SUN VALLEY, Idaho — A proposal to raise the state’s brand renewal fee by 25 percent to help fund wolf control efforts is expected to be one of the big issues during Idaho Farm Bureau Federation’s 74th Annual Meeting Dec. 3-5.
Brands are renewed every five years in Idaho and the fee is currently $100. Several county farm bureau groups across the state have submitted resolutions that would increase the renewal fee by $25.
“In essence, that’s a $5-a -year increase,” said IFBF Vice President Mark Trupp.
There are about 20,000 brands in Idaho and about 4,000 are renewed each year.
The increase would raise about $100,000 a year and that money would go to Idaho Wildlife Services, a USDA agency that manages conflicts between humans and animals. Much of the group’s budget is used to control wolves.
Wildlife Services’ federal funding has been cut sharply in the past four years, which has reduced the agency’s ability to control wolves. The state’s sheep and cattle industries have been trying to find ways to help fund the agency.
Trupp said producers aren’t thrilled about taxing themselves more to help solve the problem but they know they don’t have much of a choice.
“Nobody is happy about this because we didn’t want wolves in the first place and now we’re having to pay to get rid of them,” he said. “But we realize that the industry is going to have to participate.”
“Producers are in a difficult position of having to fund their own program … when the whole thing was forced on them in the first place,” said Del Rust, an IFBF voting delegate from Benewah County.
IFBF last year opposed an Idaho Cattle Association proposal to give industry the authority to raise a 5-cent-a-head fee collected during brand inspection by as much as 25 cents.
The money raised by the increase would have gone to Wildlife Services. The ICA idea, which died in the legislature, would have exempted feedlots and dairy cattle.
IFBF cattle rancher Chris Dalley opposed the ICA proposal last year but was part of a committee that helped work out the current plan this year with the help of ICA officials.
He said he understands he will have to contribute more to help fund wolf control efforts but he didn’t like the fact that dairies and feedlots were exempt under last year’s proposal.
“If I’m going to pay it, you should pay it,” he said. “With this plan, everybody has to play. It’s a way that everybody participates.”
IFBF’s annual meeting will take place in Sun Valley and include presentations on wolf management, electrical safety and business succession.
It will also feature a market outlook, legislative update and beef nutrition panel discussion.