Subleasing and Pasture Agreements
Arizona Revised Statutes § 37-283 states that “a grazing lessee shall not sublease his lease or sell or lease pasturage to lands included in his lease, without written permission from the state land department.”
The distinction between a sublease and a pasture agreement is the degree of control exerted and exercised by the lessee.
- With a sublease the lessee passes control of the lease to the sublessee. The sublessee grazes his own livestock on the lessee’s lease. The sublessee cares for his own cattle, maintains the range improvements, and provides the day to day supervision of the premises and the livestock on the lease.
- With a pasture agreement the lessee takes another person’s livestock onto his lease and cares for them. The lessee may graze some of his own livestock while caring for another person’s livestock. The lessee is still in full control of his lease, the premises and all livestock. The lessee maintains the range improvements.
Arizona Revised Statutes § 37-283 subjects a grazing sublease to a surcharge of 25% of the annual rental on grazing land, multiplied by the number of animal unit months to be grazed on the subleased State Trust land.
Grazing Lease Defaults & Trespass
Trespass, as it pertains to State Trust land, is defined by Arizona Revised Statutes § 37-501. The penalties for such trespass are contained in A.R.S. § 37-502. Trespass occurs when there is no lease, permit or authorization from the Land Department for that activity. In a grazing scenario livestock trespass occurs when a person grazes his livestock on State Trust land for which he has no lease, permit or authorization to graze.
Defaults occur when a person who does have a valid Land Department lease or permit violates the terms and conditions of that lease or permit. If the default is not cured the lease can be cancelled.
The State Land Commissioner may require the lessee to waive any right to cure future defaults of the same type. This waiver is usually required on the second default. If a third default of the same type were to occur the lease would then automatically be cancelled.
- The three most common lease defaults for grazing leases are:
- Exceeding the authorized carrying capacity of the lease,
- Unauthorized range improvements, and
- Unauthorized subleases and pasture agreements.