By Gary Joiner
TFB Radio Network Manager

Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) and other agricultural groups have planted their support behind a bill in Austin to implement a statewide seed standardization law.

SB 1172, by Senator Charles Perry (R-Lubbock), prevents a political subdivision from adopting regulation on seeds, including planting seeds or cultivating plants grown from seeds. A statewide seed standardization law will ensure farmers have a consistent level playing field in all 254 Texas counties, according to TFB State Legislative Director Jim Reaves.

Reaves said the potential currently exists for a patchwork of local ordinances that could cause confusion and inconsistency for farmers who have fields in parts of two counties.

“If you’ve got some property, and part of your land is in one county, and the other part of your land is in another, it would be dealing with two sets of rules. And that would be very problematic for the landowner,” Reaves said.

The legislation designates the Texas Department of Agriculture as the agency to coordinate and administer the state seed standardization law. SB 1172 is pending after a March 20 hearing in the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Water and Rural Affairs.
Companion legislation, HB 2758, has been filed by Rep. Charlie Geren (R-Fort Worth).

“A lot of the rural and ag folks have been working on a bill that would preempt local municipalities and counties from banning certain seeds,” Reaves said. “We don’t believe the locals have the science that the state of Texas has. So we think it’s better held in the state’s hands. It will basically tell cities that if you have problem with a certain seed, the state can ban it, but you can’t.”

Other groups joining TFB in support of the legislation include the Texas Seed Trade Association, Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, Texas Nursery & Landscape Association and Texas Grain Sorghum Association.