Arkansas Cattlemen Take On the Black Headed Vulture

jamie johansen

Cattle producers seek depredation order from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife service allowing producers to control an invasive vulture species stalking and killing livestock. I was recently in North Central Arkansas where I saw first hand the devistation the Black Headed Vulture leaves in it’s wake.

Adam McClung, Executive Vice President, Arkansas Cattlemen’s Association (ACA), said, “The Black Headed Vultures and the depredation loss cattlemen are seeing has been an ongoing discussion inside the ACA with policy for a number of years. Over the last few years, the stories and testimonies we get from cattlemen give evidence of the birds moving from a migratory to predatory.”

The aggressive birds are protected under the Miragroty Bird Act and the Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma Cattlemen Association’s have come together taking policy to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. This created a greater voice for reaching out to elected officials stressing economic loss and the need to measure populations and migratory patterns of these birds.

Farmers take steps during calving season to protect their cattle, but there simply isn’t much that can be done to detour these aggressive birds. The solution to any migratory bird problem is proper management. When it comes to these birds, population reduction is the answer. Farmers can obtain annual permits to begin eliminating the invasive species. These permits will allow measurable data to be collected and used to justify the management needed. Controlling bird population without a permit can put producers in violation of the Migratory Bird Act which has serious penalties. The number of birds permitted is given on a case by case basis according to the % of population found.

“We want some help. Let’s measure these populations. Are these birds migrating or are they staying here year round,” said McClung. ACA has had many meetings with USDA-APHIS and U.S. Fish & Wildlife to get everyone on the same page with what the permit means and how it works. “Our end game and the reason for the policy is a depredation order to be filed by U.S. Fish & Wildlife. We want our cattlemen to have the right to take at time of loss.”

Listen to my complete interview with Adam and watch This Week in Agribusiness this weekend for the complete story: Interview with Adam McClung, Arkansas Cattlemen’s Association