FARMERS VS. GEESE
April 18, 2005
In Oregon, farmers are frustrated over a federally protected species that is wreaking havoc on their crops -- geese.
According to the Statesman Journal, farmers are losing money from geese flying in and grazing on young crops and grasses.
- Currently, 200,000 to 300,000 geese live in the Willamette valley, a substantial increase from about 25,000 in the 1980s.
- The Oregon Department of Agriculture found that geese cause about $15 million annually in crop damage.
- Besides consuming crops, the geese also spread weed seeds in their waste, and due to the presence of the geese, farmers are prohibited from setting out mice baits.
Many geese populations are healthy and do not need federal protection; however, some subspecies are dwindling, although it is difficult to tell which geese are of a certain subspecies. The most regulated species, the dusky, costs the state $200,000 a year in protection through restricted hunting regulations.
A "goose depredation" program partially funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture is designed to reimburse farmers who experience losses, but it has not been funded for the past two years. State legislators are asking the federal government to comply in order to offset Oregon's economic losses.
Source: Beth Casper, "Solutions Sought for Hungry Geese," Salem Statesman Journal, April 8, 2005.
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