TSCRA government and public affairs staff continue to monitor the progress of the 2018 Farm Bill. The House took the first step this week by voting to send conferees to work out details with the Senate. The Senate must now follow suit before formal negotiations can begin. The House also voted for a motion that instructs conferees to provide mandatory funding for the very important food-and-mouth disease vaccine bank. The full letter can be read here.
TSCRA also signed onto a letter this week supporting the Agricultural Guestworker Act introduced last year by Chairman Bob Goodlatte. The legislation is designed to fix a current H-2A program that is burdensome for producers, and extends the program to year-round employers, such as cattle raisers, and not just seasonal labor. More details are available here.
Last week we noted our support for legislation to reform the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Progress on that legislation continues, though other beneficial changes were proposed this week directly by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). According to FWS several changes that deal “with procedures for listing species, recovery and designating critical habitat (areas essential to support the conservation of a species). First, the agencies propose to revise the procedures for designating critical habitat by reinstating the requirement that they will first evaluate areas currently occupied by the species before considering unoccupied areas. Second, the agencies propose to clarify when they may determine unoccupied areas are essential to the conservation of the species.” More details are available on their website here. We will continue to keep you apprised, as there will be an opportunity for public comments on the changes.
Finally, TSCRA government affairs staff traveled to a ranch gathering in Salado Thursday to provide attendees with an update on the myriad federal and state issues the office is working on. Be sure to keep an eye on our website and Facebook page for upcoming ranch gatherings near you!