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Russell Nemetz Appropriations Letter Shows Support for Wildlife Services
by Russell Nemetz, click here for bio

Program: Land & Livestock Report
Date: March 05, 2019

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The American Sheep Industry Association - along with 218 additional livestock, aviation, sportsmen, civil, conservation and commodity stakeholders - sent a letter this week to the U.S. House and U.S. Senate appropriations committee and subcommittee members urging their continued support for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services.

ASI President Benny Cox, said the letter shows the broad impact Wildlife Services has on the American economy.

"For sheep producers, the Wildlife Services predation management program is critically important to our ability to maintain profitability and protect the safety of our flock," said Cox. "Wildlife Services' efforts go far beyond just protecting the livestock industry. Their work keeps Americans safe in the air through their aviation program, protects rural and urban civil infrastructure, protects critical wildlife habitat for recreation, and keeps our food supply safe by working with aquaculture, dairy and commodity row crop producers."

Wildlife causes more than $12.8 billion in damage each year to natural resources, public infrastructure, private property and agriculture. Wildlife Services works to prevent, minimize or manage this damage and protect human health and safety from conflicts with wildlife.

"Every year, Wildlife Services is called to do more, often with fewer resources available," said Cox. "In Fiscal Year 2018, the agency conducted 72,517 technical assistance projects to reduce wildlife damage to property across the country; including schools, homes, roads, airports and utility systems. That is a 2 percent increase over Fiscal Year 2017. While Wildlife Services has over 3,000 cooperative agreements to help cost-share many of these projects, we will work to ensure this program has the federal resources it needs."

ASI is asking Congress to fully fund USDA Wildlife Services in the fiscal year 2020 appropriations process, plus an increase of $3.4 million in National Environmental Policy Act compliance costs.

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