NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Some Environmental Groups Offer Cash For Conservation

February 3, 2000

Frustrated by the costs and uncertainties of litigation, some environmental organizations are adopting a less confrontational approach. They are offering payments to farmers and ranchers who agree to protect land or aid endangered animals.

  • In Indiana, the Nature Conservancy is giving farmers an average of $3,000 each to help them buy equipment needed for low-erosion tilling.
  • In Nevada and Utah, several environmental groups are paying ranchers to keep their herds from grazing on public lands used by hikers.
  • In Nevada, the Conservation Fund helped move three ranchers' herds out of the Great Basin National Park by offering them financial incentives to do so.
  • A program run by Defenders of Wildlife pays ranchers the fair market value -- an average of $230 each -- for every sheep or cow that are killed by wolves, aiming to blunt opposition to the reintroduction of the gray wolf to Yellowstone National Park and areas of Idaho.

Some farmers and ranchers say they regret having to take the compensation. But doing so eases their losses and makes them somewhat more tolerant of the environmentalists' aims.

Source: Traci Watson, "Environmental Groups Wielding Power of the Purse," USA Today, February 3, 2000.


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