Saturday, August 20, 2011

US Government Paying Farmers, Ranchers $112M to Protect Bird (Sage Grouse) Too Numerous to be Threatened

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is paying $112 million in tax money to farmers and ranchers in 11 Western states to restore the habitat of the Sage Grouse, a bird that has not been listed as either threatened or endangered under the federal Endangered Species law because the government says there are too many of them.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced last week that the USDA would dedicate $21.8 million to pay eligible ranchers and farmers in the state of Wyoming to encourage conservation practices that preserve the numbers of Sage Grouse.

That will bring to $112 million the total amount that the USDA has distributed over the last two years to eligible farmers and ranchers in 11 states as part of its Sage Grouse Initiative.

“Working with the Department of Interior, we are working together with our producers in the Western part of the United States to avoid having the Sage Grouse be placed on the endangered species list,” Vilsack said during a conference call briefing last Thursday. (more)