Texas ranchers are turning their backs on handouts from the Biden administration, insisting that instead of payments to make up for the damage illegal immigrants have caused them, the administration address the crisis at the border, the Washington Examiner reported on Monday.
The Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is offering farmers the chance to make claims for damage to fencing, lost livestock or damaged crops, according to the report.
But many ranchers say this does not solve their problems.
“It looks good on paper. It looks good in the media,” rancher John Paul Schuster told the Examiner. “But in reality, it’s not servicing us right now.”
“I don’t have high hopes we’re going to get money or that it’s going to work because of the way they’ve worded it,” said Page Day, a professional outfitter who hosts and guides hunters on his 20,000 acres near Del Rio.
Day, who told the Examiner he has spent as much as $60,000 on fence repairs, said he will apply for the cash but fears the program might end up being a mistake.
“I almost want to say it’s a political stunt by the government to say, ‘Look, we are helping the ranchers,” he said.
Billy Whaley of Val Verde County classified the program as too slow and too cumbersome.
“It’s probably going to be more trouble than it’s worth [to apply] because nothing is simple with the government,” Whaley said. “If I have to spend four or five hours filling out stuff and sending it in then have somebody come look at it, by the time they do that, we’ve already fixed another fence.”
Ann Hodge told the Examiner that the Del Rio ranch she runs with her husband, Byron, is not going to apply.
“We don’t want anything from the government. There’s going to be strings attached,” she said. “You never know when they’re going to try and say they might need that money back now and have the power to take it away from us.”
The endless wave of illegal immigrants keeps costing ranchers money in many ways, Schuster said, including the impact of the junk they leave behind.
“Those cattle eat it, and because of their digestive system and the way it’s set up, they end up getting what we call hardware disease. They can’t process their diet anymore, so they get skinny and eventually die,” he said.
Good for farmers.. red tape horsehookie on government behalf
— outofpaycents (@outofpaycents) February 28, 2022
Further, as long as the border is wide open, any moment of the day or night can turn to panic, Schuster said.
He emailed the Examiner last week to Texas Department of Public Safety officials told him they were searching his property for illegal immigrants.
“DPS called me and said foot chase headed towards your house,” Schuster wrote. “So we turned off all the TV and one light wife had on in bedroom. She went to bed — I am sitting still in recliner with dog and pistol by my side.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.