SALEM, Ore., (02/11/2016) – After months of stress, confusion and heartache, the refuge takeover appears to have ended. The Oregon Cattlemen’s Association has repeatedly made clear that it does not endorse illegal activity against the government. That being said, Oregon Cattlemen’s Association does believe it is important that a proper conversation is started between ranchers and government stakeholders to address some of the problems that have been brought to light.

The association is thankful that the occupation has ended without further loss of life. “We are glad that the standoff was concluded without further bloodshed,” John O’Keeffe, president of the association, said. “We are hopeful the community of Burns will be able to start to heal.”

Jerome Rosa, executive director of the association, said he feels the situation in Burns has brought exposure to the issue of government overreach. “OCA has continued discussions on a legislative level and is working with legal counsel regarding the unjust sentencing recently handed out to Dwight and Steven Hammond.”

He believes that now is the time for a discussion to take place between all involved stakeholders. “Sincere and constructive conversations between government agencies and Oregon Cattlemen’s Association will continue.”

O’Keeffe emphasized the association wants issues to be approached in “a productive and peaceful way.” He believes that is the best way to help mend the urban-rural divide.

The association is confident that positive change can occur. Rosa pointed out that the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association has “a positive history working with government agencies on both a state and federal level. These trusted relationships are what will allow positive and productive change to occur.”

The Oregon Cattlemen’s Association was founded in 1913 and works to promote environmentally and socially sound industry practices, improve and strengthen the economics of the industry, and protect its industry communities and private property rights.

By Kayli Hanley