Deer Farmers have begun to benefit from the Federal Livestock Indemnity Program, authorized by the USDA, which provides protection to commercial farmers when adverse weather or disease eradicates a large percentage of livestock. This program has limitations and guidelines to determine eligible livestock owners; one that should be noted is the regulation that the livestock in question must "not have been produced for reasons other than commercial use as part of a farming operation. Excluded livestock includes wild free roaming animals, pets or animals used for recreational purposes, such as hunting, roping or for show."

Among cattle, poultry, and swine, deer is also included within the Livestock Indemnity Program. However, unlike cattle farms that sell their meat for commercial distribution, captive cervid (deer) farms commercially breed their animals to sell to shooting pens.  Most recently in Iowa a deer farmer received a $917K federal payment from the USDA after 79% of the captive deer tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). This seems to be directly in violation of the program and raises questions as to whether they should receive benefits if the farm in question was selling shooter bucks rather than $917K worth of meat (venison), as selling animals to be hunted is not reimbursable.  Are deer farmers taking advantage of federal funds that should be going to other agriculturally divested family farms?

As in Missouri, North Carolina Deer Farmers are lobbying to shift their regulation oversight from the Wildlife Resource Commission (WRC) solitarily to the North Carolina Department of Agricultural and Consumer Services (NCDACS). Chronic Wasting Disease, a fatal neurological disease, is prevalent in every state where the shift of oversight and regulation shifted to their respected agriculture departments. North Carolina remains steadfast and as a result continues to remain CWD free, impart from the successful joint collaboration overseeing regulations and oversight from WRC and NCDACS. 

North Carolina Fiscal Note; Clarify Authority/ Regulation of Cervids suggest a long history of being co-managed by WRC and NCDACS with a 48% to 52% expenditure cost respectfully. With such a successful management history why should North Carolina risk transferring the oversight of deer farmers solely to NCDACS… Is the real intent simply because deer farmers want to reap the benefits of our federal livestock programs at the cost of family farmers?

SOURCE Citizen's Science