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RangeNet Project
Project East

 

Grazing on Public Lands in the East


Background

A group of Wisconsin Sierra Club members have submitted letters to Forest Service Region 9 (Eastern) and Region 8 (Southern) in an effort to get a handle on how much grazing occurs on federal public land east of the 100th meridian. The responses they received indicate that grazing on public lands in the East may be more widespread than expected. What has been generally perceived as a "western" problem may be taking on national scope.

While not yet contacted, several other federal agencies also authorize grazing on federal public lands and may be doing so in the East. These include: Army, Navy, Air Force, Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation, National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, and possibly others.

RangeNet Project East has been initiated to begin compiling information about grazing on public lands in the East, and documenting its extent. Readers who have additional information on this topic should submit it to webmaster@rangenet.org.

States With Grazing on Federal Public Lands
(So far includes only BLM and USFS)


Grazing in Forest Service Region 9 (Eastern)

I received a reply from the Region 9 Forest Service headquartered in Milwaukee, WI on the below letter requesting data on grazing in the east.

Generally, the subsidy seems to be for business-corporate subsidization and ecological devastation at public expense. I wonder what this comes out to in dollars per pound of meat produced? We taxpayers would be better off directly paying a portion of the public's revenues to the producers to stay home and leave the livestock off public lands. The reply reads:

I will try to reply the best I am able. Our information at this office is somewhat incomplete. We have changed personnel, our record systems and methods which makes it difficult to answer some of your questions specifically. We are now in the process of updating our administrative records which will put them in a better condition than they ever have been. Update to be complete about June 1.

The chart below will give you some of the statistical information you wanted. At this time our records in this office can not give you acres that are grazed. Generally speaking, our Region is given $600,000 in Range Management. Of this $200,000 is directly applied to controlling noxious weeds, i.e. Purple Loosestrife, Knapweed, Johnson Grass, Musk Thistle etc. both within grazed areas and without (Tom H note: if the lands were not grazed, the weed application, probably herbicides, would not be needed in the first place!). Another $25,000 covers regional expenses. This leaves about $375,000 going to the individual forests listed below for program administration. Of this, approximately $90,000 goes toward planning which includes gathering ecological and vegetative information in a grazing area to ensure grazing is done under Forest Standards and Guidelines. This leaves about $285,000 which is for grazing administration. This pays for overhead and direct costs on the individual Forests.

Your revenue questions can not be answered from this office but I can explain our two methods of fee collection. Most of our allotments are advertised and bids are solicited. Quotes may range from $3.64 to $8.00 per head depending on local supply and demand. The older permits are calculated by the National Grazing Fee Formula. In 1999, the fees in the Region ranged from $3.64 to $4.63. As old term permits expire, we phase them into a bid system.

Generally, grazing will take place on suitable open land habitats.

Our allotments are monitored each year to determine if the area is meeting the Forest's Desired Future Condition as specified in each Forest Plan. All of our allotments are under a schedule to undergo NEPA before 2010. Due to our incomplete records, I can only give you a general "gut" feeling of program trends. After June 1, this situation will hopefully change. Chippewa-4 allotments-400 head month-cattle; Huron/Manistee 4 allotments 1400 head month, cattle; Mark Twain 88 allotments 25,000 head month, cattle; Wayne 3 allotments 4000 head month, cattle; Green Mtn/Finger Lakes 1 allotment, 9,000 head month, cattle; Monongahela 41 allotments, 18,000 head month, cattle and also 1 allotment 8 head month of sheep/goats; Midewin 7 allotments ? head month-cattle.

Remember, these are only estimates.

Sincerely,
Ross Mcelvain Regional Range Coordinator

The inquiry reads:

United States Forest Service Grazing On Federal Public Lands
310 West Wisconsin Ave Suite 450 East of the 100th Meridian
Milwaukee, WI 53203 April 18, 1999

Dear Sirs:

The members of Heartwood, S.W.A.N. and the Sierra Club, with whom I work, are interested in the extent of grazing on federal lands east of the 100th meridian.

Would you please send to me data on the acreage's and AUM's by forest name, and also for other sub-federal public lands that have grazing, on all lands east of the 100th meridian? If necessary, send this to Washington or the other Forest Service districts in the eastern USA for this information. Also, what are the direct and indirect costs and the direct revenues of such grazing on the federal lands east of the 100th meridian? What are the types of domesticated animals on such federal lands by animal and numbers? Where is such grazing allowed by habitat type? Do you have any studies on the ecological health of such lands grazed? Finally, send data please on whether such grazing is increasing or decreasing by year for the last 10 years and projected into the future.

Thank you for your time and reply.

Tom Herschelman
Sheboygan Falls, WI


Grazing in Forest Service Region 8 (Southern)

I recently received this response from Elizabeth Estill Regional Forester Southern Region, 207 pages. A summary follows (wild horses not included; figures are total authorized; additional information to follow)

Thanks,
Tom Herschelman:

