1999 Federal Grazing Fee Announced

The grazing fee for Western public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service will be $1.35 per animal unit month (AUM) in 1999, which is the same amount charged in 1998. The formula used for calculating the fee, established by Congress in the 1978 Public Rangelands Improvement Act, has continued under a presidential Executive Order issued in 1986.An animal unit month is the amount of forage needed to sustain one cow and her calf, one horse, or five sheep or goats for a month. Under the 1986 presidential Executive Order, the grazing fee cannot fall below $1.35 per AUM.

The annually adjusted grazing fee, which takes effect March 1, 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 1999 fee remains at the same level as 1998 because there was a small decline in beef cattle prices and a small increase in both private land lease rates and livestock production costs.

The $1.35 per AUM grazing fee applies to lands in the West administered by the BLM and to national forests and National Grasslands administered by the Forest Service.

The BLM, an agency of the U.S. Department of the Interior, manages 264 million acres of Federal land, most of it in 12 Western States, including Alaska, for a variety of public uses and values, including grazing, outdoor recreation, watershed protection, wildlife habitat conservation, and mining. 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. The Forest Service manages these lands for multiple uses, including grazing.

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