01-13-09 Farm and Ranch Groups ask Governor Vilsack to Continue Support of Wildlife Services
WASHINGTON – The Public Lands Council (PLC) and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) sent a letter to President Elect Obama’s Agriculture Secretary nominee, Governor Tom Vilsack, expressing support for Wildlife Services.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is a crucial partner of American agriculture in protecting our nation’s food and fiber production. The Wildlife Services Agency (WS) is a critical part of APHIS and plays a key role in protection of livestock from predation, mitigating wildlife damage to agriculture, and disease prevention.
“Livestock losses to predation cost producers more than $100 million annually. Without non-lethal and lethal predator control by Wildlife Services these numbers could easily double or even triple,” explained Skye Krebs, a rancher from Ione, Oregon, and Public Lands Council President. “The agency provides a means for striking a balance in the wildlife/livestock interface, including limiting the spread of disease from wildlife.”
Krebs continued, “Wildlife Services also offers protection to endangered species from more common predator species. Additionally, they play a vital role in public safety, reducing threats to aircraft by controlling bird populations around airports, reducing bird strikes to aircraft.”
The letter was sent yesterday to Governor Vilsack and signed by 76 producer and state organizations representing 35 states in support of USDA-APHIS Wildlife Services Program (WS).
“While we realize wildlife plays an integral part of the rangeland ecosystem, it is important to sustain a balance between species. Through wildlife services we are able to limit disease, enhance public safety and minimize economic losses to ranchers.” Krebs stated.