Current Opportunities:

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

  • Tewaukon National Wildlife Refuge and Tewaukon Wetland Management District in Cayuga, North Dakota, are accepting competitive bids for four grazing opportunities.

    One parcel available for grazing is a 186-acre refuge unit in Sargent County. The other three parcels are 200 acres on the Gainor Waterfowl Production Area in Sargent County, 240 acres on Englevale Waterfowl Production Area in Ransom County and 190 acres on the Aaser Waterfowl Production Area in Richland County.

    For a bid sheet, maps, and more information on location of the units and special conditions, please call the refuge office at 701-724-3598 or email Kristine_askerooth@fws.gov.

    Bids must be received by 1 p.m. Thursday, March 21, 2019 and will be opened at 2 p.m. that day. No phone or e-mail bids will be accepted. The public is welcome to attend the bid opening.

  • Fergus Falls Wetland Management District in west-central Minnesota is accepting bids for three cooperative farming agreements. The first is a one-year opportunity on 88 acres in Otter Tail County. The second is a two-year opportunity on 27 acres in Douglas County. The third is a two-year opportunity on 40 acres in Otter Tail County.

    Bid packets are available on the district website and at the district office. For more information or a bid package, please contact wildlife biologist Shawn G. Papon at 218-770-9581 or shawn_papon@fws.gov. Applications must be received by 2 p.m. Friday, March 22, 2019.

  • The Iowa Wetland Management District in Titonka, Iowa, is accepting bids for cropping and grazing opportunities in two Iowa counties. Opportunities include one unit of cropping and two units of grazing. Units range in size from 1 to 57 acres. 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.

    Bid packets are available on the district website and at the district office.

    Applications must be received by 4 p.m. on Thursday, March 28, 2019.

  • The Morris Wetland Management District in Morris, Minnesota, is offering 17 permits for conservation grazing on approximately 2,435 acres in five counties in west-central Minnesota. Grazing permits will cover one or two years. The duration of grazing each year will vary from 28 to 120 days, depending on the site and habitat objectives.

    For more information or a bid packet, please visit the district website or contact J.B. Bright (jb_bright@fws.gov) at 320-589-4970. Applications must be received by 1 p.m. Friday, March 29, 2019.

  • Valentine National Wildlife Refuge in north-central Nebraska is accepting bids for one three-year agricultural grazing permit on its Yellowthroat Wildlife Management Area unit. One herd of cattle will be permitted the graze the unit, which covers about 479 acres. The cooperator will be expected to provide the head of cattle and the necessary labor and materials to meet the responsibilities of the refuge grazing program. 

    For more information or a bid packet, please contact refuge manager Juancarlos Giese (Juancarlos_Giese@fws.gov) at 402-376-3398 or visit the refuge website.

    Applications must be received by 1 p.m. Friday, March 29, 2019. 

  • The Huron Wetland Management District in east-central South Dakota is seeking bids for grazing opportunities in Beadle County. The district will offer one permit for prescribed grazing on a 320-acre waterfowl production area for up to three years. For details or a bid packet, please see the district website. Applications will be available starting Monday, March 11, 2019 at the district office, located at 200 4th St. SW, Room 309, Huron, South Dakota.

    Applications much be received by 3 p.m. Tuesday, April 2, 2019. For more information, please contact Deborah Williams at 605-352-5894 ext. 111. 

  • Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge in southern Illinois is accepting bids for eight three-year agricultural grazing permits and seven three-year agricultural haying permits. Grazing units vary in size from 86 acres to 274 acres; haying units from 15 to 87 acres. Cooperators will be expected to follow a wide range of special conditions and constraints. For more information or a bid packet, please visit the refuge website, the refuge visitor center, or contact wildlife biologist Dan Wood (daniel_wood@fws.gov) at 618-998-5917. Applications must be received by 4 p.m. Friday, April 5, 2019.
  • Upper Souris National Wildlife Refuge in Berthold, North Dakota, is accepting bids on two separate permits for prescribed grazing for up to five years. One grazing unit (Baker Bridge E Unit) is on 605 acres. The other (Greene NW Unit) covers 1,235 acres.

    Applications are available at the refuge. For more information, please contact refuge manager Tom Pabian (tom_pabian@fws.gov) at 701-468-5467 ext. 119.

    Applications must be received by close of business Monday, April 8, 2019. 

  • Wapanocca National Wildlife Refuge in Turrell (Crittenden County), Arkansas, is accepting bids for its cooperative agriculture program. Producers will have about 296 acres of farmland for five years to produce wheat and other crops, as specified by the refuge. For information on the application process and details on the agriculture program, please contact Steven Rimer (steven_rimer@fws.gov) at 870-564-2429 or visit the refuge website. Applications must be received by 1 p.m. Friday, April 12, 2019.
  • 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 U.S. Fish and Wildife 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 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.