Farm and Ranch Management
Social Dilemmas and Public Range Management: Results from the Nevada Ranch Survey
Since the late 1960s, the Nevada ranch community has come under increasing pressure from environmental groups regarding their use of public lands for livestock grazing, thus increasing tension between ranchers and public land managers and potentially reducing the social capital that facilitates action and cooperation in range management. In this paper, we use responses to a survey of all public grazing permit holders in Nevada to investigate the changing relationships between ranchers and the public land agencies, and its potential implications. In particular, we investigate factors that affect ranchers’ trust in the public land agencies, and then factors that influence the nature of the relationship between ranchers and the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service. Low levels of trust between ranchers and public managers were most significantly related to previous disagreements and the belief in a poor future for ranching. The occurrence of wildfire on grazing land contributed most significantly to increased disagreement between ranchers and public agencies. Finally, as a response to conflict in the ranch community, community based initiatives, such as grass banking, are examined for their potential to bring stakeholders together to realize and address common goals. Community involvement in decision making may increase levels of social capital, reduce transaction costs, and thus allow for more effective and efficient use of the range resources.
Resolving Range Conflict in Nevada? Buyouts and Other Compensation Alternatives
To mitigate adverse effects on ranchers from reduced access to public forage, financial or other forms of ‘compensation’ may be required. In this paper, we use results from a survey of Nevada ranchers to examine ranchers’ willingness to sell grazing permits and participate in other schemes that enable them to continue ranching in spite of declining access to public forage. On average ranchers demand $255 per AUM to sell grazing permits, while support for other programs, some of which are performance based, depends on whether respondents trust public agencies and intend to pass their ranch on to an heir.