Cattle grazing on Arizona trust land isn't just about the money

Opinion: Cattle grazing on public lands in Arizona also provides important environmental benefits.


Benny Aja, Opinion Contributor, The Arizona Republic

July 11, 2019


As President Dwight D. Eisenhower once wisely noted, “Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and you're a thousand miles from the corn field.”


When I read the July 7 article, “Arizona charges less than almost anyone else to graze cattle,” this quote immediately came to mind.


Unfortunately, the article compares apples to oranges, or since we’re talking about landscapes, a desert to a forest. Ranching in Arizona is unique, challenging and as diverse as the great state of Arizona. It is certainly unlike other states, even other western states.


State lands aren't just a revenue source


As a cattle breeder himself, Eisenhower recognized the hard work and dedication it takes to feed a nation, and the importance of a stable and abundant food supply to national security. The public trust entrusted to us is not taken lightly by any rancher in Arizona.


For us, state lands don’t just represent a way to fund the schools our children attend or preserve the heritage of the state we love. They represent the resource that sustains our livelihood.


But rather than spend time discussing why our costs to operate the ranch today are as much as four times what they were in 1996, the date referred to in the article, I’d like to talk about the science-based, proven benefits of grazing on our public lands.


Grazing is a key land-management tool ...


We have a vested interest in doing this right ...


more, including video report [3:34 min.]