The 2015 federal grazing fee, which is determined annually through a Congressionally-mandated formula, will increase by $0.34 March 1.
The fee applies to more than 8,000 permits administered by the U.S. Forest Service and nearly 18,000 grazing permits and leases administered by the Bureau of Land Management.
The 2015 fee will be $1.69 per head month (HM) or animal unit month (AUM) for lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, respectively. An HM or AUM, which are treated as equivalent measures for fee purposes, is the occupancy and use of public lands to include but not limited to one cow and her calf, one horse, or five sheep or goats for a month.
The figure is calculated according to three main factors – the average annual change in beef prices, leasing rates for grazing on private land in 11 western states, and the cost of livestock production.
The formula was established by Congress in the 1978 Public Rangelands Improvement Act and 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.
The formula is based on a 1966 base value of $1.23 per HM/AUM for livestock grazing on public lands managed by the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management in western states and data collected annually by the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistical Service.
The fee applies to 16 western states, which include Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. Permit holders and lessees may contact their local Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management office for additional information.
The Forest Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, manages approximately 193 million acres of Federal lands in 44 states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
The Bureau of Land Management, an agency of the U.S. Department of the Interior, manages approximately 245 million surface acres. Most of this public land is located in 12 Western states, including Alaska.