Endangered Species, or Endangered Farmers?

JoAnn Alumbaugh
Farm Progress


Farmers and ranchers expressed frustration on Thursday morning during the National Cattlemen's Beef Association Endangered Species Subcommittee meeting. They feel the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service isn't listening to their concerns.

Richard Nicholas, a cow-calf producer from Tremonton, Utah, says, "They (Fish and Wildlife personnel) have to change their attitude about us and about what we do before we can ever develop a relationship with them."

Nicholas says, "You conserve things so you can use them."
It's ranchers who are 100% endangered, says Nicholas. "We have to know that the people at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - and all government agencies - are working with us."

His comments came following a presentation by a biologist from the Service. Dave Harrelson is obviously passionate about fish and wildlife. "The issue we face is the rate of extinction," explains Harrelson. "Now it's being accelerated and amplified and that's the concern. The rate is 1,000 times the background level."

Ranchers, however, feel that the 25 years that the Service has been collecting data isn't long enough to determine if a species is increasing, decreasing, endangered or threatened. Furthermore, with a growing human population and the loss of some habitats, certain species are obviously not going to survive.

"We all have a responsibility to leave things better than we found it, but this planet is all we have… You conserve things so you can use them - you don't conserve them only so you don't lose them," says Nicholas.


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