Wild Horse Education

Voluntary Grazing Permit Retirement (Action)

Cows head directly into riparian area on the range in Nevada just moments after they were released onto the range.

H.R.6935 – Voluntary Grazing Permit Retirement Act was introduced into the House by Representative Adam Smith (D-WA) and Jared Huffman (D-CA) on 03/03/2022. You can read the text of the bill HERE.

You can contact your representative and ask that they co-sponsor H.R. 6935 by using the interface for the U.S. House of Representatives HERE

OR you can use our fast “click and send” letter that will go directly to your representative HERE. 

What is the Voluntary Grazing Permit Retirement Act?

The Act would give grazing permit holders the option to voluntarily waive permits to graze on Federal lands. They could sell the permit to private parties for current market values. Then the federal land management agency would retire the grazing allotment. (This is not a sale of public land, it is a sale of a permit to graze on public land that is then retired.)

In most cases (under current laws) if a permittee gives up a grazing permit the associated federal land management agency offers that grazing permit to other livestock operators. The Taylor Grazing Act of 1934 essentially converted rangelands from a public commons to a permit-based system (free grazers and homesteaders were literally killing each other and the landscape). The landscape needed to be grazed by a permit holder that paid a fee and had an associated property as a home ranch for livestock doing away with the free-grazer. (Many of you know this time in history from the movie “Open Range,” with Kevin Costner.)

The current regulations are outdated; created at a time when westward expansion and settlement of remote areas was a priority, current policy represents an era long gone.

Our western public lands are crowded with livestock, mining, recreation; “open range” is a myth. Our “public lands” are a series of fences, mining roads and infrastructure. Drought and fire are more common compounded by over a century of overuse by industry. Increasingly, more infrastructure (pipelines, water hauling, fences, etc.) is needed to simply keep livestock on the range increasing the impacts to the landscape and every other living thing on public lands.

The Voluntary Grazing Permit Retirement Act gives a (limited number of) permittees the option to sell their permit for the purpose of retiring an allotment. It does not force a permittee to give up an allotment. The number of permits that can be sold for retirement each year is limited to 100 permits in 16 western states and not more than 25 permits in any one state. In addition, this legislation does not effect water rights.

This legislation represents a fiscally sound approach to addressing permittees and landscapes effected by climate change, increasing conflicts under drought, declining productivity of individual livestock operations, etc.

We urge all of you to take action on this item.

You can contact your representative and ask that they co-sponsor H.R. 6935 by using the interface for the U.S. House of Representatives HERE

OR you can use our fast “click and send” letter that will go directly to your representative HERE. 


Additional recent action items you can take can be found in our article on transparency, injuries/deaths at roundups and the accelerated “BLM 2020 plan” HERE.


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Categories: Wild Horse Education