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It’s grassroots time!

It’s grassroots time!

By Billy Howe
State Legislative Director

As the final days of the 84th Session of the Texas Legislature come to a close, this is when your influence can have the greatest impact.

This is the time when a bill either lives or dies by a single action of the legislature because there isn’t time for a miraculous resurrection.

It is the time of session when our organization, with over 500,000 member families, can greatly influence the success or failure of legislation.

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Private property rights are not optional

Private property rights are not optional

By Billy Howe
TFB State Legislative Director

Sometimes it seems people believe the legislature’s power is unlimited; that the legislature has no constraints on determining our state’s public policy, or the regulatory authority they can grant to state and local agencies.

However, it’s simply not true when it comes to private property rights.

Private property ownership and rights don’t come from the legislature. The courts determine if a landowner has a property right. Once that right is recognized, it is protected by the Takings Clause of both the Texas and U.S. constitutions. Both the court and the constitution provide the checks and balance to the legislature’s power.

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Time to ditch the rule before EPA ditches you

Time to ditch the rule before EPA ditches you

By Mike Barnett

It looks like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is trying to flood agriculture into submission with its revisions of the Clean Water Act.

This map, developed by the U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and updated for EPA, shows locations and flow patterns of waterways in Texas.

At first glance, it looks innocent enough. Where it gets problematic is how it could be used.

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Texas Agriculture Talks: Top 10 blogs for 2013

Texas Agriculture Talks: Top 10 blogs for 2013

By Mike Barnett

2013 is gone but not forgotten. But it soon will be as we dig deeper into the New Year.

I decided to look back at 2013 through the eyes of Texas Agriculture Talks, posting the 10 favorite columns as decided by you, our readers. Gene Hall and I started the blog in 2009 to provide a proactive voice for agriculture, whose methods were being chopped apart by groups and individuals with an ax to grind. We found our voice in those tough beginning years. And although we’ve mellowed a bit with age, we’re not afraid to speak out—loudly—for all the farmers and ranchers who raise food and fiber. We’ve since expanded our efforts to include guest bloggers.

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Reflections on the 83rd Legislative Session

Reflections on the 83rd Legislative Session

By Billy Howe

State Legislative Director

Monday, May 27, 2013 marked the end of my 10th session of the Texas Legislature, the seventh with the Texas Farm Bureau. Sometimes it is hard to believe it has been almost 20 years since a kid from Itasca, Texas moved to Austin to work in the Texas House.

Every session has had its own personality depending on the issues and the players. This session may be a historic one for the state if voters approve the creation of a dedicated fund to implement the State Water Plan in November.

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