This is an archived article that was published on in 2010, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The Utah Farm Bureau Federation has joined 11 other Western farm bureaus in fighting a lawsuit they warn would increase the cost of grazing permits and slow down permit approval.

"With the economic viability of many Utah ranching operations tied directly to access and fair grazing fees, the action taken by the Western Farm Bureaus is critical to our rural community's futures," Randy Parker, CEO of the Utah group, said in a news release. "With nearly 70 percent of Utah controlled by the federal government, the sovereignty of our state and self-determination is on trial as well."

The case in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia is led by the Center for Biological Diversity and the Western Watersheds Project and targets the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service. The environmental groups want the federal agencies to revise the fees the federal government charges ranchers for grazing their livestock to accurately reflect the administrative and environmental costs on the public lands.

The farm bureaus want to intervene in the suit, along with the Mountain States Legal Foundation. Nearly 1,600 sheep and cattle ranchers in Utah have grazing permits, the farm bureau said.