Colorado spends more than $77 million each year supporting wildlife through agriculture costs according to Dana Hoag, a professor in CSUâ€™s department of agriculture and resource economics.
The Environment Seminar Series sponsored Hoagâ€™s presentation Thursday afternoon in a classroom in the Clark building to a small number of community members.
The presentation addressed the agricultural costs that go into supporting Colorado wildlife. A voucher program currently exists that gives farmers a hunting license to allow people to hunt the wildlife on their land and make a profit.
That money is used to offset the damages caused by wildlife on farmersâ€™ land such as when coyotes kill their animals and elk graze on the land set aside for cattle.
Hoag said eliminating the program would decrease the population of existing wildlife. The program keeps farmers from ridding their land of all wildlife due to the incentive for revenue, he said.
Although hunters are killing off part of the wildlife population, he said, the vouchers are still sustaining wildlife by not forcing all animals from the land.
â€œAgriculture is a wildlife partner in Colorado,â€ Hoag said. â€œBoth are better off if we see agriculture as a partner rather than a competitor.â€
Along with the vouchers, the Colorado Division of Wildlife and the U.S. Department of Agriculture offer programs to reimburse farmers for their losses.
The CDOW spent approximately $900,000 in the year 2008 for game damage claims that farmers filed. These pay for the farmers to buy new cattle to replace those killed and to buy other amenities.
A prevention program is also in place, Hoag said, by CDOW and USDA to assist farmers in building fences around their land and decreasing the number of coyotes living on the land.
Many of the community members present are involved in the agriculture business and were interested in Hoagâ€™s perspective on the cost of agriculture on wildlife.
â€œBeing a consumer of wildlife and dealing with farmers on a day to day basis, this is interesting to me,â€ said Mark Enns, a professor in the animal sciences department.
Staff writer Jordyn Dahl can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.