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Report Says Keeping Public Lands Open for Grazing Costs $123 Million a Year
AP ^ | November 01, 2005 | Jennifer Talhelm

Posted on 11/08/2005 2:35:13 AM PST by Einigkeit_Recht_Freiheit

WASHINGTON — Federal agencies spend at least $123 million a year to keep public lands open to livestock grazing, according to a government report that environmentalists say bolsters their argument that grazing should be limited.

"If we are going to allow grazing on our public lands, the very least we should be doing is we should be recovering the costs," said Greta Anderson, a Tucson, Ariz., botanist and the range restoration campaign coordinator for the Center for Biological Diversity.

Jim Hughes, deputy director of the Bureau of Land Management -- which, with the Forest Service, manages 98 percent of grazing permits -- said the agency charges a fee set by law and is not advocating a change or an increase.

"We have many programs that cost us more ... to operate than we take in," Hughes said. "It's never been our mission to be run totally like a business."

Ranching on the millions of acres of public lands has been a mainstay of western life for more than a century. Ranchers pay a fee often based on the amount of grass and other vegetation their cows will eat. The agencies spend the money on managing permits and leases, building fences and developing water projects, among other activities.

The arrangement increasingly has caused friction as more demands are put on western lands. Environmentalists question whether taxpayers should support public lands grazing.

According to the analysis released Monday by the Government Accountability Office, grazing fees cover only about a sixth of the cost of managing the program.

In 2004, the Bureau of Land Management, the Forest Service and several other agencies spent $144 million and generated just $21 million from grazing fees.

Ranchers who hold public lands grazing permits get a deal, paying as little as $1.43 per animal unit month -- the amount of forage a cow and her calf can eat in a month -- according to the GAO.

Jeff Eisenberg, executive director of the Public Lands Council, which advocates for ranchers, said the numbers in the report don't represent the whole picture. The benefits of maintaining a way of life and keeping land free from development are difficult to quantify, he said.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: economics; environmentalists; grazing; publiclands
Doing some back reading and came across this. It kind of let me torn. I don't like the idea of subsidizing ranchers, farmers or pretty much anything that isn't both threatened and vital to national security. It does not seem these criteria are fulfilled here.

I am sure the ranchers are great, but the argument they give for a low-price for grazing rights is, I am sorry to say, very French.

1 posted on 11/08/2005 2:35:14 AM PST by Einigkeit_Recht_Freiheit
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To: freepatriot32

I'm Interested in what you think.


2 posted on 11/08/2005 2:37:17 AM PST by Einigkeit_Recht_Freiheit ("A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both." - Dwight D. Eisenhower)
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To: Einigkeit_Recht_Freiheit
My question is ...How much would it cost if the public lands are CLOSED to grazing?

I'm thinking the grazing cuts down on some maintenence, risk of fire along with other things.

prisoner6

3 posted on 11/08/2005 2:44:24 AM PST by prisoner6 (Right Wing Nuts hold the country together as the loose screws of the left fall out!)
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To: Einigkeit_Recht_Freiheit
My first question would be: " Let's see what they spent the $144,000,000 on."

I wouldn't think that just letting livestock roam around, builing a few fences and watering holes would cost 144 million. Not that I'd EVER think our government was mis-managing the program and wasting money (then whining about how they get shortchanged). I'd bet $100 right now that if management was turned over to the private sector, they'd be able to make a profit off the 21 million they get in fees.

4 posted on 11/08/2005 2:48:21 AM PST by KeepUSfree (WOSD = fascism pure and simple.)
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To: Einigkeit_Recht_Freiheit

The government should sell the land, the ranchers can buy it. They can then be responsible for upkeep, fencing, etc.


5 posted on 11/08/2005 2:52:03 AM PST by kenth (Come back here... so that I may brain thee!)
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To: Einigkeit_Recht_Freiheit

Here we see the evil genius of the environmentalist strategy, which fools even Freepers. Environmentalists demand that the Federal government spend untold gobs of money processing their appeals from every conceivable decision involving grazing, pay for an army of high-priced biologists and lawyers to fight against them (or collude with them) in litigation involving grazing, and then pay their legal fees when they prove that one of ten thousand factors relating to the environment was not adequately considered by one of the harried bureaucrats. And then the environmentalists turn around and say, "look how much money we're spending on grazing".

