Management of rangeland
The Department of State Lands (DSL) manages approximately 630,000 acres of rangeland in southeast Oregon, primarily in Lake, Harney and Malheur counties. The majority of the land is semi-arid uplands suited for livestock grazing. All revenue from leasing state rangeland is deposited into the Common School Fund.
Starting in the 1930s, state-owned lands were consolidated by “blocking” acreage into larger parcels for more efficient management. These blocked rangelands cover approximately 525,000 acres with the remaining 105,000 acres left in smaller "isolated" parcels. These smaller parcels are typically surrounded by large private or federal tracts of land, in which case, DSL has little management control. Together, these leases have a carrying capacity of about 62,000 Animal Unit Months (AUMs). An AUM is the minimum area of land necessary to sustain grazing by one cow for one month.
DSL staff in Bend administers and manages rangeland leases under administrative rules (OAR 141-110) adopted by the State Land Board. Forage leases are contractual agreements with lessees for grazing livestock on state lands, and are valid for a 20-year term with typically a 20-year renewal.
Forage lessees may apply to sub-lease all or part of the leasehold using a Sub-Lease Application. In the event a lessee wants to transfer a forage lease to another party, the lessee may apply by submitting an Assignment of Lease Application. Interested parties may contact a rangeland staff person about sub-leasing or leasing vacant rangeland.
Oregon Department of Agriculture
Agricultural Research Service