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Texas has done it to us again. The state has enjoyed bullying us ever since it came into existence. This time it involves playing by different rules for the collection on drought insurance.
Last year, as the effects of drought became very obvious, the U.S. Department of Agriculture began touting a new drought insurance policy. Ranchers in New Mexico and Texas jumped at the opportunity.
Sure enough, both states are experiencing the worst droughts in recorded history. Texas ranchers have received $65 million in payments. New Mexico ranchers have received $2,000 for the $1.5 million they paid in premiums.
The Agriculture Department says New Mexico’s problem is that pinons, junipers, cactus and snake weed that still are living count against us even though cows don’t eat them.
So in Texas, the lack of rainfall qualifies ranchers for tens of millions in drought payments, while New Mexico ranchers qualify for a pittance. The difference seems to be that New Mexico ranchers insured themselves against a decline in vegetation greenness. It wasn’t drought insurance. Except New Mexico ranchers insist it was called drought insurance when they bought it.
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