Texas Agriculture September 16, 2016 : Page 5

Members discuss TFB policy topics for coming year By Jessica Domel News Editor The rights of Texas landowners and the future of the state were among the topics discussed at re-cent Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) Pol-icy Development meetings across the state as members considered organizational policy ideas for the coming year. “We had good attendance. It was one of the best Policy Develop-ment meeting seasons that we’ve had,” Glen Jones, TFB director of Research and Policy Development, said. “There was a lot of county participation and surfacing of is-sues that affect our members.” About 900 county leaders repre-senting 171 county Farm Bureaus attended the 13 district Policy De-velopment meetings. Eighty-four is-sues were presented and discussed. Top issues include: the right of farmers and ranchers to repair their own equipment or choose who repairs it; high-speed rail; the Tex-as Grain Producer Indemnity Fund referendum; and chronic wasting disease. Jones notes most members voiced support for the right to re-pair equipment in lieu of having to use specific mechanics or dealers. On the issues of high-speed rail, the grain indemnity fund referen-dum and chronic wasting disease, Jones said member perspectives varied at the meetings. Current TFB policy states high-speed rail transportation should “be studied and if determined to be feasible, should be pursued using existing rail and highway rights-of-way.” The policy continues that high-speed rail construction should “not decrease agricultural productivity or decrease property values with-out compensation to encourage continued and future active agri-cultural production.” It calls for yearly royalties, as long as the line is present, and preservation of right-of-way for private landowners. In regard to the grain indemnity fund referendum, Jones says some members are in favor of the right to protect grain crops in storage. Others believe the proposed as-sessment is a tax. Members at the meetings also discussed potential policy involv-ing chronic wasting disease and how deer breeders and the state should handle testing procedures moving forward. The selection of the Texas Com-missioner of Agriculture also sur-faced. “We do not have policy on this right now,” Jones said. “Some want policy on whether we prefer an elected or appointed commission-er.” The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was also discussed. Members at the meetings want to evaluate whether TPP is good for agricul-ture and the United States. “There are some concerns the whole package may not be good and the effects it will have on the economy,” Jones said. The 2018 Farm Bill and what is needed to provide an adequate safety net for Texas farmers were also discussed. Members in districts one and five presented policy ideas that would reemphasize support for programs on farm safety and mov-ing equipment down roadways. Members supported education and outreach for both farmers and mo-torists alike. Policy proposals approved by county Farm Bureaus will be con-sidered by the TFB Resolutions Committee in November, with com-mittee recommendations forward-ed to the TFB Annual Meeting, Dec. 3-5, in San Antonio for voting delegate consideration. The deadline for counties to submit resolutions to the state of-fice is Friday, Oct. 28. LOWEST PRICE EVER RATED in VACUUM POWER on DR ® Leaf and Lawn Vacuums! # 1 S EPTEMBER 16 , 2016 Rated #1 in Vacuum Power Easy, 1-Hand Dumping Stores Flat in Minutes Converts to a Utility Trailer BOWIE PATTERSON OF BOWIE 800-766-2019 pattersonofbowie.com LIBERTY LIBERTY-DAYTON CHRYSLER DODGE JEEP RAM 800-833-8841 LIBERTYDAYTONCHRYSLER.COM NEW BRAUNFELS BLUEBONNET CHRYSLER, DODGE 800-879-2621 bbdodge.com TAYLOR NYLE MAXWELL CHRYSLER DODGE JEEP RAM 512-218-5300 NyleMaxwell.com Unload with just one hand! The ALL NEW DR ® Leaf Vacuum is designed from the top down to make yard cleanup easier, faster, and more thorough than ever before. And for a limited time we are offering them at incredible low introductory prices! Doubles as a utility trailer! FREE SHIPPING 1 YEAR TRIAL SOME LIMITATIONS APPLY Call or go online for details. Call for FREE DVD and Catalog! TOLL FREE 888-212-0763 DRleafvac.com 5 93631X © 2016

Members Discuss TFB Policy Topics for Coming Year

Jessica Domel

The rights of Texas landowners and the future of the state were among the topics discussed at recent Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) Policy Development meetings across the state as members considered organizational policy ideas for the coming year.

“We had good attendance. It was one of the best Policy Development meeting seasons that we’ve had,” Glen Jones, TFB director of Research and Policy Development, said. “There was a lot of county participation and surfacing of issues that affect our members.”

About 900 county leaders representing 171 county Farm Bureaus attended the 13 district Policy Development meetings. Eighty-four issues were presented and discussed.

Top issues include: the right of farmers and ranchers to repair their own equipment or choose who repairs it; high-speed rail; the Texas Grain Producer Indemnity Fund referendum; and chronic wasting disease.

Jones notes most members voiced support for the right to repair equipment in lieu of having to use specific mechanics or dealers.

On the issues of high-speed rail, the grain indemnity fund referendum and chronic wasting disease, Jones said member perspectives varied at the meetings.

Current TFB policy states high-speed rail transportation should “be studied and if determined to be feasible, should be pursued using existing rail and highway rights-of-way.”

The policy continues that high-speed rail construction should “not decrease agricultural productivity or decrease property values without compensation to encourage continued and future active agricultural production.”

It calls for yearly royalties, as long as the line is present, and preservation of right-of-way for private landowners.

In regard to the grain indemnity fund referendum, Jones says some members are in favor of the right to protect grain crops in storage. Others believe the proposed assessment is a tax.

Members at the meetings also discussed potential policy involving chronic wasting disease and how deer breeders and the state should handle testing procedures moving forward.

The selection of the Texas Commissioner of Agriculture also surfaced.

“We do not have policy on this right now,” Jones said. “Some want policy on whether we prefer an elected or appointed commissioner.”

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was also discussed. Members at the meetings want to evaluate whether TPP is good for agriculture and the United States.

“There are some concerns the whole package may not be good and the effects it will have on the economy,” Jones said.

The 2018 Farm Bill and what is needed to provide an adequate safety net for Texas farmers were also discussed.

Members in districts one and five presented policy ideas that would reemphasize support for programs on farm safety and moving equipment down roadways. Members supported education and outreach for both farmers and motorists alike.

Policy proposals approved by county Farm Bureaus will be considered by the TFB Resolutions Committee in November, with committee recommendations forwarded to the TFB Annual Meeting, Dec. 3-5, in San Antonio for voting delegate consideration.

The deadline for counties to submit resolutions to the state office is Friday, Oct. 28.

Read the full article at http://texasagriculture.texasfarmbureau.org/article/Members+Discuss+TFB+Policy+Topics+for+Coming+Year/2583117/337550/article.html.

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