GOP rep: 'Dangerous' EPA rule could increase food costs

groundwater

Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo., said Monday that a proposed Environmental EPA rule would wreak havoc on farmers and possibly drive up food prices. The EPA has the authority to issue rules for bodies of water on farms to ensure runoff is safe and not damaging to the environment, but Republicans argue the EPA has been too heavy-handed and could end up regulating a drainage ditch instead of just streams and rivers. Read more at The Hill…

EPA, Corps of Engineers hijack Clean Water Act to expand regulatory authority

EPA

States could be facing upwards of 100,000 added regulated stream miles as a result of the “Waters of the United States” rule proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers. While the agencies continue to claim their proposal does not expand the scope of the Clean Water Act, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), Missouri Cattlemen’s Association and Missouri Farm Bureau showcased new interactive maps on Aug. 14, 2014, at the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia, Mo. These maps highlight just how far the proposed rule would expand federal jurisdiction over waters across the country Read more…

New rules proposed on eminent domain process for new pipelines

photo: Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram recently talked to TSCRA President Pete Bonds about pipelines, due process, eminent domain and private property rights The Texas Railroad Commission has proposed a set of rules designed to provide more transparency when a pipeline operator seeks what is known as “common carrier” status: a designation that automatically gives the operator the power of eminent domain to seize land. According to the commission’s general counsel, the proposed rules would create a more developed process that would bring “greater confidence” in the common carrier classification and provide more “certainty for both pipelines and landowners.” The agency is accepting comments on the proposed rules until Aug. 25. Read more at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram…

Rep. Graves files bill to stop all EPA regulations

EPA

Rep. Sam Graves, R-Mo., introduced a bill Wednesday that would stop every regulation the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently developing and require a review of all existing rules. Graves’ legislation would prohibit EPA from taking action on any rules until its retroactive review is complete, and require congressional approval of all regulations that have an economic cost above $50 billion, including past ones. Read more at The Hill...

Farms, EPA on shaky ground

EPA

For years, farmers and ranchers have cast a wary eye toward new laws and regulations from Washington they fear will be costly and burdensome. Agricultural producers argue that they know the best way to take care of their land — not only to maximize production and, if they’re lucky, to make a profit. Farmers say their best practices also preserve the acreage on which they depend. Read more at the Argus Leader

Cattlemen's Column: Vote Yes for a Texas Beef Checkoff

Tscra

Texas beef producers will have the opportunity to vote for a Texas Beef Checkoff program beginning June 2 through June 6. Jason Peeler, rancher and feedyard owner, is voting yes, and here’s why. Read more…

TSCRA leaders meet with Texas attorney general

Tscra

Association leadership met with Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott Monday afternoon concerning issues important to cattle raisers and landowners at TSCRA headquarters in Fort Worth. Topics covered at the meeting included eminent domain in regard to pipelines; landowner surface water rights; the state of rural and farm to market roads, especially in areas of high use by oil and gas development; and border security. Representatives of TSCRA spoke with Atty. Gen. Greg Abbott on issues important to cattle raisers and landowners, Monday. Left to right, front row: April Bonds, TSCRA President Pete Bonds, Atty. Gen. Greg Abbott, TSCRA First Vice President Richard Thorpe III, TSCRA Exectuive Vice President Eldon White. Back row, left to right: TSCRA Directors Joe Leathers, Crawford Edwards, Curtis Younts, Dan Read more…

US files brief on New Mexico-Texas water dispute

USDA/NRCS photo by Jeff Vanuga.

The Obama administration is urging the U.S. Supreme Court to take a middle-ground approach on a water dispute between Texas and New Mexico over management of the Rio Grande. A brief filed Tuesday by the U.S. solicitor general’s office didn’t take sides in the interstate dispute but said the Supreme Court should leave the door open for a quick resolution. Read more…

Farm bill, ag economy and immigration

DC

As Congress heads into the final stretch of its legislative session, FarmPolicy.com takes a look at key issues facing the agriculture sector. Read more…

Cattle Raisers urge Texans to approve Prop 6

Tscra

TSCRA urges ranchers and landowners to vote in favor of Proposition 6 during the Nov. 5 Constitutional Election. Texans can participate in early voting, which begins Oct. 21 and runs through Nov. 1. Proposition 6 is a constitutional amendment providing for the creation of the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas and the State Water Implementation Revenue Fund for Texas. The funds will help finance priority water projects, including rural water projects, to ensure Texas has adequate water resources for the future. Read more…

