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 community-based program is funded by Benton County and managed by county officials.  Education and consultation services are provided by Benton County, Oregon State University Extension Service, 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, crops and property while coexisting with wildlife
  • Encourage the proactive use of non-lethal animal damage deterrents to prevent conflicts with wildlife
  • Offer a wildlife-friendly, non-lethal animal damage control program
  • Educate farmers and the community about wildlife conflicts and non-lethal methods to avoid conflicts
  • Build a collaborative relationship between the farming and wildlife conservation communities and Benton County government around common goals

County Liaisons

  • Annabelle Jaramillo, County Commissioner
  • Joe Kerby, County Administrator
  • Laurie Starha, Natural Areas & Parks Director
  • Shea Steingass, Environmental Project Coordinator
  • 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
  • Randy Comeleo, (AWPP Co-Founder) - Non-Lethal Methods and Project Strategic Planning
  • Mike Callahan, (Beaver Institute) - Beaver-Human Conflict Resolution
  • Omar Ohrens, PhD, Conservation Scientist, Panthera Puma Program - Human-Cougar Conflict