Nevada Department of Agriculture seeks new cooperative agreement for management of Virginia range feral horses

Public safety department’s top priority when managing horses


Rebecca Allured
Public Information Officer
(SPARKS, Nev.) - October 25, 2017

After four years, the Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDA) is terminating its cooperative agreement with the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC). AWHPC sent notice they would not be fulfilling all items in the agreement, and the NDA now seeks a new coordinating partner that has the tools and resources needed to manage feral livestock.

“Our number one priority is to protect public safety, and that requires collaboration between state, local and nonprofit partners,” NDA Director Jim Barbee said. “In addition to working with a coordinating partner, the NDA can assist local law enforcement with removal of feral horses upon request.”

The agreement, which was signed by Return to Freedom (RTF) in 2013, originally addressed only feral horse adoptions. In 2015, an additional agreement with RTF was signed to include management of feral horse populations in the Virginia Range area. In 2016, the agreement was amended to transfer all responsibilities to AWHPC. The NDA is seeking a consolidated agreement with one partner.

Per Nevada Revised Statute (NRS) Chapter 569, the NDA is responsible for feral and estray livestock (including horses). Per the 2013 session of the Nevada Legislature (NRS Chapter 569.031), the NDA may enter into cooperative agreements with local governments and/or advocate groups to manage horses in the Virginia Range area. Management includes responding to public safety hazards and removal, relocation and adoption of horses.

Horses in the Virginia Range cross roadways in search of feed and water sources, especially during the fall months when forage becomes scarce. Drivers should remain alert and aware and be sure to obey all traffic laws, including posted speed limits in this area. The area includes old highway 395 to 95A and I-80 to Highway 50. Nevada is a “fence-out” state, which means if landowners do not want livestock on their property, they must construct a legal fence in accordance with NRS Chapter 569.431.

Until a new agreement is signed, report horses near unfenced highways or roadways in the Virginia Range area, by calling (775) 353-3709 or emailing

The Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDA) promotes a business climate that is fair, economically viable and encourages a sustainable environment that serves to protect food, fiber and human health and safety through effective service and education. NDA includes the divisions of Administration, Animal Industry, Consumer Equitability, Food and Nutrition and Plant Industry.