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Bureau of Land Management
For Immediate Release: Monday, February 7, 2005
Tom Gorey (BLM)
(202) 452-5137
Heidi Valetkevitch (Forest Service)
(202) 205-1089

BLM and Forest Service Announce 2005 Federal Grazing Fee

The Federal grazing fee for Western public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service 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 the Forest Service.

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. An AUM is the amount of forage needed to sustain one cow and her calf, one horse, or five sheep or goats for a month.

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 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 per AUM grazing fee applies to 16 Western states on public lands administered by the BLM and the Forest Service. The states are Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. The Forest Service 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 the Eastern and Midwestern states and parts of Texas will be out later this month.

The BLM, an agency of the U.S. Department of the Interior, manages more land – 261 million surface acres – than any other Federal agency. Most of this public land is located in 12 Western states, including Alaska.

The Forest Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, manages 191 million acres of Federal lands in 44 states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.