The Southwest Florida Water Management District manages lands under its stewardship for the protection of water resources and natural systems through the application of effective, efficient and fiscally responsible land management practices. The purposes and attributes for which the lands were acquired provide the foundation for designating the appropriate land use and management strategies on the lands. As stewards of more than 343,000 acres of land within the its 16-county region, the District relies on cooperative partnerships with the state, counties, cities and the private sector to assist with management of some of these lands.
Cattle grazing is one management strategy employed by the District in cooperation with the private sector. This allows the continuation of a historic use of the property, while providing the following benefits to the District:
- On-site presence on the property
- Activities conducted in accordance with Water Quality Best Management Practices established by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
- Prescribed burns and control of exotic species on the property
- Payment of ad valorem and local assessments
- Revenue generation, which is spent to manage other lands under the District’s stewardship
The District’s cattle grazing program also helps to minimize impacts to the local agricultural economy by keeping viable agricultural lands in active production.
Cattle Leasing Process
Properties suitable for cattle grazing are competitively bid pursuant to Section 373.093, Florida Statutes. Maximum stocking rates are established based on the previous grazing history, forage resources and/or range assessments conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.
A Request for Offers (RFO) is advertised by the District and in a newspaper in the county in which the lease is located. Individuals that have requested to be advised of leasing opportunities are emailed the notice and a link to the RFO on the District’s website. Anyone interested in receiving notification of upcoming leases, should enter their contact information here.
Leases are awarded to the responsive bidder with the highest offer per acre that has the capability in all respects to fully perform the lease requirements. The table below identifies existing leases as well as links to information for land currently available to lease.