Harney County Cattle Grazing Study

Research Questions and Themes

Research Focus:

The purpose of this project is to research and document the benefits and effects of cattle grazing in Harney County, Oregon.

References: click here

Research Themes:

Each of the student projects and reports should deal with at least one of these

Food Production

Recreational Opportunities

Fire Management and Public Safety

Wildlife Habitat

Economy and Infrastructure Development

Environment (Air and Water Quality)

Culture (Way of Life)

Research Questions:

I.   Harney County Geology and Prehistoric Conditions

II.  Harney County Cattle Grazing History

III.  Current Cattle Grazing Issues

IV.  Current Research Projects and Methods Related to Cattle Grazing
V.   Desired Future Cattle Grazing Conditions in Harney County

I.     Harney County Geology and Prehistoric Conditions

  • Are wild (native) animals doing well in Harney County?
  • Do native plants still exist? Where?
  • Other topics: Climate Change; Prairie Burning; Human History

II.    Harney County Cattle Grazing History [view the report]

  • What are the boundaries of the original grazing allotments? What are they today?
  • Is land in better or worse shape today vs. 50 or 100 years ago?
  • How has the terrain changed as a result of cattle grazing?
  • What are today's land management practices? What are the effects?
  • How many cows are there in Harney County? Cows eat 3% of their body weight per day: how much grass is this (weight, area)?

III.   Current Cattle Grazing Issues

  • 2002 Spring Field Trip Report
  • Who does more damage: wild animals or cattle?
  • Do cattle compete with wildlife (Steens Mt. Issue)?
  • Do cattle affect sage grouse (little chickens)?
  • Why is cattle grazing banned near streams containing Bull Trout?
  • Why do people think cattle ranchers would over-graze their lands and reduce production? Do they think we’re stupid? Why would we ruin the land when we’re still using it?
  • What projects are underway to prevent over-grazing?
  • Since logging has been banned in Harney County, are we more prone to fire?
  • Does grazing affect streams and waterways? Fish? Native Animals? Plants?
  • Soil Studies: how has the soil been affected by cattle grazing?
  • Should there be conditional grazing rules rather than simple yes/no?
  • What are the interactions between Harney County and other cattle producing States or Countries (economic interactions, environmental interactions, etc.)?

IV.   Current Research Projects and Methods Related to Cattle Grazing

  • Do "grass loops" and other measures reflect bias?
  • How are life cycles of local species documented? What is known?
  • How can oral histories and photographs be used for research?
  • How are pesticides affecting the environment?

V.    Desired Future Cattle Grazing Conditions in Harney County

  • Next Year (2003)
  • Five Years (2007)
  • Twenty Years (2022)
  • One Hundred Years (2102)


Harney County Cattle Grazing StudyHome Page