Grazing Lands

Privately owned grazing land is treasured feature of the Pennsylvania and national landscape. Grazing and browsing animals are used to manage grasses, forbs, residues, and shrubs on pastures and other grasslands, crop fields, and forests. Well managed grazing lands provide many products and benefits that make them extremely valuable, not only to the private landowners, but also to the entire Commonwealth and Nation. Publicly owned grazing lands making similar contribution include federal, state, and local government lands.

Society benefits from well managed grazing lands by an available supply of food, feed, fiber, and renewable energy; healthy soil, clean air and water, healthy fish and wildlife populations and habitat; and diverse productive grasslands, forests, wetlands, and riparian areas. Grazing lands provide:

  • opportunities for improved nutrient management using animal manure and other by-product nutrient sources
  • reduced soil erosion from rainfall and water runoff
  • reduced potential for flooding
  • less sediment in streams and reservoirs
  • prevention of the spread of invasive plants
  • increased carbon content of soils and removal of excess carbon emissions from the air
  • protection of streams and sensitive lands like riparian areas, wetlands, and forests
  • increased fish and wildlife such as birds, pollinators, and bog turtles
  • reduced energy use
  • improved economic and social stability in rural communities

There are always potential conflicts between competing landusers. Demands by landowners and society for valuable grazing land benefits and products are increasing. Private landowners require a solid economic business. Owners of private grazing lands must continue to recognize conservation problems and opportunities and receive sound voluntary technical assistance to improve their grazing land resource to meet ecological and economic demands.

The Grazing Land Conservation Initiative (GLCI)

The Grazing Land Conservation Initiative (GLCI) is a nationwide collaborative process of individuals and organizations working to maintain and improve the management, productivity, and health of the Nation’s privately owned grazing land. This process has formed coalitions that represent the grass root concerns that impact private grazing land. The coalitions actively seek sources to increase technical assistance and public awareness activities that maintain or enhance grazing land resources. GLCI was developed to provide for a coordinated effort to identify priority issues, find solutions, and effect change on private grazing land. This initiative will complement and enhance existing conservation programs.

Information about GLCI is available on the coalition web site:

Pennsylvania Grazing Land Conservation Initiative (PA GLCI)

Coalitions are made up of individuals and organizations that work collectively to accomplish the goals and objectives of the initiative. When opportunities exist, coalitions can be expanded to include individuals and organizations that have an interest in private grazing lands to help achieve the objectives of the initiative. Generally, personnel from government agencies and universities serve in an advisory capacity to the coalitions.

The Pennsylvania Grazing/Forage Lands Conservation Coalition, also doing business as (dba) Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative (GLCI) in Pennsylvania is a non-profit organization of local citizen groups interested in addressing resource conservation and environmental concerns on private grazing/forage lands.

Information about the Pennsylvania GLCI is available on the coalition web site: For grazing land management assistance, contact your local Conservation District, Resource Conservation & Development Council, Cooperative Extension, or NRCS office.

For More Technical Information Contact Your Local NRCS Grazing Specialist

State Grazing Specialist
Susan Parry

NW Grazing Specialist
NRCS Clarion Technical Office

Timothy Elder
814-226-8160 (x125)

SW Grazing Specialist
NRCS Somerset Technical Office

James B. Harrold
814-445-8979 (x131)

SE Grazing And Feed Management Specialist
NRCS Lebanon Technical Office

Dan Ludwig
717-274-2597 (x119)

NE Grazing Specialist
NRCS Bloomsburg Technical Office

Theresa Heebner
570-784-4401 (x112)

Equine Specialist
NRCS Chambersburg Field Office

Suzette Truax
717-264-8074 (x117)

Updated 08/29/2011