House panel mulls citizenship path for young undocumented immigrants

DC

Amid continued uncertainty over the fate of comprehensive immigration reform in the GOP-led House, a congressional panel on Tuesday considered the issue of whether undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children should be able to pursue legal status and eventual citizenship. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, a powerful Republican voice on immigration reform, said during a subcommittee hearing that those brought here as children “deserve to be considered from a different perspective” than undocumented immigrants who chose to break the law by illegal entry or visa overstay. Read more…

Cattlemen’s Column: A workable fix for working immigrants

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In this month’s TSCRA Cattlemen’s Column, authored by Pete Bonds, rancher and first vice president of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, Bonds says that whether Congress reforms the entire immigration program or not, they must come up with an effective fix to help provide Texas ranchers with a reliable workforce. Read more…

House Ag committee moves forward on farm bill

DC

After a lengthy discussion, the House Agriculture Committee cleared its version of the 2013 Farm Bill during a markup session which ended late Wednesday night. The House markup follows the Senate Agriculture Committee’s much briefer markup of its farm bill Tuesday. Portions of the House farm bill included priorities important to cattlemen and women such as permanent disaster programs along with the elimination of the livestock title, maintaining of conservation programs and a strong research title. Read more…

Texas pipeline legislation update

Texas State Capitol photo by TexasExplorer98 at flickr

Texas HB 2748, a bill that would have modified how the Railroad Commission reviews and approves pipeline common carrier permit applications, was referred back to committee on the floor of the Texas House, Friday. This essentially puts a halt to the House version of this legislation. Friday’s action in the Texas House was a win for landowners; however, two pieces of similar legislation were heard Monday in the Texas Senate State Affairs Committee. Read more…

Goodlatte touts first House proposal aimed at immigration reform

DC

Rep. Robert W. Goodlatte, R-Va., on Friday unveiled the first of several House measures designed to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws. The Agricultural Guestworker Act would provide American farmers with a more efficient temporary guest worker program aimed at allowing them access to a reliable workforce. Read more…

Carrie Underwood gets political on Tennessee “Ag Gag” bill

Texas AgriLife Extension Service photo by Robert Burns

Singer Carrie Underwood is using her celebrity status to attempt to derail Tennessee HB 1191/SB1248, The Livestock Cruelty Prevention Act, which is awaiting the signature of the state’s governor. The measure stops animal rights activists from videotaping and editing videos to produce abuse scenes on tape and sending these videos to the media, which in turn negatively impacts the ag industry. This measure doesn’t prevent farmers and ranchers in the state from being transparent; instead, it prohibits animal rights activists from getting hired on these operations under false pretenses. It also requires individuals who record cruelty toward farm animals to report the incident and turn in the evidence to law enforcement officials within 48 hours of the abuse. Read more…

U.S. senators unveil bipartisan immigration bill

DC

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators on April 16 unveiled long-awaited landmark legislation to remove the threat of deportation for millions of illegal immigrants and give them an opportunity to eventually become U.S. citizens. Read more…

Reform biofuels mandate, beef, pork urge Congress

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Following an announcement by House lawmakers that they will introduce legislation to address issues with the federal Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS), the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) urged Congress to reform the biofuels mandate. Reps. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., Jim Costa, D-Calif., Steve Womack, R-Ark., and Peter Welch, D-Vt., said at a Wednesday press conference they would introduce the Renewable Fuel Standard Reform Act to “help ease concerns created by the ethanol mandate and protect consumers, energy producers, livestock producers, food manufacturers, retailers and the U.S. economy.” Read more…

Immigration talks see accord on ag workers

Picture courtesy Oklahoma State University

An apparent agreement involving agriculture workers and growers was reached Tuesday as Texas lawmakers separately filed a border security bill in advance of the upcoming debate on immigration reform. A final resolution between groups representing agricultural workers and growers could develop within the next few days. Negotiations were continuing on Capitol Hill. Read more…

Immigration debate now on ag’s turf

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Mark Kelley.

Senate efforts to overhaul immigration law now mainly hinge on a major sector certain to be impacted by the plan: Agriculture. After a bitter fight between interest groups late last week, Republicans and Democrats are closely monitoring sensitive talks between labor and industry over a new program to woo foreign farmworkers. Read more…