Cooperative agriculture — partnering with farmers and ranchers to meet wildlife management objectives — is a long-standing practice on national wildlife refuges (50 CFR 29.2). Cooperative agreements between the Fish and Wildlife Service and farmers or ranchers may permit grazing by cattle or the growing of grain, hay or other crops at a refuge. The refuge benefits by producing food for wildlife or by improving natural habitat. The farmer profits by harvesting and selling some of the crop. The rancher gains access to grazing land.
Cooperative agriculture is used on refuges only in situations where the Service cannot meet its resource management objectives through the maintenance, management or mimicking of natural ecosystem processes or functions.
How to Apply
Cooperative agriculture agreements on refuges are awarded through an open and competitive process. Each opportunity is tailored to the conditions at an individual refuge and the needs of the surrounding agricultural community. The Service enters into agreements with farmers and ranchers based on their experience and ability to conduct agricultural business under similar agreements and restrictions. The Service works with farmers and ranchers to ensure that all parties meet their objectives.
The Service periodically has cooperative agricultural opportunities available across the country.
To apply, please click on the links for listed opportunities or contact the refuge directly for more details. If no opportunities are listed here, please check again in the next growing season.
- The Iowa Wetland Management District in Titonka, Iowa, is accepting bids for five grazing opportunities in Kossuth County, Iowa. The opportunities are on five units of land ranging in size from 40 to 140 acres, for a total of 441 acres. One unit will be grazed in the fall of 2020. The other four units will be grazed in 2021.
Producers must follow all federal and state regulations regarding use of insecticides, timing, etc. Bid packets are available on the district website. For questions, please contact refuge manager Ed Meendering at (515) 928-2523 ext. 11.
Applications must be received by 4 p.m. Tuesday, September 1, 2020.
- Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge in Nampa, Idaho, is accepting bids on a five-year farming permit for a 40-acre parcel of land on the Lake Lowell unit. Applicants will be selected based on a sealed bid submission. Applications can be submitted by mail or email. No phone bids will be accepted.
For more information on the application process and details on the available unit, please visit the refuge website or contact refuge manager Eddie Owens at 208-467-9278.
Applications must be received by 5 p.m. Monday, August 31, 2020. Bids will be opened at 10 a.m. Thursday, September 3, 2020.
Applicants for cooperative agriculture opportunities must complete and submit the Service’s Commercial Special Use Form as well as follow any other application instructions outlined for the specific opportunity. The completed application should be delivered by email, mail or in person to the refuge where the specific opportunity is available.