Texas Agriculture January 6, 2017 : Page 17

Eminent domain, producer protections top TFB legislative priority list By Jessica Domel News Editor When the 85th Texas Legislature convenes this month, Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) will be there—ready to fight for farmers, ranchers and rural Texans. While thousands of bills will be filed in the 140-day regular session on a myriad of topics, TFB will focus on seven state legislative priorities. “Our biggest priority is eminent domain. We passed some eminent domain reform several years ago, and we’ve now had a chance to see the effect of these revisions,” Regan Beck, TFB director of Government Affairs, said. “We see that we still need to do some more work on emi-nent domain to make it more fair for property owners. That’s what we’re trying to accomplish.” Other priority issues named by the TFB board of directors include: producer financial protections, water, taxes, land use regulation, trans-portation and animal care. “We’re keeping our eye on many issues, but these are the priorities and what we want to accomplish this session,” Beck said. The board sets the priorities for the legislative session, Beck said, choosing issues important to TFB members. On a national level, TFB will focus on eight national legislative priorities. They are: trade, taxes, regulatory reform, the farm bill, cot-tonseed, agriculture technologies, property rights and border security/ immigration. “These topics aren’t just lobbied by TFB staff,” Beck said. “Each year, we take a group of people from across Texas to Washington, D.C. to meet with members of Congress and their staffs to talk about why the topics are important and what needs to be done to ensure the fu-ture of Texas agriculture.” In addition to the annual TFB National Affairs Awards Trip, there’s a TFB State Affairs Awards Trip every other year that takes young county Farm Bureau leaders to Austin to meet with lawmakers about state issues. “It’s important to reach out to your representation in Austin and Washington, D.C.,” Beck said. “These lawmakers want to hear from you. Explain why a specific bill is important to you. Share your story so they really understand what’s needed.” VoterVoice, a feature on www.TexasFarmBureau.org, makes it eas-ier to stay in touch with state and national lawmakers. Simply visit http://texasfarmbureau.org/advocacy/voter-voice to sign up for alerts, find legislation, look up officials and submit com-ments on issues when applicable. State legislative priorities 85th Texas Legislature 1. Eminent Domain —Ensure property owners’ rights are pro-tected under eminent domain law. 2. Producer Financial Protections —Protect agricultural pro-ducers’ ownership in the crops they produce and deliver to a contract purchaser or a warehouse. Ensure that agricultural lien searches and notification procedures protect agricultural producers. 3. Water —Protect the rights of landowners and agricultural pro-ducers to surface water and groundwater. Oppose legislation that at-tempts to take any constitutionally-protected rights to water. 4. Taxes —Ensure state tax policy does not adversely impact or burden agricultural producers or the agricultural industry. Protect the current state tax provisions that limit the burden on producing food, fiber and other agricultural products for consumers. 5. Land Use Regulation —Protect the rights of agricultural pro-ducers to engage in normally-accepted agricultural practices on their land. Oppose unnecessary regulatory authority over rural land. 6. Transportation —Ensure vehicle, trailer and driver’s license regulations do not adversely impact or burden agricultural producers or the agricultural industry. 7. Animal Care —Protect the ability of agricultural producers to utilize generally-accepted, scientifically-proven production practices for livestock, poultry and other animals present on agricultural opera-tions. National legislative priorities 115th Congress, First Session 1. Trade —Support the passage of trade agreements that benefit production agriculture. 2. Taxes —Support comprehensive tax reform, including the per-manent repeal of the estate tax. 3. Regulatory Reform —Support comprehensive reform of the federal regulatory process to ensure the right of agricultural produc-ers and property owners to provide meaningful input and challenge regulatory proposals. 4. Farm Bill —Participate in the formulation of the 2018 Farm Bill to ensure the concerns of Texas agricultural producers are ad-dressed and an effective safety net is maintained. 5. Cottonseed —Support the classification of cottonseed as an oil seed under Title I of the Farm Bill. 6. Agricultural Technologies —Defend against legislation that would reduce or eliminate access and/or use of approved agricultural technologies (GMO, feed additives, antibiotics, etc.). 7. Property Rights —Seek to resolve BLM claims of ownership of private property along the Red River border between Texas and Okla-homa. 8. Border Security/Immigration —Support comprehensive im-migration reform that includes a temporary visa provision for agri-cultural laborers. Support resolution of the border fence issue that recognizes the property rights of private landowners. J ANUARY 6 , 2017 17

Eminent Domain, Producer Protections Top TFB Legislative Priority List

Jessica Domel

When the 85th Texas Legislature convenes this month, Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) will be there—ready to fight for farmers, ranchers and rural Texans.

