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 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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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…

Senate immigration bill would set up a new permanent ag worker program

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Sweeping immigration legislation taking shape in the Senate will aim to overhaul the nation’s agriculture worker program to create a steady supply of labor for farmers and growers, who rely more than any other industry on workers who have come to the country illegally. Read more…

How one federal program was able to beat the sequester

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The sequester was supposed to be something new in Washington: a budget cut you couldn’t beat. But after an extensive – and ultimately successful – campaign by meat industry stakeholders, the money to keep federal food inspectors on the job was found. Read more…

Horse slaughter plant’s lawyer says opening just weeks away

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The lawyer for a New Mexico meat plant that wants to be the first to slaughter horses in the U.S. since 2007 says the facility may be operational in just a few weeks. The company is one of several that have applied to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to slaughter horses, a practice that ended in 2007 after Congress defunded government inspections at the facilities. That measure lapsed in 2011. The USDA, which would regulate the plant, didn’t immediately comment on the lawyer’s assertion. The agency this month said that once the company meets technical requirements and inspector training has taken place, “the department will legally have no choice but to go forward with inspections.” Read more…

Cattlemen Connect: Rep. Trent Ashby

Check out this first edition of “Cattlemen Connect”, a new video series by TSCRA to help members connect with elected officials. This video focuses on Texas State Rep. Trent Ashby, R-Dist. 57, Lufkin, and what topics are influencing his area of the state. Read more…

Cornyn to speak at Cattle Raisers Convention

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U.S. Sen. John Cornyn will speak during the Opening General Session of the136th Annual Cattle Raisers Convention, March 22-24 in Fort Worth. Cornyn will update attendants on federal legislation and regulations that could affect the cattle industry, including immigration and border security, federal budget cuts and the Endangered Species Act. Read more…

NCBA favors voluntary COOL

Photo © 2012 Cattlemen's Beef Board

The USDA’s new proposed rule for country of origin labeling (COOL) will just create more problems for the U.S. beef industry, says NCBA President Elect Bob McCan, a cattleman from Victoria, Texas, and TSCRA past president. Speaking on NCBA’s “Beltway Beef” audio program, McCan says there is no regulatory fix to bring COOL rules into compliance with World Trade Organization (WTO) agreement. Read more…