In accord with a GAO 2005 Accountability Report on Land Gazing on Public Lands by Welfare Ranchers, the BLM paid $144 Million dollars in Administrative expenses alone, for these particular ranchers to wreck our Public Lands. It is also estimated that this Administrative expense increase at 18% per year.
This does not include what the taxpayers do not receive because the BLM does not charge this specific special interest group current commercial fees for use of our Public Lands, which is an estimated $1.6 Billion dollars yearly. This also does not include Welfare Ranchers demand of taking Wild Horse Herds off of our Public Lands in order for them to place more cattle onto Public Lands, and not pay appropriate fees to do so, and at the approximate amount of $455 Million dollars per year in expenses for roundups, et al. We also pay twice for this beef at the grocery store and with our taxes!
All of the above expense, and more not mentioned, for Welfare Ranchers to Produce not even 2% margin within the commercial meat markets of today! Why do legislators allow this to continue, and yet want to cut American’s retirement, which they have all paid for, and cut Veterans assistance to those wounded in combat and the many Wars that have taken place. We, as Americans’, need answers!
There is no doubt that Welfare Ranchers’ misuse the Public Lands, the Public Water resources, misuse the public trust, and misuse taxpayer subsidies. Welfare Rancher is a term used to describe cattle ranchers who use Public Lands through Bureau of Land Management grazing permits at below market and even sub-market prices. These Welfare Ranchers remain a cumbersome and unwanted situation today, on our Public Lands. The more taxpayers that find out, then know about this, the more the Welfare Rancher subsidies must end!
In contrast, the fact is commercial ranchers who do not use Public Lands make very good incomes, while utilizing their ecosystem cohesively on their private lands. These same commercial ranchers’ use sound and proven techniques for a positive grazing management system. They understand the two have to fit together for continued profit. Commercial cattle ranchers often pay a minimum of $45 per AUM for use of non-owned grazing lands, and up to $195 per AUM. Keep these figures in mind.
Welfare Ranchers, or cattle ranchers that use Public Lands, view ranching and economic perspectives awkwardly. Stating they enhance Public Lands through their maintenance of the land, ironically only when public scrutiny develops over one problematic Ecosystem issue after another. This defines their ineptitude, to include, for example, the disappearance of many known and often endangered species from the lands they only graze upon, but have allowed destruction due to mismanagement; Included also are the controversial and certainly unnecessary wild horse herd roundups and unneeded wolf kills!
The reality is their cattle ranching operations deteriorate Public Lands through bad grazing management. They do not implement, or even attempt to acquire good water resource management plans or protect and use the water resources correctly. They often lack knowledge, or refuse to accept knowledgeable suggestions arrogantly, on many environmental and Ecosystem issues.
But why should they use good management principles? The answer simple, because tax payer money is handled in an irresponsible manner by BLM staff. It is given to Welfare Ranchers without checking or proper review, if our Public Lands are being grazed in a responsible manner or not. The Taylor Grazing Act very clear, yet ignored by BLM staff and Welfare Ranchers! The fact, or reality, is the subsidy program is faulty and unneeded, and even a majority of commercial ranchers look at this particular subsidy program as a disgusting waste of money.
Welfare Ranchers’ Operational Aspect
The Welfare Ranchers narrow scope of ranching activity centers around safeguarding their taxpayer supported operation, rather than the operation itself. Their concern is to receive public taxpayer support, and that is the bottom line, and obvious on simple visits to their ranching operations.
Threatening lawsuits, realistically threatening you and I as taxpayers and how they generate their 100% profit margins from our tax money, is their way of maintaining their ranches; this option most likely, when compared to simply improving the Public Lands they graze upon, without subsidies, and actually earning their profit percentages honestly. But that may be too much work, or perhaps the reality, they do not cattle ranch well enough to compete in the open market. Then we have the obvious problem which speaks volumes, the fact that those who are not good at what they do should be thinned out by competition, indeed, not supported by tax money.
FLPMA and PRIA
The Federal Land Policy Management Act (FLPMA) was enacted in 1976. FLPMA declared that “. . . the United States receive fair market value of the use of public lands and their resources unless otherwise provided by statute.” In 1978, the Public Rangelands Improvement Act (PRIA) instituted a grazing fee based on the economic value of the land being grazed. The economic value of the land was to “. . . [reflect the] annual changes in the costs of production [and beef prices].” It did not then and does not now reflect this Law accordingly. Welfare Ranchers and BLM both are in violation of this law. Not so ironic, both blame the other, and nothing ever does improve. Lawsuits again evolve and both sides use tax payer money, always!
