Costs that Discouraged Rotational Grazing Practices on the USA’s Great Plains

Challenges For Rotational Grazing Practice: Views From Non-Adopters Across the Great Plains, USA

As discussed in the paper below, the expenses of fencing and water improvements are barriers to planned grazing. The authors suggest ways to overcome these.

NOTE: this paper will be published to Journal of Environmental Management Volume 256, 15 February 2020. It was written compiled by Tong Wang, Hailong Jin, Urs Kreuterb, Hongli Feng, David A. Hennessy, Richard Teague, Yuyuan Che

Ranching, wildlife management, finance, oil & gas, real estate development and management.
  • This might work if the ranchers get together and form a cooperative? I support the goal of restoring the Great Plains prairies.

    • Hello Jim,

      Me too. Any form of cooperation is a good idea, I am not sure what you have in mind.

      Speaking from personal experience, there are two categories of problems confronting potential planned graziers.

      The first problem is finding the money to make these improvements. If the government wants to help, it could reallocate some of these enormous ag subsidies towards water and fencing improvements. Remember, however, that agencies like NRCS make the improvements much more expensive because of the specifications which they require. So for this to work they would have to relax their over-engineering. Otherwise landowners are able to do these things cheaper without government subsidies; that brings you back to where we started.

      The second problem are the rules on public lands. You cannot do holistic planned grazing on BLM land because of the regulations. National forests are even worse. The bias is against grazing in any form, and after that comes planned grazing, which greatly increases stocking rates for short periods followed by long rest periods. The thinking cannot accommodate those large animal numbers, even though the animals leave after a few days or weeks and don’t come back for many months. Stating this differently, the total grazing pressure under planned grazing in terms of animal days is less than set-stocking, but the higher animal numbers during those short grazing periods are anathema to agency thinking.

      Thanks for commenting.

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