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The Montana Allotment is located on the Coronado National Forest south of Arivaca, Arizona. Encompassing some 21,500 acres, the Montana Allotment is an irregular shape, and in places, is as much as 11 miles in length and 5 miles wide, ending just north of the Mexican border.
In 1991, the Chilton Ranch, run by 5th generation Arizona ranchers, acquired the Montana Allotment. As stewards of the land, the Chiltons implemented a “rest rotation” system of grazing and made many improvements to the land. By 1998, Jim Chilton realized that his Forest Service file on the Montana Allotment was being stuffed with negative claims by some individuals who seemed to be against livestock grazing. The reports presented unsubstantiated claims of mis-management and allegations that Chilton cattle were destroying the environment.
In October 1998, Galt and Holechek spent several days studying the Montana Allotment. Their report, Survey of Grazing Intensity & Soil Conditions on the Montana Allotment, was issued in November 1998. Using well established and accepted guidelines, Galt and Holechek found the range management on the Montana Allotment to be "excellent” and that the Chiltons were “information oriented ranchers”.
Drs. Galt and Holechek continued to monitor and evaluate the Montana Allotment. They evaluated the land frequently. In early 2001, they issued their report entitled Summary of Grazing Intensity & Soil Conditions Surveys on Montana Allotment (April 1998 2000). Once again, the scientists found the condition of the Montana Allotment to be “excellent”. This continued to be the case when the scientists issued their next report Summary of Grazing Intensity & Soil Conditions Surveys on the Montana Allotment (September, 27 29, 2001).
The Chiltons also enlisted the aid of Dr. William Fleming, a noted hydrologist and also associate professor at University of New Mexico. Dr. Fleming also spent several days on the Montana Allotment. His observations and evaluations are contained in a report entitled Riparian Health on the Montana Allotment, August 25-27, 2000.
In the spring of 2002, Dr. Fleming teamed up with Dr. Holechek to examine the soil erosion rates on the Montana Allotment. Their report found the soil erosion to be “normal” (at the natural background rate) and concluded that soil health across the Montana Allotment was “excellent”. Equally important, the report concluded that “there is no evidence of accelerated erosion due to cattle grazing on the Montana Allotment. Some accelerated erosion may be occurring in a few locations due to roads, mining and camping activity” (Soil Erosion Rate on the Montana Allotment, Arivaca, Arizona, May, 2002, page 2).
In 2003, Dr. Galt and Dr. Holechek prepared a Five Year Summary of their studies of the Montana Allotment. This report unequivocally proves that the Chilton’s grazing activities have not harmed the environment on the Montana Allotment. In fact, the study shows that in some cases, the grazing activities have improved the overall health of the 21,500 acres.
Not surprisingly, each and every scientific report pertaining to the Montana Allotment issued since 1998, demonstrates the painstaking care and dedication that the Chiltons take in their grazing activities on the Montana Allotment. Further, the studies firmly support Jim Chilton’s self-characterization as a “good steward of the land”.
In addition to many scientific reports, the Chiltons have amassed a vast amount of data about the Montana Allotment, and also have taken numerous photographs of it. There are many photographs of each of the pastures, covering a long spread of time.