Right to farm and ranch protections in Texas Constitution headed to November ballot
(WACO, Texas)—Texas voters can provide important protections in the Texas Constitution for everyday farming and ranching following today’s passage of a proposed right to farm and ranch constitutional amendment by the Texas Legislature.
The committee substitute for HJR 126 by State Rep. DeWayne Burns of Cleburne was approved May 4 by the Texas Senate, 31-0. State Sen. Charles Perry of Lubbock sponsored the amendment in the Senate.
The committee substitute for HJR 126 had been previously approved on April 10 by the Texas House of Representatives, 144-0.
The measure now heads to the Nov. 7 statewide ballot.
“This is a monumental day for Texas farmers and ranchers and for Texas agriculture,” said Texas Farm Bureau President Russell Boening of Poth. “The constitutional amendment isn’t about protecting the past. It’s about ensuring Texans’ access to safe and affordable food in the future. We’re grateful for the leadership and efforts of Rep. Burns and Sen. Perry in securing passage of this very important constitutional amendment.”
The constitutional amendment specifies people have the right to engage in generally accepted farm, ranch, timber production, horticulture, or wildlife management practices on real property they own or lease.
“The constitutional amendment also protects the public from any real danger. It protects animal health and welfare. It protects crops from diseases and pests, and it protects water, fish and wildlife, trees, and other natural resources,” said Boening, who testified twice at the state Capitol in support of HJR 126. “Texas continues to rapidly increase in population, and it’s critical that farmers and ranchers be able to grow food, fiber and fuel for our state and nation as more and more agricultural areas are impacted by development and population growth. The time is right for this constitutional amendment.”
Texas loses more than 240,000 acres of agricultural and ranch lands each year to development, according to the Texas Land and Water Conservation Coalition. Farming and ranching are vital components of a healthy Texas, contributing over $115 billion to the state economy.
“This constitutional amendment is perhaps the most meaningful legislative effort to support Texas agriculture in many years,” Boening said. “Texas agriculture is a big deal. It is worth protecting in our Texas Constitution.”