Dairy bills and regulations taking center stage
By Darren Turley, TAD executive director
The Texas Association of Dairymen has been very busy working on your behalf on a number of fronts.
Every two years during the spring, much of our effort is focused on the Texas Legislature, which meets for 140 days. Session is one-third over and is moving at an increasingly rapid pace. TAD staff has been working hard to visit with many of our legislators from across the state. These visits include lawmakers who are old friends, as well as some new to the Capitol who are not familiar with dairy or agriculture issues.
TAD’s Board will join us on Tuesday, Feb. 26, when it makes its biennial visit to the Capitol to visit with key legislators and their staffs. Hearing directly from dairy farmers themselves makes a much bigger impact than hearing only from TAD staff. Watch TAD’s Facebook page or see our March newsletter for a full report on the TAD Board’s time in Austin.
I have been asked to testify on the state of the dairy industry to an upcoming meeting by the House Agriculture & Livestock Committee. Did you know you can watch committee proceedings, or even meetings of the full Texas House or Senate online, either live or archived? More informally, we continually report on the needs of Texas farmers to legislators, other elected officials, regulators and the media.
For example, I recently met with Texas Agriculture Commission Sid Miller to discuss the industry’s struggle with labor and to update him on our legislative issues.
TAD staff also has met with Texas Commission on Environmental Quality staff on milk disposal in case it is necessary to dispose of several loads of milk at one time, in the event of a severe weather issue or a mechanical breakdown at one of the state’s large plants.
I also have been invited to serve on a binational working group to help develop a plan to eradicate Tuberculosis in Mexico’s dairy herd of Mexico. The Mexican states along the U.S. border are being asked to support this plan and encourage their government to support these endeavors in the future.
On another animal health issue, the Texas Animal Health Commission has formed a working group to undertake a rule change for BVD in our state’s cattle herd. This disease is not a large issue for Texas dairy farmers due to our longstanding vaccination. But beef cattle producers are struggling with infected animals significantly impacting the health and weight gain of cattle. I represent the dairy industry in the program’s rulemaking process.
There is no shortage of work to protect today’s dairy farmers, but that is what Texas Association of Dairymen does relentlessly.