Sign up for the
Weekly Harvest Newsletter!

Published every Wednesday, the Weekly Harvest e-newsletter is a free Web digest of sustainable agriculture news, resources, events and funding opportunities gleaned from the Internet. See past issues of the Weekly Harvest.
Sign up here

Search This Site

Sign up for the Weekly Harvest Newsletter

What Is Sustainable Agriculture?

Master Publication List

Search Our Databases

Urban Agriculture

Energy Alternatives

Beginning Farmer

Field Crops

Horticultural Crops

Livestock & Pasture

Local Food Systems

Food Safety

Marketing, Business & Risk Management

Organic Farming

Pest Management

Soils & Compost

Water Management

Ecological Fisheries and Ocean Farming

Other Resources

Sign Up for The Dirt E-News

Home Page

Contribute to NCAT


Newsletter sign up button

· Privacy Policy · Newsletter Archives

RSS Icon XML Feeds

RSS 2.0: Events, Breaking News, Funding Opportunities Atom: Events, Breaking News, Funding Opportunities


NCAT strives to make our information available to everyone who needs it. If you are a limited-access or low-income farmer and find that one of our publications is just not in your budget, please call 800-346-9140.


How are we doing?


Home  > Question of the Week

Question of the Week

Permalink Where can I find information on grassbanking?


Answer: According to The National Grassbank Network, a grassbank is a partnership that leverages conservation practices across multiple land ownerships based on the exchange of forage for tangible conservation benefits. Grassbank can also refer to a physical place where cattle are temporarily located to feed on forage while home rangelands are undergoing restoration and conservation activities.

The concept of grassbanking is relatively new, dating from the early 1990s, and has great supporters as well as serious detractors. The greatest benefit of grassbanks is that they afford ranchers the ability to maintain production while implementing conservation or renovation practices on their own rangeland or riparian areas. Their weaknesses may be both financial and philosophical. Financially, grass banking is expensive. The costs associated with acquiring land and then operating the grass bank can be huge. Also, there is the question of where the money comes from, and whether it's appropriate to use public funds. Some object to grassbanking because they maintain that, while progressive, it doesn't address what they feel is the primary problem of range deterioration in the west—the question of whether livestock belong on the range in the first place.

Several groups have been involved in grassbanking, including Malpai Borderlands Group and the Quivira Coalition. NCAT is working to develop a series of grazing publications for the western US, and is utilizing the resources of these groups, as well as other resources listed below. The National Grassbank Network, for instance, has many useful links and some very good resources such as guidelines, research papers, and case studies.


Gripne, Stephanie. 2004. An Institutional Analysis of Grassbanking: A Collaborative Conservation Initiative.
A very well-done paper online in PDF, detailing the history of grassbanking and covering the economic, ecologic, social, and political challenges to the concept.

The National Grassbank Network


The Malpai Borderlands Group

Western Rangelands Partnership



« Can you tell me something about the production and marketing of pyrethrum? :: Is there an organic control for ticks? »

Question of the Week Archives