Forbes Billionaires Top US Welfare Ranchers List

Vickery Eckhoff

Wild horses and cattle rancher’s grazing leases – many people have heard those two topics on the news. How cattle ranchers are demanding more land, and for the wild horses to be removed. It is not like the wild horses have any place to go. The holding pens set up by the Bureau of Land Management are not a place for horses to thrive. What most people do not know is that most cattle ranchers are not the small farmers they portray on the news and in documentaries – they are very wealthy people. Vickery Eckhoff has done some fine journalism on this topic. ~ HfH

Fifteen years ago, two percent of public lands ranchers controlled fifty percent of permitted grazing acreage. Today, that elite group of mega-rich owners has consolidated its hold on federal grazing property even further through grazing leases attached to the larger-than-life ranches they inherit or buy outright.Sobering thought! ~ Vickery Eckhoff

From: The Daily Pitchfork
By: Vickery Eckhoff

Forbes Billionaires Top US Welfare Ranchers List
They’re mega-rich, powerful and on public assistance. [Part IV of an ongoing series on ranchers in the media]

Vickery Eckhoff

Vickery Eckhoff

Americans love ranchers: Gritty ranchers, mom-and-pop ranchers, renegade ranchers — especially those who raise livestock on the vast open prairies of the West through hard work and rugged independence. But there’s another side to the ever-popular rancher mythology— a side the media doesn’t cover and the public never sees.

The Koch brothers, Ted Turner, the Hilton family and nine other powerful ranchers share an uncommon privilege: giant public subsidies, unknown to U.S. taxpayers. It’s the other side of the Cliven Bundy story, the other side of the Wright brothers saga—the bronc-riding, ranching family at the center of the New York Times photographic essay published March 11, 2015. It’s also the other side of the ongoing news feed in which ranchers work to remove wild horses from public lands.

That “other side” of those stories is the federal grazing program that enables the Wrights to run their livestock on public lands for cheap; allows ranchers to have thousands of protected wild horses removed from public lands at public expense. It’s also the program that earned Bundy the title of welfare rancher.

Bundy didn’t earn it by failing to pay his grazing fees, though. The welfare rancher label applies to all ranchers who hold permits to graze the vast public spaces of the West, both delinquent and not. It includes the Wright brothers; the ranchers in Iron and Beaver counties in Utah complaining that wild horses eat too much; and 21,000 others.

They are all welfare ranchers subsidized by US taxpayers, and you know who are the biggest welfare ranchers of all, grazing livestock across hundreds of millions of acres of public grass and forest land, all assisted by public subsidies paid for by US taxpayers?

Billionaires appearing on Forbes rich lists

The .01 percenters are the nation’s biggest welfare ranchers, according to numerous environmental and policy groups; and it’s time they brought some attention to themselves and the federal grazing program they’re exploiting to the tune of an annual estimated one billion dollars in taxpayer subsidies while causing long-term damage to one of the public’s most treasured assets.

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AUTHOR: Amber Barnes
2 Comments
  • MS

    Do they know how we feel? What will it take for them to see the position they’re putting our horses in …. it’s a matter of life & death for our horses …For the sake of God, what’s the big deal to leave some land for our horses? SOMETHING must be sacrosanct in their lives — SOMETHING must be valued as priceless! After all, it’s not like they’re earning a mere living, they’re BILLIONAIRES — What gives? Where’s the rationality? Where’s the compassion? Where’s the intelligence? Where’s the mercy? THINKING ABOUT OUR HORSES AND GIVING THEM THEIR PLACE ON OUR LANDS IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO! PLEASE, DO THE RIGHT THING!

    March 27, 2015
  • MS

    THE VERDICT IS IN: The Government and their agencies should NOT allow it — The Government should put its foot down — It takes two to tango — The Government is dancing with the Ranchers, which it should NOT be doing — The Government is NOT a business enterprise with profit earning on its mind — the Government is there to govern and regulate — the Government MUST pay heed to its taxpayers, to its citizenry whether they like it or not — The Government should DO THE RIGHT THING. Clearly, it’s all about self-interest with the ranchers! What about the interests of the American people?

    March 27, 2015