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Land Board mulls grazing fee increase





By MATT GOURAS



Associated Press






HELENA, Mont. (AP) -- The Montana Land Board is considering increasing the grazing fees charged ranchers who run cattle on state land.






A study commissioned by the board found the state is charging far less for grazing fees than private landowners.






The land board decided Monday to have the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation begin a multi-month review of the issue. The agency will come back with a formal proposal after holding public hearings.






The Montana Stockgrowers Association is opposing the increase. The group argues it is not fair to compare state land rates to private rates because there are different obligations for lessees.






Gov. Brian Schweitzer, who heads the land board, says the state has a duty to maximize earnings on its land. The money raised goes to schools in the state.






Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.



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