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Nevada - Feed vs Grazing

Nevada - Feed vs Grazing

Alfalfa is the number one crop in Nevada, grossing $232,100,000 (Nevada Development 2014). The main purpose of this crop is to produce feed for livestock which has become vitally important to the industry due to the unavailability of grazing on government land. The Bureau of Land Management controls 81% of the acreage in Nevada which amounts to 47,805,923 (Jeffrey 2014). Interesting fact – New England could fit into the federally controlled land here in Nevada but not one acre in New England is controlled by the Bureau of Land Management (Jeffery 2014).With conservation concerns, the Bureau of Land Management put stricter regulations in place here in Nevada (Bureau of Land Management 2014). These rules hampered and put a cramp on the cattle industry; while creating a need for alternative methods for fattening livestock. Several farmers/ranchers went out of business because they could not afford the investment involved from switching their livestock from grazing to feed. While preventing overgrazing is important to creating sustainable agriculture and preventing overgrazing was the reasoning, or one of them, behind the Bureau of Land Management enacting stricter regulations on federal land, this has not made the livestock industry in Nevada more sustainable. If anything it has had the opposite effect. Land that could be used for other agricultural purposes is being used to create food strictly for livestock.

References –

Bureau of Land Management. Frequently Asked Questions. Accessed June 16, 2014.

Jeffrey, Terence P. All New England Could Fit on BLM Land in Nevada. CSN News, April 23, 2014.

Nevada Development Authority. 2013 Nevada Agriculture Analysis and Opportunities. Accessed June 8, 2014.

Alfalfa production in Nevada makes sense alfalfa does not like its feet wet.  One concern is the problem of GMO Alfalfa and the fate of organic herds that are fed on alfalfa.  Perhaps some of Allan Savorys techniques could be used to recapture parts of Nevada that are in the throws of desertification.

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