Grazing Improvement Act

— Essential changes to the management of grazing permits will bring stability to ranchers and cut costs for federal agencies

What is the Grazing Improvement Act (S. 1129 and H.R. 4234)? 

  • Each year for more than a decade, because of a burdensome, backlogged regulatory process, federal lands ranchers have faced the risk of losing their grazing permits. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), as interpreted by the courts, requires environmental analysis to be done on grazing allotments every 10 years to renew permits. Unfortunately, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) have been overwhelmed with the workload, especially in light of the endless environmental litigation that seem aimed expressly at further botching the process and putting an end to grazing.
  • Due to the backlog of environmental analyses, ranchers depend each year on the inclusion of language in the appropriations bill to assure that their grazing permits are renewed in a timely manner. The Grazing Improvement Act, which was passed by the House, would codify the appropriations language, providing once and for all the stability federal lands ranchers need to run successful businesses. Codifying this language (which has been approved annually by Congress for over a decade) would also provide stability and cost-efficiencies to the federal land management agencies, a crucial improvement in this time of limited budgets.

Who Will Benefit from the Grazing Improvement Act?

The Grazing Improvement Act will make agencies more cost-efficient and reduce the paperwork backlog, litigation and uncertainty plaguing ranchers by:

  • Codifying the language that gives the agencies flexibility to renew permits in spite of the NEPA backlog;
  • Extending the life of a grazing permit from 10 to 20 years, reducing the annual renewals to be processed by the agencies;
  • Allowing for the categorical exclusion of grazing permits that are to continue under current grazing management;
  • Bolstering permittees’ ability to appeal unfavorable grazing decisions issued by BLM and USFS through the Administrative Procedure Act (APA);
  • In S. 1129, increasing grazers’ protections in cases of appealed grazing permits by applying APA’s formal adjudication procedures. When required to go through this process, litigious special interest groups will have a harder time making it to the courts with their all-encompassing, non-germane challenges;
  • In S. 1129, providing for a stay of decision by the agency on a grazing permit that has been appealed, which would prevent the permittee from having to vacate the allotment while the appeals process is underway.
NCBA is on Capitol Hill...

...taking care of our needs while we are out in the fields
taking care of our animals and our land.

-Tony Turri - California