Thursday, November 30, 2006

“Eminent domain has been a key issue for our farmers and ranchers ever since the Supreme Court ruling in Kelo versus City of New London.”

TFB Districts Discuss Policy Proposals Prior To Convention


Livestock Weekly
Copyright 2006

WACO — Farmers and ranchers from all 13 Texas Farm Bureau districts met here recently to consider proposed policies submitted by county Farm Bureaus across the state in preparation for the 73rd annual TFB meeting next week in Arlington.

Policy adopted at the TFB annual meeting will guide the organization in 2007, according to Resolutions Committee Chairman and TFB Vice President Lloyd Arthur.

With private property-related issues continuing to surface in Texas due to the Trans Texas Corridor, pipeline and transmission rights-of-way and other concerns, eminent domain was an area that received heavy scrutiny.

“Eminent domain has been a key issue for our farmers and ranchers ever since the Supreme Court ruling in Kelo versus City of New London,” Arthur said.

Among eminent domain resolutions adopted by the Committee to be sent for consideration at the state convention:

  • Condemning entities should be penalized if they do not negotiate in good faith to acquire property.
  • Support for prompt, just and adequate compensation when property is taken, including legal costs, expert witness fees, associated costs, relocation costs, appraisals including highest and best use, replacement costs and participation fees.
  • Support for all efforts to challenge and reverse the Supreme Court ruling on Kelo v. City of New London.
Arthur said this year’s drouth lay heavy on agricultural producers’ minds as several resolutions addressed that ongoing problem. One dealt with providing assistance at the federal level to build hay storage facilities.

“Our folks felt like if they had some facilities to store hay where the hay wouldn’t be sitting in the weather and deteriorating, there would be a possibility of saving hay from the good years for years like this,” he said. “Of course, hay barns are very expensive to build. If we had some kind of assistance of any type to get to those producers so they could build those facilities, it would be a tremendous opportunity.”

County Farm Bureaus also sent in resolutions for increased funding for the Texas Forest Service, so that agency can fulfill its increased responsibilities for fighting wildfires, which devastated many parts of Texas earlier in the spring. Another resolution asked that provisions for agriculture disasters be included in the next farm bill.

Realizing property tax reform for school funding could be endangered by ever-increasing property appraisals, the committee forwarded several resolutions dealing with property taxes. Some of those resolutions included:

  • Lowering the appraisal cap to six percent, with all increases above the cap subject to approval by countywide election.
  • Support for the elimination of the unelected positions of County Chief Tax Appraisal Officer and support shifting the duties of the chief appraiser to the elected position of county tax assessor/collector.
  • Support for reappraising property every three years instead of every year.

Arthur said the resolutions committee dealt with a host of other issues important to farmers and ranchers from livestock identification to the new farm bill.

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