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Facing an accelerating climate crisis, many livestock farmers are seeking a system of management that supports their livelihoods while protecting climate and food system resilience.

One such system is managed rotational grazing, which involves rotating livestock across sections of gridded pastureland, allowing sections of the land to “rest” so that forage plants and grasses can recover, deepen their root systems, and increase long-term pasture yields.  

However, systems like managed rotational grazing that integrate regenerative agriculture principles continue to be underfunded and disincentivized by US food, agriculture, and nutrition policy. Instead, federal and state legislation, subsidies, and technical assistance programs tend to support industrial livestock agriculture, such as Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) that contribute to climate change, environmental justice impacts, and degraded air and water quality.  

The next federal farm bill—which will be negotiated in 2023—includes a number of programs, incentives, and financial supports that can be leveraged to increase the number of farmers, ranchers, and other land managers utilizing managed rotational grazing techniques. By improving access to, structure of, and incentives within these farm bill programs, policymakers can help farmers and ranchers overcome the barriers that keep many livestock operations stuck in the status quo.  

This report outlines how these farm bill programs can encourage managed rotational grazing as an adaptive tool for climate resilience. It includes several recommendations, focused on policymakers, advocates, and farmers alike, about how to improve and expand these programs to further incentivize managed rotational grazing in U.S. agriculture.  

This publication was made possible with support from the United States Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Library, Agricultural Research Service.