Ag & The Legislature

By: Joe Brown Email
By: Joe Brown Email

“I remember agriculture was exempted, but you need to, I wasn’t sure how good a bill that was. It went sailing out of the senate, and it’s over in the house. Ya’ll need to take a look at that.”

Agriculture spends most of its time on defense when the legislature is in session.

“And dealing with regulations, and that’s always the one that swallows us up, and, that’s where the state can have an enormous painful experience for agriculture, and usually does.”

Senator Glenn Hegar says many people are under an illusion that agriculture gets a huge break from state government.

“If you look at all the industries in Texas, we pay our share, we pay above our share actually. Regardless of property ag valuation, or whether you dealt with sales tax exemptions, we have a higher contribution on average than most industries.”

“A lot of the folks up here use the word exemption. We correct them every time. We’ll walk up to the back mic and say ‘We are not exempt. We pay production value.’ If you want us to pay market value, you will drive us out of business.”

Representative Robby Cook says there is a time to play offense.

“Offense is on, like water. There’s not good protection in place yet, enough in my opinion, to address the fact that 15, 20 years from now, when we do have an urban legislature, whether or not we, are going to be truly protected.”

But senator Hegar points out that most of the time inaction by the legislature while it’s in session is good for agriculture.

"If you always look at worse case scenarios, things that can happen for ag, most of these things probably are not going to happen.”

And agricultural producers will continue to try and educate urban legislators and the public about where our food and fiber originates. I’m Joe Brown, looking at Brazos Valley agriculture, From the Ground Up.

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