Hardy Vincent Specialist in Natural Resources Policy
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)).
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