Cattle Ranchers: Grazing Fees for 2020

Many of our Colorado ranches for sale, Utah ranches for sale and Wyoming ranches for sale are adjacent to public lands and many of those sellers currently graze their cattle and/or other animals on those lands for a fee.

There are 610 million acres of public lands in the United States, a majority of which are located in the West. Many of our clients operate cattle ranches for sale that also rely on public land leases for forage for their cattle.

Cattle Ranches for Sale

Public lands leases are beneficial to the operational income generated by a property. In order to realize these potential earnings, landowners need to be aware of the fees associated with grazing permits. 

We have good news for cattle ranchers this year. The Federal grazing fee for 2020 will not be increasing from last year’s low fees of $1.35 for animal unit months (AMU) for BLM land and per head month (HM) for National Forest land. 

This fee is calculated by a congressional formula and is applicable to:

  • 18,000 BLM grazing permits
  • 6,250 Forest Service permits

The fee rises and falls based on:

  • Current private grazing lease rates
  • Beef cattle prices
  • Livestock production cost. 

An executive order placed in 1986 indicates that these fees can not go below $1.35 per AUM/HM.

These fees were created to ensure the health of public range lands and working landscapes of 16 Western states including:










Of the collected fees, 50% will be returned to the Range Betterment Fund for ongoing improvement projects and another portion will be sent back to the counties in which they were collected.

If you want to learn more about what public lands leases do for cattle ranches for sale, check out our blog: 6 Things to Know When Buying a Ranch with a Public Land Lease. Understanding these public land leases is key for ranch owners.

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