The government shutdown filled the public-lands ranchers with anxiety, according to a report by Tri-State Livestock News, causing undue stress about turnout dates and grazing fees. One thing they won’t have to worry about is the price escalating into a range that brings it in line with the cost of private-sector ranching.
The current fee, which expires at the end of the month, is 4.7¢ per cow/calf pair per day, or $1.41 per AUM.
Try feeding your horse for that. Or your parakeet.
Wild horse critics like to point at the expense of animals in long-term holding, for which the government spends around $50 million per year. The cost of feed is about $2 per day, or $60 per AUM.
Given nine million AUMs allocated to livestock annually, with room for three million more, the government receives about $13 million each year from the ranchers.
Add the costs of roundups, adoptions, transport and the like and you have the government spending around $60 million each year so it can collect $13 million from the ranchers.
If you restrict the revenue to lands subject to the roundups, you’d have the government spending at least ten times as much as it hopes to collect in grazing fees.
Those nine million AUMs would support 750,000 wild horses and burros, enough to empty all the off-range corrals and long-term pastures fifteen times over.
Their position is untenable and they know it. That’s why they spew all the BS about wild horse overpopulation and damage to western rangelands.
If it was really about the money, the government would leave the horses on the range and tell the ranchers to go pound sand.