Nineteen eighty was the last year that the Forest Service and the BLM had different grazing fees as well. The Forest Service fee was $2.41. The BLM fee was $2.36. The following year, the fee for both agencies fell to $2.31. The fee declined until it reached $1.35 in 1985. The grazing fee rose back up to $1.82 in 1993, but was lowered again to $1.61 March 1, 1995. Currently the price for Welfare Ranchers on Public Lands is $1.43 per AUM, and a yearly loss to taxpayers of $144 million (i.e. 2004 figures), with a 38% loss increase yearly — to now.
This does not include the supposed “improvements” which are charge-offs by these Welfare Ranchers, often 100 X’s actual amounts, and just as often never accomplished; although paid for by tax payer dollars — e.g. Placing what was called a water barrel, an old oil drum, near a water source — then was billed to the taxpayers (through BLM and left un-reviewed) at $10,200 for a water storage system, and when investigated, as stated, was simply an empty oil drum, upright, and placed near a dried up pond). Your tax money at work!
“The BLM and Forest Service fee also decreased by 40 percent from 1980 to 2012 (remains at $1.43 per AUM), while grazing fees charged by private ranchers increased by 78 percent for this same period. If the purpose of the fee were to recover expenditures, BLM and the Forest Service would have had to charge $7.64 and $12.26 per AUM, respectively and break-even perhaps, and by the way justifiably, alternately, if the purpose were to gain a fair market value, the agencies’ fees would vary depending on the market.”
But this does not exist and taxpayers are led to believe the necessity of Welfare ranching to be important, yet not even a 2% production rate from these so called cattle ranchers exist in today’s market. Add to that the fact taxpayers pay twice for this same beef, with our taxes and then at premium cost at the stores. This is very troublesome to many who pay their taxes honestly, then find out this situation exists!
Why and Why Not?
Whenever ranchers are threatened with a grazing fee increase, they state there exists an uncalled for economic impact on them, and on the community in which they live. They do state they add jobs and money to the local community, but often this is through tax payer subsidies, lies, and basically a dishonest statement. The costs we can compare to a normal commercial cattle ranching operation and where such items added to their overhead, and not so surprising when managed properly, still make a large profit on their ranching operation, or their bottom-line.
So the question remains, are these Welfare Ranchers legitimate or not? Most often we find they are not legitimate cattle ranchers, but rather those who have formed the facade of a business to simply collect tax payer money, a scam, through ineligible subsidies.
It did not take much investigation to find flaws even in Welfare Rancher statements, as surveys point out, and taken from the Welfare Ranchers themselves. When asked what they would do if prohibitions were put on public grazing, 21% reported they would retire, 16% reported they would find a new occupation, and another 21% reported a conversion of their private land to development. It should be noted here that 57% reported they would decrease the size of their operation, and 9% reported that they would move to another state.
We have found no reason what so ever for taxpayers to agree or condone the operations of what is called Welfare Ranching. As a matter of fact we find the situation distasteful, certainly a misuse of tax payer money, and overwhelmingly not needed at all. Most tax payers agree, they can use Public Lands, but regulatory situations must exist and with no more subsidies what so ever from government sources. A fee for grazing should be applied, at normal commercial grazing permit fee pricing.
Most people spoken with agree, and find competition makes things better, in the case of Welfare Ranching, perhaps. But there is nothing that shows these same Welfare Ranchers as legitimate cattle ranchers. One can make a pretty relevant argument that the opposite does exist, to many they are nothing more than hobbyists. Most Welfare Ranchers assume we as taxpayers owe them this money, this subsidy they receive for essentially doing nothing but existing on the face of this planet, and because they call themselves cattle ranchers’!
The overall destruction of our Public Lands, destruction of our wildlife that inhabit our Public Lands, and water resources on our Public lands is destroyed by Welfare Ranchers. That is an overwhelming and proven fact! A disgusting fact and it must be stopped, right here, right now!
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December 5, 2012 at 4:52 am
wow…did i understand this correctly that ranchers pay $45 per animal unit when they are leasing privately owned land but that they pay less than $2.00 per unit if the land leased belongs to the people of the United States?