Resolutions Committee sifts through agriculture issues
WACO, Texas—Transportation issues and eminent domain took center stage as the Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) Resolutions Committee discussed proposed policy changes for the state’s largest farm organization Nov. 4-5.
The committee, made up of 41 TFB members representing all segments of agriculture, spent two days reviewing, deliberating and consolidating more than 300 resolutions to both state and national policies proposed by county Farm Bureaus from across the state.
Delegates opposed recent Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) action to downgrade FM roads to gravel or emulsified surfaces in South and West Texas counties.
“Our members use the Farm-to-Market roads to transport their commodities to market, so it’s important to have these roads maintained,” said TFB Vice President and Committee Chairman David Stubblefield. “The heavy oil field activity in parts of the state is putting pressure on the roads. TxDOT is letting us down on the maintenance of these roads, which are important to the entire state.”
Noting all roads listed on the transportation infrastructure system should be maintained by TxDOT, delegates supported using available funds from the Economic Stabilization Fund (Rainy Day Fund), composed of oil and gas severance taxes, to be added to the highway fund for maintenance of Farm-to-Market roads.
“Texas farmers and ranchers realize we need more funding for the maintenance of highways. Texas has an increasing population, which means more traffic,” Stubblefield added.
The booming oil and gas industry has sparked plans to develop pipelines across the state. If the pipeline company’s intended routes cross a landowner’s property, delegates proposed the landowner receive notification by certified mail with time to challenge the company’s Common Carrier status and right to eminent domain.
“Farmers and ranchers across Texas understand and realize the need for pipelines in moving hydrocarbons, such as oil and gas, as well as water,” Stubblefield said. “But when you give the pipeline companies the power of eminent domain, which has been easily given out in the past, you need safeguards.”
On the national level resolutions ranged from taxes to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ authority.
Resolutions adopted at the TFB annual meeting become policies that guide the organization throughout the coming year. National resolutions, if passed by voting delegates at the TFB annual meeting, will be sent to the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) annual meeting for consideration. Resolutions approved by AFBF delegates at the annual meeting in January will provide a roadmap for the national organization in 2014.
Please note: For a high-resolution photo of the 2013 TFB Resolutions Committee, please visit the following link and click on the photo: http://media.texasfarmbureau.org/?p=853