Oregon depredation compensation bill to move forward in Legislature
Rep. Greg Smith, R-Heppner, last week announced an agreement among the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association (OCA), Defenders of Wildlife, and the Oregon Governor’s Office to establish a new compensation program to help ranchers and others protect livestock from wolf depredation. The agreement will enable the Legislature to approve House Bill 3560.
The bill, sponsored by Smith, would ensure compensation to those who’ve suffered losses or injuries due to wolf depredation.
“I’m pleased we’ve reached an agreement to help eastern Oregon ranchers and citizens who are directly threatened by wolf depredation,” Smith said. “I look forward to passing this important bill through the Legislature in the final days of session. HB 3560 is a first step toward effectively mitigating the economic impact of these animals.”
Under the agreement, Smith’s legislation will direct $100,000 or more in financial assistance to those who utilize livestock and non-lethal wolf management techniques to help prevent wolf depredation of livestock. Jim Welsh of OCA said the agreement is a key accomplishment of the 2011 session.
“Back in February, an odds maker wouldn’t have even ventured on a wolf compensation bill. Against all odds, it has happened with the leadership from Rep. Smith and many legislators signing on with their support. Other key participants include the agriculture and natural resources community, the Oregon Hunters Association, Associated Oregon Counties, and the continued help from the governor’s office,” said Welsh.
Smith said he expects the legislation to be approved by the Joint Ways and Means Committee by the end of the week, and approval by the full House and Senate by adjournment. HB 3560 is one of four bills introduced this session by Smith to give needed relief to ranchers who have had to deal with the loss of livestock due to wolf depredation. — WLJ