Nevada Ranchers who Deny Existence of Drought Conditions Collect Millions in Drought Relief Funds

Thursday, December 10, 2015
Cattle grazing in Nevada (photo: Bureau of Land Management)

Some ranchers in Nevada have collected millions of dollars in drought-relief subsidies despite their denials that there was a drought.


In June, ranchers in Battle Mountain, Nevada, drove their cattle onto public lands in defiance of orders by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to stay off areas affected by the ongoing drought.


The ranchers claimed there was no drought and so their animals should be allowed to graze on the land. But at least two ranching families involved in the protest received $2.2 million from a federal drought disaster relief program, according to Reveal.


The leader of the protest, Dan Filippini, got $338,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Livestock Forage Disaster Program (pdf) last year. His family received another $750,000 via a trust and corporation. Filippini took the payments despite his lawyer claiming in 2014 that “no drought exists” on the Battle Mountain range.


“It’s another example of the hypocrisy,” Laura Leigh, founder of Wild Horse Education, a Reno nonprofit that seeks to protect wild horses on the Nevada range, told Reveal. “They want to run full numbers (of cattle) and claim there’s no drought, and they want to collect drought subsidies besides.”


Another ranching family led by Peter Tomera that opposed the BLM restrictions also benefited from the drought relief program. A family trust got $250,000 while a family corporation received $360,000. Other members of the extended Tomera family and a related corporation received $540,000.


In the end, the ranchers got to have their cake—or grass—and eat it too. Not only were they given thousands in taxpayer funds, but the BLM eventually gave up and let the cattle graze on the drought-parched land.

-Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

Ranchers Denied the Drought While Collecting Drought Subsidies (by Lance Williams and Katharine Mieszkowski, Center for Investigative Reporting)

U.S. has Paid more than $4 Billion in Subsidies to Cotton Farmers in California and Arizona (by Steve Straehley, AllGov)

Cliven Bundy Owes more Money in Unpaid Grazing Fees than all other Ranchers Combined (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


dann 8 years ago
Where was this information first reported? Shouldn't you mention that?
Donna 8 years ago
Ranchers are stealing from the taxpayer, get the welfare rancher and their environment destroying cattle off our public land. We will never go away. No grazing allotments to ranchers.
Deborah Rourke 8 years ago
This goes to show how useless and stupid the BLM is. The can't inforce their rules to the ranchers. Let them free-range, and helped them get paid for it!! Meanwhile their charges, the horses they're rounded-up and penned stand in hell , no shelter from the elements, no freedom, no future. But hey, these BLM guys get their paychecks, go home to family, have a roof over their heads, and are happy go lucky. This Government has made a mockery out of us the taxpayers and those por, innocent horses!!!!!
Sue carter 8 years ago
The entire Grazing Program is a scam. Millionaires destroying the Arid West with privately owned cattle. Get them off our Public Land!

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