West Texas congressmen react to farm bill passage

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Updated: 7/12/2013 7:08 am
When the original farm bill failed on the House floor on June 20, Congressman Randy Neugebauer said something had to be done. 

Well now a few weeks and many hours of debate later the House of Representatives was able to pass a revised version of the farm bill. 

The House passed the version that lacked the nutritional portion of the original bill by a final vote of 216-208 on Thursday afternoon. 

Following the vote reactions began to roll in from West Texas Congressmen. 

Neugebauer, who voted in favor of the bill both times on the House floor, said this is movement in the right direction. 

"I'm really pleased that we passed a five-year farm bill and moved the ball down the field," Neugebauer said in a news release on Thursday afternoon. "This bill is good policy for farmers, families, and taxpayers. It gives farmers risk management tools to protect against unpredictable losses. It ensures American families have access to safe, affordable, food. And it saves taxpayers nearly $14 billion over the next ten years."

"This is shared-risk, market-based legislation," Neugebauer said in a news release. "I'm looking forward to the House and Senate Agriculture Committees working together to craft a final bill that can be signed into law." 

Also weighing in was Congressman Mac Thornberry who said this was important to Texas because of the importance of agriculture to the state. 

 "Agriculture is critical to the economy in our part of Texas, and it is a major lifeline for our country. Our farmers and ranchers play a vital role in maintaining our nation's food and fiber supply. They need to know what our nation's agriculture policy is going be," said Rep. Thornberry in a news release. "The hardworking folks in our area deserve better than political gamesmanship from Congress or special interest groups holding this bill hostage to raise their profile and more money." 

Also weighing in on the farm bill being passed was Congressman Mike Conaway. 

“This piece of legislation wasn’t written overnight – it’s the result of four long years of debate, a two-year audit of every single policy administered by the USDA, 40 hearings and two committee markups.
“There are many reasons why this balanced, equitable and market-oriented farm policy legislation is deserving of support. It strengthens Title I by offering ranchers and farmers choices in how to manage risk while reforming outdated policy. This move creates regional equity among agriculture producers, increasing their choices and implementing a broad approach to production agriculture.
“The bill also includes an amendment I offered with Texas Rep. Filemon Vela that would address Mexico’s failure to uphold its water obligations to the United States under a 1944 water treaty. It’s no secret that Texas has suffered a terrible drought, and there is no relief in sight. Mexico needs to begin fulfilling its obligations – our farming and ranching communities depend on it.
“The farm bill also addresses the ongoing lesser prairie chicken habitat issue. An amendment I offered with New Mexico Rep. Steve Pearce and Texas Rep. Randy Neugebauer would require the Agriculture secretary to conduct a 90-day study on the cost of programs to conserve the lesser prairie chicken and its habitat. The study must also detail the conservation effectiveness of these programs and rank them based on cost effectiveness. Conservation and cost effectiveness are not mutually exclusive, and I encourage the federal government to listen and work closely with stakeholders on this issue.
“Good agriculture policy is good federal policy – and this bill represents the best in agriculture policy today.”

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KPitman - 7/12/2013 6:47 AM
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Areas in Texas are geographically defined. East Texas is known for its pines, the Hill Country for its limestone hills, Coastal Plains are, well, flat areas that extend to the coast. Lubbock is flat, just as flat as Amarillo and it is geographically located just right above Post, Tx. Go to Post, which is in West Texas, on US 114 and you drive straight up 1000 ft to the beginning of the Panhandle or the Llano Estacado or High Plains, which extends to Nebraska. Lubbock is about 50 miles, due north, from there. Abilene, Big Springs, Marfa, and El Paso are all rugged terrain that is characterised by mesquite, rolling sand hills, more mesquite, sage, and more sage for 100's of MILES. No real grazing land. Takes a HUGE spread to run a few head out there. Lubbock has farms, lots of farms, and more farms. Lubbock is actually in physically in the Panhandle. I have yet to ever see and land there that is reminiscent of, say, Lamesa. How is Lubbock in West Texas? When I was a kid growing up in the Panhandle, Lubbock was in the Panhandle. When did that change?
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