Legislation Reintroduced to Promote Resilient Rangelands and Effective Grazing Management
May 15, 2023
U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) reintroduced the Resiliency for Ranching and Natural Conservation Health (RANCH) Act. This legislation will promote resilient and healthy rangelands and effective grazing management across the West.
“Livestock grazing plays a critical role in Wyoming to maintain rangeland health and supporting ranchers’ livelihoods,” said Senator Barrasso. “The RANCH Act promotes robust rangeland for Wyoming’s livestock and creates healthy habitats for Wyoming’s wildlife. This bill will provide critical assistance to ranchers during natural disasters, so they can continue working. It also gives our ranching communities the certainty and stability they need by extending permits and preserving grazing rights.”
Cosponsors of this legislation include U.S. Senators Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), and Jim Risch (R-Idaho).
The RANCH Act is supported by The Wyoming Stock Growers Association and the Public Lands Council and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA).
“The Wyoming Stock Growers Association commends Senator Barrasso for undertaking common sense solutions to challenges that have faced the public land ranching industry in Wyoming and elsewhere in recent years. The RANCH Act will provide badly needed access to emergency pasture in a timely manner when our ranchers are faced with the loss of the use of their normal public land allotments. Far too often, when both the permittee and the rancher agree on the need for these responses, regulatory burdens have kept them from being available. The establishment of the Rangeland Resiliency Fund will foster collaborative improvements that benefit both livestock and wildlife while enhancing management of the public resource. Finally, the authorization of the use of categorical exclusions for permit renewals where appropriate will enable the land agencies to address the overwhelming burden of timely permit renewal.” – Jim Magagna, Executive Vice President of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association
“Throughout the west, livestock producers are facing increasingly challenging conditions due to drought, wildfire, and flooding. The RANCH Act would provide much needed flexibility for permittees to ensure they are able to keep their livestock and landscapes safe and healthy. We appreciate the bill’s focus on landscape resiliency through investment in range improvements and in the enhancements made to the permitting process which will ensure cattle and sheep can remain the conservation powerhouses of the American west. The Public Lands Council and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association thank Senator Barrasso for his continued focus on the priorities of public lands ranchers.” – Kaitlynn Glover, Executive Director of the Public Lands Council and NCBA Natural Resources
The full text of the legislation can be found here.
The RANCH Act will:
· Allow temporary utilization of vacant grazing allotments during extreme events/disasters;
· Allocate funding for rangeland health and resiliency projects and public access agreements to land-locked public lands for co-benefits to hunting and recreation;
· Extend the period of grazing permits/leases for up to 20-years, when certain conditions are met; and
· Provide responsive and nimble management through the use of a categorical exclusion for renewal of certain grazing permits/leases and for certain actions during extreme events/disasters.
Source: Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo)