The Department administers approximately 10,000 crop and rangeland lease agreements on 4.76 million acres of State Trust Land throughout Montana. Administrative staff and specialists in the department's Helena office and staff in field offices statewide manage the program.

4.1 Million Acres
4.1 Million Acres

of classified grazing and forest lands

2023 Montana State Land Grazing Rate

The base or minimum rate charged per animal-unit-month (AUM) on state trust grazing lands is calculated annually using a formula set in state law (§77-6-507(2), MCA). That formula takes the average price per pound of beef cattle in Montana for the previous year, times a multiplier established by the Board of Land Commissioners.
Beef cattle prices are provided to the Department each year by the Montana Agricultural Statistics Service. The market year price used to set the 2023 rental rate is $1.2554/lb.

The current multiplier set by the Land Board in 2011 is 10.48.
The 2023 rate is calculated as follows:

$1.2554/lb. X 10.48 = $13.16/AUM

Agricultural and Grazing Lands

The surface leasing program maintains the Ag and grazing lease agreements. Leases are issued for a 10 year lease term approximately 1000 leases renew each year. Maintaining leases also includes: processing assignments, subleases, pasturing and custom farming agreements.

  • Renewing Tracts open to competitive bidding
  • Vacant tract open for bid
  • Assignments, subleases, pasturing agreements, custom farming agreements. Forms available on-line.
  • (Bank) Instructions for Filing & Releasing Mortgages   Procedures for Mortgages

Quick Facts

Currently 2,800 agreements cover agricultural use of state trust lands and approximately 8,100 agreements are grazing. Crops Raised on the lands are: Small Grains and hay.  Irrigated crops: grain crops, corn, sugar beets, potatoes, Peas, lentils, garbanzo beans, canola, safflower, alfalfa seed, and native seed

  • 575,000 acres are agricultural a majority are 25% crop share set by statute; and cash per acre rentals.
  • 4.1 million, acres of classified grazing, and forest lands with an estimated carrying capacity of 990,000 animal-unit-months (AUMs) a minimum rental rate. Rate is a multiplier set by the Land Board and the average weighted price of beef cattle sold in Montana during the previous year.
  • State Trust Land receives revenue from the Farm Service Agency (USDA) from the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).