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New Deadline for Fee Hike Feedback

Ventura County ranchers and others around the country who oppose proposed increases in fees for grazing cattle on public lands can send written comments to the federal government through Sept. 9.

The U.S. Forest Service extended the deadline to receive public comment on the proposed revisions that were published in the Federal Register last April.

The revisions would double the fees that Ventura County ranchers pay for their livestock to graze on public lands in Los Padres National Forest.

By 1997, fees would increase from $1.98 to $3.96 per “animal unit,” defined as the grazing needs for a cow and her calf for one month.

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The proposal was designed to force ranchers who use the land to pay a greater share of the costs of protecting sensitive wildlife habitats that their cattle might trample.

Fifteen Ventura County ranchers graze 700 head of cattle in the forest.

Rob Frost, president of the Ventura County Cattlemen’s Assn. said the rising costs of grazing may drive the ranchers out of the business or force them to find other lands to lease for grazing.

Written comments should be sent to Rangeland Reform ’94, P.O. Box 66300, Washington, D.C. 20035-6300.

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