In response to the July 7th article, “Arizona charges less than almost anyone else to graze cattle” I give the following insight. In Arizona, ranchers do not rent the land. We rent the renewable resource on the land - forage.
The state grazing fee to rent the forage is $2.53 Assets under Management (livestock per section). Unlike many other states, the Arizona State Land Department does not provide funding of any kind for water improvements, land development, fencing, resource management, rebuilding after fires, etc. The cost to manage Arizona lands is 5 to 6 times higher than many other states around the country. Arizona ranchers are charged to use the land, take care of the lands, and to use the water on these lands to water both cattle and wildlife.
We, the ranchers, are the environmentalists of the land. We are here every day, at our own expense, improving state land.
Written by Rick Bader, Arizona Cattle Growers’ Association’s Communication Committee Chair and Arizona rancher