by Arthur G. Uhl III, Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association president
Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association was founded in 1877 to combat cattle rustling. Today, the association continues its mission of protecting cattle producers, not only through law enforcement, but also by advocating for sound public policy on issues affecting our members.
Traditionally, this column highlights one of those specific policy issues. For this month, however, I want to explain the several ways the association positively impacts the many, varied policy issues affecting our membership.
Association leaders and staff advocate on a wide variety of topics, directly and indirectly, related to your ability to raise cattle and own land. Policymakers, most of whom have little to no experience raising cattle, regularly consider issues of great importance to our members such as taxes, property rights, financial markets, border security, international trade, water, cattle diseases, wildlife, beef substitutes, labor and many others.
To ensure policymakers understand how their decisions impact our members, Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association actively participates in all three branches of government — legislative, executive and judicial — in both Texas and Washington, D.C.
In the U.S. Congress and Texas Legislature, our leaders and government relations staff serve as liaisons for cattle producers and landowners. We bring legislation that will benefit our members and defend against legislation which will harm our members.
The Texas Legislature meets every odd-numbered year from January to May. During the last legislative session, the association’s government relations team read 7,385 pieces of legislation and worked on 798 bills that impacted you and your fellow cattle raisers. Thousands of hours were spent in more than 1,000 meetings and conference calls during those six months, not to mention numerous legislative committee meetings and countless hours spent preparing, strategizing, and compiling information.
Like our work in the Texas Legislature, the association is actively engaged with the U.S. Congress as they craft federal statutes on every issue imaginable. For these purposes, association leaders and staff regularly travel to Washington and are in constant communication with Congressional members and their staff to advocate for and against legislation as necessary.
Our work doesn’t end in the halls of the U.S. or Texas Capitols, though.
Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association also monitors and works with 33 executive branch regulatory agencies at the state and federal levels. These agencies propose countless regulations every year that can impact your operation and property. We frequently provide written comments and oral testimony to these agencies and continually work with their leaders and staff to address the needs and concerns of ranchers and landowners.
Each year, federal and state courts also hear thousands of cases, many of which have implications for cattle raisers. The association actively participates in the judicial process when cases reach appeal and have consequences beyond the parties involved. This often means filing an amicus curiae brief in certain precedent-setting cases. This tool allows us to provide the court with additional expertise and insight into the matter, hopefully swaying their opinion.
Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association’s mission is to protect the stewards of land and livestock in the Southwest. Rest assured, your association is working diligently on almost every issue imaginable and using every avenue available to ensure a bright future for you and your fellow members.