Office Of School And Public Lands Say 2018 Was A Good Year For Land Leases

(WNAX) — Strong interest in grazing land led to another record year for leasing in South Dakota.  School & Public Lands Commissioner Ryan Brunner says they had lots of leases come up for auction…

“You know we have 760,000 acres across the state on a five-year lease with a five-year option.  This year though we had a lot of leases up.  We had a 150,000 acres up for lease in March and April.  We went over a little bit later with the snow storms this year.  We ended up doing a few more auctions in April and we had another year of good results.”

Brunner says they saw another increase this year..

“Our total leases generated this year; 8.3 million dollars which was the 6th straight year we set a new record high as far as the amount of money we have generated from our land leasing.  Last year was 8.1 million, so it certainly was a new record and we’re happy with that, but it was only about a 2.4% increase over the previous year and you know, some of the years leading up to this we said 20% increases.”

Brunner says market conditions are a big factor in each years lease auction….

“‘A lot of the land stayed pretty constant with a lot of the current lessees.  You know, where we saw competitive bidding it was mainly driven by the fact that a lot of the land only comes up every 10 years and not necessarily based on the current price of cattle.  You know….whereas in past years when the cattle markets have been high, you know, we’ll see a lot of competitive bidding from…from outside of the counties where people are coming from some fairly long distances.”

The lease income is added to the permanent school fund, which is shared with all public-school districts in the state.