The Minnesota Department of Agriculture just reported that the state is running our of money to pay farmers who are the victims of wolf attacks.
The state of Minnesota, like other states with wolf populations, has a wolf depredation fund in order to pay farmers for their livestock losses resulting from wolf attacks. However, the state has already paid out more than $70,000 in the first three months of 2015, which is on track to be more than double what Minnesota paid out in all of 2014.
A major reason that the cost of these wolf attacks has increased is that the price of livestock is very high right now, with a single 500-pound calf going for $1,500. This can be an expensive proposition for farmers like Nathan Nelson, who has lost 10 of his calves to wolves.
Minnesota Department of Agriculture Assistant Commissioner Charlie Poster had this to say about the increasing cost of wolf attacks:
The value has gone up so much, we’ve actually exhausted the appropriations.
Minnesota had a wolf hunting season until December 2014, when a federal judge reinstated Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in Minnesota. Due to this ruling, wolves were placed under protection of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and wolf hunting has been closed indefinitely.
With no other way to control the wolf population, Gov. Mark Dayton is attempting to increase the size of the wolf depredation fund. Additionally, officials from the Department of Agriculture are increasing outreach efforts to show farmers better ways to protect their livestock.
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