FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 16, 2021
Angie Poss, Assistant Commissioner of Communications
State Land Office Launches Online Payment Portal for Grazing Leases
Builds upon efforts to make process more user friendly
SANTA FE, NM – For the first time ever, the State Land Office (SLO) is now accepting credit card payments through an online portal which will benefit over 3,500 agricultural lease holders throughout the state. Of the 9 million surface acres of state trust land managed by the SLO, over 8 million of those acres are held by an agricultural lease where ranchers and farmers use the land for livestock grazing.
Those needing to pay their agricultural lease payments for 2021 can now visit https://agleasepayment.nmstatelands.org, create an account, and pay their leases from the comfort of their own home. Commissioner Garcia Richard previously removed an antiquated time-consuming appraisement form that lessees were required to complete, which helped cut red tape during the leasing process.
“This payment portal is something that has been discussed at the SLO for years, and I am so grateful to our Agricultural Leasing Bureau, our Information Technology Division, and our Accounting Division for working over the past few months to make this happen right in conjunction with our renewal period for grazing rentals so that it goes to use right away,” Commissioner of Public Land Stephanie Garcia Richard said.
“The portal has only been live for a short period of time, and the Agricultural Leasing Bureau staff are already hearing gratitude from people for this streamlined process. It has made the overall payment experience much more user friendly,” Danny Sandoval, SLO Agricultural Leasing Analyst, added.
Fees for livestock grazing on state trust land are calculated each year based on a formula that has been in statute since 1988. The formula is determined using various factors such as private grazing land lease rates, beef cattle prices, and the cost of livestock production. The amount is first calculated by State Land Office experts, and is then verified by a neutral third party expert. The 2021 fees translates to an average rate of $4.85 per animal unit month (AUM), down slightly from $4.98 in 2020. In 2021 this means an average fee of $ 0.91 per-acre.
“Because of the checkerboard nature of land status in New Mexico, state trust land is an important component of so many ranches across the state. These operations are crucial to our efforts to steward state trust land, and we hope that this new payment portal makes their partnership with us a little more seamless when it comes to paying their leases,” Garcia Richard added.
In order to keep payment and contact information as secure as possible, the SLO is not taking credit card payments by phone, and credit cards can only be used through the portal. Payments for 2021 agricultural lease/grazing rental payments are still being accepted by mail to: C/O Agricultural Leasing Bureau, P.O. Box 1148, Santa Fe, NM 87504.
Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard has overseen the New Mexico State Land Office since 2019. In that time the agency has raised $3.4 billion for New Mexico public schools, hospitals, and universities. Over 13 million acres of state trust land are leased for a variety of uses, including ranching and farming, renewable energy, business development, mineral development, and outdoor recreation. The State Land Office has a dual mandate to use state trust land to financially support vital public institutions, while simultaneously working to protect the land for future generations.