Note: This article is a sidebar to this issue's feature story, "The Big Buyout."
The legislation proposed by the National Public Lands Grazing Campaign would offer a "golden saddle" to public-land ranchers, ponying up $175 per animal unit month — the amount of forage needed to support a cow and her calf for a month. That’s two to three times the market rate. Upping the ante even more, Rep. Mike Simpson of Idaho, R, has introduced separate legislation that would pay ranchers in central Idaho almost twice that much.
The big numbers are spurring some ranchers to reach for their calculators. Here’s the lowdown on what a rancher with a federal permit to graze 500 cows for five months out of the year — amounting to 2,500 AUMs — would receive under the various buyout proposals:
Current Market Value
Voluntary Grazing Permit Buyout Act
Central Idaho Development and Recreation Act