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Wildlife Food Plot Program

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Wildlife Food Plot Program

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The Department's Wildlife Food Plot program provides annual establishment and rental payments for developing a winter wildlife food source.

General Program Guidelines

The Department and the Landowner will work together to determine preferred wildlife food plot locations. Wildlife food plots should be located near winter cover (multi-row tree/shrub planting, natural woody areas, large cattail slough or winter cover). Wildlife food plots must be preplanned in advance and devoted as a winter wildlife food source. Wildlife food plot payments will not be made for crops that become unharvestable due to flooding, hail or other events.

Small grains such as wheat, barley and oats and row crops such as sunflowers and corn are suitable for standard wildlife food plots. However, multi-species blended mixes and diverse, full-season cover crops are also suitable, and even preferred in some cases.

No establishment or rental payments will be provided for wildlife food plots planted on native grassland or newly broken native grassland. The Department recommends planting wildlife food plots on existing cropland, ensuring that native grasslands are not fragmented and remain intact. Wildlife food plots can also be planted on lands enrolled in CRP as per CRP rules and regulations; the Department will not provide a rental payment for wildlife food plots planted on CRP, as USDA already provides a rental payment.

Payment Rates

  • Establishment payment of $70 per acre for standard food plots (corn, sunflowers etc.).
  • Rental payment based on soil classification and regional location in the state.
  • Payment of $40 per acre for multi-species blended mixes or diverse, full-season cover crops (payment includes establishment and rental).
  • The Department may provide seed for wildlife food plots – depending upon availability of seed.

Landowner must agree to:

  • Allow walk-in access to the wildlife food plot, or make it accessible to the public through adjacent land, 40 acres of access minimum required.
  • Plant the wildlife food plot by the date specified by federal crop insurance. The Landowner must certify planting date.
  • Use a reliable seed variety which has dependable germination and vigor.
  • Allow the Department to sign and publicize the wildlife food plot open to walk-in hunting.