Idaho grazing lease sold to environmental group who outbid rancher


Via Flickr.

Eleanor Hildebrandt | August 31, 2021

The Western Watersheds Project outbid a rancher to purchase a grazing lease in central Idaho in its effort to end all public-land grazing.

The group bid over $8,000 for 620 acres of land. The project will also pay an additional annual fee of $800 for the number of sheep and cattle that are authorized to be on the land. The lease is for 20 years and the land is situated in Idaho’s Sawtooth Valley, according to the Associated Press. This might not be the only grazing lease that goes to environmental groups instead of ranchers. The Idaho Cattle Association said it’s possible that more leases will be sought after by groups like the Western Watersheds Project.

The new owners of the land plan to convert the grazing lease into a conservation lease, which will allow the environmental group to invest in wildlife on the 620 acres. The grazing lease joins more than 1,100 managed by the Idaho Department of Lands, covering thousands of square miles of land in the state.

Erik Molvar, the executive director of the Western Watersheds Project, said the purchase was an expensive way to achieve the group’s goals of conserving land in Idaho. He called the Sawtooth Valley “one of the crown jewels of Idaho” that is valuable and an area rich with diverse wildlife.

On the Radio- The benefits of rotational grazing


7748302146_77daa87719_z
Rooter Ranch in Texas uses the rotational grazing method. (USDA/flickr)

Eden DeWald | July 2, 2018

This week’s segment gives insight into rotational grazing and how it can benefit farmers.

Transcript:

Iowa farmers may be able to use conservation grazing as a way to help encourage prairie growth.

The is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

Wendy Johnson, a farmer in Charles City, likes her livestock to graze in free range patterns to improve both the quality of life for the animals and the health of the pasture. She often allows two or more different types of animals to engage in multi species grazing, a method that allows livestock to graze as they please, and fertilize the land with their waste.

Will Harris, a farmer in Bluffton, Georgia, expanded his business exponentially using careful planning and a similar free range method. After observing the grazing patterns of different livestock, he realized that these patterns could be applied to the prairie as well.

According to the Grazing Animals Project, conservation grazing involves using a mix of different livestock that enjoy eating different types of plants. This method helps control species of plants that over dominate the prairie, and encourages the growth of smaller, less dominant plant types. Johnson and Harris both hope that their method of rotational grazing will be more widely implemented by other small farmers in Iowa.

For more information, visit iowa-environmental-focus-dot-org.

From the UI Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, Sara E. Mason.