Ranchers across the country say their jobs have become much more difficult under the Biden administration, mired in uncertainty and unnecessary regulation.
“It’s extremely difficult right now with the current administration,” Nevada rancher JJ Goicoechea told Fox News Digital. Other factors, such as inflation and a looming Supreme Court ruling on water use in the United States, are additional elements of uncertainty, said Goicoechea, who is also the GOP-appointed director of the state Department of Agriculture.
This uncertainty, he added, is driving many farmers and ranchers away from the industry.
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“[It’s] 1,000 times harder,” said Alisa Ogden, a rancher in New Mexico. “It’s really difficult. It’s hard to keep people working for you, just because of some of the free stuff they’ve gotten from the Biden administration.”
“The uncertainty of everything has really caused a lot of problems,” Ogden added.
Lauren Patterson, also from New Mexico, said “it’s definitely harder.”
“We seem to be under more regulatory pressure, especially through the Endangered Species Act, and then all the supply chain issues, getting supplies to our family ranches is becoming more and more difficult,” he added, noting that issues like price of fuel are “stacking and stacking the deck against us.”
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Both Ogden and Patterson also pointed out that Biden’s border policies have made it more difficult to farm in southern states.
“Our family ranches are no longer a family place,” Patterson said. “We can’t take our children or our women out there and show them the ways of production and husbandry and tending because it’s so dangerous.”
Despite those criticisms, Todd Wilkinson, president of the National Cattleman’s Beef Association, said the Biden administration has worked with the cattle community.
“Every administration has positives and negatives … with the Biden administration, they’ve had a very good dialogue with us, they seem to be concerned about our issues,” he told Fox News Digital.
But even with this engagement, Wilkinson said it was no “cake walk”.
“We certainly disagree on some important issues, but it could be a lot worse,” he added.
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Kansas rancher Debbie Lyons-Blythe also noted that the Biden administration has listened to industry concerns, but said many of their policies are counterproductive.
Lyons-Blythe, who also serves as chair of the U.S. Roundtable on Sustainable Beef, said many of the administration’s climate priorities are counterproductive and hinder ranchers’ ability to create tangible change on their land.
“Unfortunately a lot of the laws that are being put in place … I don’t think we’re going to be able to see immediate improvement. I’m afraid a lot of them are coming from the position that they’re not actually improving the climate, but because they have an ax to grind,” he said.
“It’s political and I’m sorry it’s affecting our food supply,” he added. “We need to be able to be free to continue our voluntary methods and make sure we’re doing the right thing and we don’t need more regulations to do that.”
Rising fuel costs and inflation were noted as one of the key issues affecting the industry, but there was a solution, Goichocchea said.
“Green energy is great, we’re not there yet,” he said. “I think the technology will get there eventually… we have to get back to energy independence so that the price of the inputs goes down. When the price of the input goes down, the price of energy goes down.”
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Ogden also stressed the importance of stopping illegal immigration.
“You have to have that desire and desire, to come to the United States, … and be able to be a productive human being. And that’s all we’re asking. As long as there’s no border control, that’s not going to happen “, he said.
Lyons-Smith said education and active engagement with the livestock industry are positive steps in curbing many of the problems in the industry.
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“If you’re going to find out about what’s going on on a ranch, the person you should ask is a rancher. You shouldn’t go talk to a politician, you shouldn’t talk to an activist. You should visit a ranch,” he said. .