What Can the BLM Do With an Extra $21 Million?

Back in December, Congress awarded an additional $21 million to the BLM to further address the wild horse ‘problem,’ courtesy of the ill-conceived ‘Path Forward.’

Keep in mind that most of the affected lands were set aside for the horses and that the agency involved is responsible for their protection.

Q. How many wild horses could be removed with the additional funding?

A. Given a cost of roughly $1,000 to gather and process one animal, as many as 21,000 could be removed beyond what the BLM had already anticipated in FY 2020.  This does not mean the agency has the capacity in its outplacement programs to handle that many horses.  Probably not.  So let’s reduce the number to 10,000.

Q. Which areas would be targeted first?

A. Given the agency’s bias toward livestock grazing, which existed before FLPMA, HMAs where the poor ranchers are suffering from AUM cutbacks (because of the horses) would likely be at the top of the list.

Q. What economic benefits might accrue from the $21 million expenditure?

A. The government could receive up to $162,000 per year in incremental grazing fees from the ranchers to whom the ‘liberated’ forage is sold (10,000 horses × 12 months per year × $1.35 per AUM).

Q. Are there any other economic benefits?

A. Not to the government, only the cost of warehousing that many more horses, about $2 per day per head.  The ranchers would benefit, of course, but they’re not the ones spending the $21 million.  Think of it as redistribution of wealth: From your pocket to theirs, assuming you pay federal taxes.

Q. Could the expenditure be described as an investment in America’s future?

A. No.  There is no payout and no rate of return.  It’s negative cash flow all the way.  You don’t spend $21 million up front so you can spend an additional $7.1 million annually after that ($162,000 per year – 10,000 horses × $2 per day × 365 days per year).

Q. I thought the ‘Path Forward’ would cut costs and reduce government spending?

A. It’s not about saving money.  There are no plans to close departments, sell buildings and lay people off when AML is achieved.  It’s about enriching the public-lands ranchers and those who operate off-range pastures, sanctuaries and preserves.

RELATED: Wild Horses: Existential Threat to Ranching Agenda.

New Grazing Season!

Rejoice and be glad!  The 2020 grazing season starts tomorrow, with fees stuck in a time capsule since the 1960s.

Pray for good weather and abundant forage (not for the stupid horses) and that the ranchers will always be insulated from the realities of a free market, at least on the cost side.

May they never be forced off the public lands and have to pay (OMG) the going rate to feed their livestock.

RELATED: Grazing Fee Unchanged in 2020, Cost of Feed?, Grazing Fee Defies FLPMA.

What Is a Stocking Rate?

It’s a measure of population density, usually reported on these pages as animals per thousand acres.

Animal dispersion varies inversely with stocking rates—the lower the rate the greater the dispersion.

The management plan for the Pryor Mountains WHR allows 120 wild horses on 38,000 acres, for a stocking rate of 3.2 animals per thousand acres (120 ÷ 38,000 × 1,000).

Why not animals per acre?  Decimals.  The stocking rate expressed in those units would be 0.0032 animals per acre (120 ÷ 38,000).

The management plan for the Silver King HMA in eastern Nevada yields a stocking rate of 0.00022 animals per acre.

The scaling factor in the first calculation (1,000) shifts the decimal to make the result a little easier to read.

The Virginia Range in western Nevada has a stocking rate of approximately ten wild horses per thousand acres, while the average rate for lands managed by the BLM is one wild horse per thousand acres.

What might account for the difference?

Wild Horses: Existential Threat to Ranching Agenda

Is the government ramping up its rhetoric about wild horses, ahead of the next installment on the disastrous ‘Path Forward?’

Back in October the acting director of the BLM said wild horses were the greatest threat to America’s public lands.

In December, Congress authorized an additional $21 million to deal with the ‘problem,’ contingent on the development of a game plan.

Now they have to soften up the target—which is not the horses—it’s you.

The ranching cabal wants the herds cut by 70%.

The government is happy to indulge them.

And they want to do it with your approval.

PSA 12-15-19