Montana Code Annotated 2021



Part 2. Leasing Procedure

Loss Of Preference Right -- Cancellation Of Lease -- Subleasing -- Pasturing Agreements

77-6-212. Loss of preference right -- cancellation of lease -- subleasing -- pasturing agreements. (1) Except as provided in subsections (3) and (4), a lessee of state land classed as agricultural or grazing land may not exercise the preference right provided in 77-6-205 if the lessee subleases the land for more than 2 years in the term of the lease.

(2) The department shall cancel a lease of state agricultural or grazing land if the lessee subleases the land for more than 3 years during the term of the lease unless the sublease is made between members of a family as provided in subsection (3).

(3) A lessee under subsection (1) or (2) may sublease the land for a period of not more than 5 years without losing the preference right or the lease to state land if, during the term of the lease, the land is subleased only to a spouse, son, daughter, adopted child, or sibling of the lessee.

(4) The lessee does not lose the preference right or right to lease because of subleasing as provided under this section if:

(a) the sublease is one-third or less acres of the lease; or

(b) the sublease is considered to be a pasturing agreement and is approved in writing by the department prior to the initiation of the agreement.

(5) For purposes of this section, a sublease may not be considered a pasturing agreement unless the lessee personally retains management and physical control of the land and livestock. "Management" includes but is not limited to:

(a) providing all costs for improvements, land maintenance, and range renovation, if range renovation is approved by the department;

(b) making all decisions regarding rotation or other placement of livestock on state land;

(c) making all decisions regarding turn-in and turn-out dates of the livestock on state land; and

(d) making all decisions regarding proper range management, including placement of water, fencing, and salt.

(6) A lessee of state land classified as agricultural or grazing land loses the preference right provided in 77-6-205 upon conviction of a felony offense involving a dangerous drug, as defined in Title 50, chapter 32, and involving the planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packaging, repackaging, storing, or concealing of a dangerous drug on any portion of the unit. When a state land lease is held by an association, company, or corporation, conviction of a member of the association, company, or corporation under this subsection does not result in loss of lease preference unless it appears that the operator, manager, or family in control of the association, company, or corporation is a consenting party or privy to the violation of this subsection.

History: En. Sec. 4, Ch. 383, L. 1987; amd. Sec. 3, Ch. 319, L. 1989; amd. Sec. 2569, Ch. 56, L. 2009.