Grazing Permit Buyout Quotes

Although cattle grazing in the West has polluted more water, eroded more topsoil, killed more fish, displaced more wildlife, and destroyed more vegetation than any other kind of land use, the American public pays ranchers to do it.

- Ted Williams, 1991, "He's Going to Have an Accident," Audubon 93(2): 30-39, p. 34.
Since late 2001 a consortium of conservationist groups called the National Public Lands Grazing Campaign has taken the debate to another level. … Grazing, along with hard-rock mining, represents the last bastion of government-subsidised extraction of commodities from public lands. The American taxpayer deserves a viable alternative.

- "Subsidised cow chow," The Economist 362(8263): 39 (March 8, 2002).
The people who brought this idea up (grazing permit buyout) have thought this question through clearly and they're not going to go away.
          Aaron Harp, Director, Policy Analysis Center for Western Public Lands

- Mike Stark, "Panel will study lease buy-outs," Billings Gazette (May 8, 2002).
After 23 years with the BLM I have come to the realization that for many of our allotments [permit buyout] is the only real solution.
          Land/Resource Manager (name withheld), Bureau of Land Management. December 3, 2002

Ranching is fading out in Arizona. It's a fraction of a fraction of 1 percent of the state economy.

- "Git gone, li'l dogie," Arizona Republic (editorial) (June 26, 2003): B10.

The Missouri's cottonwood forests are disappearing, along with its muddy banks. The riparian corridor is grazed out.

In the desert, the damage is even more severe. I am now convinced that livestock do not belong in arid deserts. If it gets less than 10 inches of rainfall, cattle do not belong there.

Western cattle production is of little value...there are more cows in West Virginia than in Arizona.

Isn't it time to reframe the debate? These [federal natural resource] laws served their time, but that time has passed. Now we need to save a share of these resources for creation.

Where does the public interest lie? I say it lies in the beauty of these grand landscapes, and in the ecological and biological diversity of the land.

I am here to say the presumption that grazing is the dominant use of our public lands is the artifact of a distant past and must be replaced.

          Bruce Babbitt, former Secretary of the Interior, University of Montana Public Land Law Conference

- Sherry Devlin, "Babbitt: Time's ripe for reform," The Missoulian (March 14, 2003) and other sources.

Ranch values have just moved completely out of line with the ability to pay for it with income from cows. Basically, you have to come to ranching with big bags of money, inherit it or be willing to work off the ranch.

          Allen Torell, Agricultural Economist, New Mexico State University

- Leslie Linthicum, "Like many ranches, Silver Bear comes with a hefty price tag," Albuquerque Journal (November 9, 2003).


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