About the Program

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In June 2017, the Benton County Budget Committee approved a two-year pilot program to encourage the proactive use of non-lethal animal damage deterrents in an effort to foster the coexistence of agriculture and wildlife in Benton County.

The Benton County Agriculture and Wildlife Protection Program (AWPP) funds (1) educational outreach and expert consultation services and (2) a merit-based, cost share, reimbursement grant program. Agricultural operations in Benton County that wish to prevent conflicts with wildlife may qualify for up to $5,000 in reimbursement grant funds for the purchase of proactive non-lethal wildlife deterrents to protect livestock and crops.

This new community-based program is funded and managed by Benton County in partnership with an advisory committee comprised of citizen volunteers, and representatives from Oregon State University Extension Service, and Chintimini Wildlife Center, and Program Advisors. The Program Advisors include experts in ranching with wildlife, predator ecology, and human-carnivore conflict.

The goals of the Benton County Agriculture and Wildlife Protection Program are to:

  • Protect livestock and crops while coexisting with wildlife
  • Encourage the proactive use of non-lethal animal damage deterrents to prevent conflicts with wildlife
  • Offer a wildlife-friendly alternative to the county-funded lethal animal damage control program operated by USDA APHIS Wildlife Services
  • Educate farmers and the community about wildlife, wildlife conflicts and wildlife-friendly methods to avoid conflicts

Committee Members

  • Randy Comeleo, Chair, Citizen Volunteer
  • Chrissy Lucas, Vice-Chair, Oregon State University Extension Service
  • Pam Comeleo, Citizen Volunteer
  • Ann Eissinger, Citizen Volunteer
  • Arlene Merems, Citizen Volunteer
  • Cassandra Robertson, Citizen Volunteer
  • Sarah Spangler, Chintimini Wildlife Center

County Liaisons

  • Annabelle Jaramillo, County Commissioner
  • Joe Kerby, County Administrator
  • Laurie Starha, Natural Areas & Parks Director
  • Debra Higbee-Sudyka, Environmental Issues Advisory Committee

Program Advisors

  • John Neumeister, (Cattail Creek Lamb) – Sheep and Lamb Ranching With Wildlife
  • Keli Hendricks, (Bar C R Ranch) – Cow-Calf Ranching With Wildlife
  • Bob Crabtree, PhD, (Yellowstone Ecological Research Center) – Predator Ecology
  • Adrian Treves, PhD, (University of Wisconsin) – Human-Carnivore Conflict
  • Camilla Fox, (Project Coyote) – Project Management and Strategic Planning
  • Jan Dohner, (Author/Researcher) - Livestock Guardian Animals