Amendment filed to repeal mandatory COOL

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U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, R-Kan., chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, filed an amendment Thursday, July 23 to repeal mandatory country of origin labeling (COOL) requirements for beef, pork and chicken – required by Canada and Mexico to prevent billions of dollars in retaliatory tariffs on the U.S. economy. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, was a cosponsor of the bill. Read more…

Save the Date for Policy Conference – All TSCRA members invited to attend

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Mark your calendar for Wednesday, Sept. 23, to Friday, Sept. 25, for the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) Policy Conference at the Westin Riverwalk, San Antonio. The TSCRA Policy Conference replaces the traditional fall meeting and offers a format in which TSCRA members will have ample time to focus on policy issues of interest to association members and any others involved in ranching and the stewardship of private property.

Cattlemen’s Column: Death tax adversely affects domestic economy

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In June’s Cattlemen’s Column, TSCRA Second Vice President and Fort Davis rancher Robert McKnight discusses the tolls death tax pays on ranchers, the middle class, and the economy as a whole. TSCRA Read more…

House passes COOL repeal legislation, Cornyn applauds action

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The House of Representatives passed the Conaway/Costa bill (HR 2392) to repeal Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) for beef, pork and chicken. The bill passed with a strong bi-partisan vote of 300 to 131. NCBA President Philip Ellis said this strong action by the House sends a clear signal that this is a failed program. U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, applauded House passage of the bill, saying “The last thing Texas farmers, ranchers, and manufacturers need are onerous, unfair regulations that hamstring their ability to compete in the global market. The COOL regulations for beef, pork, and chicken need to go, and I applaud Rep. Conaway for leading the fight in the House.” Read more…

Senate committee votes to stop EPA's regulatory land grab

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The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works advanced legislation today to force the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to rewrite their “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule, a move applauded by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Public Lands Council. During the markup, Wyoming Senator John Barrasso stated that the final rule, published on May 27, is actually worse than the proposed rule. Read more…

TSCRA statement on finalized EPA water rule

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TSCRA President Pete Bonds made a statement Wednesday after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized its Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. The agency finalized the rule, which unilaterally expands its jurisdiction over water in our country, only 6 months after receiving 1 million public comments. “The EPA claims the finalized Waters of the U.S. rule is an effort to keep our nation’s water clean and safe, but I fully disagree…” Read more…

NCBA: EPA writes off rural America, finalizes proposed WOTUS rule

Picture courtesy Oklahoma State University

The EPA finalized its “Waters of the United States” proposed rule Wednesday, which unilaterally strips private property rights and adds hundreds of thousands of stream miles and acres of land to federal jurisdiction. Under the guise of clarifying the Clean Water Act, the EPA and the Army Corps added ambiguous language to the law that leaves regulation up to the subjectivity of individual regulators across the country. By law, the EPA must read and consider all comments submitted on the proposed rule, but only six months after receiving over one million public comments on the proposal, EPA has finalized the rule. Philip Ellis, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association president, said this is a clear indication there is no intention of considering the concerns of those most impacted by the rule. Read more…

TSCRA wraps up Texas Central Railway informational meetings

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Around 100 ranchers, landowners and guests attended the second of TSCRA’s informational meetings in Navasota Thursday evening at the Grimes County Expo Center. Kyle Workman, president, Texans Against High-Speed Rail, was there to discuss the project and answer questions. TSCRA hosted a previous meeting May 14 in Corsicana at the Navarro County Exposition Center. Read more…

Legislation introduced in House to repeal COOL

Photo © 2012 Cattlemen's Beef Board

After more than a decade and 2 administrations failing to successfully implement the rule, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway, R-Texas, introduced legislation (H.R. 2393) to repeal Country of Origin Labeling (COOL). Originally introduced in the 2002 Farm Bill covering beef, pork and chicken; and implemented in 2008, COOL has been detrimental to the U.S. livestock industry and without benefit to U.S. consumers. After multiple rulings against the U.S. by the World Trade Organization, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President Philip Ellis said this action by Congress is long overdue. Read more…

TSCRA Hosts Texas Central Railway Informational meeting

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TSCRA welcomed members and local ranchers to an informational meeting Thursday evening in Corsicana on the proposed Texas Central Railway (TCR). Pete Bonds, TSCRA president, welcomed attendees and noted that the meeting was an opportunity to learn more about the project. Read more…

Committee hearing scheduled for Senate Bill 474 by state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst

Texas State Capitol photo by TexasExplorer98 at flickr

Thanks to those who called Rep. Joe Deshotel urging him to schedule S.B. 474 by Sen. Lois Kolkhorst for a committee hearing. Your efforts were successful and the bill is scheduled for a House Land and Resource Management Committee hearing on Monday, May 18 at 2:00 p.m. or upon adjournment of the House. While this is a step forward, our work isn’t finished yet. It is important to tell the committee members to vote YES on S.B. 474, which helps level the playing field for landowners by requiring condemnors to pay the landowner’s litigation fees if the initial offer is too low. Please call the House Land and Resource Management Committee members and tell them to vote YES on this bill and pass it out of the committee on Monday. Read more…

