State land grazing fees to increase in Northwest Colorado

Ranchers leasing state land for cattle grazing will have to pay more for the service starting in 2000.

The State Land Board (SLB) increased grazing lease rates at its Dec. 14 meeting. The increases come after a three-year survey and that found there had been an increase in what owners of private-sector grazing land charge on the open market.

The increase for Northwest Colorado will go from $6.65 per animal unit month (AUM) up 10 percent to $7.31 per AUM.

While the increase is significant, it is not as drastic as was originally speculated by the SLB. The SLB originally planned to raise the leases to $7.46 per AUM.

According to Susan McCannon, field operations manager for the SLB, the original increase was diminished due to public comment during the survey.

"Instead of basing our rate changes on just statewide AUM rates it was suggested that we base our rate changes on all three grazing rates reported in the survey, including per acre basis and per head, per month basis," said McCannon. "We thought that this was a really legitimate comment. Basing it on the entire survey what could be better than that?"

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