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Cooperative Farming




We have an active cooperative farming program that provides food and needed habitats for migratory birds and other wildlife. 

Cooperative farming is a mutually beneficial arrangement where the farmer is allowed to farm refuge land under certain guidelines and restrictions, including location of crops, techniques, crops planted, and chemicals used. Title 50, Part 29, of the Code of Federal Regulations and Service policies require that the value of a refuge’s share of cooperatively grown crops be set at rates that reflect the fees and charges received by private landowners in the vicinity for similar privileges. The value can be established through the use of competition in selecting cooperators or through an analysis of local market conditions to establish the prevailing rates in the nearest comparable area.

Wheeler NWR has an active cooperative farming program in which about 3,000-3,900 acres are planted annually. The goal of the program is to provide food and cover for migratory birds and other resident wildlife. The program supplements natural foods with grain foods, such as corn, milo, small seeded millets, and green browse. It is designed for farmers to buy the seed, plant, grow, and harvest the crop and leave a certain portion or share for the wildlife. Corn is usually chosen for refuge shares, although millet is planted in areas that remain wet too long for corn production.

Last Updated: Dec 09, 2013
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