The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service is announcing that federal grazing fees on national forests and grasslands will remain at $1.35 per head month for 2021.
A head month is a unit the Forest Service uses to define a month’s use of the range by a cow/calf pair, by five goats or sheep, or by a single bull, steer, heifer, horse, burro, or mule. The grazing fee is calculated by considering 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 fee applies to approximately 6,000 grazing permits administered by the Forest Service on national forests and grasslands in 17 Western states. 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 may contact their local Forest Service office for additional information.
The formula used for calculating the grazing fee 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 head month and any increase or decrease cannot exceed 25% of the previous year's level. The grazing fees apply to rangelands managed by both the USDA Forest Service and the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management.
The USDA Forest Service manages approximately 193 million acres of Federal lands in 44 states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.