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Public Lands leadership: Public Lands Council announces Wyoming rancher as president after successful annual meeting

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

 The Public Lands Council’s (PLC) 52nd Annual Meeting was held virtually Sept. 23-24. Hundreds of ranchers tuned into the event, featuring sessions on wildfire, drought, public lands grazing and reforms to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA). 

“Meeting on a regular basis is so important – both to our members and to the policy development process directing our staff in Washington, D.C., ” said PLC Executive Director Kaitlynn Glover. “Each year brings its own challenges for federal lands ranchers, and 2020 is no exception. I am proud of the way this group has embraced the opportunity to meet virtually and the discussions we’ve had this week.” 

New executive team

Following the meeting, Wyoming Rancher Niels Hansen was announced as the new president of PLC. Also new to the PLC Executive Committee is Colorado Rancher Mark Roeber as vice president and Utah Rancher Steve Osguthorpe as secretary. 

Hansen, a third-generation rancher, operates a cow/calf/yearling operation with his family on their high desert ranch near Rawlins. He has worked in conjunction with the University of Wyoming and the Bureau of Land Management for over 20 years to monitor and collect data supporting sound land and natural resource management.  

“I look forward to representing the needs of 20,000 plus public lands ranchers and working with agencies and Congressional delegations to carry the issues to the Capitol. After being involved in PLC for many years, I am honored to serve as PLC’s president for the next two years,” says Hansen. “My good friend, Bob Skinner, passed the reins of PLC to me after successfully serving as president for two years. Under Bob’s leadership, we have seen many wins in the NEPA revisions, as well as the ESA and the waters of the United States, just to name a few.”

“The public lands grazing industry is at a pivotal point. We have the opportunity to highlight the many ways grazing benefits landscapes, wildlife and communities across the country,” Hansen shares. “I am proud to be a part of building a stronger future for my children, grandchildren and the lands we have carefully managed for generations.”  

Osguthorpe, a sheep producer from Park City, Utah, has been serving the public lands ranching community for years. Previously, Ogsuthorpe served as a member of the PLC Board of Directors as the American Sheep Industry Association affiliate. 

“I am so excited to see Steve join the PLC leadership team for the next two years,” shares Glover. “He brings decades of experience, innovative approaches to industry challenges and unmatched dedication to the public lands ranching community.” 

The PLC Executive Committee consists of Hansen, Osguthorpe, Roeber and Skinner as immediate past president, as well as Brenda Richards as treasurer, through 2022.  

Awards presented

During the Annual PLC meeting, the organization leadership also announced both the 2020 PLC President’s Award and the 2020 Friend of the PLC. 

The PLC President’s Awardee is selected by the current PLC president, based on contributions to the public lands ranching community and promoting livestock production on federal lands. 

The 2020 PLC President’s Award goes to John Falen. Falen has more than 30 years of service to PLC, including serving as PLC president, representing the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and serving as president of the Nevada Cattlemen’s Association. 

“John is deserving of this award because of his dedication, commitment and tireless service to PLC and the livestock industry as a whole,” says Skinner. “During his years on the Executive Committee, he was an influential part in establishing the Public Lands Endowment Trust, served as a member of the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Committee and worked hard to defend the rights of the ranching industry.” 

“The Friend of PLC Award recognizes a person outside of PLC, who has gone above and beyond their duties to help the mission of public lands ranchers,” according to PLC. 

Aaron Schlage, senior director at the NCBA, was selected as the 2020 Friend of PLC. 

“Aaron makes himself available day in and day out to ensure our team is well prepared and well housed,” says Skinner. “Whether we need assistance with travel, getting out of a snow storm or finding the best hotel rates, Aaron has always been there to help. Numerous events have only been possible due to his quick thinking and expertise.”

Averi Hales is the editor for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to

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