Current Opportunities:

    Please click on the link below to apply or contact the refuge directly for more details.  

    The Iowa Wetland Management District in Titonka, Iowa. The refuge is accepting bids for cropping, grazing and haying opportunities in 19 counties of Iowa. Units range in size from one to 50 acres. Opportunities include up to 60 units of cropping, 10 units of grazing and 50 units of haying.  Producers must follow all federal and state regulations regarding chemicals, timing, etc. For questions, please contact refuge manager Ed Meendering at 515-928-2523 ext.11.   

    Applications must be received by 4 p.m. on 
    February 15, 2018.

    Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in southwest Montana.  The refuge has five agricultural grazing permits, each with a term of five years.  Applicants with enough animals to consume 275 animal unit months in 30 days and sustain that intensity for 40 to 80 days in July, August or September may apply for one of the permits, using the Commercial Special Use permit application (link below). For questions, please call refuge manager Bill West at (406) 276-3536 ext 103.

    Applications can be submitted via email (bill_west@fws.gov), mail, or in person at refuge headquarters (27650 B South Valley Rd, Lima, MT 59739). Applications must be received by close of business February 16, 2018.

    Windom Wetland Management District in Windom, Minnesota. Bids are now being accepted to graze 408 acres on two waterfowl production areas and one refuge unit for up to three years. For more information, please contact Marty Baker at 507-831-2220.

    Applications ​must be received by 3 p.m. Thursday, February 22, 2018.

    Devils Lake Wetland Management District, in northeast North Dakota. Up to four grazing opportunities are available for the 2018 grazing season, each with a term of five years. Units range from 160 to 600 acres, and are located in Cavalier and Towner Counties. The cooperator will be expected to adhere to a prescriptive grazing plan and will be required to maintain boundary and cross fences. For more information, see the Devils Lake Wetland Management District website or contact manager Matt VanThuyne (matt_vanthuyne@fws.gov) at 701-662-8611 x330.

    Applications must be received by close of business Wednesday, February 28, 2018.

    Fergus Falls Wetland Management District near Fergus Falls, Minnesota. Five parcels are available for grazing for up to three years. Parcel 1 covers  approximately 60 to 80 acres on Fitzgerald WPA. Parcel 2 covers approximately 130 to 160 acres on Julsrud WPA. Parcel 3 covers approximately 110 to 130 acres on Rengstorf WPA. Parcel 4 covers approximately 270 acres on Schultz Lake WPA. Parcel 5 covers approximately 100 to140 acres on Tweeton WPA. 

    Applications must be received by 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, February 28, 2018.

    Port Louisa National Wildlife Refuge in Wapello, Iowa. Producers will have the use of up to 155 acres of farmland on 14 units to grow corn and soybeans. These units are located along the Iowa River between the cities of Belle Plain and Marengo, Iowa.

    Applications must be received by February 28, 2018

    Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge in Walden, Colorado. Producers will have 1,200 to 3,600 acres of irrigated meadow to graze for five years. Six permit grazing areas are being offered. For more information, contact Tara Wertz at 970-723-8202.

    Applications ​must be received by March 2, 2018 

    Valentine National Wildlife Refuge in northcentral Nebraska. The refuge has up to seven agricultural grazing permits, each with a term of five years. Cattle will be maintained in one herd per permit to graze specified areas of the refuge, which covers approximately 10,000 acres. The cooperator will be expected to provide the requested head of cattle and the necessary labor and materials to meet the responsibilities of the refuge grazing program. For questions or to receive an application, please contact refuge manager Juancarlos Giese (Juancarlos_Giese@fws.gov) at 402-376-3398 or visit the refuge website.

    Applications must be received by 4 p.m. Friday, March 2, 2018.

    Arrowwood National Wildlife Refuge in Pingree, North Dakota. The refuge will offer 10 permits for prescribed grazing on as many as 5,630 acres for up to five years. Applications will be available at the refuge starting February 21, 2018. For more information, please contact refuge manager Paul Halko (paul_halko@fws.gov) at 701-285-3341 ext 102.

    Applications must be received by close of business Monday, March 12, 2018.

     

    Applications:

    All 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.

Cooperative Agriculture

Sandhill cranes landing in a cornfield at Bosque del Apache NWR, near San Antonio, New Mexico.
Sandhill cranes land in a cornfield at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge near San Antonio, New Mexico.
(Photo: Aspen Photo Art by Larry Bennett)

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 Service and farmers or ranchers may permit grazing by cattle or the growing of grain, hay or other crops at a specific refuge. The refuge benefits by producing more food for wildlife or by improving natural habitat. The farmer profits by harvesting and selling the remaining crop. The rancher gains access to more grazing land.

Cooperative agriculture is used on refuges only in situations where the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service cannot meet its resource management objectives through the maintenance, management or mimicking of natural ecosystem processes or functions in other ways.


How to Apply for a Cooperative Agriculture Opportunity

Cooperative agriculture agreements on refuges are awarded through an open and competitive process. Each opportunity is unique and tailored to the conditions at an individual refuge and the needs of its surrounding agricultural community. The Service enters into agreements with farmers and ranchers based on their experience and ability to conduct their 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.