Sustainable Cowboys or Welfare Ranchers of the American West

Public lands livestock operators each cost taxpayers nearly a quarter of a million dollars in subsidies over the last decade. Cliven Bundy is one of them.

The facts are in – the same ranchers who want the thousands of wild horses removed from range lands where their millions of cattle roam are receiving land lease rates worth hundreds of millions, every year. If you were to look at the slick website these ranchers have created stating why wild horses should be removed from their range lands – meaning public lands their cattle use to graze, you would think their money was made solely by their own efforts, and not the taxpayers. ~ HfH

From: Daily Pitchfork
By: Vickery Eckhoff

Report analyzes taxpayer bailout of U.S. public lands ranching [Part II of a series on ranchers]

Public lands livestock operators each cost taxpayers nearly a quarter of a million dollars in subsidies over the last decade. Cliven Bundy is one of them.

Public lands livestock operators each cost taxpayers nearly a quarter of a million dollars in subsidies over the last decade. Cliven Bundy is one of them.

Five hundred million dollars. That’s what 21,000 ranchers who graze their livestock on America’s iconic western rangelands are estimated to have cost US taxpayers in 2014 — and every year for the past decade. This averages out to an annual taxpayer subsidy of $23,809 per rancher — approximately a quarter of a million dollars each since 2005. So why does this small subset, representing just 2.7% of US livestock producers, protest the “welfare rancher” label?

The public lands grazing program is welfare.

That $23,809 — and it’s a lowball figure — is a form of public assistance similar to other welfare programs. The only difference is, it doesn’t arrive as a check in the mail. It instead represents a loss covered by taxpayers: the very large difference between what public lands ranchers pay in fees to the US government and what public lands grazing costs taxpayers every year. But it’s still a subsidy, as a newly updated economic analysis, Costs and Consequences: The Real Price of Livestock Grazing on America’s Public Lands, makes clear. And the recipients aren’t low income; a large number are millionaires and some are billionaires and multi-billion dollar corporations. Cattle barons, if you will.

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AUTHOR: Amber Barnes
3 Comments
  • Shirley Mix

    This is crazy. And they can’t save the horses, or share with them. what fools people be.

    February 13, 2015
  • MS

    Of course! — this doesn’t surprise me at all!

    And still these ranchers aren’t satisfied! It’s shameful on their part …. receiving so much and giving nothing back — nothing! — they won’t even allow horses a home, a place to remain and roam ….

    February 13, 2015
  • Daniel Cordero

    Another masterpiece by Vickery.

    The public should be outraged and ashamed that these guys are receiving half a billion a year in welfare when they could perfectly live the rest of their lives rolling in it without ever having to work. Yet, at the same time, wild horses are removed, confined and slaughtered so these fat cats can rake in even more dough, and not just because of gaining access to more grazing lands but also because their companies are the ones that to the roundups.

    Then they later complain wild horses don’t have natural predators while at the same time their lackeys in government kill everything that moves so the cows -and their wallets- can get fatter. It would be funny, if it weren’t so depressingly sad.

    February 14, 2015