Continued support for the Beef Promotion and Research Program and a vote to increase Beef Checkoff funds topped the agenda of delegates at the 74th annual meeting of the Texas Farm Bureau.
Farm Bureau delegates voted to raise the Beef Checkoff amount from $1 to $2 per head or "an amount determined by producers." The convention also supported a corresponding increase in imported boxed beef.
In other business, delegates re-elected cotton and grain farmer Kenneth Dierschke to his fifth consecutive term as president of the state's largest farm organization.
"I promise we will give our heart and soul to this organization," Dierschke, joined by his wife Binnie after the convention, said. "Members are what make this organization function. Let me promise you...as long as I'm here, Texas Farm Bureau will remain a grassroots organization."
In other action, delegates addressed growing concerns about animal rights in the livestock industry. While supporting the humane treatment of all domestic animals and wildlife, delegates recognized "that livestock and wildlife are part of the human food chain, they are not equal to humans, nor do they have human rights." Delegates also supported a resolution that said that search warrants regarding humane treatment of animals must be issued by the local magistrate of the district where a farm in question is located.
Delegates voted to tighten requirements to qualify for wildlife management valuation for tax purposes. They also said any property held solely for investment or speculation by any political subdivision of the state or state agency should be required to pay a fee equal to all applicable property taxes.
State resolutions passed by the delegates provide a roadmap for the Texas Farm Bureau to follow in 2008. Delegates also:
· Supported immediate funding to eliminate fever ticks from the temporary preventative quarantine areas of Texas.
· Supported increased funding for research and development for sheep, mohair and meat goat production.
· Supported increasing or indexing dedicated taxes for construction and improvement of non-toll roads.
· Reaffirmed right-to-farm legislation by suggesting those who move into an agricultural area should not have the right to sue a property for dust, noise, odors or drift as long as the property was in operation before the new resident moved in.
At the national level-in a strong expression for private property rights-delegates voted to support any means to challenge or reverse the Supreme Court ruling on Kelo vs. City of New London, which allowed eminent domain for economic development purposes.
And with the farm bill debate currently in full swing in the U.S. Senate, delegates supported retaining safety net provisions and enacting disaster provisions in a new Farm Bill.
Upon conclusion of the convention, the Texas Farm Bureau board of directors met and re-elected Bobby Nedbalek, a cotton, grain and cattle producer from Sinton, to his second year as vice-president; and Lewis Lehman, a hay and cattle producer from Bangs, as secretary-treasurer.
Two new state directors were elected to replace directors who retired after serving their limit of three consecutive two-year terms. Dan Shelton, a hay, forage and cattle producer from New Boston, replaced retiring state director and Secretary-Treasurer Don Smith of Sulphur Springs. Jay Snook, Jr., a cattle and timber producer from Livingston, replaced retiring state director Albert Thompson of Martinsville.
Other state directors re-elected to two-year terms included: Billy Bob Brown, District 1, a wheat, corn, grain sorghum and cotton producer from Panhandle; Larry Pratt, District 3, a cattle and wheat producer from Eliasville; Lewis Lehman, District 7; Tom Paben, a corn, cattle and hay producer from District 11; and Bobby Nedbalek, District 13.