Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Grazing Fees See Major Increase; Projected Revenue Reaches a Record of Nearly $11 Million

Grazing Fees See Major Increase; Projected Revenue Reaches a Record of Nearly $11 Million Santa Fe, NM (February 12, 2016) – The New Mexico State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn announced that the grazing fee for the coming year is set to increase by 24.74 percent. The increase will raise the total income from grazing on state land to a projected $10.84 million. State Trust Lands included in the agricultural leasing program are approximately 8.8 million acres with 3,500 leases, in 32 of New Mexico’s 33 counties. The 2015 grazing fee on State Trust Land was $4.80 per animal unit month (AUM) that took effect on Oct. 1, 2015. The 2016 grazing fee will be $5.99 per AUM, taking effect on Oct. 1st of this year. The current fee formula, which was established and implemented following various hearing and economic studies in 1988 by then New Mexico State Land Commissioner Humphries, takes into account various factors from multiple sources, such as current private grazing land lease rates by western livestock ranchers, beef cattle prices, and the cost of livestock production. “With the trust receiving less revenue because of declining oil prices this extra income from grazing fees is helping curb the shortfall in money flowing to our beneficiaries, which are mainly the public schools of New Mexico,” said Commissioner Aubrey Dunn. He added, “The grazing lessees are the stewards of New Mexico’s State Trust Lands, they are our eyes and ears. Grazing lessees also help provide water for not only livestock but for native populations of wildlife throughout the state. I want to thank our grazing lessees because without them the Land Office alone could not manage our trust lands. We would have to hire more employees for proper management, which in turn creates a higher budget request and diminishes revenue distributions to beneficiaries.” Since Commissioner Dunn took office in January of 2015 grazing fees have increased by forty-five percent. With the new fee an estimated $19.5 million will be received to benefit State Land Trust beneficiaries. The State Land Office is responsible for administering 9 million acres of surface and 13 million acres of subsurface estate for the beneficiaries of the state land trust, which includes schools, universities, hospitals and other important public institutions. ###

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