The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and Public Lands Council announced opposition to H.R. 5737, the Voluntary Grazing Permit Retirement Act, introduced Thursday, January 30, by Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA). The bill would require federal land management agencies to permanently end livestock grazing on any allotments where the current permittee has accepted a payout in exchange for relinquishment of their term grazing permit.
“Grazing is an essential and irreplaceable tool for federal land managers,” said fifth-generation Oregon rancher and PLC President Bob Skinner. “Depriving them of this tool — the oldest of the multiple-uses — in order to placate the unfounded demands of radical environmentalists would be detrimental to the overall health of these landscapes and is entirely inconsistent with the original intent of both the Taylor Grazing Act and the Federal Lands Policy and Management Act.”
“This legislation proves exactly why NCBA and PLC’s ‘Value of Grazing’ media campaign was so important,” added Tennessee cattle producer and NCBA President Jennifer Houston. “From fire mitigation to carbon sequestration, livestock grazing is necessary for healthy grasslands and soil.”
“Wildfire mitigation is just one of the many benefits of livestock grazing,” said Houston addressing the campaign. “Cattle positively contribute to the environment and our food production system, and it’s a story many need to hear. We need to arm the public with facts; it’s livestock who provide natural nutrients to the soil, ensure our native grasslands remain intact, and ensure rural America remains economically supported.”
Research finds that managed livestock grazing prevents catastrophic wildfire, cycles nutrients through the soil, fosters healthy habitats for wildlife, and supports rural economic development. In fact, ranchers maintained and preserved 7 million acres of habitat for the Greater Sage-grouse, a bird that does not need federal protections thanks largely to the benefits of livestock grazing.
The Voluntary Grazing Permit Retirement Act currently has 10 Democratic cosponsors.