We're not subsidizing grazing. We're subsidizing environmentalists.


6 posted on 11/08/2005 2:52:51 AM PST by Iconoclast2 (Two wings of the same bird of prey . . .)
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To: Iconoclast2

Bingo! You nailed it..

As an aside I've hiked thousands of miles through our great wilderness areas over the years - I'd rather live next to a honest-to-god rancher than any environmental weenie, in aggregate they are a sorry lot.


7 posted on 11/08/2005 3:00:20 AM PST by Freedom4US
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To: Iconoclast2

Ahhhh. I think you might be spot on.

I can't figure how they spent so much and would like to know where it went. Its certainly not like they mow it or nothing.....


8 posted on 11/08/2005 3:01:54 AM PST by Adder (Can we bring back stoning again? Please?)
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To: Einigkeit_Recht_Freiheit
"If we are going to allow grazing on our public lands, the very least we should be doing is we should be recovering the costs," said Greta Anderson, a Tucson, Ariz., botanist and the range restoration campaign coordinator for the Center for Biological Diversity.

And how much is CBD and the rest of the back-to-caves-or-tenements / Nature Conservancy / Sierra Club /ad nauseaum Federal Teat Suckers paying for their use of the 'Public Lands'?

9 posted on 11/08/2005 3:03:31 AM PST by brityank (The more I learn about the Constitution, the more I realise this Government is UNconstitutional.)
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To: kenth
The government should sell the land, the ranchers can buy it. They can then be responsible for upkeep, fencing, etc.

Ding Ding Ding.

Right Answer!!!

10 posted on 11/08/2005 3:04:05 AM PST by Einigkeit_Recht_Freiheit ("A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both." - Dwight D. Eisenhower)
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To: Iconoclast2

What else are we going to do with all of those PhD's? They need jobs somewhere and only a few can be genious enough to actually invent something.

The rest focus their talents on finding ways to create jobs. Some venture here.

Still, I am not sure this is really very clear cut. Privatization is my preference. It will absolutely work. Either the ranchers will buy it themselves or a corporation will and make a profit.


11 posted on 11/08/2005 3:07:54 AM PST by Einigkeit_Recht_Freiheit ("A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both." - Dwight D. Eisenhower)
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To: Einigkeit_Recht_Freiheit
While we can eat the cattle and wear the leather that comes from them, just how much does it cost to, say ... to keep our poor folks in the undersea areas of New Orleans?


Let's keep the cattle high and dry.



12 posted on 11/08/2005 3:13:46 AM PST by G.Mason (The barbarians are at the gate and the Democrat Party will open it for them)
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To: Einigkeit_Recht_Freiheit
Doing some back reading and came across this. It kind of let me torn. I don't like the idea of subsidizing ranchers, farmers or pretty much anything that isn't both threatened and vital to national security. It does not seem these criteria are fulfilled here.

I am sure the ranchers are great, but the argument they give for a low-price for grazing rights is, I am sorry to say, very French.


Perhaps if the blankety-blank FEDS would stop putting red velvet ropes around every spare lot in the country and calling it "public lands" this wouldn't be a problem. How in the #%*@ can they charge a fee to let some guy's cows eat grass - in the middle of nowhere - and lose money? Do they have federal employees following the cows around to point out the choicest grass? I don't get it. The expenses associated with allowing cows to graze must be minuscule. Are they throwing in other expenses or are they just that incompetent?

To hell with the environmental idiots. They want to "protect" the grass just like they want to "protect" the frozen tundra from the nefarious oil companies. We give those sonsabitches too much authority. God forbid that some barren territory which has never seen a human footprint be made beneficial to someone.

I wouldn't really consider this a subsidy to ranchers. They're paying the fee, and it's not their fault that the FEDS are losing money.
13 posted on 11/08/2005 3:19:15 AM PST by Jaysun (Democrats: We must become more effective at fooling people.)
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To: Einigkeit_Recht_Freiheit

No doubt about it, as with Kyoto, this will ensure the costs of food go higher, harming the economy.


