TSCRA Govt Affairs Roundup: Farm bill, groundwater policy and working to improve ag disaster response
TSCRA Government and Public Affairs staff are continuing to monitor farm bill progress in Washington. The House passed its version of the farm bill last week and the Senate passed its version Thursday. It now goes to a conference committee where the two chambers will work out the differences between the two versions of the bill. TSCRA generally prefers the House legislation, as there are some concerns about provisions included or not included in the Senate version. One specific example is that the Senate version does not include funding for a foot and mouth disease vaccine bank, which is a high priority for cattle raisers.
On Thursday, staff participated in a meeting with House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rep. Lyle Larson. The discussion centered around groundwater issues, as the committee was given an interim charge by Speaker Joe Straus to evaluate the status of groundwater policy in Texas. Groundwater issues are likely to be a significant topic during the upcoming 2019 Texas Legislative Session.
On Wednesday, TSCRA staff met with Texas Atty. General Ken Paxton to discuss issues important to cattle raisers and areas where TSCRA can work together with the Attorney General’s Office. On the same day TSCRA staff also participated in the Governor’s Commission to Rehabilitate Texas. The commission was convened following Hurricane Harvey last year. In the meeting this week TSCRA collaborated with government response agencies on the successes and improvements necessary in the agricultural response to natural disasters.