BLM Says It Cannot Track Cattle on Its Lands
Blames Lack of "Seamless Data" for Excluding Livestock from Range Assessments
Story from PEER

Washington, DC — The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) says it was an absence of “reliable data”—and not politics—that caused it to exclude consideration of commercial livestock impacts from multi-million dollar assessments of environmental conditions on Western range lands. BLM thus rejected the first scientific misconduct complaint filed against it by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), which today released a detailed rebuttal of BLM’s self-exoneration. Continue reading>>

The Atlantic: Ben Nelson Goes Cow (Fees) Tipping
Federal grazing fees are not a hot issue. But the Nebraska senator's new bill to bring them up to market rates is an astute political move
Article by Andrew Cohen

When outgoing Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) announced last month that he was pushing to reduce America's national deficit by reducing "welfare ranching" in America's heartland, so quiet was the political response in Washington that you could practically hear the crickets chirping along the Potomac. Undaunted, Sen. Nelson last Wednesday went one step further, announcing that he has introduced an eminently level-headed "Fair Grazing Fee" bill, designed to require the various agencies of the executive branch to charge market-level grazing fees for private ranchers who are running livestock on public land. Continue Reading>>

BLM Report: Public Lands Ranching Fails Rangeland Health Standards on a Third of Rangelands Assessed, 33 Million Acres
Story by Brian Ertz
A new federal assessment of rangelands in the West finds a disturbingly large portion fails to meet range health standards principally due to commercial livestock operations.  In the last decade as more land has been assessed, estimates of damaged lands have doubled in the 13-state Western area where the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) conducts major livestock leasing.
The “Rangeland Inventory, Monitoring and Evaluation Report for Fiscal Year 2011” covers BLM allotments in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.  The report totals BLM acreage failing to meet rangeland health standards in measures such as water quality, watershed functionality and wildlife habitat. Continue Reading >>

Princeton University: Wildlife & cows can be partners, not enemies, in search for food

Story by Morgan Kelly, Photo by Dan Rubenstein
Princeton University researchers are leading an effort to put to pasture the long-held convention of cattle ranching that wild animals compete with cows for food.
Two recently published papers — including one in the journal Science — offer the first experimental evidence that allowing cattle to graze on the same land as wild animals can result in healthier, meatier bovines by enhancing the cows' diet. The findings suggest a new approach to raising cattle that could help spare wildlife from encroaching ranches, and produce more market-ready cows in less time.

Studies & Reports

WildEarthGuardiansFiscal Costs of Federal Public Lands Livestock Grazing
By Wild Earth Guardians
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has reported the federal government spends at least $144 million each year managing private livestock grazing on federal public lands, but collects only $21 million in grazing fees -- for a net loss of at least $123 million per year. Continue Reading>>
Center for Biological Diversity logoAssessing the Full Cost of the Federal Grazing Program
Prepared for the Center for Biological Diversity
By Karyn Moskowitz, MBA & Chuck Romaniello, MS AG. Econ.
Several efforts have been made to estimate the full costs of the federal livestock grazing program. This study examines budget records and other relevant data to derive a minumum of $128 million for the full, annual cost to the U.S.Treasury of grazing lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service in the western U.S. Continue Reading>>