Rangeland Management:

Current Formula Keeps Grazing Fees Low

RCED-91-185BR: Published: Jun 11, 1991. Publicly Released: Jun 21, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO: (1) assessed the soundness of the formula for computing grazing fees on most federal lands; and (2) compared the formula results to those of alternative formulas using updated cost and price data.

GAO found that: (1) although the current formula kept grazing fees low, it failed to recover reasonable program costs, since it did not produce a fee that covered the government's cost to manage the grazing program; (2) the current formula also failed to follow the rise in grazing land lease rates paid for private land and to provide a revenue base that could be used to better manage and improve federal land so that it would remain a productive public resource in the future; (3) alternative formulas produced higher fees than the current formula and tended to increase the fees faster over time; and (4) economists preferred a formula that would adjust a base value by a single index and make no additional adjustments for the rancher's ability to pay.

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