By Mark Gardiner and Stacy Hoeme May 28th, 2021
As ranchers from Kansas, we are here to tell you that the proposed listing of the Lesser Prairie Chicken as “threatened” spells trouble for our property rights.
It complicates or eliminates the chance to use our pastures and fields for almost everything — from ranching to farming to oil extraction, even renewable energy. It seems the only choice we will be left with is leaving the Lesser Prairie Chicken to fend for itself.
The problem is that, to date, government doesn’t pay well enough for our ranches to stay in conservation.
Last time the Lesser Prairie Chicken was listed, our state governments had a “solution” that was billed as a way for us to keep ranching, save the Lesser Prairie Chicken and even make some money.
Well, folks, out here in the High Plains we know government bureaucracy and failed government programs when we see them. Such was the case with the Western Alliance of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Lesser Prairie Chicken conservation and easement program.
WAFWA failed to deliver on-the-ground conservation and wasted $40M dollars of precious industry money along the way. We won’t belabor the point, but we wouldn’t be writing this if WAFWA’s program was successful. Because now the Lesser Prairie Chicken is proposed for relisting.