OP-ED: Agriculture is still the future of Texas

By February 9, 2018News

Farmers and ranchers are the backbone of Texas. Even as technology, manufacturing, and energy continue to expand, agriculture remains one of Texas’ main industries, as well it should be. Texas is home to 248,000 farms covering more than 130 million acres — more land than the entire state of California.

Unfortunately, government regulations are making it harder for our family farmers to be successful. The burden of overregulation is not only bad for their small businesses, but bad for our country.

More and more of our food and fiber production is coming from overseas. We send well over $100 billion a year to other countries on agricultural imports, including $20 billion a year each to Canada and Mexico alone. Those are dollars that could be invested here in Texas, in America, to grow jobs and local agriculture.

It’s not only an economic issue, but a national security issue. Just like our country shouldn’t be dependent on hostile nations for oil, we should also be able to sustain our food supply should the worst happen.

My ties to rural Texas are deep. I have fond memories of working on my uncle’s quarter horse ranch in Athens, Texas, as a boy. I founded the Hill Country Caucus in the Texas Legislature to ensure our values were being heard in the Texas Capitol. And as the next Congressman for the Texas Hill Country, I want to be a voice and a friend for agriculture just like I’ve been as a state legislator since 2011.

That means fighting for our private property and water rights. Federal bureaucrats have unilaterally given themselves power over nearly all bodies of water through the “Waters of the U.S.” regulation — and though President Trump has tried to roll back this misguided rule, the Supreme Court’s ruling means the future of water rights is still murky. Congress must act.

That means repealing the death tax. Too often, grieving families are forced to sell their families’ ranches and businesses, giving up generations of agricultural legacy, to afford this unfair tax. Families shouldn’t be penalized by the heavy hand of government during their most difficult days.

That means ensuring a strong labor force for our farmers. Countless good-paying jobs can easily be filled by getting the 12.7 million able-bodied Americans receiving Medicaid off welfare and back to work, and by securing the border and reforming our guest worker program.

Ultimately, it means Making America Like Texas: promoting conservative principles and getting the federal government off our backs and out of our pocketbooks. It means letting Americans keep more of their hard-earned money to invest in their communities, their families, and their businesses.

I’m asking your vote to do just that for our farmers and ranchers — and for all Texans — in Washington, D.C.