Livestock Grazing on Forest Service Lands

The BLM sells about 12 million AUMs annually on 155 million acres.  At current prices, the government receives about $16 million per year, a small offset to the cost of the WHB program, which is operated mostly for the benefit of the public-lands ranchers.

A summary of grazing activity on Forest Service lands in 2016, the most recent year for which the agency has published data, shows sales of about seven million AUMs annually on 102 million acres, for an income of roughly $9 million per year at current prices.

In total, privately owned livestock receive 19 million AUMs per year on about 250 million acres of public lands, allowing for some overlap in jurisdictions.

The ranchers would have to place 3.2 million cow/calf pairs on those lands to consume 19 million AUMs in a six month grazing season, for a stocking rate of 12.8 cow/calf pairs per thousand acres.

At current herd sizes, wild horses and burros are consuming about one million AUMs per year on slightly more than ten percent of the land.

The current stocking rate is less than four animals per thousand acres.

The target rate is one animal per thousand acres, suggesting that resource availability and productivity improve dramatically when areas are designated for livestock.

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