While thousands of bills will be filed in the 140-day regular session on a myriad of topics, TFB will focus on seven state legislative priorities.

“Our biggest priority is eminent domain. We passed some eminent domain reform several years ago, and we’ve now had a chance to see the effect of these revisions,” Regan Beck, TFB director of Government Affairs, said. “We see that we still need to do some more work on eminent domain to make it more fair for property owners. That’s what we’re trying to accomplish.”

Other priority issues named by the TFB board of directors include: producer financial protections, water, taxes, land use regulation, transportation and animal care.

“We’re keeping our eye on many issues, but these are the priorities and what we want to accomplish this session,” Beck said.

The board sets the priorities for the legislative session, Beck said, choosing issues important to TFB members.

On a national level, TFB will focus on eight national legislative priorities. They are: trade, taxes, regulatory reform, the farm bill, cottonseed, agriculture technologies, property rights and border security/ immigration.

“These topics aren’t just lobbied by TFB staff,” Beck said. “Each year, we take a group of people from across Texas to Washington, D.C. to meet with members of Congress and their staffs to talk about why the topics are important and what needs to be done to ensure the future of Texas agriculture.”

In addition to the annual TFB National Affairs Awards Trip, there’s a TFB State Affairs Awards Trip every other year that takes young county Farm Bureau leaders to Austin to meet with lawmakers about state issues.

“It’s important to reach out to your representation in Austin and Washington, D.C.,” Beck said. “These lawmakers want to hear from you. Explain why a specific bill is important to you. Share your story so they really understand what’s needed.”

VoterVoice, a feature on www.TexasFarmBureau.org, makes it easier to stay in touch with state and national lawmakers.

Simply visit http://texasfarmbureau.org/advocacy/voter-voice to sign up for alerts, find legislation, look up officials and submit comments on issues when applicable.

State legislative priorities

85th Texas Legislature

1) Eminent Domain—Ensure property owners’ rights are protected under eminent domain law.

2) Producer Financial Protections—Protect agricultural producers’ ownership in the crops they produce and deliver to a contract purchaser or a warehouse. Ensure that agricultural lien searches and notification procedures protect agricultural producers.

3) Water—Protect the rights of landowners and agricultural producers to surface water and groundwater. Oppose legislation that attempts to take any constitutionally-protected rights to water.

4) Taxes—Ensure state tax policy does not adversely impact or burden agricultural producers or the agricultural industry. Protect the current state tax provisions that limit the burden on producing food, fiber and other agricultural products for consumers.

5) Land Use Regulation—Protect the rights of agricultural producers to engage in normally-accepted agricultural practices on their land. Oppose unnecessary regulatory authority over rural land.

6) Transportation—Ensure vehicle, trailer and driver’s license regulations do not adversely impact or burden agricultural producers or the agricultural industry.

7) Animal Care—Protect the ability of agricultural producers to utilize generally-accepted, scientifically-proven production practices for livestock, poultry and other animals present on agricultural operations.

National legislative priorities

115th Congress, First Session

1) Trade—Support the passage of trade agreements that benefit production agriculture.

2) Taxes—Support comprehensive tax reform, including the permanent repeal of the estate tax.

3) Regulatory Reform—Support comprehensive reform of the federal regulatory process to ensure the right of agricultural producers and property owners to provide meaningful input and challenge regulatory proposals.

4) Farm Bill—Participate in the formulation of the 2018 Farm Bill to ensure the concerns of Texas agricultural producers are addressed and an effective safety net is maintained.

5) Cottonseed—Support the classification of cottonseed as an oil seed under Title I of the Farm Bill.

6) Agricultural Technologies—Defend against legislation that would reduce or eliminate access and/or use of approved agricultural technologies (GMO, feed additives, antibiotics, etc.).

7) Property Rights—Seek to resolve BLM claims of ownership of private property along the Red River border between Texas and Oklahoma.

8) Border Security/Immigration—Support comprehensive immigration reform that includes a temporary visa provision for agricultural laborers. Support resolution of the border fence issue that recognizes the property rights of private landowners.

Read the full article at http://texasagriculture.texasfarmbureau.org/article/Eminent+Domain%2C+Producer+Protections+Top+TFB+Legislative+Priority+List+/2675763/372175/article.html.

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