BLM announces new grazing fees

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Ranchers will see an increase in public grazing fees this year, according to an announcement released last week by the Bureau of Land Management.

The 2002 public land grazing fee is $1.43 per animal unit month (AUM), an 8 cent increase from 2001.

An AUM is the amount of food needed to sustain one cow and her calf, one horse, or five sheep or goats for a month.

The increased fee will be effective March 1.

BLM Director Kathleen Clarke explained the fee and its purpose.

"The $1.43 per AUM grazing fee applies to lands in the West administered by the BLM and to national forests and national grasslands administered by the Forest Service," she said. "Under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, by which the BLM fulfills its multiple use mandate, grazing is a recognized and appropriate use of the public lands."

The public grazing fee is computed using a base value set up by the BLM in 1966 and adjusting annually using three factors:

current private grazing land lease rates,

beef cattle prices,

cost of livestock production.

The BLM, an agency of the U.S. Department of the Interior, manages 262 million acres of land.

Of that total, 164 million acres are permitted for livestock grazing.

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