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Ranchers gain ‘big wins’ in fed budget

U.S. REP. GREG Walden, the sole Republican in the Oregon delegation, is shown on a ranch in the central part of the state during a summer visit with constituents in the agriculture industry. Walden’s Second Congressional District encompasses Wasco and Hood River counties and 18 others in the rural sectors of the state.	
	Contributed photo

U.S. REP. GREG Walden, the sole Republican in the Oregon delegation, is shown on a ranch in the central part of the state during a summer visit with constituents in the agriculture industry. Walden’s Second Congressional District encompasses Wasco and Hood River counties and 18 others in the rural sectors of the state. Contributed photo

U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., said ranchers and livestock owners gained $1 million for wolf depredation with passage of a $1.1 trillion budget that funds most of the government through next September.

“There are a lot of big wins in here for Central and Eastern Oregon,” said Walden, whose Second Congressional District encompasses Wasco and Hood River counties.

He was the only member of Oregon’s delegation in the House to vote for the $1.1 trillion merged in a Continuing Resolution and Omnibus bill, dubbed the “CROmnibus” by media outlets.

The 1,603-page funding package containing 11 separate bills was adopted in time to avert a partial government shutdown. Walden said the provisions were the result of negotiations between the Republican-controlled House and Democrats who control the Senate and make up the Obama Administration.

In addition to compensation for wolf kills, Walden said Congress helped farmers and ranchers by blocking “regulatory over-reach” by the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineer. He said the framework has been set up for permanent policy changes after GOP leaders take over the Senate in January.

Another accomplishment on behalf of the agriculture community, he said, was blocking the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service from raising grazing fees that would have increased operating expenses for ranchers.

“I think, on balance, the western states are a lot better off,” Walden said in summary.

Maupin rancher Keith Nantz said the money recently authorized by Congress is “only the tip of the iceberg” in terms of what is needed to ward off wolf attacks and compensate livestock owners when kills do occur.

He is president of the North Central Livestock Association and seated on Wasco County’s Wolf Compensation Committee.

In addition to the direct loss of a cow or calf that dies, Nantz said the stress caused to the herd from the presence of wolves lowers fertility and body weight. He said that negatively affects the rancher’s livelihood for years to come.

“We asked Congressman Walden for help because federal officials located wolves to the Northern Rockies and, from there, they moved into Oregon and Washington,” he said. “So, it is only fair that federal dollars are made available to pay for the damage caused by wolves.”

In 1995, Fish and Wildlife moved 35 Canadian Gray Wolves into Idaho and the same number into Montana. Members of these packs eventually journeyed across the eastern borders of Oregon and Washington. Wolves have been federally delisted as an endangered species in the eastern sector of Oregon because several packs have become established. Under the state’s Wolf Conservation and Management plan, wolf hunts can take place under limited circumstances.

Wolves remain under protection of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on the western side of the state, where they are believed to have a limited presence, and a “no kill” order is in place.

Nantz said Walden heard the concerns of ranchers and acted on their behalf, which is appreciated.

“We need more leaders like Mr. Walden; people who have a backbone and can get things done on behalf of the nation’s food producers,” he said.

He is hopeful that more dollars will be allotted to the cause in upcoming U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., said ranchers and livestock owners gained $1 million for wolf depredation with passage of a $1.1 trillion budget that funds most of the government through next September.

“There are a lot of big wins in here for Central and Eastern Oregon,” said Walden, whose Second Congressional District encompasses Wasco and Hood River counties.

He was the only member of Oregon’s delegation in the House to vote for the $1.1 trillion merged in a Continuing Resolution and Omnibus bill, dubbed the “CROmnibus” by media outlets.

The 1,603-page funding package containing 11 separate bills was adopted in time to avert a partial government shutdown. Walden said the provisions were the result of negotiations between the Republican-controlled House and Democrats who control the Senate and make up the Obama Administration.

In addition to compensation for wolf kills, Walden said Congress helped farmers and ranchers by blocking “regulatory over-reach” by the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineer. He said the framework has been set up for permanent policy changes after GOP leaders take over the Senate in January.

Another accomplishment on behalf of the agriculture community, he said, was blocking the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service from raising grazing fees that would have increased operating expenses for ranchers.

“I think, on balance, the western states are a lot better off,” Walden said in summary.

Maupin rancher Keith Nantz said the money recently authorized by Congress is “only the tip of the iceberg” in terms of what is needed to ward off wolf attacks and compensate livestock owners when kills do occur.

He is president of the North Central Livestock Association and seated on Wasco County’s Wolf Compensation Committee.

In addition to the direct loss of a cow or calf that dies, Nantz said the stress caused to the herd from the presence of wolves lowers fertility and body weight. He said that negatively affects the rancher’s livelihood for years to come.

“We asked Congressman Walden for help because federal officials located wolves to the Northern Rockies and, from there, they moved into Oregon and Washington,” he said. “So, it is only fair that federal dollars are made available to pay for the damage caused by wolves.”

In 1995, Fish and Wildlife moved 35 Canadian Gray Wolves into Idaho and the same number into Montana. Members of these packs eventually journeyed across the eastern borders of Oregon and Washington. Wolves have been federally delisted as an endangered species in the eastern sector of Oregon because several packs have become established. Under the state’s Wolf Conservation and Management plan, wolf hunts can take place under limited circumstances.

Wolves remain under protection of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on the western side of the state, where they are believed to have a limited presence, and a “no kill” order is in place.

Nantz said Walden heard the concerns of ranchers and acted on their behalf, which is appreciated.

“We need more leaders like Mr. Walden; people who have a backbone and can get things done on behalf of the nation’s food producers,” he said.

He is hopeful that more dollars will be allotted to the cause in upcoming

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