.

Outdoor activities could include water control monitoring, sampling fish or assisting with studies of an endangered species.

Wildlife service employees can visit a cattle operation and shadow producers in their daily activities.

To sign up for the exchange program or for more information contact Hyde at 202-347-0228 or e-mail walkamile@beef.org.

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