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View Diary: Morning Feature: DK GreenRoots - Wolves and Predators (143 comments)

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  •  Exactly my question, FWG (5+ / 0-)
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    Orinoco, DBunn, NCrissieB, kktlaw, FarWestGirl

    I don't know how they reached this calculus.  Honestly I don't.  But since ranchers get reimbursed for every one of their animals killed by wolves (and this number is debatable since often it cannot be determined that wolves killed the animal, but ranchers get paid anyway), I'm not quite sure this is the huge problem that is being claimed.

    However, ranchers do have one new argument: when wolves are in the vicinity, the grazing herds become nervous and don't eat as much, thus failing to fully bulk up by as much as 20%.  This costs the rancher at market, and I can understand the upset.

    However, it has been shown that if you put a range rider out there with the herds, the animals remain calm and graze, and the wolves stay away.

    So it just seems to me we need to revert to practices we followed as herdsmen for thousands of years before we decided to exterminate the predators: watch your herds and flocks.

    All hail to the cowboy and shepherd.

    "No man is my enemy, my own hands imprison me, love rescue me." -- Love Rescue Me/U2

    by winterbanyan on Thu Jul 02, 2009 at 07:05:12 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  No one can afford to pay outriders anymore. Many (6+ / 0-)

      if not most range operations are family owned, often with one family hanging on by threads because the feedlots concentrate overhead to increase the profit margin and cut into what a range operation can clear. Llamas, donkeys and dogs can help extend protection, but it's still difficult with the low margins for traditional ranching techniques.

      Most shepherds are imported from other countries because no one here will work that cheap or under the tough, primitive conditions that come with range grazing. It's a difficult situation.

      But you're right, and it gets conveniently left out of conversations/arguments, ranchers are reimbursed for stock losses due to predation.

      Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. The Druid

      by FarWestGirl on Thu Jul 02, 2009 at 07:18:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There's a foundation to help offset costs. (5+ / 0-)

        I cited it in my diary.  As I've said throughout this thread, this seems like an employment opportunity to me.  We have a job that needs doing (guarding herds on the range), and people that need jobs, and even a charitable foundation willing to pay them, though the Bailey fund could greatly benefit by subsidies ...

        ... can we spell s-t-i-m-u-l-u-s f-u-n-d-s?

        The pieces of a solution are all there.  It's a matter of putting the pieces together.

      •  I agree this is a problem (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Orinoco, DBunn, NCrissieB, kktlaw, FarWestGirl

        I'm not saying this is a magic fix.  But it's the one we had to rely on for thousands of years.  Many efforts are underway to find ways of keeping wolves away from herds, from rubber bullets to sealing dens.

        Since in my younger days cowboys were paid the astonishingly small sum of $250/month... yes, even then it was too small to believe... I can imagine that a lot of people in this country wouldn't want the job.

        An argument for immigration if ever I heard one.  Argentina, for example, has a huge beef industry and plenty of cowboys.  Mexico, too, relies on them.

        There is something wrong in our economy that ranchers get paid so little for their beef that they are on shoestrings.  But then most of small agriculture is.

        We need to find a way to get our small agriculturists on sounder economic footing, and if that means paying more to eat, then maybe we should.  Hell, we'll pay whatever it takes to put gas in the damn car.

        "No man is my enemy, my own hands imprison me, love rescue me." -- Love Rescue Me/U2

        by winterbanyan on Thu Jul 02, 2009 at 07:28:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Simple (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DBunn, NCrissieB, kktlaw

          We need to find a way to get our small agriculturists on sounder economic footing

          Ban factory agriculture. We can phase it out now and avoid the sticker shock that will happen when it collapses of it's own accord when the oil runs out.

          Some of your great grandchildren will plow fields behind teams of horses, mules or oxen.

          I'm already paying an extra dollar a pound (or more) for grass fed beef and bison. If paying an additional couple of bucks per pound to support some cowboys or shepherds pushes the price of meat into the only-on-holidays category, well, all the nutritionists worth their salt are telling us that's where meat belongs, anyway.

          "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government is incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

          by Orinoco on Thu Jul 02, 2009 at 08:28:32 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Paying more to eat (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          winterbanyan, NCrissieB, kktlaw

          Actually, I've come to think that we do need to pay more for food. For several reasons:

          1. The price of food is kept low, in part, by grossly inhumane exploitation of agricultural labor.
          1. Even with that exploitation, the amount of labor required for food production is kept down by industrial farming practices that require large inputs of cheap petroleum products.
          1. It is widely acknowledged that we Americans consume far too much unnecessary crap. This is made possible, in part, by keeping food prices low, so as to create the 'disposable income' needed to pay for the unnecessary crap.

          We could probably think of more reasons if we put our minds to it, but the ones we have already are enough to prove the case. Point 3 is kind of interesting to me-- essentially, it amounts to saying that the monetary expression of "consuming less crap" is that the cost of food will become a proportionately greater share of household income. The good news is, there's no particular reason to think we can't produce enough food for everyone (that's at a global population of ~6 billion; at 12 billion, we got a different problem). The bad news, as usual, is the problem of equitable distribution. Essentially, that's the same problem we always have, it's just that it's getting a lot more urgent now.

          •  That may be a big part of the equation. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            DBunn, winterbanyan

            We homo sapiens sapiens are accustomed to a lot of conveniences that we can afford only because we've been able to produce basic necessities so cheaply.  Still, conveniences don't become necessities, however accustomed to them we've become.  We may find some of those conveniences are ones we'll need to learn to live without.

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