By Jennifer Dorsett
Field Editor

Eminent domain will be front and center as Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) tackles the 86th Texas Legislature.

“As with the last legislative session, our first priority this session is eminent domain,” Regan Beck, TFB director of Government Affairs, said. “There are several large projects in the works across the state that will have significant impacts on rural Texans and farmers and ranchers. We’re trying to make a fair process, not impede progress.”

Eight issues central to farming, ranching and rural prosperity are on the organization’s agenda as legislative priorities.

The TFB board of directors sets priorities for the legislative session following the efforts of county Farm Bureau leaders and the policy development process.

Other priority issues named by the board of directors include water, taxes, land use regulation, transportation, animal care, feral hog control and support for adequate funding of the Texas Department of Agriculture.

“We’ll be fighting for farmers, ranchers and property owners in many arenas,” Beck said. “But these are the issues we really feel are the most pressing and important to our members.”

TFB will focus on 10 priorities at the national level. They include the farm bill, trade, fever tick eradication, border security/immigration, regulatory reform, taxes, transportation, meat substitute labeling, property rights and agricultural technologies.

“We feel it’s important for legislators to meet with their constituents,” Beck said. “Texas Farm Bureau takes members from across the state to Washington, D.C., every year so lawmakers can hear directly from the folks back home about an issue that’s impacting their daily lives.”

In addition to the annual National Affairs Awards Trip, TFB conducts a Leadership Conference every other year, when the Texas Legislature is in session. County Farm Bureau leaders travel to Austin early in the legislative session to discuss issues and concerns with their state lawmakers. Eminent domain will be front and center in those conversations this year.

“Our legislative staff works hard and is very effective,” Beck said. “However, the most effective communication is from our members themselves. They’re able to tell their story and relate how an issue has impacted them personally, and that’s powerful.”

VoterVoice, a feature on www.texasfarmbureau.org, makes it easier to stay in touch with state and national lawmakers.

Visit http://texasfarmbureau.org/advocacy/voter-voice to sign up for alerts, find legislation, look up officials and submit comments on issues important to your area.