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.
- Upper Souris National Wildlife
Refuge in Berthold, North Dakota, will offer
seven special use permits for prescribed haying on fields ranging from 25 to 50 acres. Permits are valid
for 2021 only.
Interested applicants must complete and submit an application available at the refuge office and at the refuge website. For more information, please contact Refuge Manager Tom Pabian (firstname.lastname@example.org) at 701-468-5467 ext. 119. Applications must be received by 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 27, 2021. A random drawing will take place at 3:30 p.m. that same day. Successful applicants will be notified by telephone after the drawing.
- Rydell National Wildlife Refuge in Polk County, Minnesota, has a cooperative agriculture opportunity for haying on four units, totaling 84 acres.
Bids are due by August 2, 2021. To be considered, applicants must submit a completed bid form via email, in person at the Rydell National Wildlife Refuge office, or by mail. The address for submitting by mail is: Rydell National Wildlife Refuge, 17788 349th St. SE, Erskine, MN 56535. Bid packets are available on the Rydell Refuge website or by emailing Refuge Manager Gregg Knutsen (email@example.com).
Successful applicants will be selected through an open and competitive bid process. All applicants will be notified of the results by August 3, 2021.
For more information or a bid package, please contact Gregg Knutsen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 218-686-4329.
- Klamath Marsh National Wildlife Refuge in Klamath County, Oregon has one haying permit opportunity for wild/native grass harvesting on a unit of less than 30 acres.
Completed applications may be submitted by email to Refuge Manager Mike Johnson at email@example.com or by mail to Klamath Marsh Refuge, 21401 Silver Lake Road, Chiloquin, OR 97624. All bid applications must be received by 5 p.m. PT on August 2, 2021.
The permit will be awarded through a competitive, objective bidding process. Bids amounts should be on a per ton basis and the minimum bid is $9.50 per ton. All applicants will be notified by August 3, 2021.
The opportunity is subject to the cooperator negotiating access through private property and other conditions, for more information see the refuge website or contact Refuge Manager Mike Johnson (firstname.lastname@example.org, 541-783-3380).
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.