Ranching Operations on Public Lands

RCED-93-212R: Published: Aug 17, 1993. Publicly Released: Aug 17, 1993.

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Pursuant to congressional requests, GAO reviewed the top 500 livestock grazing permits issued by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Forest Service, focusing on the: (1) extent that large ranching operations are dependent on federal lands; (2) dependency of local western economies on these ranching operations; and (3) contributions these ranching operations make to wildlife and improving the condition of the federal lands. GAO noted that: (1) one-third of the cattle in 11 western states graze at least part of the year on federal lands; (2) the extent that ranching operations are dependent on federal lands varies by state and region; (3) federal lands are generally of lower quality and not as productive as private and state lands; and (4) the operating size of many livestock operations is affected by the amount of federal range land available during seasons of feed shortage on privately-owned lands.

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