From the Ground Up - Budget Cuts for Agriculture

It was no secret that there were budget woes during the 2011 session of the Texas Legislature, and when the final budget was approved for the next two years every state agency was impacted.

“Budget writers in Austin found a lower projected revenue and we had to adjust budgets accordingly. Unfortunately for agriculture, the Texas Department of Agriculture’s general revenue budget was reduced by about 40%, so that makes it difficult to fulfill our regulatory responsibility in the mission, but the team at TDA understands that we can’t ask tax payers just to pay more.”

Todd Staples is the commissioner of the Texas Department of Agriculture.

“The reason I think that Texas is out-performing other states is because Texans have the right mentality. They believe in the future, they believe in growth, but they also believe in exercising fiscal restraint, and living within our means and I’m very proud that I’ve challenged my team and it’s not been without difficulty and pain. We’re not always going to be able to do the same things that we’ve done.”

Staples said it was necessary to reorganize the TDA.

“We have just kind of re-engineered the whole agency, to make sure that we’re responsive and that we’re doing the things that we need to do. I believe we’re going to grow our way out of this recession, we will turn the corner. It’s not going to be without a little bit of difficulty, but we’re going to make it happen.”

The Texas Department of Agriculture is now made up of three primary divisions.

“Food and Nutrition which we’ve always had, but the other two new divisions are now Trade and International Development and Ag and Consumer Protection, and we’re going to make certain we’re taking care of our core responsibilities.”

I’m Kailey Carey, looking at Brazos Valley agriculture, From The Ground Up.

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