2020 Forest Service Grazing Announced
By Moosetrack Megan

Posted: February 18, 2020

The 2020 federal grazing fee, determined annually through a Congressionally mandated formula, will be $1.35 per animal unit months. The 2019 grazing fee was $1.35 per animal unit months.

The fee applies to approximately 6,250 permits administered by the U.S. Forest Service for the western United States National Forests and Grasslands. To help simplify our system for the benefit of grazing permittees we will use the one grazing fee for the National Forests in the West and all the National Grasslands.

For the Forest Service, the per head month is defined as a month’s use and occupancy of range by one weaned or adult cow with or without calf, bull, steer, heifer, horse, burro, or mule, or 5 sheep or goats.

The grazing fee is calculated based on the average annual change in beef cattle prices, leasing rates for grazing on private land in the western states, and the costs of livestock production.

The formula was established by Congress in the 1976 Federal Land Policy and Management Act and as amended in the 1978 Public Rangelands Improvement Act and has continued under a presidential executive order issued in 1986. Under that order, the grazing fee cannot fall below $1.35 per animal unit month and any increase or decrease cannot exceed 25 percent of the previous year’s level.

The formula is based on a 1966 base value of $1.23 per animal unit month for livestock grazing on public lands managed by the Forest Service in the western states and data collected annually by the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistical Service.

The fee applies to 17 Western states on public lands administered by the Forest Service. The states are Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.  Permit holders and lessees may contact their local U.S. Forest Service office for additional information.

The Forest Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, manages approximately 193 million acres of federal lands in 44 states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.