• An evaluation of the federal grazing fee formula

      Torell, L. A.; Rimbey, N. R.; Va, L. W.; Tanaka, J. A.; Bartlett, E. T. (Society for Range Management, 2003-11-01)
      The federal grazing fee is currently set using the Public Rangeland Improvement Act (PRIA) fee formula established in 1978 and modified in 1986. The formula is adjusted annually using indices of private land grazing lease rates (Forage Value Index, FVI), prices received for beef cattle (Beef Cattle Price Index, BCPI), and costs of beef production (Prices Paid Index, PPI). The FVI tracks price movement in the private forage market and was the only index originally proposed to be included in the fee formula. Public land ranchers and the Interdepartmental Grazing Fee Technical Committee assigned to study grazing fee alternatives in the 1960s questioned the ability of the FVI to account for short-term demand, supply, and price equilibrium, and, for this reason, the BCPI and PPI were added to the fee formula. Nearly 40 years of data are now available to evaluate whether adding the BCPI and PPI did, in fact, help explain short-term market fluctuations. Analysis shows that if tracking the private forage market is the primary objective, the fee formula should have included only the FVI. Including the BCPI and the PPI has caused calculated grazing fees to fall further and further behind private land lease rates. Had the 1.23 base fee in the PRIA formula been indexed by only the FVI, the federal grazing fee would have been 4.36 AUM-1 instead of 1.43 AUM-1 in 2002. It is time to consider the feasibility of a competitive bid system for public lands, or, at the very least, drop the BCPI and PPI indices and adopt a new fee formula that generates more equitable grazing fees.
    • Classifying federal public land grazing permittees

      Gentner, B. J.; Tanaka, J. A. (Society for Range Management, 2002-01-01)
      This study identifies the characteristics and attitudes of public land ranchers. Data from a random survey of 2,000 U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management grazing permittees (53.5% response rate) were cluster analyzed and 8 distinct groups of ranchers were identified. Each cluster differed with respect to why they were in ranching and how they would respond to public land policy changes related to grazing fees, grazing reductions, and changes in grazing season. Profit motivation for being in ranching was found to be a relatively low objective for all 8 types of ranchers.
    • Economic feasibility and management considerations in range revegetation

      Workman, J. P.; Tanaka, J. A. (Society for Range Management, 1991-11-01)
      Although range researchers and managers involved in range revegetation often have little economics training, economic analysis is usually a crucial step in range revegetation decisions. This synthesis paper is intended to provide a useful background in economic analysis for teachers, students, and natural resource professionals who deal with range revegetation. First, 3 economic standards by which all revegetation projects must be judged are described and interpreted: (1) economic feasibility, (2) economic efficiency, and/or (3) cost effectiveness. Next, the information required for economic analysis and the analytical procedures used to evaluate range revegetation projects are described. A detailed reseeding example is then used to describe the following information requirements: project costs, benefits, value of benefits, interest rate (including real vs. nominal rates), risk, project life (including life extension and grazing deferment), and range site selected for revegetation. Last, procedures for determining optimal vegetation conversion and use are reviewed, emphasizing the vegetation response function as the key to balancing the 3 determinants of long-term net returns: initial vegetation conversion, grazing intensity, and project life.
    • Economic implications of off-stream water developments to improve riparian grazing

      Stillings, A. M.; Tanaka, J. A.; Rimbey, N. R.; DelCurto, T.; Momont, P. A.; Porath, M. L. (Society for Range Management, 2003-09-01)
      Livestock grazing in riparian areas is an important management issue on both private and public lands. A study was initiated in northeastern Oregon to evaluate the economic and ecological impacts of different cattle management practices on riparian areas. The effect of off-stream water and salt on livestock distribution and subsequent impact on riparian use, water quality, and livestock production was evaluated. A multi-period bioeconomic linear programming model is used to evaluate the long-term economic feasibility of this management practice with a riparian utilization restriction of 35% for a 300 cow-calf operation. The utilization restriction resulted in economically optimal herd sizes 10% smaller than the baseline herd size. With the management practice, cattle were distributed more evenly, consumed more upland forage before maximum riparian utilization was reached, and gained more weight. The economic impacts of these outcomes were increased with expected annual net returns to the ranch for the project ranging between 4,500 and 11,000 depending on cattle prices and precipitation levels.
    • Economic optimum big sagebrush control for increasing crested wheatgrass production

      Tanaka, J. A.; Workman, J. P. (Society for Range Management, 1988-03-01)
      An approach was developed for estimating the economic optimum rate of initial overstory kill for increasing seasonal forage availability. The model was formulated using: (1) a biological production function relating understory production to initial kill percentage, (2) a derived demand function for seasonal forage value, and (3) a cost of overstory kill function for each control method. The specific optimum solution will vary with the situation; however, the general model may be applied to any ranching situation where understory forage production is constrained by undesirable overstory vegetation. The model was illustrated using the big sagebrush-crested wheatgrass vegetation type on a Utah cow-calf-yearling operation with prescribed burning, 2,4-D spraying, and tebuthiuron application as control methods. For the ranch analyzed, a big sagebrush kill rate between 92 and 100% is optimal depending on the derived demand and cost-of-kill functions used. Kill rates that differ from the optimum caused significant opportunity costs to be incurred.
    • Economically optimal private land grazing strategies for the Blue Mountains of eastern Oregon

      Quigley, T. M.; Tanaka, J. A.; Sanderson, H. R.; Tiedemann, A. R. (Society for Range Management, 1991-01-01)
      The Oregon Range Evaluation Project implemented 3 levels of grazing management intensities (strategies) on private land pastures in the Blue Mountains of northeastern Oregon. Prior to implementing each management strategy, a coordinated resource plan was prepared and a benefit-cost analysis on each practice and pasture was performed. The goal was to achieve the largest economic return from grazing for each strategy implemented. Returns above variable costs were used to select the optimal grazing strategy for the ecosystems represented. The commodity production strategy was found to be optimal in all ecosystems over a wide range of interest rates, management costs, and beef prices.