TSCRA Government Affairs Roundup: Cattle Raisers Convention, Omnibus Spending Bill, Farm Bill & Ag Appropriations
It has been a busy couple of weeks for TSCRA Government and Public Affairs staff, including policy updates and interesting speakers at the Cattle Raisers Convention. Last week the 2018 Ominbus Spending Bill was signed, affecting a number of ranching and landowner issues. Included in the bill were legislation about exemption from CERCLA/EPCRA reporting and electronic logging devices for agricultural haulers; funding of fever tick eradication efforts in South Texas; fixes for 199A in the tax code, plus much more.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued a statement Thursday regarding the omnibus spending bill released by Congressional leaders. Priority topics included fixing the so-called ‘grain glitch’ 199A in the name of fairness, improving the way wildfire suppression is funded, increasing support for broadband Internet access in rural American and cutting red tape for participants in conservation programs by exempting them from having to obtain SAM and DUNS numbers.
TSCRA Government Affairs Roundup: See you at Cattle Raisers Convention, 90-day ELD ag waiver extended; Japan tariffs
This week, TSCRA’s government affairs staff are preparing for the Cattle Raisers Convention in Fort Worth. For everyone interested in what the federal government has been up to and how it impacts ranchers and landowners, we have a great update scheduled during the 2018 Cattle Raisers Convention and Expo. On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced an additional 90-day agricultural exemption for the ELD mandate. In other good news, it is being reported that Japan import tariffs on U.S. beef will drop back to 38.5 percent on April 1.
TSCRA President Richard Thorpe applauded U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and the Department of Transportation for recognizing the concerns of ranchers and extending the agricultural exemption from the ELD mandate for an additional 90 days. “We continue to have serious concerns with the ELD mandate and its implications on hauling live animals, such as cattle. It is our hope that the additional time will allow DOT to develop livestock-specific solutions and still maintain safety on our roads,” Thorpe said. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue also made a statement Wednesday about the decision: “The mandate imposes restrictions upon the agriculture industry that lack flexibility necessary for the unique realities of hauling agriculture commodities,” he said. “If the agriculture industry had been forced to comply by the March 18 deadline, live agricultural commodities, including plants and animals, would have been at risk of perishing before they reached their destination. The 90-day extension is critical to give DOT additional time to issue guidance on hours-of-service and other ELD exemptions that are troubling for agriculture haulers.”
On behalf of TSCRA, President Richard Thorpe submitted formal comments Friday to Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) officials raising a number of concerns and questions regarding a proposed Dallas to Houston High-Speed Rail project.
The 2018 Texas Primary Elections were held on Tuesday and the overwhelming majority of candidates recommended by the TSCRA PAC either won their contests outright or advanced to a run-off election that will be conducted in May. TSCRA also this week submitted comments on a 5,600-page Draft Environmental Impact Study conducted the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) on the Dallas to Houston High-Speed Rail Project.
As the primary election draws near, TSCRA leaders and staff are continuing to monitor a number competitive races and are working to ensure issues important to ranchers are a part of the conversation, especially with regard to private property rights. There was also action on support of USDA Wildlife Services and confirmation of the chief agricultural negotiator for the U.S. Trade Representative
TSCRA President Richard Thorpe issued a statement following the Senate’s Thursday confirmation of Gregg Doud as Chief Agricultural Negotiator for the United States Trade Representative (USTR). The confirmation comes as the seventh round of NAFTA talks continue in Mexico.
TSCRA staff participated in FFA Day at the Capitol and discussed advocacy with the attendees. TSCRA also submitted comments to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on hours of service and electronic logging devices for drivers of commercial motor vehicles. The comments conclude, “We again urge the Agency to grant a waiver and limited exemption […]
TSCRA Govt and Public Affairs Roundup: Primary election candidates, Fever Tick Eradication Program and FARM Act
TSCRA Government and Public Affairs staff are continuing to monitor the upcoming Texas primary election and are engaging candidates to ensure they are supportive of issues important to cattle raisers. They are also involved in support of the Fever Tick Eradication Program in South Texas and the Fair Agricultural Reporting Act (FARM Act) to prevent farms and ranches from being regulated like toxic waste sites.