|We’ve used the examples of how heat and cold can take more livestock in a few days than wolves do in a year.
In following up on our continuing efforts to highlight the absurdly disproportionate media coverage that flares up whenever news of a predator taking a few livestock happens, I thought I’d post the story below about insects.
“This year we had a good start but they just took it,” said Tubbs [rancher], 57. “The grasshoppers have taken it down to the dirt. They’ve eaten everything but the cactus.”
This news of grasshopper swarms also dispels one of the common ‘cowboy myths’, namely, that if cattle or sheep do not eat the grass then it will get “wolfy”, “decadent”, and otherwise die out of its own accord. Not true.
Helbig said his agency [USDA – APHIS] has a program set up to protect forage in 17 western states. The federal government covers the cost of spraying federal land, pays 50 percent of the cost on state land and pays a third on private land, he said.
While APHIS, agricultural interests, and their chemical company contractors spend your tax-dollars studying and annually poisoning the water and land trying to eradicate swarms of insects they grew by cultivating alfalfa and other insect food in the desert try to remember:
Grasshoppers are native grazers in the West. Unlike cattle and sheep, grasshoppers do not compact the soil, sheer stream-banks, desertify the landscape and otherwise denude the natural environment. To the contrary, grasshoppers are important contributors to the food base for many wildlife species and birds. The “problem” of their ‘boom/bust’ cycles now is more indicative of the sisyphean effort big agriculture has inflicted upon itself in trying force monocultures of wet plants for cattle and other livestock that evolved in wet environments upon the desert.
Another of a seemingly infinite reasons that ranchers whine for subsidies about what amounts to the inherent inability of this private economic endeavor to compete with the natural world if it were to have to stand on its own two feet – without your tax-dollars.
(Thanks to Alan Gregory for the link)