Obama’s budget would deeply cut farm subsidies, inc. Wildlife Services

Cuts include Wildlife Services-

Obama’s budget would deeply cut farm subsidies. By P.J. Huffstutter, Los Angeles Times

I kind of thought Obama might not figure this out, but his budget proposal seems to take a whack at this nasty agency as well as the heretofore unstoppable subsidy payments to rich and corporate farmers.  If you want to help wildlife, please write to the President and your members of Congress urging an axe be taken to the Department of Agriculture agency Wildlife Services. Make it clear you are not asking for cuts in the Department of Interior’s Fish and Wildlife Service. These can be confused because the anti-wildlife cattle and sheep operations deliberately got the federal agency that kills wildlife, Animal Damage Control renamed “Wildlife Services.”

This is not all good news because the Department of Agriculture does have some conservation programs that protect the land, although perhaps at too high a monetary cost.

It is possible that the explanation of Governor Schweitzer’s behavior on both bison and wolves are the cuts to wasteful USDA programs, including the federal wolf killing agency.  I personally think that cutting Wildlife Services budget is one of the best things we can do to protect our native wildlife from government directed killing.

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Cuts to Wildlife Service’s proposed by Obama’s budget.  Note that FY 2012 begins on October 1, 2011

http://www.obpa.usda.gov/budsum/FY12budsum.pdf
page 84
Wildlife Services:
Wildlife Damage Management

2010 enacted $79 million
2011 Estimate $79 million
2012 Budget $69 million.  Ask for zero, RM

Wyoming brucellosis group examines federal proposal

Zone outside Yellowstone declared “brucellosis free” with greater restrictions inside the affected Yellowstone area or eradication of infected elk and bison herds? Who pays? Who benefits?

Hazing bison inside Yellowstone National Park on Madison River ©Ken Cole

Hazing bison inside Yellowstone National Park on Madison River ©Ken Cole

USDA wants two zones to reduce costs.

Livestock interests say that it will put Yellowstone area ranchers out of business.

According to the article, Livestock interests and Wyoming Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife want eradication of the disease which means killing of entire herds of bison and elk.  This apparently is not totally correct as you can see from Bob Wharff’s statement below.  It still appears that some livestock interests favor eradication.

The Park Service says that “the only certain solution – destroying entire infected elk herds in Yellowstone and elsewhere – was not politically or practically feasible”

Wildlife advocates who oppose eradication/wildlife slaughter efforts were not consulted for the article.

Wyoming brucellosis group examines federal proposal
Billings Gazette

Vilsack Says USDA is for “Eaters” Too.

New USDA Secretary gives some indication he won’t be agribusiness as usual-

Here is the story from New West. Vilsack Says USDA is for “Eaters” Too and He Gets a To-Do List. By Courtney Lowery, 2-06-09

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Vilsack glides through Senate Ag Committee confirmation hearing

He said a lot of standard stuff-

Agriculture Pick’s Hearing Is Smooth. By Andrew Martin. New York Times.

Here was a hopeful story from Jan. 14. Hope and the new USDA chief. Coming together to work toward a sustainable food and farm future. David Murphy (Guest Contributor).  Grist Magazine.

Here is today’s story. “Not-so-tough row to hoe. Vilsack glides through Senate Ag Committee confirmation hearing.” Posted by Tom Philpott. Grist Magazine.


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Don’t forget the Secretary of Agriculture

USDA has important wildlife, forestry, land and food safety jurisdiction-

Most of our concern has been about the secretary of Interior, but the Secretary of Agriculture is equally important and almost always goes to some minion of industrial ag.

So far the names floated by Obama don’t look good. Originally Obama was considering the industrial apologist, Iowa governor Tom Vilsack for the position, but grassroots opposition (or something) caused him to drop Vilsack.

Now the leading name is Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn).  Peterson, like Vilsack is a promoter of corporate industrial agriculture. He is the head of the House Agriculture Committee. He is a no change candidate.

Personally, I am tired of spending hour after hour shopping trying to determine which products are more or less safe. There was a time when you didn’t have to worry so. That was before food inspections were cut back and dubious ingredients added from suspect places like China (think melamine)

USDA policies turned Iowa from a state with diverse agriculture into one big corn field. Michael Pollan tells how that happened in “Omnivores Dilemma.”

The U.S. Forest Service is in the Dept. of Agriculture as well as rouge agencies like APHIS and Wildlife Services.

Please take the time to share your insights and views about the Secretary of Agriculture at: http://change.gov/

Addition: an interesting article on the importance of change.gov. Dan Froomkin. Washington Post.

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Here are some ideas. Perhaps a visionary like Michael Pollan (Omnivores Dilemma) for a top USDA positions. Here are some other progressive candidates for high-level USDA positions. Jim Riddle, a national organic farmer leader, Texas populist Jim Hightower, Tom Buis from the National Farmers Union, and Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie. You can read the profiles of some of these possible USDA appointees here.

Note: I grabbed the above from an alert from the Organic Consumers. RM

Forest Service May Move to Interior. Some See Agency As Out of Place Under the USDA

Forest Service May Move to Interior. Some See Agency As Out of Place Under the USDA. By Christopher Lee. Washington Post Staff Writer.

While this may seem new, this is one of the oldest controversies in the history of American conservation.

The Forest Service began at the end of the 19th century as the Division of Forestry in the Department of Interior. President Theodore Roosevelt and his key advisor, forester Gifford Pinchot, pushed to move the Division of Forestry to the Department of Agriculture. USDA was then a new department. Many felt it was progressive and science-minded compared to the old line Department of Interior, then properly regarded as a site of corruption. The Division was moved, renamed the U.S. Forest Service, and Pinchot became the first Chief Forester. He had a very close relation with President Roosevelt during his time in office.

Pinchot was the father of the concept that the national forests should be used for many things (multiple use), not protection of wildlife and scenery alone. In fact, he devalued these latter ideas, causing a split in the early conservation movement between the utilitarian and development minded conservationists and those who sided with John Muir — “esthetic conservationists.” Both were disliked in places like Idaho. In fact, Idaho’s senator Heyburn (an early day Larry Craig) successfully pushed legislation to stop the creation of more national forests by the President.

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