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BLM announces federal public lands grazing fees

On Jan. 30, the United States Bureau of Land Management announced the 2009 federal grazing fees.

The grazing fee will be $1.35 per animal unit month (AUM) for public lands administered by the BLM and $1.35 per head month (HM) for public parcels overseen by the U.S. Forest Service.

The grazing fees set by the federal government for 2009 is the same as it was in 2008, pointed out the BLM.

Treated as equivalent measures for fee purposes, an AUM or HM is the occupancy and use of public lands by one cow and her calf, one horse or five sheep or goats for a per of one month, explained the federal agency.

The newly adjusted fees, determined by a congressional formula and effective on March 1, applies to nearly 18,000 grazing permits and leases administered by the BLM.

The 2009 fees also apply to more than 8,000 grazing permits administered by the U.S. Forest Service, according to the federal agency.

The formula for calculating the grazing fee, which was established by the U.S. Congress in the 1978 Public Rangelands Improvement Act, has continued under a presidential executive order issued in 1986, noted the BLM

Under the executive 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 adjusted grazing fee is computed by using a 1966 base value of $1.23 per AUM or HM for livestock grazing on public lands in western states, including Utah, continued the federal agency.

The figure is then adjusted according to three factors :

•Current private grazing land lease rates.

•Beef cattle prices.

•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, pointed out the land management bureau.

The $1.35 per AUM or HM grazing fee applies to 16 western states on public lands administered by the BLM and the U.S. Forest Service.

In addition to Utah, the states include Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington and Wyoming.

The U.S. Forest Service applies different grazing fees to national grasslands and federal public parcels under its management in the eastern and midwestern states and parts of Texas, indicated the BLM.

The BLM, an agency of the U.S. Department of the Interior, manages more public land at 256 million surface acres than any federal agency.

The majority of the BLM managed public parcels are located in 12 Western states, including Alaska.

The forest service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, manages 193 million acres of federal lands in 44 states, Puerto Rico the Virgin Islands, concluded the BLM.

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