Leases to allow farming at Wildlife Refuge

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Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge will be holding an informational public meeting from 2-3:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14, at the refuge center’s Education Barn to discuss the refuge’s future farming program.

For the last 20 years, the farming has been accomplished by refuge staff. Due to personnel changes, the refuge is seeking a cooperative farmer(s) to farm refuge fields beginning in 2020.

The refuge will be leasing approximately 150-250 acres annually. Acreage may vary, depending on priorities and field conditions. Permittees will be selected using a competitive bid method, based either on price per acre or percentage of the crop, depending on the field. In the case of sharecropping, the refuge portion of the crop will not be harvested. The high bid will be the rate for the entire length of the Special Use Permit. Permits will be issued for three years.

Herbicides approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will be allowed to be used. The use of insecticides will not be authorized.

Refuge staff will discuss the farming program in detail at the meeting and answer questions interested parties may have. Final maps, specific details of the farming program and requests for bids will be sent in early 2020.

Interested parties should call acting manager Alice Hanley at 509-559-3020 for information.

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