With over 15,000 members ranching in Texas, Oklahoma, and surrounding states Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association is recognized as a spokesman for the ranching industry on legislative and regulatory issues which might affect cattlemen. Many ranchers believe it’s time to change from a defensive posture and go on the offensive. Pete Bonds is past president of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association.
“Somebody breaks into your house and steals a twelve hundred dollar TV set. They’re going to get thirty bucks for it. Somebody comes in and steals a thousand dollar calf and takes it to the auction sale, he’s going to get a thousand dollars for it. Cattle Raisers as an organization was started in 1877 under an oak tree in Graham, Texas to stop cattle theft. Basically that’s one of our main missions today. We have thirty special rangers paid for by the association, not by government funding.”
Bonds says the organization is also active in government at the state and federal levels.
“Also we have Jason Skaggs and his staff is Austin to stop the damn thieves in Austin and Washington from stealing your property rights, your way of life, water, and anything else they can think of.”
The rapid growth Texas is experiencing presents pressures to farmers and ranchers. Skaggs says during the upcoming Texas Legislative Session his focus will be on property rights and water.
“Everywhere we go, the Texas Southwestern Cattle Raisers goes across the state, when we talk to landowners and ranchers, they’re, a lot of their concerns are, is someone going to come take my property? Are they going to come take my water?”
Skaggs senses that landowners across the state want organizations like his to go on the offensive.
“I think a lot of folks will be excited to see we’re working on some things in the area of eminent domain reform, to try and level this playing field some more for landowners. We’re working on some things, we’re going to play some offense, I hope next session on that issue, to try and take the fight to the other side a little bit to where we represent some of those landowners concerns that we’ve heard for really the last decade or so.”