When the Montana Livestock Loss Reduction and Mitigation Program (LLRMP) announced its logo contest in October, the three-year-old program suggested submissions include images of cattle and wolves. The contest aims to identify a logo that best captures the board's mission—to compensate ranchers for livestock lost to wolf predation—so one can imagine entries depicting, say, a ferocious wolf mauling a helpless sheep.
But there was actually only one cheeky submission among the 80 LLRMP sent to its board for review two weeks ago, according to program coordinator George Edwards. It was of a crying cow, peering at an approaching wolf.
"We had a few people call and talk about [funny logos]," Edwards recalls, "and I said, 'If you do that, I guarantee you it won't go anywhere. We're not in this to be pro- or anti-wolf. Really, it's pro-rancher—keep the rancher going, keep that land from being broken up and subdivided, keep the wild spaces open. That's what I tell everybody when they call.'"
The winning logo will be used on a specialty state license plate intended to raise money for the LLRMP, which finds itself on tenuous financial footing. The program has paid out $321,235 in claims since May 2008, largely covered by the state's $180,000 in appropriations over the last two legislative sessions, and the $140,000 congressional appropriation secured by Sen. Jon Tester in 2009. The program is asking the state for an additional $150,000 in 2011.
Edwards says he's thrilled with the quality of the logo submissions.
"There was some stuff in there that was just fantastic," he says. "I mean, we got stuff from very, very basic to extremely detailed logos. Even some design companies submitted logos. So apparently our contest prize was in a good range to really draw interest."
The winner of the contest, to be announced in the coming weeks, will pocket $750, donated by the Montana Cattlemen's Association, Montana Farmers Union and the LLRMP board.