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Farm Bureau delegates support aggressive action on wolves


Dec. 7, 2018

Contact: Sean Ellis, (208) 220-5428

Farm Bureau delegates support aggressive action on wolves


BOISE – During their annual meeting Dec. 4-6, Idaho Farm Bureau Federation members voted to support a more aggressive approach to controlling problem wolves during winter months, when it is easier to track them because of the snow.


The decision was made during IFBF’s 79th Annual Meeting, which was held at the Riverside Hotel in Boise.


Voting delegates from IFBF’s 37 county Farm Bureau organizations voted unanimously to support a mandate from the legislature to state fish and game officials to allow Wildlife Services to more aggressively control problem wolves during winter months.


Wildlife Services is a federal agency that partners with the state to solve conflicts between humans and animals.


According to WS, wolf kills of Idaho livestock hit a record 113 during fiscal year 2018, which ended June 30.


“In (fiscal 2019), we will have at least half again as many wolf depredations as we had (last year),” said Cascade cattle rancher Phil Davis, who has suffered about 70 wolf depredations on his property since the predators were re-introduced to Idaho in 1994-95.


“The wolf situation has gotten considerably worse year after year,” he said.


The voting delegates, all of whom are farmers and ranchers, also voted to support allowing Idaho Wolf Depredation Control Board funds, which are now used solely to support lethal control of problem wolves, to also be used to collar more wolves to facilitate control actions.


The policy that encourages that also supports the continued existence of the WDCB, which gets about $400,000 a year from the state, $100,000 from cattlemen and $100,000 from sportsmen to support Wildlife Service’s lethal wolf control actions.


The wolf board currently has a sunset date of June 30, 2019. The policy supported by Farm Bureau delegates would keep the board’s funding level at least at its current amount.


During the 2018 Idaho Legislature, a proposal was floated that would have reduced the amount of state funding for the board from $400,000 to $200,000 a year.


During hours of debate, the delegates also took action on dozens of proposed and existing policies dealing with a wide array of issues important to farmers, including water, brand inspections for horses, noxious weeds and grazing.


During the convention, Rep. Russ Fulcher, Idaho’s newly elected Republican congressman, told Farm Bureau members he supports the work they do and invited them to visit him in Washington, D.C.


Fulcher grew up on his family’s dairy farm in Meridian and stayed involved with it until it was sold in 2005.


“I’m with you,” said Fulcher, who applauded IFBF members for the work they do protecting agriculture. “Folks, you are the real deal and when I say I’m with you, I mean it.”


The convention drew hundreds of Farm Bureau members and their families from every part of the state.


IFBF President Bryan Searle, a farmer from Shelley, thanked Farm Bureau members for each doing their part to help the organization remain strong and he asked them to encourage other people to become active in the group.


“What a great organization Farm Bureau is. There’s nothing else like it. We are the voice of Idaho agriculture,” he said. “Let’s make it stronger by engaging others, inviting them in and becoming even stronger as we go forward.”


During the event, Tom Mosman of Craigmont, Matt Dorsey of Caldwell and Fred Burmester of Downey were elected by delegates to serve on IFBF’s Board of Directors.


Neil Durrant of Ada County received IFBF’s Young Farmer and Rancher Excellence in Agriculture Award, and Luke Pearce of Payette County was awarded the organization’s Young Farmer and Rancher Achiever in Agriculture Award.


The Excellence award spotlights a young Farm Bureau member who is an agricultural enthusiast but has not received a majority of their income in the past three year from a production agriculture enterprise they own, while the Achiever award is given to a young farmer or rancher who has excelled in their farming operation and honed their leadership abilities.


Kelsey Broadie of Butte County, the recently elected president of Lost Rivers Farm Bureau, won the Young Farmer and Rancher Discussion Meet, which allows producers to hone their public speaking and problem-solving skills during a competition meant to simulate a committee meeting rather than a debate.


The participants discuss a pre-selected topic and are judged on constructive criticism, cooperation and communication.


Broadie, Durrant and Pearce all won a Polaris recreational vehicle and will compete in their respective categories during American Farm Bureau’s annual meeting next month, with a chance to win a Ford pickup truck.


IFBF’s Women’s Leadership Committee presented Women of the Year awards to Wendy Swore of Bannock County, Pam Kelly of Butte County, Lola Fitzpatrick of Minidoka County, Janeal Walton of Gem County and Naomi Wood of Bonner County.