Obama Administration Refuses to Reform Public-lands Grazing Fee

Fee is only $1.35 to graze a calf cow pair for a month.

Obama Administration Refuses to Reform Public-lands Grazing Fee
For immediate release – January 18, 2011

Contacts: Greta Anderson, Western Watersheds Project, 520.623.1878
Mark Salvo, WildEarth Guardians, 503.757.4221
Taylor McKinnon, Center for Biological Diversity, 928.310.6713
Brent Fenty, Oregon Natural Desert Association, 541.330.2638
Ronni Egan, Great Old Broads for Wilderness, 970.385.9577

Tucson, Ariz. – After a lengthy delay, five conservation organizations finally received an answer today from the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture concerning the artificially low fee federal agencies charge for livestock grazing on public lands. Claiming higher priorities, both agencies declined to address the outdated grazing fee formula. The government’s response was prompted by a lawsuit filed by Center for Biological Diversity, Western Watersheds Project, WildEarth Guardians, Great Old Broads for Wilderness, and Oregon Natural Desert Association.

Conservation organizations submitted a petition in 2005, asking the government to address the grazing fee formula and adjust the fee in order to cover the costs of the federal grazing program, which costs taxpayers at least $115 million dollars annually according to a Government Accountability Office report. Conservationists contend that Americans lose even more in compromised wildlife habitat, water quality, scenic views, and native vegetation.

“Today’s long-awaited answer was a huge disappointment,” said Greta Anderson, Arizona Director for Western Watersheds Project. “Year after year, we watch as the government gives a sweetheart deal to public lands ranchers at the expense of taxpayers and the environment. We had hoped the Obama Administration would have done better, but it’s business-as-usual for the western livestock industry.”

“Subsidizing the livestock industry at the cost of species, ecosystems, and taxpayers is plainly bad public land policy,” said Taylor McKinnon, public lands campaigns director with the Center for Biological Diversity, “Today’s choice to continue that policy is both a disappointment and a blight on the Obama administration’s environmental record.” Read the rest of this entry »

More on the injustice of the tiny federal grazing fees

These are doubly unjust compared to what the rest of us pay-

These data are from the High Country News blog, Goat.  Cows vs. RATs. Jodi Peterson

New federal grazing fee announced. No change this year, already at lowest allowed by law

Grazing formula again dictates $1.35 a month to graze a cow and a calf or 5 sheep-

A formula to set federal grazing fees designed to partially insulate grazers of federal land from the market became law in 1976. It was supposed to go up and down according to livestock prices and costs of doing business, but it was rigged in favor of costs of doing business. In 1978, $1.35 was set as the lowest possible fee for an AUM (Animal Unit Month).  Every once and a while the formula has required  higher grazing fees, but never much more.

The rock bottom fee now in force has never been adjusted for inflation. So $1.35 in 1976 is now about like 50 cents. Think about this the next time you are charged $5 or $10 to merely park your vehicle at some federal recreation site such as a trailhead.

Oh, and you can’t pay the grazing fee yourself and get the livestock removed. If this was allowed, I’d write a personal check today plus a bonus and pay the grazing fees for all the livestock grazers who pay them on the local Forest Service ranger district and get the livestock removed. I’m not a rich person. I’m merely middle class, but I have enough money in my checkbook right now to pay all of their grazing fees. They are that low — that overprivileged!

Grazing fees on public lands unchanged for 2010. Seattle Times. AP
Federal Grazing Fee Announced for 258 Million Acres: Public to Subsidize Public Land Destruction, Species Endangerment. Center for Biological Diversity.

BLM and Forest Service Announce 2009 Grazing Fee

The Subsidized Destruction of the American West Continues. $1.35 per AUM

The Federal grazing fee for 2009 will be $1.35 per animal unit month (AUM) for public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management and $1.35 per head month (HM) for lands managed by the Forest Service. The grazing fee for 2009 is the same as it was in 2008.

This seems to contrast with President Obama’s campaign promise to go line-by-line through the Federal budget to eliminate plans that don’t work.
Read the rest of this entry »

Federal Government Releases Public-Lands Grazing Fee For 2008 is Lower Than Ever, Despite Rising Costs To Taxpayers

New on Feb. 8.  Rocky Barker. Low federal grazing fees lie at heart of calls for reform. Idaho Statesman.

Feb. 6. This news release came from the Arizona Office of the Western Watersheds Project. The subsidy to cattle and sheep growers on our public lands just keeps getting worse. $1.35 an AUM is the lowest the law will permit, but with inflation, in real dollars it keeps getting lower and lower. Now it is only about 40% of the minimum permitted when PIRA was passed back in 1978.
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Contact: Greta Anderson, WWP Arizona Director 520-623-1878

February 6, 2008– Today, the federal government announced the public lands grazing fee for 2008: a mere $1.35 per cow, per month to graze on our National Forests and BLM lands on 235 million acres in the West.

A report by the Government Accountability Office in 2005 showed that BLM and Forest Service grazing receipts fell far short of their expenditures on grazing by almost $115 million. The fee decreased from $2.36 per AUM (animal unit month) in 1980 to the current Read the rest of this entry »