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RMRS-GTR-276: Social, cultural, and economic aspects of livestock ranching on the Santa Fe and Carson National Forests


McSweeney, Alice M.; Raish, Carol. 2012. Social, cultural, and economic aspects of livestock ranching on the Santa Fe and Carson National Forests. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-276. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 199 p.

We examined the cultural, social, and economic aspects of livestock operations of ranchers who have Federal grazing permits (called permittees) on the Santa Fe and Carson National Forests of northern New Mexico. This study was an expansion of the 2003 pilot study and was designed to provide much-needed information concerning the culture and economic practices of the northern New Mexico region for USDA employees, policy makers, social science researchers, and the general public. The research focused on both the economic and noneconomic contributions of livestock ownership to local families and communities, and we explored ways in which ranching maintains traditional values and connects families to ancestral lands and heritage. Sense of place, attachment to land, and the value of preserving open space were common themes throughout the interviews. The importance of land and animals as means of maintaining culture and way of life figured repeatedly in permittee responses, as did the subjects of responsibility and respect for land, animals, family, and community. This report will assist agency land managers in the effective administration of forest lands by promoting greater cultural understanding of the local ranching community. It will also serve as an educational tool for the public, as many visitors and residents of New Mexico are unfamiliar with the primarily Hispanic culture and traditions of the region. Due to the history of land ownership in the region, many ranching operations rely on public lands for livestock grazing. Recognizing the importance of these small livestock operations to area communities and families is crucial to comprehending and resolving disputes over public land and resource use.

Keywords: northern New Mexico, permittees, ranching, livestock, ancestral lands, land grants, values, tradition, heritage, culture, knowledge, sense of place, querencia


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Title: RMRS-GTR-276: Social, cultural, and economic aspects of livestock ranching on the Santa Fe and Carson National Forests
Electronic Publish Date: May 16, 2012
Expires: Indefinite
Last Update:
May 16, 2012

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