The Kentucky Farm Bureau (KFB) won the 2016 American Farm Bureau New Horizon Award for its efforts in helping Kentucky farmers protect livestock from black vulture attacks.
Livestock losses due to black vulture depredation has become a very serious issue in Kentucky as the cattle industry here has grown to be the largest of any state east of the Mississippi.
Last year Kentucky livestock producers lost nearly 200 calves and cows to black vulture attacks – almost triple the number from 2013. Kentucky Farm Bureau applied for, and received, a federal statewide depredation permit allowing farmers to take black vultures that were attacking on-farm livestock.
KFB President Mark Haney accepted the award on behalf of the organization and said, “We are grateful the American Farm Bureau recognized the importance of this program. Kentucky Farm Bureau has once again found another innovative way to work with legislators and government agencies to accomplish our mission: identify problems, develop solutions, and improve net farm income.”
The program is administered by KFB which is the only non-government entity that has been approved by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services (USFWS) for a black vulture depredation permit.
KFB was successful this past year in getting USFWS to grant a statewide black vulture depredation permit originally allowing for 350 takes and affording producers experiencing depredation the opportunity to apply for a Livestock Protection Depredation Sub-Permit at no cost. In addition, an amended permit was recently issued allowing an additional 350 takes for a total of 700.
Applicants agree to follow all rules and regulations required by USFWS in the original statewide depredation permit, including: use of non-lethal measures to try and deter black vulture depredation, use of shotguns and steel shot in the lethal taking of depredating black vultures, the reporting of takes on a monthly basis, and the use of black vulture carcasses as effigies in areas where depredation is occurring. Black vulture lethal takes are approved only in areas where livestock is threatened and depredation is occurring.
This program represents an important step forward in protecting Kentucky’s livestock population. The economic impact of this program is huge for farmers and consumers alike.
“A black buzzard will not feed a hungry child,” said Randy Chrisman, KFB board member and cattle producer. “In fact, black buzzards make it even harder for me to feed that child necessary protein at a price their family can afford.”
Kentucky Farm Bureau, with more than 468,000 member families statewide, is the state’s largest general farm organization. Over 400 members from Kentucky attended the 97th Annual Convention of the American Farm Bureau Federation, held January 8-13 in Orlando, Florida to recognize this year’s individual and organizational achievements and adopt policy for 2016.
The American Farm Bureau Federation is the country’s largest general farm organization and prides itself in being the unified national voice of agriculture. Each January, members gather for the annual convention. The convention is a time to gather with members from all across the country as well as have the opportunity to learn and promote the future of agriculture.