Grazing in Wyoming – By the Wyoming Department of Agriculture |

Grazing in Wyoming – By the Wyoming Department of Agriculture

When you think of Wyoming agriculture, there is a good chance the first thing you think about is cows. There is a good reason for that. Due to a number of factors and challenges in our state like our short growing season and climate, livestock is easily the number one agricultural commodity in Wyoming. In fact, animal agriculture accounts for more than XX% of the cash receipts generated by our industry in Wyoming. With that said, there are challenges when it comes to raising livestock in our state. As we have seen this past winter, weather is always a concern but another major area of importance is what and where those cows eat.


Because of the way Wyoming is situated and the types of soils largely present across the state, not many things can grow that can be considered suitable to the human diet. Luckily, a lot of the grasses that can grow in those areas are an effective source of food for livestock. Cows can take advantage of those lands and convert that grass into beef that helps feed our nation. While they are able to turn those acres into productive and beneficial agricultural areas, many of those areas are owned by the state or federal government. 

Unlike states not located in the west, more than half of the land mass in Wyoming is owned by the state and the federal government. Because of this, agricultural producers across the state rely on grazing allotments from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the US Forest Service (USFS) for their ranching and livestock operations. From the BLM lands across the state to the USFS lands in the mountain ranges of Wyoming, these grazing allotments are a crucial part of the agriculture industry in Wyoming.

As part of this, federal land grazing permittees work closely with the federal agency representatives from the BLM and USFS to make sure they have plans in place for trailing routes for livestock, rotational grazing, and the number of head for their grazing allotments that meet the desired resource conditions, and help both the ag industry and wildlife. Along with this, permitees pay for the permits of these lands for their animals to graze and help control fire danger and enhance the lands in use. It’s important for our producers to treat those lands like their own and continue to be good stewards of that land because many of their operations rely on those permits and allotments.

While these grazing allotments on federal lands are vital to the health and viability of our agriculture industry in Wyoming, they are multi-use areas and agriculture is regularly the first thing suggested to be limited or reduced Because of this, our Natural Resource and Policy division pays close attention to policy decisions on these lands and provides resources and assistance to producers who utilize those allotments. From wild horses, to endangered species, to energy development and more, we do our best to make sure the agriculture industry in Wyoming has a seat at the table when these decisions on land use are being made. 

Grazing on federal lands is an essential component of many agricultural operations across Wyoming. The hard work our producers do to ensure the health and viability of these resources benefit Wyoming in many ways and help maintain the cultural heritage of our great state.

–Wyoming Department of Agriculture