The last national United States Department of Agriculture survey of U.S. wildlife damage to agriculture took place in 2001 and estimated $944 million in losses. At the national level, primary wildlife species resulting in losses to field crops included deer, turkeys, raccoons and waterfowl (collectively 75 percent of the reported losses), with 22 percent attributed to other species.
For vegetables, fruits and nuts, deer, ground squirrels and other small rodents, crows, raccoons and rabbits were most frequently reported (64 percent), with other species accounting for 36 percent of the reported losses.
All of these species have the potential to significantly impact agriculture in the Midwest as they are generally abundant, widespread and persist in agriculture dominated landscapes.
In an effort to assist farmers in the Midwestern U.S. in addressing wildlife damage management on the farm, the Ag and Wildlife Coexistence Working Group has developed an initial series of wildlife management fact sheets that address eight wildlife species that commonly impact farmers, including white-tailed deer, sandhill cranes, black bears, coyotes, crows, song birds, voles and wild turkeys.
These fact sheets address damage identification, species behavior, current mitigation recommendations and contact information for relevant regulatory agencies. The fact sheets are available for free download at Michigan State University’s Wildlife Management page.