Nevada Ranchers Who Insist There's No Drought Collecting Drought Relief Funds
Credit: Matt Lavin
December 11, 2015

The solution is obvious: Make them pay back the money!

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.

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