WASHINGTON, D.C. — The federal grazing fee for 2020 will be $1.35 per animal unit month for public lands under Bureau of Land Management control and $1.35 per head month for lands the U.S. Forest Service controls. The 2019 public land grazing fee was $1.35.

An AUM or HM — treated as equivalent measures for fee purposes — is the use of public lands by one cow and her calf, one horse or five sheep or goats for a month. A congressional formula determined the newly calculated grazing fee, which takes effect March 1. The fee will apply to nearly 18,000 grazing permits and leases the BLM administers and nearly 6,250 permits administered by the Forest Service.

Congress established the formula for calculating the grazing fee in the 1978 Public Rangelands Improvement Act. The formula has remained in use under a 1986 presidential executive order that prohibits the grazing fee from falling below $1.35 per AUM/HM, and any increase or decrease cannot exceed 25% of the previous year's level.

The annual grazing fee is established using a 1966 base value of $1.23 per AUM/HM for livestock grazing on public lands in Western states. Three factors — private grazing land lease rates, beef cattle prices and the cost of livestock production — figure into the calculation. In effect, the fee rises, falls or stays the same based on market conditions.

The BLM and Forest Service work closely with permittees to ensure public rangelands remain healthy, productive working landscapes. To better serve the American public, the BLM has initiated development of an Environmental Impact Statement to consider proposed revisions to its grazing regulations, with the goal of updating, modernizing and streamlining existing grazing regulations and providing greater flexibility for land and resource management. This effort will not affect the 2020 grazing fees.

Half of the grazing fees deposited into the U.S. Treasury are returned to the Range Betterment Fund for on-the-ground range improvement projects. Portions of collected fees are also returned to the states for use in the counties where the fees were generated.

The grazing fee applies in 16 Western states on public lands administered by the BLM and the Forest Service. The states are: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. Permit holders and lessees may contact their local BLM or Forest Service office for additional information.

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