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Wildlife

America’s privately-owned farms, ranches, and forests don’t just provide us with food and fiber—they also support lots of wildlife.

Wildlife on Working Lands

Private landowners hold the key to conserving wildlife through sustainable agricultural practices. NRCS offers these tools and programs that benefit both wildlife and producers:

The Benefits of Helping Wildlife with USDA

Sustainable agriculture practices on farms, forests, and ranches benefit wildlife by improving soil health, water quality, and plant diversity. And they also create profitable, productive agricultural land that is more resilient to drought, fire, and other natural disturbances.

Cropland

Whether they span 1 or 100 acres, privately owned farms across the nation provide open space and natural resources for all sorts of animals.

Wildlife-friendly farming practices include:

  • Controlling erosion by planting trees or shrubs along streams and rivers
  • Integrated pest management, to protect wildlife and water quality
  • Leaving crop "stubble" on the ground, to provide habitat for nesting birds

Pastures

Livestock pastures offer food and habitat to wildlife as well as to farm animals.

Wildlife-friendly pasture practices include:

  • Watering facilities that can serve both livestock and wildlife
  • Animal waste management to protect water quality
  • Prescribed grazing plans to prevent overgrazing and protect wildlife habitat

Rangeland

Grazing lands support a wealth of wildlife in habitats like grasslands, sagebrush, and the desert.

Wildlife-friendly rangeland practices include:

  • Rest-rotation grazing to foster healthy, diverse native plants
  • Restoring and protecting wet habitat to improve water availability
  • Removing woody species like juniper, red cedar or pinyon-pine to improve forage and habitat

Forests

From New England to California, our country's diverse forests are home to songbirds, wild game, and fish.

Wildlife-friendly forestry practices include:

  • Prescribed burns to encourage diverse plant communities
  • Targeted harvesting and thinning to encourage multi-aged timber stands
  • Brush management and herbaceous weed control to promote healthy forests

Wildlife Conservation Near You

NRCS's Working Lands for Wildlife Initiative is benefiting producers across 48 states. Our goal is to conserve large, intact working landscapes using science-based conservation strategies that benefit whole ecosystems and rural communities.

Find a locally led wildlife conservation partnership near you:

Wildlife Practices for Working Lands

Brush Management

Removing woody species from grazing lands provides more forage for livestock, boosts wildlife habitat, and improves water availability.

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Prescribed or Rotational Grazing

Rotating livestock through different pastures ensures that grasses and soil stay healthy to better support herds and wildlife.

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Forest Stand Improvement

Managing for diverse, mixed-age, healthy forests is good for timber production and wildlife.

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Wetland Restoration

Restoring wet habitat like streams, wetlands, and meadows benefits all of the animals who need clean water to survive and thrive.

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Additional Resources

Find Your Local Service Center

We are committed to delivering USDA services to America’s farmers and ranchers while taking safety measures in response to COVID-19. While employees continue to staff our Service Centers, some are only available for phone appointments at this time. You can learn the status of your service center through this tool. Learn more at farmers.gov/coronavirus.

USDA Service Centers are locations where you can connect with Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or Rural Development employees for your business needs. Enter your state and county below to find your local service center and agency offices. If this locator does not work in your browser, please visit offices.usda.gov.

Visit the Risk Management Agency website to find a regional or compliance office or to find an insurance agent near you.