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U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

How Do I Get a Grazing Permit?

Basically, there are three types of grazing permits issued by the Forest Service: Term Grazing Permits, Temporary Grazing Permits, and Livestock Use Permits.

  • Term Grazing Permits are issued for up to ten years and are the type of permit issued to livestock producers through out the West. The eligibility and qualification requirements and most common way to acquire a Term Grazing Permit are discussed below.
  • Temporary Grazing Permits are generally issued for a short period of time to handle special circumstances. They are often issued to allow livestock to remain on the National Forest land, while a Term Grazing Permit is being processed for issuance to a newly qualified applicant. Temporary Grazing Permits are issued based on the needs of the Forest Service. They are not available to the public upon request.
  • Livestock Use Permits are issued for incidental use and are not intended to authorize commercial livestock production on National Forest lands. Livestock Use Permits can be issued for up to a one year period, but are generally issued for a much shorter period. A common situation for issuing a Livestock Use Permit is to authorize Guide/Outfitter's stock during the period they are operating on the National Forest. In cases where there is a proven need for some type of incidental livestock use on National Forest lands, a Livestock Use Permit can be obtained by submitting an application.

Several eligibility and qualification requirements must be met to acquire a Forest Service Term Grazing Permit. The following are the basic requirements you must meet before a Term Grazing Permit can be issued.


  1. Individuals: Must be a citizen of the United States or an alien who has demonstrated intent to become a citizen by having filed petition for naturalization with the clerk of the U.S. District Court.
  2. Legal Entity (corporations or partnerships): U.S. citizens must own at least 80 percent of the capital stock.
  3. Applicants must be of legal age in the state of residence.


  • An applicant must own base property and livestock in order to qualify for a Term Grazing Permit.

Acquiring a Term Grazing Permit

The most common way the base property ownership requirement is met by someone who wants a Forest Service Term Grazing Permit, is through the purchase of existing base property that is recognized under an existing Term Grazing Permit. Occasionally individuals or businesses may inherit, obtain through foreclosures, or through other means become owners of base property. They are considered qualified applicants once all legal matters are settled.

Without purchasing or acquiring base property the only other way of acquiring a Term Grazing Permit is to purchase permitted livestock and then providing a parcel of land that meets base property requirements. In either case, the current holder of the Term Grazing Permit who sold either base property or permitted livestock must waive their permit to the Forest Service in favor of the purchaser (applicant).

On very rare occasions granting of unused forage may occur. Because existing permittees have the first priority to use surplus forage, it is rare that a person acquires a grazing permit through the grant process.

Acquiring a permit to graze livestock on National Forest land is not a simple process since most Forest Service lands eligible to be grazed by livestock are already obligated under existing permits.

The information presented above is only a brief explanation of the requirement and procedures to obtain a Forest Service Term Grazing Permit. It is highly recommended that you contact the local Forest Service office in the area where you are interested in obtaining a Term Grazing Permit and work with the local Forest Officers to obtain further information.

Grazing Permit Forms