Brucellosis Compensation Fund
A new tool that helps share the cost of living with wildlife
PERC’s Brucellosis Compensation Fund is an innovative new tool that helps ranchers in Montana’s Paradise Valley whose land serves as vital elk habitat.
Relief for ranchers
The first of its kind in Montana, the fund eases the financial burden ranchers may face if their cattle contract brucellosis from elk in exchange for providing critical habitat for migrating elk.
A conservation coalition
The project brings together a coalition of conservationists, hunters, ranchers, and community members to protect elk migration and open space.
Agile and adaptable
The fund is a flexible, private market solution designed to be simple, straightforward, and effective.
Migratory elk depend on private land
The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem’s iconic migrating elk herds depend on private land for their survival. Thousands of elk descend on Montana’s Paradise Valley every year to feed on ranch lands, where they can spend as much as 80 percent of their time each winter.
But their presence can bring significant costs and challenges to the landowners who provide wintering grounds, including brucellosis.
At a time of rapid regional growth and fragmentation as a result of development, supporting large, working cattle ranches by minimizing the impact of brucellosis is an urgent priority for habitat conservation.
“There is a significant opportunity for conservationists to privately fund and protect open space that migrating elk depend on in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. If these ranches were to be carved up and developed, it would be devastating for elk herds and everyone who loves them.”– PERC CEO Brian Yablonski
A private fund for conserving elk and open space
Many conservationists, hunters, and community members want to protect the region’s vibrant elk herds. The Paradise Valley Brucellosis Compensation Fund is a privately financed tool that engages them to do just that.
PERC’s researchers developed the model in partnership with conservation partners and the local ranching community with an aim to keep it as straightforward as possible:
The three-year pilot project begins in January 2023
Available to any cattle rancher in Paradise Valley, Montana
$100,000 – $150,000 available (currently capitalized at $115,000) to cover 50 to 75 percent of a rancher’s quarantine-related costs following a positive brucellosis test. The partial funding incentivizes ranchers to remain proactive in precautions against the disease.
75 percent of estimated hay costs, with a maximum payout of 50 percent of the initial fund size for any single quarantine event.
If successful, the fund could be expanded into other areas in the future or lay the groundwork for a more formal financial risk-transfer tool to address long-term brucellosis risks.
Conservation and community partners stepped up to fund the program.
By sharing the costs and risks associated with sustaining Yellowstone’s migratory elk herds, we can support wildlife while supporting the livelihoods of ranchers who conserve habitat. The result is good for wildlife, ranchers, conservationists, hunters, and all of us who cherish this incredible ecosystem.
“PERC has become a trusted partner in the ranching community of Paradise Valley. Their innovative conservation solutions will help working lands continue their goal of habitat stewardship to benefit cattle and wildlife.”– Druska Kinke, a third-generation cattle rancher in Paradise Valley and a leader of the Paradise Valley Working Lands group.
For the past several years, PERC has worked with Paradise Valley ranchers to better understand the wildlife challenges they face and develop creative new solutions by applying its research in markets for conservation.
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