Grazing Fees and Distribution
In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM was allocated $79 million for its rangeland management program. Of that figure, the agency spent $36.2 million, or 46 percent, on livestock grazing administration. The other funds covered such activities as weed management, rangeland monitoring, planning, water development, vegetation restoration, and habitat improvement. In 2015, the BLM collected $14.5 million in grazing fees. The receipts from these annual fees, in accordance with legislative requirements, are shared with state and local governments.
The federal grazing fee is adjusted annually and is calculated by using a formula originally set by Congress in the Public Rangelands Improvement Act of 1978. Under this formula, the grazing fee cannot fall below $1.35 per animal unit month (AUM); also, any fee increase or decrease cannot exceed 25 percent of the previous year’s level. (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 grazing fee for 2016 is $2.11 per AUM, as compared to the 2015 fee of $1.69.
The grazing fee applies to federal lands in 16 Western states on public lands managed by the BLM and the U.S. Forest Service.