Hoeven Successfully Works to Halt Increase in Grassland Grazing Fees

Senator Pressed Administration to Ensure Equitable Treatment for Grazers on the National Grasslands

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today announced that the U.S. Forest Service has agreed to halt a planned increase in grazing fees for the National Grasslands in the nine Great Plains states, including North Dakota. Earlier this year, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced a decrease in the grazing fees to $1.87 per head month for cattle and horses on the lands managed by the agency. Contrary to this, however, the Forest Service planned to increase fees for the grasslands by 25 percent, to $2.64 per head month, a disparity that was based on outdated data on cattle prices and land rates for the nine affected states.

In response, Hoeven worked through his role on the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources to press administration officials on this rate increase and ensure that grazers on Forest Service lands receive equitable treatment. The Forest Service subsequently agreed to use the $1.87 rate for this year.

“Our ranchers have been working on these lands for generations, which benefits both the local and national economies,” Hoeven said. “This rate increase reflected an unrealistic understanding of the cattle markets in these nine western states and threatened unsustainable cost increases on our ranchers. That’s why we went to work immediately to roll back this increase when the difference in BLM and Forest Service rates was discovered. Doing so ensures our ranchers can continue to make beneficial use of these lands while continuing to be good environmental stewards.”

Today’s announcement comes as part of Hoeven’s ongoing work to ensure that federal lands remain open for multiple uses, including grazing. As part of these efforts, he cosponsored a resolution to repeal the BLM’s “Planning 2.0” rule under the Congressional Review Act, which the president signed into law last month. The senator also urged recently-confirmed Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to oppose a one-size-fits-all approach to managing federal lands and balance various local needs.