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Texas Farm Bureau president: 'Farm bill protects the health of the nation’s livestock'

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The president of Texas’ largest farm organization said today the House Agriculture Committee’s 2018 Farm Bill, also known as HR 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, addresses concerns important to agriculture.

Texas Farm Bureau President Russell Boening of Poth, in Wilson County, said the bill addresses critical shortfalls in risk protection for crop farmers and funding for threats to livestock health.

“The establishment of a National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program will protect the health of the nation’s livestock,” Boening said. “We are especially pleased that the cattle fever tick has been designated as a ‘high priority’ research item.”

The fever tick has caused major damage for Texas ranchers, and there have been coordinated efforts to achieve control. Funding for these initiatives has been included in the bill.

Also in the legislation are protections against overreach on enforcement of the Endangered Species Act, better access to conservation programs and streamlining of the regulatory burden on agriculture.

Boening said the House Agriculture Committee, under the leadership of Chairman Mike Conaway of Texas, has addressed a tattered farm safety net.

“There has been a 52 percent decline in farm income over the last five years,” Boening said. “This new farm bill gives struggling farmers and ranchers a chance to survive a very difficult time. TFB appreciates Chairman Conaway and his staff for their hard work. We look forward to working with Congress to get it passed.”

The South Texas grain, cotton, beef and dairy farmer said Congress should act soon to shore up a battered U.S. agriculture.

“Many members of the Texas Congressional delegation worked hard to accomplish writing this bill,” Boening said. “Our members appreciate their efforts.”

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