- Associated Press - Thursday, March 6, 2014

GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) - Montana is dropping a proposed Fergus County land swap with a Texas businessman amid public opposition to the deal.

Dana Ranch owner David Killam of Laredo had proposed buying and giving to the state a 14,505-acre ranch near Winifred. In exchange, the state would have given Killam 14,136 acres of public-school trust parcels that are scattered on his ranch.

Department of Natural Resources spokesman John Grassy says his agency received 171 comments on the proposal, with 141 opposed to it.

Many believed the value of the state-owned land is greater than what the state would have gotten in exchange. DNRC director John Tubbs said Thursday the agency also considered the projected income from the new land in deciding not to take the proposal to the state Land Board.

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