As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, which oversees all federal funding for agriculture programs, and a former member of theHouse Agriculture Committee, I have taken a proactive stance on agricultural issues of critical importance to the rural community in the 28th District of Texas.

I know the concerns that ranchers and farmers have about their livestock and crop maintenance, which is why I was active in crafting the 2008 Farm Bill and worked to pass the 2013 Farm Bill. I included language in the 2008 Farm Bill to boost cattle fever tick eradication, expand broadband telemedicine and distance learning programs, develop an alternative energy program at TAMIU, and enhance the colonias access to federal programs.  I included language in the 2013 Farm Bill to provide additional resources for cattle fever tick eradication.

The 2014 Farm Bill authorizes nearly every program and portion of USDA, and this conference agreement will reshape the structure of farm commodity support, expand crop insurance coverage, consolidate conservation programs, reauthorize and revise nutrition assistance, and extend authority to appropriate funds for many U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs through FY2018. For more information on my vote in favor of the 2013 Farm Bill, please read here.   

During my time in the United States Congress, I have pushed for smart reforms that protect American producers from excessive regulations, while ensuring all Americans have a safe and abundant food source.  I understands the important role agriculture plays in providing all Americans with the safest, most abundant food source in the world.  I have opposed efforts in Congress to defund and eliminate programs that provide a basic safety net to family farms.  

Less than one-half of one percent of the federal budget currently goes to support producers, and speaking locally, over seventy percent of farms in Texas do not even receive support.  However, we must all face the realities of our budget constraints, and the House and Senate Agriculture Committees will likely reduce these numbers further. Now that we have turned the corner, we should take this opportunity to improve our system of imports and exports, and improve the pipelines that support growth of agriculture.