This will be our final post before Christmas, so first and foremost, I hope y’all have a safe and very Merry Christmas!
Your TSCRA government relations team will be scattered across the state to celebrate. Kaleb will be back in East Texas, Peyton back in West Texas, and for the first time, I’ll be hosting my own Griswold-style family Christmas here in Central Texas.
We’re fortunate to get some time off to spend with family and friends. Still, I know most of you will be working just as hard as normal to care for your livestock and operations over the holidays. Thank you for what you do, and thank you for your support of TSCRA over the past year.
We all seem to have gotten a few early Christmas presents from Washington, though!
Last week the U.S. House of Representatives passed two cattle market transparency bills that TSCRA supported. The first reauthorizes Livestock Mandatory Reporting (LMR) for another year. LMR requires packers to report a wide variety of critical data that helps cattle producers make informed business decisions. The other was a bill to include reporting in LMR on the packers’ contractual agreements, called the cattle contract library. Both bills now go to the Senate, where we’re hoping for quick passage. You can check out our official statement from President Hughes Abell on the website.
The other good news from D.C. is that the Build Back Better Act, or BBB, has seemingly stalled. Senate Democratic leadership was pushing for a vote by the end of the year, but concerns from moderate Democrats in the chamber hampered those efforts. They’re now focusing on other priorities and have conceded that a vote on BBB won’t come until next year. Some are even questioning if it will happen at all, but only time will tell.
In the last update, I mentioned the comments we submitted to USDA on lab-grown meat labeling. The press release is available on the website if you missed it. Since then, we have also published our editorial column on the subject. You can read it here or in the December Cattleman magazine.
The filing deadline to run for the 2022 Republican and Democratic Primaries closed Monday. That means we now have a pretty accurate list of who’s running for what. However, when you consider there are about 180 state and federal elected officials multiplied by a primary for each party, it’s a mountain of data to review. We’re working through it all now and expect to have a good list of voting recommendations for you early next year.
We’ve also spent a fair amount of time on the road over the last two weeks.
Last Tuesday, we were at the Texas Animal Health Commission meeting, and Wednesday were in Harwood for a meeting with Texas Department of Agriculture officials at HeartBrand Ranch. The TDA meeting was centered around international trade and allowed ag groups to provide feedback on the agency’s efforts to promote Texas products worldwide.
This week we were in Lubbock on Monday and Tuesday to meet with State Senator Charles Perry and State Representative Dustin Burrows. On Wednesday were in Salado with State Representative Brad Buckley. You’ve probably seen all three highlighted in The Cattleman magazine recently in appreciation for their legislative efforts on behalf of cattle raisers.
We also made the trek to Guthrie on Tuesday for an ag roundtable with U.S. Representative Ronny Jackson. The meeting, hosted by the Four Sixes Ranch, provided an opportunity for the Congressman to hear from many of the ranches in the area he represents. We had a great, wide-ranging discussion. Some of the topics I can recall were WOTUS, other water issues, the death tax, Chronic Wasting Disease, price discovery, packer capacity and many more that I’m forgetting. A considerable part of the conversations, though, came back to ensuring the long-term success of the cattle industry and our nation’s food security.
A big thanks to Congressman Jackson for coming to listen and learn from some of the top cattle raisers in the business and the Four Sixes for hosting.
I’m hoping the next couple of weeks will be quieter, so y’all probably won’t hear from me again until after the new year.
Until then, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Jeremy Fuchs is the director of policy communications and government relations for Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association.