SAN ANTONIO — The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) on Friday concluded their annual Policy Conference in San Antonio, Texas. The meeting ran from Wednesday, Sept. 27 to Friday, Sept. 29, 2017, and offered members an opportunity to guide the association’s position on many important policy issues.
The meeting opened on Wednesday afternoon with a presentation from Texas Tribune CEO and founder, Evan Smith. In his presentation, Smith provided timely and relevant updates on the political landscape at the Texas Capitol and beyond. Paul Bracher, president of Cullen/Frost Bankers and chief banking officer at Frost Bank, also addressed conference attendees and offered his insights on Texas’ economic situation and outlook.
TSCRA maintains six policy committees that also convened during the Policy Conference. The groups are led and comprised entirely of volunteer members that develop policies to guide TSCRA’s involvement on state and federal issues that impact cattle raisers. The committee meetings in San Antonio resulted in several new policies that were later adopted by the full board of directors, and played host to a myriad of influential speakers who updated members on current issues.
Highlights included the Law Enforcement Committee, who hosted Colonel Grahame Jones, director of law enforcement for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Jones updated members on the activities of Texas’ Game Wardens, and the close working relationship they share with TSCRA’s Special Rangers. The committee also unanimously approved a new policy on the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, also known as drones. The policy supports the lawful use of drones over private land with property owner consent, and supports the use of drones for law enforcement purposes.
The Property Rights and Tax Committee hosted Sen. Donna Campbell to discuss the municipal annexation reforms that she passed during the Texas Legislature’s Special Session. San Antonio attorney and TSCRA director Arthur Uhl also provided the committee with an update on the recently released federal tax reform framework. In advance of the tax debate, the committee adopted a new policy to support the continuation of business expense deductions in the Internal Revenue Code. The provision is important to cattle producers, as it allows them to grow their operations and more readily invest in their future.
The Marketing and Transportation Committee brought forward two new policies. The first solidified the association’s position on agricultural financing, and stated that any changes, among other things, should ensure the burdens of lenders and borrowers are not be transferred to other industry participants and liens should not be re-prioritized. The second policy supports voluntary participation in value-added marketing programs.
For more information on TSCRA membership, events or policy, visit tscra.org.