ASI requests grazing research at USSES

The American Sheep Industry Association requested this week that the USDA Agricultural Research Service U.S. Sheep Experiment Station conduct a long-term study to research the effects of removing livestock grazing management on rangeland and forest health.

“We propose that this study be conducted using part of the USSES’s infrastructure along the Idaho-Montana divide in the Centennial Mountains, often referred to as the West and East Summer ranges consisting of the USDA, ARS grazing properties: Odell Creek, Big Mountain, and Toms Creek,” read the letter from ASI President Benny Cox of Texas to USSES Research Leader Dr. J. Bret Taylor.

“As the largest and oldest stakeholder and primary beneficiary of the research conducted at USSES, ASI believes this proposed research would further elucidate the benefits of livestock grazing on rangelands and forests toward sustaining and improving range health and vibrant wildlife populations. Our contention based on centuries of animal husbandry is that the best managed lands are those that benefit from responsible livestock grazing. Livestock grazing reduces fuel loads for wildfire, hinders encroachment of woody species, and controls noxious weeds and annual grasses, thus allowing native flora and fauna to persist and grow. While experience in the field and limited trials verify this, we believe the aforementioned rangelands of the USSES are the best place to verify the effect and impact of a ‘no management scenario,’ by temporarily removing your current responsible livestock-grazing program that has been occurring for nearly 100 years. With over a century of vegetation, climate, and grazing data on these lands, there is no other facility in the world better equipped to undertake such an important long-term study.”

The request was featured in a news report this week from Russell Nemetz of Nemetz Communications, as well as in the ASI SheepCast, hosted by Chase Adams.

–American Sheep Industry