The U.S. Department of Agriculture starting a program that pays people to deliver dead trees to power plants that can convert them to biomass fuel. Large swaths of Wyoming’s forests have been killed by pine beetle infestations and some say they pose a fire danger. Todd Atkinson with the Farm Service Agency says he hopes money will give people the incentive to harvest from more remote areas.
Stakeholders in the Rocky Mountain region are in unanimous agreement about what needs to be done about invasive plant species. That’s according to a new study published in the journal Bioscience.
They are common invaders—cheat grass, leafy spurge, salt cedar, yellow toadflax and spotted knapweed. Project leader and UW professor Edward Barbier says that what sometimes begin as attractive lawn shrubs purchased from local nurseries can escape, and proliferate, taking over land, choking out native plants and providing less than ideal grazing material for livestock.
The US Department of Agriculture has named more than 1,000 counties – about a third of all counties nationwide – to be natural disaster areas. The drought-driven designation is the largest the USDA has ever made.
In Wyoming, all but a small corner in the northwest part of the state is currently dry, with designations ranging from Abnormally Dry to Extreme Drought.
Todd Even of the Farm Service Agency in Wyoming says that in some areas it’s estimated that more than fifty percent of range land or grass hay crop has been lost.
Some Native American farmers and ranchers in Wyoming could be receiving checks and debt forgiveness in the coming year in the wake of a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
It’s estimated that Native American farmers and ranchers lost over 770-million-dollars in revenue between 1981 and 1999, because the USDA denied them loans and services based on their race. Many Native Americans also lost their land in the process.