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Federal Grazing Fees Announced

The grazing fee for the 2002 grazing year on Western public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management will be $1.43 per animal unit month. The formula used for calculating the fee was established by Congress in the 1978 Public Rangelands Improvement Act and continues under a Presidential Executive Order issued in 1986.

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

BLM Director Kathleen Clarke said, "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. 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 annually adjusted grazing fee, effective March 1, 2002 through Feb. 28, 2003, is computed by using a 1966 base value of $1.23 per AUM for livestock grazing on public lands in Western States. The figure is then adjusted according to three factors - current private grazing land lease rates, beef cattle prices and the cost of livestock production. Based on the formula, the 2002 fee is an increase of 8 cents from the 2001 level.

The BLM, an agency of the U.S. Department of the Interior, manages more land - 262 million surface acres - than any other Federal agency. Of this, about 164 million acres are permitted for livestock grazing. Most of the country's BLM-managed public land is located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The agency, which has a budget of $1.8 billion and a workforce of 10,000 employees, also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's "multiple use" mission is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. The BLM accomplishes this by managing for such resources as outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, and energy and mineral development that helps meet the nation's energy needs, and by conserving natural, historical, cultural and other resources on the public lands.

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