Current Opportunities:

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

    Audubon Wetland Management District in Coleharbor, North Dakota, is accepting applications to graze 11,493 acres on 51 waterfowl production areas and six national wildlife refuges for one to three years. For more information, please contact Kathy Baer or Jon Beyer at 701-442-5474.

    Applications must be received by close of business Thursday, November 15. 

    Erie National Wildlife Refuge in Guys Mills, Pennsylvania, is accepting applications to cultivate crops on 233.5 acres of land for the growing seasons of 2019 and 2020.  For more information, please contact Vicki Muller at 814-789-3585.

    Applications must be received by close of business Thursday, November 27.



    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.