The Department administers approximately 9,000 agreements designated for agriculture and grazing, on 4.7 million acres of State Trust Land in Montana. The ag and grazing program is managed by administrative staff and specialists in the department's Helena office and field office staff throughout the state. 

4.2 Million Acres
4.2 Million Acres

of classified grazing and forest lands

2024 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 from 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 of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA NASS). The market year price used to set the 2024 rental rate is $1.5777/lb. 

The current multiplier set by the Land Board in 2011 is 10.48.

The 2024 rate is calculated as follows:

$1.5777/lb. X 10.48 = $16.53/AUM

Agricultural and Grazing Lands

Surface Leasing

The surface leasing program maintains the ag and grazing lease agreements. Leases are issued for 5-or-10 year lease terms. Approximately 1000 leases renew each year. The program also; processes assignments, subleases, pasturing agreements, custom farming agreements, mortgages, rental fees, and competitive bid applications. 

Land Management

The land management program manages agricultural and grazing resources on state trust land. They are responsible for evaluation and assessment of the range and crop land, administration of archaeological, paleontological, and historical properties, noncompliance on state trust land, federal Farm Program participation, and oversite of water developments and rights. 

Quick Facts

  • Approximately 2,800 agreements spanning over 598,900 acres are classified for agricultural use
    • Crops raised include grains, pulse crops, corn, potatoes, canola, mustard, sugar beets, and hay
  • Approximately 8,000 agreements are classified grazing covering 4.2 million acres with a carrying capacity of 995,645 AUMs
  • State Trust Land receives revenue from the Farm Service Agency (USDA) from the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)