Effects of Cattle Grazing

85% of grazing land is unsuitable for crop growth; by utilizing this land for cattle grazing, food production is increased.

85% of grazing land is unsuitable for crop growth; by utilizing this land for cattle grazing, food production is increased.

Cattle Grazing Helps Maintain The Land

  • Grazing minimizes non-native plant growth
  • Grazing reduces wildfire risk by decreasing flammable material on the land
  • Grazing contributes to soil stabilization
  • Grazing promotes grass tilling, plant reproduction, and healthy plant communities

Grazing promotes healthy meadows that provide forage for wildlife and livestock.

Public Lands Grazing

Livestock grazing on Public Lands has economic and social benefits. Permit and lease holding ranchers must pay fees and comply with environmental laws and regulations.

The Forest Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, manages 193 million acres of Federal lands in 44 states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

The Bureau of Land Managlement, an agency of the U.S. Department of the Interior, manages more land – 261 million surface acres – than any other Federal agency. Most of this public land is located in 12 Western states, including Alaska.

The Department of State Lands manages approximately 638,000 of rangeland located primarily in Central and Eastern Oregon.

For more information on the Bureau of Land Management Grazing & Rangeland Management:

For more information on the Department of State Lands Land & Waterway Management:

For NCBA article on Public Lands Grazing:

Animal Treatment

Producers are in the business of caring for animals.

The more than 800,000 U.S. beef producers are committed to caring for their herds and producing safe, wholesome beef for consumers around the world. It is more than just a job for beef producers, it’s a way of life and they take their responsibilities to animals seriously.

Beef Quality Assurance Program

Beef producers support the Oregon Beef Quality Assurance program. The BQA program was started in 1987 with the purpose of providing producers with the tools and training necessary to ensure animal health and well being, as well as produce a safe, quality product. The BQA influences the management of more than 90% of cattle. BQA guidelines include:

  • Follow the ‘Quality Assurance Herd Health Plan’ that conforms to good veterinary and husbandry practices
  • All cattle will be handled / transported in such a fashion to minimize stress, injury and/or bruising
  • Facilities (fences, corrals, load-outs, etc.) should be inspected regularly to ensure proper care and ease of handling

More BQA Guidelines:

The “Producer Code for Cattle Care” was developed in 1996, and includes:

  • Producer must provide adequate food, water, and care
  • Provide disease prevention practices
  • Provide facilities that allow safe and humane movement or restraint
  • Provide personnel with proper training in handling and care


Although cattle branding is a procedure that causes temporary discomfort or pain it ensures the long-term well being of the animal. Hot iron branding is used because it is the most convenient and practical way for identification on the open range; brands are easily identifiable at a glance and at a distance. Other methods of identification do exist, however none are easy enough for large scale operations. Microchips and tattoos for example, are great ideas but when dealing with 5,000 head of cattle it would take an enormous amount of time and labor to scan and identify the cattle. “While it is true that calves bawl momentarily when a hot iron is applied, they do not seem to be in pain once turned loose.” Cattle hide is much more thick (several millimeters) than our skin. Also, their hide has less nerve endings per square centimeter than most other animals. A correct brand really is no more painful than an injection or an ear tag and it will leave a smooth, hairless scar (Country Vet, Issue #154, Feb/March 1996).

Full Article:

The Humane Slaughter Act

Put into effect to protect the well-being of cattle. The Humane Slaughter Act, established in 1958, is based on scientific research that aims to ensure humane treatment as well as food safety. Federal meat inspectors nationwide monitor the humane handling and slaughtering of cattle.


Nutritional Content

Beef is naturally nutrient rich. It has many essential nutrients with relatively few calories, making it an important part of a healthy diet. Beef contains 8 times more B12, 6 times more zinc, and 2.5 times more iron than skinless chicken breast.

Beef is known for contributing protein to the diet but you may not know what makes beef protein so important. Proteins are made up of amino acids, and we need 20 for good health. Nine of them are considered essential because the body can only get them from food.

Beef is a complete protein because it contains all nine essential amino acids in proportions most useful to the body. Most plant proteins are not considered complete proteins because they are low in one or more of the essential amino acids.

Over the past 20 years the beef industry has made beef leaner than ever. There are now 29 cuts of beef that meet the U.S. government definition of “lean” including:

  • Top Sirloin Steak
  • Strip Steak
  • T-Bone Steak
  • Flank Steak
  • Ranch Steak
  • Petite Shoulder Tender Roast
  • Tenderloin Steak and Roast
  • Tri-Tip Steak and Roast

A 3oz serving of beef provides 10% of the daily value of essential nutrients. It is a great source of protein, zinc, B12, selenium, and phosphorus. As well as a good source of niacin, B6, iron, and riboflavin.

Beef is also good for children’s health; the nutrients in beef help contribute to optimal growth, cognitive function, red blood cell development, and prevents iron deficiency.

Conjugated Linoleic Acid, a fatty acid found in beef, plays a role in cancer prevention by inhibiting tumor growth and development. “Starting with anti-carcinogenic effects, the potential benefits of this unique fatty acid have extended to anti-atherogenic properties, anti-diabetic, enhanced immune response and positive effects on lean muscle mass vs. body fat.”

Conjugated linoleic acid:

Beef nutrition:

Water & Air Quality

Cattlemen are continually monitoring and protecting water and air quality.

Off site water ponds, such as this one, are best management practices that protect streams and stream banks.

Ponds contribute to better distribution of livestock by moving them away from sensitive fish bearing streams into upland areas or into drainage sites where fish are not a concern (such as intermittent streams). Water ponds extend the time that areas can be grazed by providing watering sites for livestock and wildlife where water would not otherwise be available during the grazing season. The technique is used on private and public lands throughout Oregon to protect riparian areas and address clean water issues.


Environmental Protection Agency

Ranchers are continually monitoring and protecting water and air quality by following EPA guidelines.

The EPA has established National Ambient Air Quality Standards that producers abide by. “The Clean Air Act established two types of national air quality standards. Primary standards set limits to protect public health, including the health of “sensitive” populations such as asthmatics, children, and the elderly. Secondary standards set limits to protect public welfare, including protection against decreased visibility, damage to animals, crops, vegetation, and buildings.”

EPA guidelines:

Ambient air quality:


Wildlife Benefits

Privately owned lands provide important fish and wildlife habitat in Oregon.

In the U.S. the survival of many species depends on private lands. Ranching preserves open space and wildlife habitat in the rapidly growing West.

Farmers and ranchers provide food and habitat to over 70 percent of the state’s wildlife.

“Privately owned lands provide important fish and wildlife habitat in Oregon. Over 45% of the state is in private ownership and in some regions, such as the Willamette Valley and Columbia Basin, most of the land is privately owned. Restoring and maintaining habitat on these lands is essential because so many species depend upon them for survival.”

For more information on wildlife habitats: