Commissioner Ryan Brunner

Grazing and Agricultural Leases

Grassland leasing is the most widely recognized activity of the Office of School and Public Lands. 75 percent with of School Lands are found in Western South Dakota. Our land holdings consist of 98 percent grassland land 2 percent cropland. School Lands are leased at public auctions with lease terms of five years with a renewable five-year option. Lease rates are set by a statutory regulation. The office is currently holding over 2,400 surface leases.

Grazing and agricultural leases are issued for 765,000 acres of School and Public Lands. The number of acres up for lease every year varies. Contact our office in early February to obtain auction information.

The Lease Auction Process and Terms

Auctions are held every year during the month of March. The notice shall be published once each week for at least four consecutive weeks in the official newspapers of the county in which the land is located

The lands designated shall be offered for lease at public auction to the highest bidder, at the courthouse of the county within which the lands are situated or as designated by the county auditor.

The rent shall be paid to the Commissioner in advance on January 31 of each year.

The Lessee shall pay all real property taxes payable to the County Treasurer where the land is situated.

Assignment of a Lease

The lessee of any school or endowment lands may assign his lease to any third person; but before any such assignment of a lease is effective, the assignment shall be approved by the commissioner of school and public lands and a copy filed by the commissioner. The subletting of any school and endowment lands by the lessee for profit is prohibited.

Permit for improvements and conservation activities by lessee

5-5-22. Permit for improvements and conservation activities by lessee--Right of removal-- State not liable for material or labor. In offering any land for leasing or at any time after the lease has been made, the commissioner of school and public lands may grant to any lessee of land under the provisions of this chapter a permit to erect thereon such buildings, corrals, fences, and well apparatus as may be necessary to fully carry out the purposes of the lease, and such lessee may remove such improvements as are capable of removal without damage to the land at any time before the expiration of the term or upon cancellation of the lease, and during a period of sixty days from the date upon which such land is offered for releasing or sale, and may sink such wells and construct such dams thereon as may be necessary, the cost of which may not exceed an amount agreed upon by the commissioner. In addition, the commissioner of school and public lands may grant in like manner a permit to prepare the ground and to plant shelter belts on such land, and to perform government approved ripping, furrowing, contouring, and reseeding. However, the lessee shall notify the county auditor and the commissioner of school and public lands in writing whenever any such improvements are placed upon such lands. In no event is the state liable for any material furnished for, nor for any labor performed on, such improvements