The Role of Rangelands in Diversified Farming Systems: Innovations, Obstacles, and Opportunities in the USA


Annie Shattuck, Careth Fisher, Liz Carlisle, Lynn Huntsinger, Nathan Sayre


agrotourism, amenity buyers, conservation easements, CSP, diversification, ecosystem services, EQIP, fee hunting, fire control, flexible stocking, land access, land tenure, livestock mobility, private land, public land, ranching, rangelands, shared rangeland, third party certification, USDA, USDA certified processing facilities, WHIP, wildlife, wildlife husbandry, Williamson Act


Resilience Alliance

Year Published:


Policy Summary

Rangelands consist of grasslands, shrublands, and savannas, and cover one third of the world’s ice-free surface. One major activity that occurs on rangelands is the production of animals. Scientists have argued that the production of meat through ranching is a highly sustainable method because it incorporates functional ecological diversity and helps rejuvenate ecosystem services in place. Importantly, sustainable rangeland management not only nurtures the land in a diverse way but also the rangeland businesses that operate. Successful rangeland management operations diversify their operations on multiple levels from business approaches to land management practices. This provides resiliency for the environment and their business, even in the turbulent agricultural market. Policies that support and certify smaller processing plants as USDA certified would remove a major barrier ranchers face in selling their products directly to consumers. Additionally, policies on tax incentives with land tenure and use arrangements could further support ranching.

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