Western states’ grazing fee up 36 cents

Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
Feb 14, 2005
by WLJ
The federal grazing fee for Western states lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) will be $1.79 per animal unit month (AUM) in 2005, up from $1.43 in 2004. The newly adjusted fee, which takes effect March 1, applies to more than 18,000 grazing permits and leases administered by the BLM and more than 8,000 permits administered by USFS.
The formula used for calculating the grazing fee, established by Congress in the 1978 Public Rangelands Improvement Act, has continued under a presidential executive order issued in 1986. Under that order, the grazing fee cannot fall below $1.35 per AUM, and any increase or decrease cannot exceed 25 percent of the previous year’s level. Without the 25 percent cap, the 2005 fee would have risen to $1.99 per AUM.
The annually adjusted grazing fee is computed by using a 1966 base value of $1.23 per AUM for livestock grazing on public lands in more western states. The figure is then adjusted according to three factors – current private grazing land lease rates, beef cattle prices, and the cost of livestock production. Based on the formula, the 2005 fee rose primarily because of an increase in beef cattle prices in 2004, which reflects the fact that beef cattle ranchers are getting a higher price for their products in the market.
The $1.79 fee applies to 16 western states on public lands administered by the BLM and the Forest Service. Those states are Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
USFS applies different grazing fees to national grasslands and to lands under its management in the eastern and midwestern states and parts of Texas. The national grassland fee will be $1.90 per AUM, up from $1.52 in 2004, and will also take effect March 1. The fee for eastern and midwestern states and parts of Texas will be out later this month. — WLJ