Future of Texas Agriculture

Agriculture is at the top of the list for lawmakers in Austin and in Washington. 

Congressman Mac Thornberry addressed dozens of farmers and ranchers today at the Amarillo Farm and Ranch show on up coming agricultural issues.

"I think agriculture faces a number of challenges just by virtue there are so few people involved in agriculture and because farmers and ranchers have been so successful in producing the food and clothes we enjoy," says Thornberry.

Those challenges include new regulations, taxes, renewable energy, and a new farm bill. The new congress must write it by the fall of 2007 so farmers can plant by the rules.

"But obviously we have a change in control of congress, new chairman in both the house and the senate, so it's going to be a lot of work to do the back ground work and try to put a bill together," says Thornberry.

Newly appointed Texas Commissioner of Agriculture Todd Staples hopes creating advisory groups will help lawmakers by providing first hand input.  "It's so important I think for government to be responsive to the men and women who make the wheels of our economy turn," says Staples. Issues Staples wants to tackle are renewable energy and relieving dependence on foreign oil.  "I look forward to working with growers and looking at alternate crops that can be grown to make sure we have a supply that can be used right here in texas and work the oil and gas industry to make sure that the distribution and the availablity is there in all parts of the state," says Staples.

Agricultural issues like these will be presented in the 80th legislative session beginning in January in Austin.