Prepared by Ever.Ag Insights
Tricolored Blackbirds are listed as a threatened species under the California Endangered Species Act. This makes it unlawful to interfere with Tricolors that have begun nesting in forage fields. Dairy farms impacted by nesting Tricolors must delay harvest on the portion of their cropland where birds are nesting until the birds have fledged and left the field. This causes an economic impact for producers, who must purchase feed, at market prices, to replace the feed they planned to harvest from their own land. In 2022, market prices for replacement feed greatly deviated from the cost of growing local feed. This study attempts to create a methodology that accurately reflects the financial damage suffered, and recommends appropriate reimbursement rates for producers impacted by Tricolor nesting in a given year.
Ever.Ag Insights, through a grant from CDRF, interviewed California dairy operators who were impacted by nesting of endangered Tricolor Blackbirds (Tricolors) in their forage fields. This project defines a methodology based on market prices for feed commodities needed to replace those lost in any given year to Tricolor nesting. To accomplish this, Ever.Ag Insights interviewed 12 Central Valley dairy producers to discuss operational challenges and other financial impacts to preserving the Tricolored Blackbird’s habitat.
Using that information and other sources identified here, the consultant team estimated the types of losses producers faced, and assigned costs to those losses.
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