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Budget sequester slows livestock protection | Preston Citizen

Budget sequester slows livestock protection

August 25, 2013
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Livestock owners help fund predator control efforts 

 

By RODNEY D. BOAM 

Citizen editor

Idaho livestock producers have teamed up with the state’s sportsmen to raise $700,000 annually to help fund predator control efforts.

USDA Wildlife Services had their funding cut from $2.6 million in 2010 to $1.9 million this year, causing a reduction in the animal-human conflicts budget. The budget reduction caused the agency to eliminate 10 field agents, leaving 18 people to handle the work of 28 field agents across the state. Todd Grimm, Wildlife Services Idaho director, said his field employees go out and investigate animal kills. They determine what kind of animal killed the livestock and decide how best to eliminate the problem.

“They are not agents, they have no law enforcement authority,” Grimm said.

One airplane pilot was cut, leaving two pilots and no money for the use of helicopters. Helicopters have been an effective tool in the fight against predators.

“We do still have a helicopter, we just don’t have the money to use it. Fuel for a helicopter is expensive,” he said. “If someone wants us to fly and they want to pay for it, we can do it.”

Grimm understands the dilemma producers are facing. He said when it comes to wolves his office is caught in the middle.

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