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Across the rugged frontier of the Western United States, thousands of livestock ranchers work each day to care for their livestock and also care for the land. In the case of many western ranchers, there is a good chance that at least part the land their cattle graze is owned by the federal government.
A good chance because the federal government owns roughly 660 million acres across the United States, including one out of every two acres in the West. Of the nation’s federally-owned lands, more than 90 percent are located in the West. Some of that land is in national parks or other historic areas, some is leased for oil and gas exploration, some for recreation, but some of it is leased to individuals to graze livestock on throughout parts of the year.