The Minnesota State Cattlemen's Association President, Krist Wollum, provided a letter of support for Collin Peterson’s H.R. 424, the Gray Wolf State Management Act of 2017. This bill was heard during a House Natural Resources Committee in July.
July 17th, 2017
The Honorable Rob Bishop The Honorable Raul Grijalva
Chairman Ranking Member
House Natural Resources Committee House Natural Resources Committee
1324 Longworth House Office Building 1329 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515 Washington, DC 20515
Re: H.R. 424 – Gray Wolf State Management Act of 2017
Dear Chairmen Bishop and Ranking Member Grijalva,
The Minnesota State Cattlemen’s Association thanks the House Committee on Natural Resources for showing support and granting a hearing for H.R. 424 - Gray Wolf State Management Act of 2017.
While under state control, the State of Minnesota, through the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and Department of Agriculture, developed and implemented a comprehensive and time proven wolf management plan. That plan, accepted by the US Department of Interior, was the basis for delisting and the means of ensuring Minnesota’s wolves would never again become threatened or endangered.
Minnesota’s gray wolf, by all measures established, was effectively maintained in Minnesota and should once again have population control returned to the state. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the State of Minnesota do not dispute that wolves have recovered and maintained their population here. However, efforts to de-list wolves in this area continue to be challenged on procedural and technical, rather than wolf conservation, grounds. The success of the ESA in recovering this population and the management efforts of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources have been overshadowed by litigation and the unnecessarily onerous process to delist the gray wolf. If the State of Minnesota satisfactorily follows their approved population management plan, then future delisting of the gray wolf should not be subject to judicial review. With this type of action, we firmly believe it would remedy what is necessary to overcome the long history of legal and technical challenges to managing a clearly recovered species in the state of Minnesota.
Once delisted, the State of Minnesota will continue to protect wolves and monitor their population, while giving livestock and domestic pet owners and wildlife more protection from wolf depredation as well as diseases carried by wolves. According to the original recovery plan, wolves have recovered in Minnesota and no longer warrant listing under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. The original USFWS recovery plan called for 1,251 to 1,400 gray wolves in Minnesota to meet delisting criteria. The state plan establishes a minimum population of 1,600 wolves to ensure the long-term survival of the wolf in Minnesota. The state’s wolf population, which was estimated at fewer than 750 animals in the 1950s, has grown an estimated 2,300 animals according to the 2015-16 mid-winter wolf population survey. This obviously far exceeds state and federal recovery goals and has led to increased conflicts between wolves and humans, pets, and livestock. This would also show that, while under state control, state agencies have been able to successfully manage wolf populations.
Minnesota’s cattle and beef industry is a diverse and robust sector of the state’s agricultural economy. Cattle and beef production is the second largest livestock sector in Minnesota, accounting for 27% of Minnesota’s livestock cash receipts and 13% of the state’s total agricultural cash receipts. Nationally, Minnesota ranks tenth in cattle production and is home to roughly 2.4 million head of cattle and calves. This sector of animal agriculture has a “multiplier effect” of $2.05 for every dollar of output. Specifically, Minnesota’s beef and cattle production creates economic activities in many other economic sectors including agronomy, manufacturing, transportation, trade, services, finance, insurance, real estate, and construction. Minnesota beef production’s total economic impacts at the farm level (not including meat processing) equals 4.2 billion dollars and employs nearly 27,000 Minnesotans. Ensuring Minnesota’s beef farmers and ranchers are able to protect their cattle and herds when needed is vital to supporting this important sector of Minnesota’s economy.
-you for your time and
consideration of H.R. 424 - Gray Wolf State Management Act of 2017.
Minnesota State Cattlemen’s Association
Posted: July 18, 2017