The University of Arizona

Valuing grazing use on public land.

E.T. Bartlett, L.A. Torell, N.R. Rimbey, L.W. Va, D.W. McCollum


The value of public land forage has been of key interest since grazing fees were first established on federal lands. Additionally, knowing the value of rangeland forage is important for assessing the economics of range improvements, grazing systems, and alternative land uses. It is important for resource value comparisons and impact assessments when public land forage is allocated to other uses. In this synthesis paper, we review the various methods that have been used to value public land forage and discuss the advantages and limitations of each. We highlight that past valuation efforts have concentrated on the value of public land forage for livestock production and, consequently, underestimated total forage value and rancher willingness to pay for forage and grazing permits. These research efforts failed to recognize that amenity and lifestyle attributes from ranch ownership and forage leasing play important roles in the use and pricing of rangeland forage. We review the numerous studies conducted to estimate public land forage value and suggest modifications to improve future value estimates. Because lifestyle attributes of ranch ownership have so strongly influenced ranch values and what ranchers are willing to pay for grazing use on public lands, we find the market value of federal grazing permits and a modification of the standard contingent valuation method for valuing non-market goods to hold the greatest promise for valuing public land grazing.



grazing permits;quality of life;leasing;land values;estimation;rangelands;United States;grazing;forage

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