Fair Value Grazing Fees


Public Lands

Subsidy Type

Undervalued Asset

Committees of Jurisdiction

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, House Natural Resources Committee

$20 FY 23 Budget Score (in mil.)
$200 FY 23-32 Budget Score (in mil.)

The formula for determining the grazing fee for lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service uses a base value set in 1966 that the lease rates for grazing on private lands, beef cattle prices and the cost of livestock production adjusts annually. By law, the grazing fee per animal unit month (AUM) may not fall below $1.35, a rate that is sometimes orders of magnitude smaller than those set by most states and private landowners. For fee purposes, an AUM—called a Head Month by the Forest Service—is defined as a month’s use and occupancy of the range by one animal unit (a cow and her calf, a horse, or five sheep or goats). The collected fees are divided between the Treasury, states and federal agencies. For both 2020 and 2021, the fee was set at $1.35 per AUM, the minimum rate allowable by law, and far below the fair market prices that states and private landowners use.

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