Grazing on Public Lands

Credit: Getty 

Issue Overview

Our country’s public lands are entrusted to Americans for the well-being of all and the protection of our natural resources. Our nation established “multiple use” for federal lands through several laws, including the Multiple-Use Sustained-Yield Act of 1960 and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 to guarantee our longstanding tradition of joining together in our care, enjoyment, use and conservation of the wide-open spaces we all cherish. For America’s farmers and ranchers, the multiple-use concept is key to their livelihoods.  Livestock grazing on federal lands is integral to ranches across the U.S., especially in the West. This generations-long practice not only provides food for our nation but also serves to manage and conserve natural resources and the communities that depend on them. 

For generations, ranchers have done their part to protect the land and ensure our children and grandchildren can enjoy the wide open spaces we cherish across our great country.

Benefits of Grazing

Science-based grazing management:

  • Promotes thriving and sustainable rangelands.
  • Supports quality watersheds and productive wildlife habitats.
  • Cultivates viable rural economies.
  • Reduces wildland fire risk.
  • Supports ranching in rural communities, increasing support for critical public services.

Ranchers actively help in remote areas by performing routine facility maintenance, clearing culverts and removing trash. Grazing is also critical for improving range conditions, preventing wildfires and controlling invasive species.  Ranchers with federal grazing permits also serve as fire lookouts and eyes on the ground for law enforcement and help with public outreach at a time of limited funding and staffing at federal agencies.

AFBF Policy

Farmers and ranchers are part of the federal land management and conservation solution. Farmers, landowners and grazing permittees should be fully involved as affected partners in processes related to federal land use designations that affect public use and access. Farm Bureau supports the multiple-use mandate of federal land management and opposes legislation and federal regulatory actions that reduce public access to our nation’s shared lands.

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