Texas official fights skunk being marked for endangered species list
SAN ANTONIO — Farmers and ranchers throughout the country should be concerned that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service may list the Plains spotted skunk on the endangered species list, a Texas official told attendees at the American Farm Bureau Federation convention here last week.
Susan Combs, the Texas comptroller of public accounts and a Republican who previously served as state agriculture commissioner, noted in a January 12 welcome speech to Farm Bureau that “rural America’s voice is seen as shrinking” and urged the farmers and ranchers to align themselves with the homebuilders and road builders in expressing concern about the economic impact of the potential listing.
Combs noted that farmers and ranchers cannot sue the federal government over the listing before the species is listed and regulations are put in place, but she said it is important for them to get involved with the comment process on the listing.
“We are dealing with a complex and inflexible federal statute,” she said.
Combs has made monitoring the endangered species list part of her duties because she wants to “Keep Texas First” economically, according to her website.
According to a fact sheet on Combs’s site, the Plains spotted skunk can be found in 204 counties in north, east central and south Texas and in other states between the Mississippi River and the Continental Divide from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico.
According to the Fish and Wildife Service, a division of the Interior Department, the Plains spotted skunk is being considered for listing because, “The decline of small farms, the advent of agriculture practices that encourage removal of fence rows and brush piles, intensive use of pesticides, improved grain management practices, and the end of large haystack construction are implicated as potential causes for the species’ decline in landscapes dominated by human activity.” F
–The Hagstrom Report
Hay production has been reported to be 50% of average or less in many areas of Nebraska. The U.S. hay supply is at a 50-year low (Table 1). Couple this information with rising costs (Figure…