The Federal Public Lands Grazing System

The current system for grazing on Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service lands was established by the Taylor Grazing Act of 1934. In most areas, qualifying ranches ("base properties") were assigned an exclusive number of "animal unit months" (AUMs) (theoretically based on the land's carrying capacity) to graze nearby ("attached") federal grazing allotments.

The Extent of Public Lands Grazing

Of the 383,332,069 acres of federal public lands managed by the four major land management agencies 1, approximately 257,277,550 acres are subject to livestock grazing. In some areas, grazing continues year-round; in other areas, it is seasonal. Livestock use is measured in "animal unit months" or AUMs, which is generally the amount of forage necessary to feed a cow and calf for one month.

The State of Public Lands Grazing

For a variety of reasons, grazing on public lands is unstable. Public lands grazing permittees can see few, if any, bright spots in their future.

Why Ranchers Should and Do Support Voluntary Grazing Permit Buyout

1. Total federal acreage managed by the Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service in 48 contiguous states as of September 30, 1994. Government Accounting Office. 1996. Land ownership: information on acreage, management and use of federal and other lands. Washington, DC: 24-25.