What is the average cost per AUM for mountain meadow grazing in Wheeler County? The land in question is privately owned and is completely fenced into many pastures. Also, what is the range in prices for other types of grazing?
Wheeler County Oregon pastures and forages
The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) conducts surveys every other hear to estimate pasture rental rates by county and state (https://www.nass.usda.gov/Surveys/Guide_to_NASS_Surveys/Cash_Rents_by_County/). In 2014, NASS estimated the average pasture rental rate at $26.50/acre for the Ag District within which Wheeler County is located. It is important to realize, however, that this figure is an average across all types of pasture and several counties. As you might expect, the actual price paid per acre or AUM can vary strongly depending on a variety of factors, not least of which is the amount of pasture available relative to the demand during a given year. Therefore, price is usually negotiated. A former Extension colleague put together a really useful publication to help parties in a pasture lease/rental agreement determine a fair rate (http://beefcattle.ans.oregonstate.edu/documents/BEEF062-CalculatingPastureRental.pdf).
By the way, another good source of information on current pasture lease/rental rates might be your county assessor’s office as they often conduct rental rate surveys annually to more accurately assess local property taxes. I am located in Harney County and often rely on our assessor’s department when asked about local pasture rental rates. My understanding is that not all offices do this sort of surveying, but it would definitely worth checking with yours in case they do.