The Politics of Managing Livestock on Public Lands

Mike Hudak interviews Don Oman, a 35-year veteran of the U.S. Forest Service, about his experience working with the agency as a part of Hudak’s series of interviews compiled for Western Turf Wars: The Politics of Public Lands Ranching

Don Oman, a 35-year veteran of the U.S. Forest Service explains how political pressure initiated by ranchers leads to environmentally harmful management of livestock grazing on federal public lands.

Raised on a Montana farm, Don Oman, earned his bachelor’s degree in forest management from the University of Montana. In 1987, after twenty-three years with the US Forest Service, he became district ranger on the Twin Falls Ranger District (Sawtooth National Forest, ID) where he found severe environmental damage caused by livestock. During his ten years on the district, Mr. Oman came to national attention because of conflicts with ranchers over the management of their cattle under his jurisdiction.

This video is an excerpt from a much longer interview with Oman contained in WESTERN TURF WARS: THE POLITICS OF PUBLIC LANDS RANCHING. See for details.


  1. Nancy Avatar

    If you lived for any length of time in this part of the country – Montana, Idaho, Wyoming – its not hard to relate to Don Oman’s concerns………….

  2. Ralph Maughan Avatar
    Ralph Maughan

    Few are as brace Oman was, and of those who were, they often lost their jobs.

  3. Howl Basin Avatar
    Howl Basin

    Having lived in the West all my life, I’m just not seeing any agency people anymore with the grit of Don Oman. Maybe college kids are being told, if you want to tell the truth and obey the law, don’t go to work for the BLM or USFS.


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Brian Ertz