Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

October 1997


Published in Great Plains Research 7:2 (Fall 1997). Copyright © 1997 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Used by permission.


The CAST (Council on Agricultural Science and Technology) report "Grazing on Public Lands" is a pamphlet. The mission statement inside the front cover leads one to expect an objective look at the impact of grazing on public lands. The topic may be so controversial that an objective look is impossible, and this idea is certainly supported by the Task Force Report. This report argues that the current management of grazing on public lands is sustainable, promotes biodiversity and that any change (such as increases in federal grazing fees) will adversely affect western communities.

For a short report, this one is highly repetitive, containing an Interpretive Summary and an Executive Summary, in addition to the Conclusion. The presentation is also uneven: sections vary from rich to very poor in citations, from even-handed to strong partisanship. The main body of the booklet surveys western rangelands, lists types of "users" and reviews current and historical range management. The authors also discuss sustainability and compatibility of grazing with game and nongame wildlife.