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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School


First Advisor

Larry Janssen


Recent tradition holds that leasing land is a method in which a person, generally a young person, can obtain the use of land without huge capital outlays required to purchase that land. Leasing, then, allows a person the opportunity to enter the ranching industry and start accumulating the necessary capital to begin purchasing rangeland. For the established ranch operators, leasing is a method in which the size of an operation can be increased, again without the huge capital outlays, to obtain more efficient economies of size. There are two predominant types of rangeland leasing markets in South Dakota, the public leasing market and the private leasing market. The private rangeland leasing market is a market of private individuals trading in a 1oca1 or regional market for a heterogeneous input to livestock production. Rangeland is heterogeneous in the sense that each tract has different characteristics such as productivity, water supply and other amenities which make each tract unique. Local area information may be available to local ranch managers, but regional and statewide information is quite limited. The public rangeland leasing market is an "administered" market and therefore not directly subject to the annual pressures of various influences on the market lease price as is privately leased land. This has caused it to be a topic of continued controversy for many years. Public rangeland leasing markets are considered "administered" because the terms and conditions of the leases are administered by individuals working for various governmental agencies. In many cases all or part of the terms and conditions of the lease are set by Federal, State or Tribal law. Land administrators for the agencies are then charged with interpreting and enforcing the rules and regulations to which the lessee must abide. Lease rates and grating fees on public rangeland are determined by a variety of methods which are related to the private market and other factors as well. The usual circumstance for the determination of public lease rates is the setting of a minimum rate plus an added amount determined by producer input price and output price indexes, or the minimum rate plus an added amount determined by an oral or sealed-bid auction. The minimum rate may be set by Congress, state agencies or other groups such as a tribal council. The ceiling lease rate is effectively set by alternative leased lands in the private market. Confusion in rangeland leasing exists partly due to: 1) the administration of leases by land administrators, 2) the procedures for setting 1 ease rates, and 3) the lack of available information about rangeland leasing markets in South Dakota. Conditions prior to 1981-82 were generally favorable for ranchers in South Dakota. Since 1981-82, conditions of the agricultural economy have forced ranchers to shift towards more efficient production of range animals. This implies a need for reliable information concerning rangeland leasing which would enable ranch operators to be better able to make more informed decisions. Thus, current information on rangeland leasing is quite limited.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Leases -- South Dakota

Range policy -- South Dakota

Rangelands -- Valuation -- South Dakota

Pasture, Right of -- South Dakota



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University