Tester’s ‘Wolf Kill Bill’ now investing in Montana

Senator’s bipartisan law now compensating Montana ranchers for wolf kills

(BIG SANDY, Mont.) – Senator Jon Tester’s “Wolf Kill Bill”  is now investing $140,000 in Montana to compensate ranchers for animals killed by wolves.

Tester wrote the Wolf Kill Bill, formally known as the Wolf Livestock Loss Mitigation Act, with Republican Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming.

The law boosts Montana’s state-run livestock loss fund with money from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  The fund repays Montana ranchers the full market value of animals killed by wolves, and it helps ranchers prevent future wolf attacks.

The Montana Department of Livestock confirmed wolves last year killed more than 300 head of livestock in the state in 2009.

"As Montana’s wolf population has grown, Montana’s ranching families have seen an increase in livestock losses and wolf/livestock conflicts,” said Errol Rice, Executive Vice President of the Montana Stockgrowers Association.  “Senator Tester had the foresight to see that ranchers could not continue to absorb the costs of these conflicts without a significant impact on our state’s economy.  His leadership on this legislation has ensured funding for important on-the-ground efforts to reduce wolf conflicts."

“Senator Tester understands as well as anyone that the federal government has a financial responsibility for proper wolf management, and his law helps meet that responsibility,” said Dave Hinnaland, president of the Montana Woolgrowers Association.  “We very much appreciate Senator Tester listening to and acting on our concerns, and we look forward to working together to keep protecting Montana’s sheep industry.”

“As Montana’s livestock producers work to coexist with wolves, federal participation is a key factor in moving ahead,” said Christian Mackay, Executive Office for the Montana Department of Livestock.  “We appreciate Senator Tester’s efforts in support of Montana’s wolf loss and mitigation program and of Montana’s livestock industry.”

“Wolves are part of Montana’s landscape, but we can’t afford them threatening our ranching industry and the jobs that come with it,” said Tester, a member of the influential Senate Appropriations Committee, which oversees funding for the Fish and Wildlife Service.  “Our success with the Wolf Kill Bill was a result of working together, across the aisle, to bring some Montana common sense to the folks in Congress.  And I’m pleased to see it going to work for Montana ranchers.”

Tester’s Wolf Kill Bill was signed into law last year after overwhelmingly passing the Senate.