BLM and Forest Service Lower Grazing Fee
February 3, 2017

The federal grazing fee for 2017 will be $1.87 per animal unit per month for public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management, as well as those managed by the U.S. Forest Service. The fee would then be $0.37 per head per month for sheep and goats. The 2016 public land grazing fee was $2.11.

The newly calculated grazing fee, determined by a congressional formula and effective on March 1, applies to nearly 18,000 grazing permits and leases administered by the BLM and nearly 6,500 permits administered by the Forest Service.

The formula used for calculating the grazing fee, which was established by Congress in the 1978 Public Rangelands Improvement Act, 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 annually determined grazing fee is computed by using a 1966 base value of $1.23 per AUM/HM for livestock grazing on public lands in Western states. The figure is then calculated according to three factors - current private grazing land lease rates, beef cattle prices, and the cost of livestock production. In effect, the fee rises, falls or stays the same based on market conditions, with livestock operators paying more when conditions are better and less when conditions have declined.