Land Board Votes to Double State Grazing Fees


UPDATE:  The Montana Land Board did vote to go forward with a proposal that would more than double the grazing fee for state land.  The fee is currently $6.23 per animal unit month (aum) and the proposal is to raise it to $12.88/aum.

Now that the Land Board has said that they will be going forward, DNRC will hold hearings and allow for more public comment on the proposed changes. After the close of the comment period, they will bring back a final recommendation to the Board.

There is nothing yet on when those meetings will be or how the comment period will be conducted.  We will let you know that information as soon as it becomes available!

The Montana Stockgrowers Association put together this video in response to Monday’s vote:




The following is the initial press release from the Montana Stockgrowers Association:

Helena – On Monday, July 18, the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) will present a proposal to the state Land Board that would double the grazing fee for ranchers with state land leases. The Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) is encouraging the Land Board to hold the line on the fees.

“This proposal increases the cost of doing business in Montana,” said Jay Bodner, MSGA’s Natural Resource Director. “During the legislative session earlier in the year, both the governor and the legislative leadership made it clear they didn’t want to raise taxes or fees on anyone in these uncertain economic times. This proposal doesn’t fit with that position.”

In May, Dr. John Duffield presented information to the Land Board from his report “Montana Trust Land Grazing Lease Rate Valuation Analysis,” which was an updated analysis of the work previously completed in 1993. He recommended that the minimum rate for state grazing leases should be set at 70{e7e4ba4d9a3c939171d79cae1e3a0df1d41e5a91c3c4158fbb92284b490bc9d3} of the private lease rate in order to realize full market value. Duffield’s recommendation would amount to a 100{e7e4ba4d9a3c939171d79cae1e3a0df1d41e5a91c3c4158fbb92284b490bc9d3} increase over the 2010 rate. The report was made available for a 30-day review and public comment period. MSGA, along with others in our membership, submitted comments explaining this was an excessive increase.

“Some people argue that the current fees are too low compared to the cost of a private lease,” Bodner said. “However, state leases do not include fencing, water developments, weed control and other benefits offered by private leases. The Duffield study did not take this fact sufficiently into account.”

Despite MSGA’s comments and the comments of several of Montana’s family ranchers, which pointed out flaws in the study, the DNRC had decided to move forward with the proposal. If the Land Board approves moving forward, DNRC will hold hearings and allow for more public comment on the proposed changes. After the close of the comment period, the Department will bring back a final recommendation to the Board.

MSGA is concerned that if this proposal moves forward, it will have a significant impact on the landscape of Montana. “Doubling these fees will affect ranchers’ ability to invest in conservation practices on their state leases as well as their private lands, which benefit Montana’s wildlife and all of us,” Bodner said.

MSGA is encouraging Montana ranchers to attend this meeting and provide comments on this proposal that would double grazing rates on state lands. If you have any questions about this issue, please contact Jay Bodner at or (406) 442-3420.



The Montana Stockgrowers Association, a non-profit organization representing nearly 2,500 members, strives to serve, protect and advance the economic, political, environmental and cultural interests of cattle producers, the largest sector of Montana’s number one industry – agriculture.

Source:  MSGA

Posted by Haylie Shipp


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