14 posted on 11/08/2005 3:25:17 AM PST by OldFriend (The Dems enABLEd DANGER and 3,000 Americans died.)
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To: Einigkeit_Recht_Freiheit

Oh the cowman and the environmentalist should be friends
Oh the cowman and the environmentalist should be friends
One man wants to raise a cow
One man wants us to kowtow
But that's no reason why they can't be friends

(From the Hammer and Sickelstein musical "Oklahoma")


15 posted on 11/08/2005 3:38:37 AM PST by Appalled but Not Surprised
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To: Einigkeit_Recht_Freiheit
Ranching on the millions of acres of public lands has been a mainstay of western life for more than a century

Long before these Federal agencies got involved.

16 posted on 11/08/2005 3:55:06 AM PST by bkepley
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To: OldFriend
No doubt about it, as with Kyoto, this will ensure the costs of food go higher, harming the economy.

Hold on a minute, that doesn't make any sense. If Americans really are subsidizing farmers then they are making food more expensive not less expensive.

Secondly this has no relevance whatsoever to Kyoto. What are you talking about?

We may be on the same side, but you sound like you have zero clue about economics.

17 posted on 11/08/2005 4:15:12 AM PST by Einigkeit_Recht_Freiheit ("A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both." - Dwight D. Eisenhower)
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To: OldFriend
No doubt about it, as with Kyoto, this will ensure the costs of food go higher, harming the economy.

Hold on a minute, that doesn't make any sense. If Americans really are subsidizing farmers then they are making food more expensive not less expensive.

Secondly this has no relevance whatsoever to Kyoto. What are you talking about?

We may be on the same side, but you sound like you have zero clue about economics.

18 posted on 11/08/2005 4:15:13 AM PST by Einigkeit_Recht_Freiheit ("A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both." - Dwight D. Eisenhower)
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To: Einigkeit_Recht_Freiheit

Either way, the consumer gets the actual cost attached to their meat at the supermarket. My guess would be that the programs administration costs are the culprit.


19 posted on 11/08/2005 4:19:36 AM PST by Sacajaweau (God Bless Our Troops!!)
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To: Einigkeit_Recht_Freiheit
So if the ranchers are charged more, they won't raise the price of their product?

I have no clue about economics?

Did you see the reference to Bio Diversity? A group like that hardly has the wellbeing of human beings as their priority.

20 posted on 11/08/2005 4:20:47 AM PST by OldFriend (The Dems enABLEd DANGER and 3,000 Americans died.)
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To: bkepley

Ranching on the millions of acres of public lands has been a mainstay of western life for more than a century Long before these Federal agencies got involved.

Piracy has been a mainstay of life in many places for more than a century. The American Indians had a way of life for several centuries.

Times, needs and perceptions change. The world is not the same place it was 100 years ago so that is no excuse.

Privatize that land. Use the short term revenue on the debt, save a bundle on the federal employees taking care of it and tax the revenue earned from it. The ranchers get ful control. Let the market work. It's a win-win for the American people.

21 posted on 11/08/2005 4:29:43 AM PST by Einigkeit_Recht_Freiheit ("A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both." - Dwight D. Eisenhower)
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To: OldFriend

If ranchers are being subsidzed (or need to be subsidized) it means someone could and probably is producing that same product more cheaply elsewhere. For instance, South America.

The subsidies - which you pay for with your tax dollars - distort the market making the South Americans less competitive. Combine that with trade barriers and both your taxes and your food costs more.

Take a look in your medicine cabinet (or if you are healthy in a drug store) and look at the diversity of medicines. They all came from nature. Biodiversity is hugely valuable to people. Moreover, it is God's creation and he gave us the clear instructions to manage it.

My suggestion is to sell off that land. Preserve the most bio-diverse parts (and in your defense that part of the world is not very diverse, 10,000 square miles have far fewer species that an an acre or two of rainforest)and sell off the rest. Everybody wins.


22 posted on 11/08/2005 4:35:16 AM PST by Einigkeit_Recht_Freiheit ("A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both." - Dwight D. Eisenhower)
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To: Einigkeit_Recht_Freiheit


if making fees equal to expenses was the norm then the cost of visiting Yellowstone or Grand Tetons would be $50 or more person and $100 per car or RV. We have public "range lands" because the government got in the business of taking land it could not use and renting it to the people who should have owned it to begin with.


