TFB Resolutions Committee addresses agricultural concerns
(WACO, Texas)—Rollback taxes for agricultural valuation topped the list of concerns as the Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) Resolutions Committee discussed proposed policy changes for the state’s largest farm organization Nov. 2-3.
The committee, made up of 39 TFB members representing all segments of agriculture, spent two days reviewing, deliberating and consolidating more than 250 resolutions to both state and national policies proposed by county Farm Bureaus from across the state. The policy recommendations will be considered during the organization’s 82nd annual meeting Dec. 5-7 in Arlington.
Committee members proposed a reduction in the number of years of rollback taxes for agricultural valuation that will avoid any negative impacts on agriculture. Rollback provisions in state law exist to prevent the use of agricultural lands for tax advantages when there is no intent to use them for agricultural purposes. If the use of the land is changed to something other than agriculture, then property taxes and penalties from previous years are due.
“Farmers and ranchers want to ensure that agricultural valuation is not abused,” said TFB Vice President and Committee Chairman Dave Edmiston. “This will strengthen our policy and help keep farmers and ranchers on the land.”
Edmiston said the Legislature is set to study the issue before the next session.
Agriculture is dependent on innovation and technology, but farmers and ranchers need flexibility. With their eye to the future, committee members sifted through resolutions on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
“Drones could soon become a mainstay on farms and ranches, just like tractors and combines,” Edmiston said. “Burdensome and unnecessary state and federal agency regulations could stifle the use of these privately owned UAVs as an aid for agriculture.”
Additional resolutions proposed changes to the organization’s policies on transportation, chronic wasting disease (CWD) in deer and improving broadband Internet service in rural areas of Texas.
On the national level, cottonseed classification and the Endangered Species Act (ESA) were the top concerns.
Committee members proposed including cottonseed as an oilseed crop for the purpose of government program determination.
“The removal of cotton as a covered commodity came at an unfortunate time. Classifying cottonseed as an oilseed makes the crop eligible for protection through farm bill programs,” Edmiston said.
Listing processes for threatened and endangered species were also reviewed. Resolutions proposed more rigid requirements to prevent the listing of species without extensive private and scientific data.
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 2016.
Please note: For a high-resolution photo of the 2015 TFB Resolutions Committee, please visit the following link: http://bit.ly/1MAvEsB.
The 2015 TFB Resolutions Committee convened Nov. 2-3 in Waco to review proposed policy changes from county Farm Bureaus (CFB) across the state.
Row 1 (left to right): Russell Boening, TFB president; Dave Edmiston, TFB vice president and Resolutions Committee chair; Layne Chapman, Young Farmer & Rancher Committee chair; Robert Gordon, TFB secretary-treasurer; Michael White, TFB District 3 state director; Mark Chamblee, District 5 state director; and Larry Joiner, District 9 state director.
Row 2 (left to right): Denzel Tevis, Ochiltree CFB; Jess Wieners, Carson CFB; Jerry Don Glover, Bailey CFB; Jay Johnson, Swisher CFB; Chris Cummings, Hale CFB; Dennis Shoemaker, Clay CFB; Kurt Lemon, Wilbarger CFB; Brad Fenley, Denton CFB; James Hudson, Denton CFB; and Aaron Looney, Grayson CFB.
Row 3 (left to right): Sam Scott, Henderson CFB; Greg Spigener, Titus CFB; David Stubblefield, Mitchell CFB; Terry Caffey, Concho CFB; Jeff Kaspar, McCulloch CFB; Whit Weems, Erath CFB; Louis Insall, Burnet CFB; Bob Avant, Williamson CFB; Bill Ward, Limestone CFB; Jeff Boulware, Angelina CFB; and Kevin Counsil, Madison CFB.
Row 4 (left to right): Travis Walker, La Salle CFB; David Kraft, Comal CFB; Jack Patterson, Kerr CFB; Gary Moriarty, Grimes CFB; Colt Christian, Walker CFB; Ray Arnold, Goliad CFB; Milton Lowak, Wilson CFB; Janice Ohrt, Victoria CFB; Donald Kelley, Hidalgo CFB; and Alan Wheeler, Kleberg-Kenedy CFB.