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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Grazing Fees: Overview and Issues

Carol Hardy Vincent
Specialist in Natural Resources Policy

Charging fees for grazing private livestock on federal lands is a long-standing but contentious practice. Generally, livestock producers who use federal lands want to keep fees low, while conservation groups and others believe fees should be increased. The formula for determining the grazing fee for lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Forest Service (FS) uses a base value adjusted annually by the lease rates for grazing on private lands, beef cattle prices, and the cost of livestock production. Currently, the BLM and FS are charging a grazing fee of $1.35 per animal unit month (AUM). For fee purposes, an AUM is defined as a month’s use and occupancy of the range by one animal unit. The fee is in effect through February 28, 2013. The collected fees are divided among the Treasury, states, and federal agencies. Fee reform was attempted but not adopted in the 1990s. Issues for the 112th Congress include instances of grazing without paying fees, efforts to retire certain grazing permits (H.R. 3432), and legislation to automatically renew expired grazing permits until the renewal process is completed (S. 1129 and H.R. 4234 (for further action on H.R. 4234 see H.R. 2578)).

Date of Report: June 19, 2012
Number of Pages: 11
Order Number: RS21232
Price: $29.95

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