  • Alabama National Forest:
    • 1993 274 cattle 2045 HMS (AUMS); 10 horses 80 HMS; 8 permittees
    • 1994 96 cattle 749 HMS no horses
    • 1995 96 cattle 749 HMS 4 permittees
    • 1996 96 cattle 749 AUMS 4 permittees
    • 1997 30 cattle 303 AUMS 2 permittees
    • 1998 30 cattle 303 AUMS and 4 horses 33 AUMS 2 permittees
  • Arkansas National Forest
    • 1993 3102 cattle 18986 HMS 2 horses 10 HMS 121 permittees
    • 1994 3769 cattle 20,159 5 horses 28 AUMS 120 permittees
    • 1995 3769 cattle 20,159 AUMS 5 horses 28 AUMS 120 permittees
    • 1996 4272 cattle 25706 AUMS 4 horses 24 AUMS 152 permittees
    • 1997 1918 cattle 11,467 AUMS 76 permittees
    • 1998 700 cattle 4160 AUMS 2 horses 12 AUMS 23 permittees
  • Florida National Forest
    • 1993 2088 cattle 14,639 AUMS 6 permittees
    • 1994 565 cattle 6874 AUMS 3 permittees
    • 1995 565 cattle 6874 AUMS 3 permittees
    • 1996 900 cattle 96 AUMS 4 permittees
    • 1997 87 cattle 1044 AUMS 2 permittees
    • 1998 87 cattle 1044 AUMS 2 permittees
  • Georgia National Forest
    • 1993 337 cattle 4342 HMS 14 permittees
    • 1994 407 cattle 5212 AUMS 17 permittees
    • 1995 407 cattle 5212 AUMS 17 permittees
    • 1996 407 cattle 5212 AUMS 36 permittees
    • 1997 818 cattle permitted; 10660 AUMS 36 permitees
    • 1998 240 cattle 3091 AUMS 9 permittees
  • Kentucky National Forest
    • 1993 11 cattle 71 HMS 2 permittees
    • 1994 29 cattle 167 AUMS 2 permittees
    • 1995 29 cattle 167 AUMS 2 permittees
    • 1996 missing
    • 1997 missing
    • 1998 missing
  • Louisiana National Forest
    • 1993 1020 cattle; 8597 HMS 36 permittees
    • 1994 1020 cattle 8597 AUMS 36 permittees
    • 1995 1020 cattle 8597 AUMS 36 permittees
    • 1996 1888 cattle 17,614 AUMS 38 permittees
    • 1997 853 cattle 8018 AUMS 19 permittees
    • 1998 1706 cattle 16,036 AUMS 38 permittees
  • Mississippi National Forest
    • 1993 12 cattle 84 HMS 1 permittee
    • 1994 12 cattle 84 AUMS 1 permittee
    • 1995 12 cattle 84 AUMS 1 permittee
    • 1996 24 cattle 168 AUMS 2 permittees
    • 1997 266 cattle 2213 AUMS 11 permittees
    • 1998 266 cattle 2705 AUMS 11 permittees
  • Oklahoma National Forest System
    • 1993 3447 cattle 17,728 HMS 96 permittees
    • 1994 3526 cattle 19,351 AUMS 2 horses 24 AUMS 89 permittees
    • 1995 3526 cattle 19,351 AUMS 2 horses 24 AUMS 89 permittees
    • 1996 3255 cattle 17,383 AUMS 101 permittees
    • 1997 missing
    • 1998 3917 cattle 19,523 AUMS 108permittees
  • Oklahoma National Forest
    • 1993 190 cattle 993 HMS 9 permittees
    • 1994 199 cattle 1014 AUMS 6 permittees
    • 1995 199 cattle 1014 AUMS 6 permittees
    • 1996 450 cattle 2410 AUMS 18 permittees
    • 1998 176 cattle 975 AUMS 15 horses 60 AUMS 6 permittees
  • Oklahoma National Grasslands
    • 1993 3257 cattle 16,735 HMS 87 permittees
    • 1994 3327 cattle 18,337 AUMS 2 horses 24 AUMS 83 permittees
    • 1995 3327 cattle 18,337 AUMS 2 horses 24 AUMS 83 permittees
    • 1996 2805 cattle 14973 AUMS 83 permittees
    • 1998 2805 cattle 14973 AUMS 83 permittees
  • National Forest System Texas
    • 1993 7860 cattle 48494 HMS 160 permittees
    • 1994 6311 cattle 43,481 AUMS 124 permittees
    • 1995 6311 cattle 43481 AUMS 124 permittees
    • 1997 5362 cattle 32,554 AUMS 111 permittees
    • 1998 5089 cattle 32,469 AUMS 15 horses 54 AUMS 112 permittees
  • National Forest Texas
    • 1993 1615 cattle 12,383 HMS 73 permittees
    • 1994 732 cattle 5534 AUMS 41 permittees
    • 1995 732 cattle 5534 AUMS 41 permittees
    • 1997 437 cattle 3139 AUMS 28 permittees
    • 1998 346 cattle 2486 AUMS 27 permittees
  • National Grasslands Texas
    • 1993 6245 cattle 36,111 HMS 87 permittees
    • 1994 5579 cattle 37,947 AUMS 83 permittees
    • 1995 5579 cattle 37947 AUMS 83 permittees
    • 1996 3818 cattle 21966 AUMS 46 permittees
    • 1997 4825 cattle 29,415 AUMS 83 permittees
    • 1998 4743 cattle 29,983 AUMS 15 horses 54 AUMS 85 permittees
  • National Forest Virginia
    • 1993 996 cattle 127 horses 1309 HMS 42 permittees
    • 1994 946 cattle 6023 AUMS 134 horses 1410 AUMS 46 permittees
    • 1995 946 cattle 6023 AUMS 134 Horses 1410 AUMS 46 permittees
    • 1996 2038 cattle 12920 AUMS 276 horses 2974 AUMS 96 permittees
    • 1997 1031 cattle 6691 AUMS 135 horses 1469 AUMS 43 permittees
    • 1998 1019 cattle 6656 AUMS 135 horses 1469 AUMS 37 permittees
  • National Forest West Virginia
    • 1993 1113 cattle 5517 HMS 57 permittees
    • 1994 943 cattle 4670 AUMS 54 permittees
    • 1995 934 cattle 4670 AUMS 54 permittees
    • 1996 934 cattle 4670 AUMS 54 permittees
    • 1997 1169 cattle 5688 AUMS 10 horses 40 AUMS 90 sheep and goats 321 AUMS 49 permittees