By Steve Pringle
The runoff is over and the candidate Texas Farm Bureau AGFUND backed lost. That means either Republican Ted Cruz or Democrat Paul Sadler will represent the Lone Star State as U.S. Senator after the November election.
We have work to do.
From what I’m hearing, neither candidate is paying much attention to agriculture. Let me give you a couple of reasons to reach out and grab their attention:
• If Ted Cruz wins and were to vote against trade with Cuba, he will be voting against his own constituents in Texas, economically speaking. Cuba is a growing market for Texas agriculture exports. If trade is stopped, we suffer. If trade sanctions are eased, our geographic proximity to the island nation promises even more economic benefit.
• If Paul Sadler wins and votes against estate tax repeal, he will be voting against his own farmers and ranchers, who are normally property rich and cash poor.
These are only two concerns that must be brought to the attention of our future U.S. Senator. It is our responsibility in Farm Bureau and as farmers and ranchers to inform our elected officials about all issues that are important to agriculture and rural Texas.
Being from rural East Texas, Paul Sadler may have a shorter learning curve than his Republican counterpart. But from their statements and positions expressed during the primary and runoff campaigns, it is obvious neither appreciates nor understands row crop agriculture.
We need that discernment, especially concerning crop insurance as part of the farm bill. Those of us in agriculture know that the “risks” in Texas are significantly higher than for many farmers in the Midwest. Notwithstanding the current drought, we clearly recognize the vagaries of Texas weather, be it drought, flood, tornado or hurricane. Basically all that is left of the upcoming farm program is crop insurance and risk management programs.
It is imperative our future officials understand how important agriculture is to the economy of the State of Texas.
Hopefully, county leaders and Farm Bureau members will take the opportunity to assist in this education process as you meet not only with our potential senator, but with other soon-to-be-elected public officials.
That’s our work assignment. Let’s get busy.
Steve Pringle is the legislative director for Texas Farm Bureau.