Wildlife refuge seeks comments about extension of cooperative farming

Published 12:47 am Sunday, January 14, 2018


NATCHEZ — The United States Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking public comment on the extension of cooperative farming on the St. Catherine Creek National Wildlife Refuge.

The use of cooperative farming is one way to provide food and resources for migratory bird species in the area.

Email newsletter signup

“It’s used for water fowl management,” said Kent Ozment, a wildlife refuge specialist in Natchez.

Cooperative farming is the process by which a farmer produces crops on a refuge and, instead of paying any sort of rent for the property, leaves a portion of the crop unharvested.

The unused crop serves as food for ducks, geese, swans and other wintering or migratory birds in the area.

The ration between used and unused crop is generally 1:4, allotting 75-percent or more for the farmer’s sale or use.

The cooperative farming would be enacted on 1,600 acres in the Sibley impoundments and in the Cloverdale unit, which are south and north of the refuge, respectively.

The farming activities generally take place between March 15 and Nov. 15.

Farming agreements can last up to five years, and upon signing the agreement and its conditions, farmers would receive a permit to use the refuge land.

Full information about the use of cooperative farming can be found at www.fws.gov/refuge/St_Catherine_Creek/ or on the group’s Facebook page.

Comments, Ozment said, should be submitted via email. The address to send in public comments is: saintcatherinecreek@fws.gov.

The deadline for submitting public comment is Jan. 25.