by Ben Nuelle
Arizona agriculture is a $17 billion industry. But a major challenge for cattle producers is federal government overreach with public lands grazing.
Cassie Lyman is a public lands cattle rancher near Payson, Arizona.
“We deal with the forest service and state land leases in order to graze our cattle where in the Midwest and East Coast it is private land. Also, the forages we have and type of terrain we have it takes about 400 acres for one cow here.”
In the Midwest, it’s closer to two to three acres per cows. Lymon says they face immigration problems but even endangered species are becoming a huge issue.
“We’re having the Mexican gray wolf released on our rangeland. They eat cows and wildlife such as deer and elk but when cattle are easy they are going to go after cattle. That’s hard because they are federally protected and there is nothing we can do about it.”
Lyman adds the Waters of the U.S. rule is a major concern for Arizona farmers as well.
“In Arizona, the water rate may be dry but when we have a monsoon that baby is going to be full and you are not going to be able to cross it with a boat. Because that is now considered navigable water, several times of the year it could be considered navigable.”
She adds they use stock ponds but those must be created with an allotment through the government. They can’t just go create new ones when they want.