23 posted on 11/08/2005 4:36:46 AM PST by q_an_a
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To: Adder

Another thing...hate to be cynical, but WHO is providing the statistics here? If the costs of this program are being estimated by the envioronmentalists, I would double check. They have a habit of greatly inflating the numbers to try to make their case...and they get away with it because the press takes it at face value!


24 posted on 11/08/2005 4:46:47 AM PST by t2buckeye
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To: q_an_a
if making fees equal to expenses was the norm then the cost of visiting Yellowstone or Grand Tetons would be $50 or more person and $100 per car or RV.

Good point. Which brings us back to the real solution which is to privatise this land.

25 posted on 11/08/2005 6:16:55 AM PST by Einigkeit_Recht_Freiheit ("A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both." - Dwight D. Eisenhower)
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To: Einigkeit_Recht_Freiheit
Piracy has been a mainstay of life in many places for more than a century.

Comparing cowboys to pirates won't win you many friends out west.

26 posted on 11/08/2005 6:27:21 AM PST by bkepley
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To: Einigkeit_Recht_Freiheit

The American "Farmer/Rancher:"

The new welfare rich.

Welfare handouts to farmers and ranchers are a bloody obscenity. A national disgrace. And a huge burden on our every ally's farmers and ranchers who're as often as not unable to compete when our massively-subsidized mountains of grain and butter and cotton and every other kind of produce are dumped in their traditional markets.

And then, when USAID gets its looters' hands on the massive mountains of unsaleable produce and starts dumping it in target countries, it always both bankrupts the target country's farmers, who obviously cannot compete with "free" and creates a local lootocracy that quickly steals the dumped produce and profits from it.

The nightmare that is Somalia is the perfect example of a net agricultural produce exporter whose economy and in the end whole country was devastated by USDA-subsidized produce dumped there for years by USAID.

Which, seeing the absolute disaster it had created, upped stakes and moved on to go f***-up ... um .... "help" another target country.

[And then of course, old Read-My-Lips-No-New-Taxes sent in the Marines to "tidy up" USAID's disaster. And set in motion an altogether different disaster scenario]


27 posted on 11/08/2005 7:31:53 AM PST by Brian Allen (Patriotic, Immigrant & therefore Hyphenated-AMERICAN-American & Aviator by choice. Christian byGrace)
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To: Einigkeit_Recht_Freiheit
Clearly, too much is spent on (mis)management. Perhaps they need to cut back on million dollar Prebbles Meadow Mouse studies and similar enviro-boondoggles. I wonder how much botanists and range restoration campaign coordinators for Centers for Biological Diversity cost American taxpayers.
28 posted on 11/08/2005 11:22:23 AM PST by Colorado Doug (Diversity is divisive. E. Pluribus Unum (Out of many, one))
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To: G.Mason
Let's keep the cattle high and dry.

Oh, I don't know, giving New Orleans to the cattle might be the highest and best use.

29 posted on 11/08/2005 11:25:11 AM PST by Colorado Doug (Diversity is divisive. E. Pluribus Unum (Out of many, one))
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To: Jaysun
How in the #%*@ can they charge a fee to let some guy's cows eat grass - in the middle of nowhere - and lose money?

Well said.

30 posted on 11/08/2005 11:26:50 AM PST by Colorado Doug (Diversity is divisive. E. Pluribus Unum (Out of many, one))
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To: OldFriend
The ranchers will charge whatever the public will pay. The actual cost of the item has little to do with the market price.
If enough people are going to buy a steak at $10 a pound but nobody is going to buy it at $11/lb, the rancher is going to sell it at $10 regardless if it costs him $1, $5 or $9.95/lb to make it. Value in the marketplace is based on how much the customer is willing to pay.

Now with the government, it should not support one business over another or one industry over another. When it provides below market rates for some Cattle ranchers it gives them a competitive advantage over Cattle Ranchers who have to pay for private grass lands (or maintenance for their own ranches). The Government should just raise their prices to reflect honest market rates. The Bad Ranchers will fold, the good ranchers will expand, the reduced number of Ranchers will put downward pressure on the grassland owners and it will be cheaper to produce a nice Rib-eye steak, without any additional cost to the taxpayer.
31 posted on 11/09/2005 11:58:34 PM PST by Hong Kong Expat
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