MT Ranchers Will Pay 40{fe867fa2be02a5a45e8bbb747b653fe2e9d0331fd056b85cd0c1a3542435a96e} More for Grazing


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by Marnee Banks

Montana ranchers will now pay 40{fe867fa2be02a5a45e8bbb747b653fe2e9d0331fd056b85cd0c1a3542435a96e} more for their state grazing leases, as the Montana State Land Board approved new lease rates on Monday.

Previously, lease holders were paying a minimum of $6.23 per animal-unit-month (AMU) to graze livestock on state land.

Under the new rules, lease holders will pay $10.19 cents per AUM.

The new rates will be phased in over the next five years for the nearly 5,000 lease holders.

The Montana Department of Natural Resources & Conservation had wanted to nearly double the rate, but hundreds of public comments opposing that amount forced the agency to lower the proposal.

The State Land Board cut into that figure even more and came up with the $10.19 figure.

Some ranchers say the new rate is still too high; they argue because state leases don’t include fencing, water, or weed treatment their rates should be less than a private lease.

Nicole Rolf of the Montana Farm Bureau said, “Just because we are seeing higher prices in the cattle industry doesn’t necessarily mean that we have a lot more to spend. Other costs are up as you heard: fuel, steel, all those things.”

Nancy Ereaux of the Double O Ranch said, “As far as the fencing, so you don’t have grazing coming in from some other party, we take care of that. That can’t happen at the rates you are talking about.”

Based on current cattle prices, the new grazing rates are expected to generate an additional $3 million dollars for public education in 2016.


Posted by Haylie Shipp


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