Grazing Rights Divide US Senate Candidates
Senate Candidates Bob Kerrey and Deb Fischer continue to debate grazing rights. Democratic Candidate Kerrey has criticized Fisher for participating in a federal program that allows her family ranch to graze cattle on U.S. Forest Service land at below-market rates.
"It's not a open bidding process. It ought to be, if you're going to change it and want to have a good process then it ought to be re-bid every 10 years". Renters pay very low rates. She (Fischer) gets the advantage of using of public lands. It's a huge benefit to anyone that has one of those leases," Kerry told KNEB/Rural Radio Network.
With the largest deficit in this nation's history, Kerry says you have to cut things you would rather not cut. In this era, he says you just can't do everything.
On the other side of the fence is Republican Candidate Fischer, a rancher from Valentine. Over the last year she has said everything is on the table, she says that includes programs that her family is involved in, but she defends the federal program in stating there is a lot more involved than what is voiced by the opposition.
"The University (of Nebraska) did a study and found the rates are comparable to private land nearby when you take in that into account all of the regulations and improvements that are put on by landowners", Fischer told KNEB/Rural Radio Network.
The debate over grazing fees is going to Capital Hill. Recently Nebraska's Senator Ben Nelson introduced a bill requiring the Secretary of the Interior work in conjunction with the Secretary of Agriculture to set livestock grazing fees on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and National Forest System public rangelands at rates comparable to those found on nearby private grazing lands.
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