Hoeven: Forest Service Chief Agrees to Work With Senator, Ranchers to Carry Over Grazing Fees to Support Projects Important to Ranchers

WASHINGTON – During a hearing of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and Environment this week, Senator John Hoeven secured an agreement from U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell to work toward allowing grazing associations to carry over grazing fee credits from year-to-year to help ranchers complete projects important to their operations, like fencing, water development and land exchanges.

Currently, credits must be spent on approved projects in the year they are allocated, limiting the associations’ abilities to pursue more comprehensive projects, which are generally more cost-effective. The senator is working through his role on the Appropriations Committee to secure bill language in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Interior funding bill to give the Forest Service the flexibility it needs to allow the carry-over of grazing fee credits.

“The changes we’re pushing for on behalf of our ranchers are reasonable, necessary and doable,” Hoeven said. “Allowing our grazing associations to save up these credits and do more projects to maintain and grow their operations is a win all around. I appreciate that Chief Tidwell supports this approach and is committed to working with us.”

Today’s agreement follows a roundtable Hoeven hosted last year with Tidwell in Dickinson, where he also raised the issue.