Idaho Farm Bureau Federation members, at the group’s annual meeting in Boise Dec. 4-6, voted to support a more aggressive approach to controlling problem wolves during winter months when snow makes the animals easier to track.
Delegates from 37 county Farm Bureau organizations voted unanimously to support an Idaho Legislature mandate to state Fish and Game officials to allow USDA Wildlife Services to more aggressively control problem wolves during winter months, IFBF said in a news release. Wildlife Services partners with the state to resolve conflicts between humans and animals.
Wolf kills of Idaho livestock hit a record 113 in the fiscal year ended June 30, according to Wildlife Services. In fiscal 2019, “We will have at least half again as many wolf depredations” compared to the previous year," said Cascade cattle rancher Phil Davis, who has suffered about 70 wolf depredations on his property since wolves were introduced to Idaho in 1994-95. “The wolf situation has gotten considerably worse year after year.”
In addition, IFBF said, voting delegates — all farmers and ranchers — voted to support allowing Idaho Wolf Depredation Control Board funds, now used solely to support lethal control of problem wolves, to also be used to collar more wolves to facilitate control actions.
The Farm Bureau said this policy also supports continued existence of the Wolf Depredation Control Board, created in 2014 and slated to “sunset” or dissolve at the end of June 2019 unless the Idaho Legislature takes further action. The board gets about $400,000 a year from the state, and more than $100,000 each from the livestock industry and sportsmen to support Wildlife Services’ lethal wolf-control actions.
Delegates also took policy positions on a range of other issues, including water, grazing, noxious weeds and brand inspections for horses.
In other action, delegates elected Tom Mosman of Craigmont, Matt Dorsey of Caldwell and Fred Burmester of Downey to serve on the organization's board of directors.
IFBF also issued annual awards:
• Neil Durrant, Ada County: Young Farmer and Rancher Excellence in Agriculture.
• Luke Pearce, Payette County: Young Farmer and Rancher Achiever in Agriculture.
• Kelsey Broadie, Butte County: Young Farmer and Rancher Discussion Meet winner.
• Wendy Swore of Bannock County, Pam Kelly of Butte County, Lola Fitzpatrick of Minidoka County, Janeal Walson of Gem County and Naomi Wood of Bonner County: IFBF Women’s Leadership Committee Women of the Year.