Extent of Federal Public Lands Ranching

Livestock grazing is permitted on federal lands managed by ten federal departments and agencies, ranging from the Departent of Defense to the Department of Energy to the National Park Service. The Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service manage the most livestock on the most public land.

  • In FY 2006, the BLM administered 17,880 grazing permits and leases for 15,799 livestock operators to graze almost 13 million animal unit months (AUMs)* on 157 million acres of public land.
  • The Forest Service authorized 7,039 operators to graze almost 7 million AUMs on 93 million acres of public land in FY 2005. There were more than 8,000 grazing permits on Forest Service lands in 2008.

* Grazing use is authorized and measured by animal unit months, which is the amount of forage necessary to sustain one cow and one calf, or 5 sheep or goats, for one month.

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Read the “Western Wildlife Under Hoof” report for more details.