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Oregon ranchers pay their federal grazing fees

May 12, 2014


By The Associated Press

PORTLAND — Each year, Oregon ranchers whose herds graze on public ranges overseen by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management pay the federal government fees that are about equal to what Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy owes in back fees and penalties — more than $1 million.

And the Oregon ranchers are prompt to pay, the bureau tells The Oregonian.

The bureau says about 1,100 Oregon ranchers pay grazing fees annually.

As of late April, bureau officials said, 45 ranchers owed a total of less than $19,000, and only two had bills unpaid 60 days or more.

Grazing fees must be paid before ranchers can release cattle onto public land, encouraging prompt payment, spokesman Jeff Clark said.

The U.S. Forest Service reports 400 permit holders, with none in arrears.

In Nevada, armed people who describe themselves as a militia have rallied around rancher Bundy, who doesn't recognize the authority of the federal government and hasn't paid grazing fees since 1992.

Last month, the Bureau of Land Management stopped trying to round up his cattle after a showdown with hundreds of Bundy supporters.

Under federal law, ranchers can obtain permits to graze their cattle on public land. The amount of land they get to use depends in great part on the amount of forage.

The permits provide a set number of what is called an “animal unit month.” That's calculated to be the forage to sustain a cow and her calf for a month.

Because forage varies widely, the permits set how many cattle can be run on a particular section of land. The cost for each animal unit month is $1.35.

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Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com

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