Monday, April 26, 2010

When Considering Land-Use and Water Policies, We Must be Mindful of Unintended Consequences

Oregon farmers and land owners are facing some interesting policy decisions as they reconsider a 1973 zoning regulation that was designed to maintain open space and preserve farmland, but may be resulting in the loss of operational farmland, hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars. According to some farmers, zoning land for agriculture only has limited the ability of orchards to maximize their land holdings, putting some in danger of going out of business and preventing others from raising capital to expand.

This demonstrates the need to understand markets and the consequences of policy decisions as we approach land use and water policy here in Texas. Water policy will be a major issue in the 2011 Legislative Session, and we must take a thoughtful and balanced approach that provides the flexibility for farmers and ranchers to continue producing the safest, most abundant and most affordable food supply in the nation while also maintaining the value of their land.

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