Wild horses, federal grazing and America’s billionaire welfare ranchers

Cow and calf next to Mustang Herd Management Area sign. Image by Kimerlee Curyl.

Some years ago, Ellen Cathryn Nash wrote an insightful report for our website called:

Rolex Ranchers and the Living Legends
10% of BLM Land Lease Subsidy Recipients are Billionaires and Control 65% of all BLM Lands

Nash subsequently issued this information as a Press Release in March 2005 which we posted on Tuesday’s Horse.

Some of the names Nash listed as “Rolex Ranchers” are:

Ted Turner
Baron Hilton
Mary Hewlett-Jaffey
JR Simplot
Hunt Oil Company of Dallas

Nash’s reports also states:

“The Public Lands Ranching Organization reports that the federal grazing program operates at a loss, costing taxpayers at least $500,000,000 annually. This figure includes direct program costs and millions of dollars spent on emergency feed, drought and flood relief, and predator control to support or mitigate damage from public lands grazing.”

Vickery Eckhoff recently completed an excellent in depth series on the same topic:

Exposing America’s Billionaire Welfare Ranchers
America’s .01 percent like the Kochs and the Hiltons are collecting massive subsidies from the federal government.

It is riveting reading. In her email announcement regarding the work Eckhoff states:

“Nearly a year ago, following Forbes response to my writing about Cliven Bundy and the federal grazing program, I was approached by AlterNet with a proposition.

“There had been some speculation that my Forbes departure had been spurred by Steve Forbes having grazing leases or that people with influence at Forbes did and that my exposing the federal grazing program was not to their liking. Would I be interested in writing a piece on rich welfare ranchers?

“The idea of exploring that topic was attractive, even though I knew it would be challenging, so I agreed.

“Today, almost a year later, I’m proud to publish “Forbes Billionaires Top US Welfare Ranchers List” on AlterNet and also the Daily Pitchfork.”

Look at some of the super rich on Eckery’s list. You may not recognize all of them but you certainly will some of them.

Ted Turner. Image: Fresh Magazine.
Ted Turner. Image: Fresh Magazine.

David and Charles Koch (Koch Industries)
J.R. Simplot Corp.
Bruce McCaw (McCaw Cellular)
Barrick Gold
Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA)
W. Barron Hilton (Hilton Hotels)
Mary Hewlett-Jaffe (Hewlett-Packard)
James Barta (Sav-Rx.com)
T. Wright Dickinson
Stan Kroenke (Kroenke Group) & Ann Walton Kroenke (Walmart)
Family of Robert Earl Holding (Sinclair Oil and Hotels)
Ted Turner

Eckhoff sums it up with this statement:

“The .01 percenters are the nation’s biggest welfare ranchers, according to numerous environmental and policy groups; and it’s time they brought some attention to themselves and the federal grazing program they’re exploiting to the tune of an annual estimated one billion dollars in taxpayer subsidies while causing long-term damage to one of the public’s most treasured assets.”

It doesn’t end for the taxpayer there. The federal government wastes millions of taxpayer dollars year after year on needless, herd-destroying wild horse round ups to serve the land up to welfare ranchers such as these. Then they spend more millions stockpiling the wild horses they do not manage to sell to the meat man. And they do it while complaining ludicrously about the expense – as if it’s the horses’ fault.

Nash points out in her report:

“In reality, the wild horses and burros are not the problem, rather it is the privately owned livestock grazing on public lands subsidized by American taxpayers at great expense. It is important to note that cattle are ‘static’ animals in that they do not move much and they destroy the ground. It takes ten years to reclaim land destroyed by cattle, and longer in arid areas such as Nevada.”

Of course now it is not just welfare ranchers pursuing U.S. public lands set aside for the protection of the country’s wild horses and burros. But that is a whole other story.

8 thoughts on “Wild horses, federal grazing and America’s billionaire welfare ranchers”

  1. So if these money hungry billionaires who have sold their souls to the devil have been exposed. And their dirty little secrets are out there for all to see, what will we do do about it?? They should pay back every cent they stole from the tax payers and our horses should be returned to their natural homes. I have said it all along, this has been about MONEY! And I was right!!! 🤬🤬🤬🤬

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This scheme launched on the American Stakeholder and Taxpayer to eradicate the wild horse is disgusting and needs to be exposed for what it is. The entire BLM needs congressional oversight and fast.
    Thank you for writing this and hope you continue to expose this catastrophe.


  3. Ted Turner’s Loves Horses Saving all his Ranches, Montana & many states to care for them &help toward salvaging what’s Left of Precious Eco Nature Balancing ..WsstarpoornaturesWolf’s,friendtour Poor 4 legged Critters in 2021.


  4. It really Tragic, if all we can do is COMPLAINED when there is evidence of GROSS MISMANAGEMENT, and you cannot FIRE THOSE employees in the BLM and implement a NEW PROGRAM that PREVENTS and get RID OF OUR WELFARE RANCHERS, but then the FEDS HAVE ALWAYS AIDED THE RANCHERS for cattle. KILLED INDIANS, 20 million buffaloes to take up all the western state. Then killed 2 million wolves and grizzlies, all for fattened up RANCHERS’ POCKETBOOK. 100 YEARS AGO. These BILLIONAIRES ARE KEEN to WHAT SUCKERS your federal government is from it HISTORICAL TRACK RECORD and just take ADVANTAGE of what been going on for hundreds of years, and still TODAY, Wildlife service will kill wolves, all wildlife for ranchers, and even the American meat-eaters will DEFEND the Rancher’s right to public land for grazing for their beef, even though American have high rate of heart disease, cancers, diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer . To me, federal government and meat-eaters have CANCER MINDSET from their addiction to taste of cholesterol, saturated fat and cooked blood.


  5. This should be in the media…newspapers, tv, letters to the editors, and of course our politicians, who have an excuse for everything that these welfare ranchers do…thanks for the info…now to try and get America to see what we see…


Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s