A Steal of a Deal: How Ranchers Take Advantage of Public Lands

Source:  Therevelator.org

Ranchers pay just $1.35 a month to graze cattle on public lands and national forests. You couldn’t feed a cat or dog for 10 times that amount.

by Dipika Kadaba and John R. Platt

What animal could survive on $1.35 worth of food a month?

Certainly not your average housecat, which can eat up to $45 worth of food every 30 days.

So why, then, do cattle and other livestock in the U.S. get to graze on public lands for a month at a time for roughly the price of two cans of Fancy Feast?



Dipika Kadaba

is an ecologist who uses data visualization and design to communicate environmental issues in her role as The Revelator’s visual storyteller. Her interdisciplinary work originates in her background in environmental health research as a veterinarian, a graduate degree in conservation science, and a lifetime spent creating webcomics and animations for fun.

John R. Platt

is the editor of The Revelator. An award-winning environmental journalist, his work has appeared in Scientific AmericanAudubonMotherboard, and numerous other magazines and publications. His “Extinction Countdown” column has run continuously since 2004 and has covered news and science related to more than 1,000 endangered species. He is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and the National Association of Science Writers. John lives on the outskirts of Portland, Ore., where he finds himself surrounded by animals and cartoonists.



10 replies »

  1. Now theres a short public service announcement that should be put “out there”. A bit of actual truth for the general public!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. § 4710.5 Closure to livestock grazing.
    (a) If necessary to provide habitat for wild horses or burros, to implement herd management actions, or to protect wild horses or burros, to implement herd management actions, or to protect wild horses or burros from disease, harassment or injury, the authorized officer may close appropriate areas of the public lands to grazing use by all or a particular kind of livestock.


  3. How true this is!

    “If all mankind were to disappear, the world would regenerate back to the rich state of equilibrium that existed ten thousand years ago. If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos.” —E. O. Wilson

    Liked by 1 person

  4. If you turn this forage valuation around, recognizing that the BLM has determined one months’ worth of forage is worth $1.35 for two animals (one cow and her calf), then you come to this:

    If you assume there are 70,000 wild horses/burros on our public lands (no accurate counts exist), then 70,000 X $1.35 = $94,500 per month. Multiply X 12 comes to $1,134, 000 to keep wild horses/burros wild, in the wild.

    If you divide this by half or one third to account for foals, it falls well below $1M when just the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program spends somewhere around $65M to take them off the range and manage or send them to their deaths.

    Not to even mention the ~$144M the grazing permit program goes into the red on an ANNUAL basis.

    How far would $64M go towards better on-range management? Why isn’t it being considered that the fraction of lands upon which wild horses and burros even exist today could easily enough exclude livestock grazing — it’s only about 12% of all the grazing permit acreages on public lands. These permits could be retired, revoked, or offered a one-time buy out and still save everyone over the long haul while ensuring the survival of our wild horses and burros on our public lands. It would also ease some of the unfair competition livestock permit holders now have against the much larger overall livestock production industry who cannot access these (for all practical purposes) inherited permits.

    So designating those 12% of the identified grazing lands to exclude domestic livestock grazing would save the public many millions of dollars annually, based on the BLM’s own valuation.

    Let’s do it!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This Legal Declaration still stands and is still the LAW


    I, Lloyd Eisenhauer, declare as follows:
    I live in Cheyenne, Wyoming. I am a former Bureau of Land Management

    5. In stark contrast, however, livestock (sheep and cattle) have no similar right to use BLM lands; rather, livestock owners may be granted the privilege of using BLM lands for livestock grazing pursuant to a grazing permit that is granted by BLM under the Taylor Grazing Act, but that privilege can be revoked, modified, or amended by BLM for various reasons, including for damage to vegetation or other resources caused by livestock, or due to sparse forage available to sustain livestock AFTER wild horses are accounted for.

    10. And, again, because the wild horses have a STATUTORY RIGHT right to be there, whereas livestock only have a privilege that can be revoked at any time by BLM,

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The truth is the 1971 law is being targeted to be gutted by powerful interests with zero to no concern for wild horses or burros, other than to see them exterminated. The latest “alliance” proposal will do exactly that, just in slow motion, which is harder to get the public concerned about, but the plans to push lethal legislation drivce ahead nonstop.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The barbaric sterilization experiments could be seen as a form of “kidnap, ransom and extortion” in order to force advocates to choose “the lesser of two evils”.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. A wild horse struggles for its life after being TIED DOWN IN A REMOTE FIELD AND LEFT TO SUFFER.
    A lone filmmaker takes her own path during the Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse press tour and captures the truth behind what really took place during the wild horse helicopter roundup in Challis, Idaho in 2012.


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