Conaway supports legislation to stop WOTUS proposed rule

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House Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway, R-Texas, spoke May 13 in support of H.R. 1732, the Regulatory Integrity Act of 2015. The bill, which would force the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers to stop moving forward with the proposed “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule, passed the House by a vote of 261-155. Read more…

TSCRA submits comments opposing 2015 DGAC report

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TSCRA submitted comments on Friday, May 8 opposing the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee;s (DGAC) report, which encourages Americans to consume less beef. The report provides recommendations for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS) secretaries as they develop their plan for revised dietary guidelines. Read more…

TSCRA to host Central Texas Railway Informational meetings

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TSCRA is hosting two informational meetings on the proposed Texas Central Railway (TCR) in Corsicana on May 14 and Navasota on May 21. The featured speaker at both meetings will be Kyle Workman, president of Texans Against High-Speed Rail. Workman will be available to answer questions about the project from attendees. Read more…

Last chance to submit comments opposing flawed 2015 dietary guidelines

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The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) recently submitted their dietary recommendations to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Health and Human Services (HHS). Their suggestions are very negative toward the meat industry. In fact, they are recommending a reduction in the consumption of red meat. The DGAC’s report will guide the USDA and HHS Secretaries as they finalize the 2015 Dietary Guidelines by the end of the year. The report is open for public comment until May 8, and it is extremely important for cattle raisers to voice opposition to these severely flawed recommendations. Take a stand against the federal government’s bureaucratic anti-meat agenda and submit comments telling them beef should always be on Americans’ plates. Read more…

Ag committee chairman rejects generic label option

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House Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway, R-Texas, has rejected the latest recommendation to establish a generic mandatory label option, an option typically referred to as a “Product of North America” label, should the U.S. lose its World Trade Organization (WTO) appeal regarding country of origin labeling (COOL) in the coming weeks. Read more…

Senators call for repeal of WOTUS

USDA/NRCS photo by Jeff Vanuga.

Senators John Barrasso, R-Wyo., and Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., announced Thursday they are introducing bipartisan legislation to repeal the EPA’s Waters of the United States (WOTUS) proposal, a proposal that will jeopardize the rights of private property owners across the country. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Public Lands Council applaud the Senators for actively working to stop the EPA’s aggressive attempt to expand federal jurisdiction over nearly all waters. Read more…

TSCRA Cattlemen's Column: Texas Water Shortage Spurs Legislative Concern

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Jay Evans, TSCRA director and chair of the Natural Resources and Environment Committee, talks drought, groundwater, legislation and how all three are putting pressure on the private property rights of ranchers across the state. Read more…

TSCRA statement on House passage of death tax repeal act

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TSCRA Second Vice President Robert McKnight, a rancher from Fort Davis, made a statement following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1105, the Death Tax Repeal Act of 2015,  The legislation, which passed with a with a 240-179 vote,  was authored and championed by Rep. Kevin Brady, Texas, Dist. 8. Read more…

‘Death tax’ punishes success

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Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas,  a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, and Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., the House majority whip, discuss the death tax and why it is the wrong tax at the wrong time and hurts the wrong people, like ranchers and farmers. Read more at USAToday…

TSCRA submits comments opposing EPA water rule proposal

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TSCRA President Pete Bonds made a statement after TSCRA submitted comments on Friday opposing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and United States Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule proposal. The rule would redefine the term navigable under the waters of the U.S. to give the federal government jurisdiction over all water in the country. Read more…

Deadline for submitting comments to stop EPA land grab is Friday

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The EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released a rule proposal in March attempting to expand their authority over waters of the U.S. The EPA currently has jurisdiction over “navigable” waterways, meaning a body of water you could sail a large ship through. If adopted, the rule would redefine navigable to include jurisdictional tributaries, ponds, streams, creeks, ditches, puddles, man-made conveyances, wet areas on pastures, etc. Basically, the federal government would control every drop of water in the country. The rule proposal amounts to the largest land grab in history and would result in additional onerous regulations for you as ranchers and landowners. TSCRA is urging you, your family, friends and neighbors to comment on this flawed rule proposal by visiting www.tscra.org and clicking on the “EPA Land Grab” button. The deadline for submitting comments is FRIDAY, NOV. 14, 2014. Read more…

Cattlemen's Column: Securing Texas Landowners' Private Property Rights

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Since TSCRA was established in 1877, one of the association’s top priorities has been to represent landowners by working to preserve and protect private property rights. This goal remains vital today as we monitor issues that could adversely affect the important rights held by ranchers and agricultural producers as stewards of our nation’s land. TSCRA has recently been monitoring a new rule proposed by the Railroad Commission of Texas, in the wake of the 2013 Denbury case. This new rule attempts to clarify how oil and gas pipeline companies can obtain “common carrier” status when applying for a permit to operate a new pipeline. Read more…

Staples testifies before US House Committee on Natural Resources, encourages Endangered Species Act reform

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Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples testified Sept. 9 before the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources. Committee members considered six bills to amend the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Staples spoke in support of H.R. 4284, the ESA Improvement Act of 2014, sponsored by Congressman Randy Neugebauer, R, Texas – Dist. 19. Read more…

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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

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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

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

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

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…