The balance of humans and animals on this earth has been a delicate balance since the beginning of time. Civilization has required that we as humans not only build and establish our homes and our way to support ourselves but to also be stewards of the land that we call home. Perhaps nowhere is this more apparent than in the livestock industry and the ranches that provide beef to that industry.

As ranchers work every day – and often many nights – to build and grow their business, care for their stock and preserve their land, they are also called upon to protect their investment, protect their families and to protect the natural resources and wildlife that reside along with them. It is indeed a delicate and often difficult responsibility.

As cattlemen, we are working to not only meet that responsibility but to educate ourselves on the best practices based in science and research that will allow conservation and management for wildlife and land. We take our role as stewards of the land and its inhabitants very seriously — and that is why we are proud to be a part of educational opportunities such as the Gray Wolf Conservation and Management Symposium, held on May 12 in Albany.

Ranching in Oregon has a unique history of high social and economic values in our state. Our history and heritage has demonstrated that we, as citizens, will always be working not only to benefit self but also to benefit community and nature. Ranchers are no different and in fact have been working to improve socio-economic conditions for generation upon generation.

Predator populations will always be a challenge to anyone who is working with livestock, or perhaps has pets or other animals that also call their land home. But by working to educate ourselves, hear perspectives and practices from other parts of our nation on what has worked in the efforts to define a process with integrity to not only conserve but manage wildlife and lands, we can continue to preserve and protect the cattle industry’s positive economic impact and growth for our state – for this generation and the ones who come after us.

Curtis Martin is president of the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association and a cattle rancher in North Powder. This column is republished from The Capital Press.

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