The Changing of the Cattle Guard: BLM's New Approach to Grazing Qualifications

39 Pages Posted: 29 Aug 2009 Last revised: 20 Jun 2013

Date Written: October 25, 2010


This article traces the history of the four qualifications requirements for applicants seeking grazing permits on public domain lands under Bureau of Land Management jurisdiction: (1) citizenship/residency, (2) livestock ownership, (3) base property and (4) grazing preference. The article discusses the origins of these four requirements in the common grazing practices on the federal range in the early twentieth century, when grazing was unregulated, then discusses the extent to which they are explicitly or impliedly incorporated into the Taylor Grazing Act, and finally, explains the regulatory history of each requirement from 1934 to the present. The article concludes that BLM’s new qualifications model, which has opened the application process to non-traditional applicants such as conservation organizations, and which was recently upheld by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Stewart v. Kempthorne, will help the agency more easily accomplish its goals under various land management statutes, which should in turn allow the federal rangelands to regenerate after years of intensive livestock grazing.

Keywords: grazing qualifications, base property, grazing preference, Taylor Grazing Act

Suggested Citation

Hoffmann, Hillary M., The Changing of the Cattle Guard: BLM's New Approach to Grazing Qualifications (October 25, 2010). Journal of Environmental Law & Litigation, Vol. 24, p. 243, 2010; Vermont Law School Research Paper No. 21-13. Available at SSRN: or

Hillary M. Hoffmann (Contact Author)

Vermont Law School ( email )

PO Box 96
South Royalton, VT 05068
United States
8028311205 (Phone)


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