The Montana Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) is applauding the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks for their decision notice and final environmental assessment that supports proceeding with emergency haying and grazing leases on select wildlife management areas. The primary purpose of these leases is to enhance wildlife habitat and to benefit local producers. MFBF is letting producers know that the September 1 deadline to apply for emergency haying and grazing on these lands is coming up quickly.

MFBF had submitted comments supporting opening up some of the Wildlife Management Areas for grazing or haying.

“This additional opportunity for resources allows farmers and ranchers to feed more of their animals throughout the coming months,” said MFBF President Hans McPherson. “The severe drought, as well as destructive fires and grasshopper infestations, has left many ranchers wondering how they were going to feed their livestock as fall and winter approach. Opening select WMAs could provide much-needed assistance, and make the difference between keeping a herd or selling out.”

Producers are only eligible for lease opportunities that occur in their county or, in some cases, adjacent counties. If there is an absence of interest within eligible counties, producers from surrounding counties will be given consideration.  Most counties do not have a lease opportunity. All lease opportunities require services in place of a cash rent payment, which may include supplying and erecting electric fence, establishing a water tank and hauling water, repairing fences, clearing haying sites, ongoing fence maintenance and livestock containment.

To view the decision notice and EA, click here to link to the Public Notices section of the FWP website.

After reviewing the information packet and associated responsibilities, producers who wish to participate further will be asked to fill out an online form no later than 5 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 1. Lessees will be selected randomly on Sept. 2. All participants will be notified of results.

FWP invites parties who may have an interest in one or more of the leases to review the final EA documents and request further information on specific leases by sending an email to: (preferred) or by contacting 406-444-2612.