The fee applies to over 25,000 federal permits issued in 16 western states…including Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, and the Dakotas.
The figure is calculated according to three main factors – the average annual change in beef prices, leasing rates for grazing on private land in 11 western states, and the cost of livestock production – using a formula established by Congress in 1978 which uses a 1966 base value of $1.23 per HM/AUM.
An HM or AUM, which are treated as equivalent measures for fee purposes, is the occupancy and use of public lands of one cow and her calf, one horse, or five sheep or goats for a month.
The formua has continued under a presidential Executive Order issued in 1986 that says the grazing fee cannot fall below $1.35 per AUM or go up or down by more than 25% from the previous year.
The U-S Forest Service, part of the Department of Agriculture, administers more than 8,000 grazing permits while the federal Bureau of Land Management, part of the Interior Department, has nearly 18,000 grazing permits and leases
The Forest Service manages approximately 193 million acres of Federal lands in 44 states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands while the BLM oversees about 245 million surface acres, most of it in 12 Western states, including Alaska.