Landowners Can Earn Extra Income Through the Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program

A creek flowing through a field

Photo Credit: DNR

The Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program is the perfect way to earn extra income and provide opportunities for others to enjoy the outdoors.

Enrolled landowners earn income in return for opening their land to year-round public hunting, fishing, trapping and wildlife observation.

Lease rates vary by land cover, ranging from $3/acre for agricultural land, $10/acre for grassland or wetland and $15/acre for forest land. VPA leases will expire on Aug. 31, 2020. Landowners participating in other conservation programs are encouraged to apply, including:

  • Conservation Reserve Program (CRP);
  • Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP);
  • Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQI);
  • Wetlands Reserve Easement (WRE); and
  • Managed Forest Law (MFL) (closed).

Landowners who enroll their land in VPA-HIP report very high overall satisfaction with the program, and little is required beyond providing for public access. Under state statute, landowners are generally immune from liability for injuries received by individuals recreating on their lands. In addition, the Department of Natural Resources provides compensation for damage to property or crops that occur as a result of opening land to public access.

Whether you like to hunt or simply enjoy the beauty of the outdoors, VPA-HIP is a win-win for landowners and the public.

Visit the updated VPA-HIP website to find out more information and to apply to enroll in the program. Interested landowners should contact Anne Reis, DNR VPA-HIP Coordinator, for more information at 608-279-6483 or via email at

For more general information regarding VPA-HIP, visit

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