Texas Farm Bureau will be tested by Texas legislature's budget burdenBy Kenneth Dierschke

 Texas Farm Bureau has long been an advocate of limited government and fiscal responsibility. It’s who we are. It’s what we stand for. Our mettle is about to be tested as the Texas Legislature scrambles for dollars to meet our state’s needs.

Texas’ fiscal house is in disorder.  Estimates put the budget shortfall as high as $27 billion. The Texas Legislature will make hard choices in the coming months. Budget cuts will ravage education, state agencies and programs. Everything is on the table. Agriculture will not be immune.

Many agencies and programs important to our industry and rural Texas will be under scrutiny, including the Texas Animal Health Commission, 4-H, AgriLife Extension, feral hogs, fever ticks—even boll weevil eradication. Talk has centered on budget cuts of 30 to 50 percent for the Texas Department of Agriculture alone. That’s real money.

How agriculture and Texas Farm Bureau respond to proposed cuts could determine the fate of our legislative priorities. We are halfway toward our goal of eminent domain reform. Water legislation important to the private property rights of landowners is under consideration.

If we raise a stink over agriculture budget cuts—knowing full well that every state agency and state funded programs affecting most every person in the state of Texas are undergoing similar cuts—we will lose credibility. Our cries for fiscal restraint and limited government will ring hollow. All that we have achieved concerning eminent domain could be lost.  Our hard work on groundwater could be sunk.

“Cut everything you see but don’t cut me.” There will be a lot of special interests advocating that kind of policy.

Yet fiscal restraint on the part of government is the new fact of life facing Texans. There are no easy cuts. Every cut will take away something that is important to somebody. We might as well get used to it. We must do our part.

Farmers and ranchers—and Texas Farm Bureau—must not be seen as rabble rousers in the upcoming budget fracas. We must stand strong and united, yes. But we also need to adjust to fiscal reality.

We have a man we can trust to lead the Texas legislature through the upcoming budget maze as it concerns agriculture, one who knows the essential programs which must be funded and the priorities for a new budget era. His thankless job will not be easy. He may be criticized by some. But we can rely upon him.

His name is Todd Staples. We elected him to serve Texas as Agriculture Commissioner. Tough choices lie ahead. He deserves our support. He has mine.

Kenneth Dierschke is president of the Texas Farm Bureau.

Visit the Texas Farm Bureau website at www.txfb.org .
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Cindy Wennin

Cindy Wennin is the Senior Graphic Designer for Texas Farm Bureau. Her responsibilities include web development and support.

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2 Responses to “Texas Farm Bureau will be tested by Texas legislature’s budget burden”

  1. You can vote and comment on current legislation at http://www.backmic.com. Feature Bill of the day on Friday is HB279 on Eminent Domain. Join the discussions, vote and share your comments.

  2. Bayard Breeding says:

    It is unfortunate that so many Texas will suffer the results of the incompetence and fiscal malfeasance that we have witnessed in the behavior of the Texas Legislature and our cheerleader govenor. Their folly is simply not acceptable. They should all be tarred,feathered and fired!

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