Voting delegates direct changes to policies in water plan funding, transportation
WACO, Texas—The farm and ranch membership that traditionally supports lower taxes and government fees voted today in support of a source of revenue to fund the state’s water plan during the business session of the 79th Annual Meeting of the Texas Farm Bureau (TFB).
More than 1,000 farmers and ranchers—866 of which served as voting delegates—from across the state convened Dec. 1-3 at the Waco Convention Center for the annual meeting of the state’s largest agriculture organization.
Voting delegates supported an amendment to TFB policy that calls for a source of revenue, either through a dedicated fund or from the Rainy Day Fund, to allocate necessary resources through the state water plan.
“We understand the state water plan will be expensive, and we need a dedicated revenue source to fund it,” said TFB President Kenneth Dierschke. “Recognizing that agriculture is one of the major water users in the state, we want to be part of the solution.”
In an attempt by Farm Bureau members to address the damage to their local roads, voting delegates passed a resolution to allocate funds to Texas counties to make necessary repairs. The delegates recommended that 25 percent of the oil severance tax be used to repair roadways following damage from oil and gas drilling and production activities.
“Farmers and ranchers must be able to rely on the roads around their property and along major thoroughfares to efficiently transport goods and livestock,” Dierschke said. “While we do not oppose oil and gas exploration, our members do feel that the tax revenue from the industry should help repair damage done to our roadways in the process.”
Voting delegates debated several additional state and national issues. The members supported a statewide beef checkoff program that could keep the per-head assessment inside the state or provide a percentage to a national program. They also passed a resolution to expand boll weevil control efforts along the border and into Mexico. By assisting cotton farmers along the U.S.-Mexico border, steps could be taken to protect crops from boll weevil infestation.
Policy was approved by Texas delegates last year to support a cost-benefit analysis of continued expansion of ethanol and alternative fuels; if approved at the American Farm Bureau Federation, it would be a significant change to national Farm Bureau policy.
During the annual meeting, members elected the following state directors to two-year terms: Dan Smith of Floyd County, District 2; Ben Wible of Grayson County, District 4; Neil Walter of Coryell County, District 8; and Ronnie Muennink of Medina County, District 10. The following directors were reelected to two-year terms: David Stubblefield of Mitchell County, District 6, and Russell Boening of Wilson County, District 12. Directors from the odd-numbered districts will continue serving the second year of their existing terms.
Kenneth Dierschke also was elected to his 11th consecutive one-year term as TFB president. Upon adjournment of the meeting, the board appointed Stubblefield as vice president and reappointed Boening as secretary-treasurer.