Friday, June 21, 2013

Conserve Water Before the Tap Runs Dry

Ever wonder just how bad things have to get before you turn on the tap and no water comes out? Just ask the residents of Barnhart who recently ran out of water. The main water well in this small West Texas town recently stopped pumping, leaving residents without drinking water.

Oil and gas production is active in this area, which has offered a welcomed boost to the local economy. Without adequate water resources, the ability for Barnhart to support this industry will provide long-term challenges and could prevent future growth for other local businesses.

Unfortunately, Barnhart may not be the only Texas town struggling to supply sufficient water for residents. Without significant rainfall, other areas could face similar challenges. According to the Texas Commission on Environmental Equality, this is already a reality for a host of other towns that are currently dealing with serious water shortages.

As we officially welcome summer and the long dry months ahead, let us remember that a water crisis is not just a future concern for some of our fellow Texans. Their reality should encourage everyone to be forward-thinking about ways to conserve water before we all find ourselves with a dry tap.

Our economy and its citizens rely on an ample water supply for agriculture and business, and to meet the demands of our rapidly expanding population. We must all do our part to save water.

Click here to visit TDA’s “The Water Source” where you can learn more about the state’s water resources and visit to learn about ways to save water in your home. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Drug Cartel Far-Reaching from Border to North Texas

For far too long now, I’ve had to be one of many leaders and citizens sounding the alarm about the dangers of violent drug cartels and the threat they pose to our nation. Landowners living and working along the Texas/Mexico border have been the literal “canary in the coal mine.” They are the first to feel the sting of these transnational criminal organizations and are forced to live with the fallout.

Landowners haven’t held back in recounting the daily traffic, mayhem and downright terrorism caused by drug dealers along the border. Here at the Texas Department of Agriculture, we have painstakingly relayed how these criminally-organized gangs engage in illegal drug and human trafficking. We’ve also detailed to the federal government the abuse felt by those who provide us our food and fiber—our farmers and ranchers. Our mission is clear. We will continue to relay these stories until the federal government steps up to the plate and drops their signature rhetoric that the “the border is safer than ever.”

The truth is: the border is not safe. Until our government commits to defending our landowners and our sovereignty with every conceivable resource, and until all Texas residents no longer fear this terrorism, I will continue to spread the word and fight to secure our border.

Photo: Bob Booth, Star-Telegram
The recent shooting of a Mexican attorney with ties to drug cartels in the town square of Southlake, just outside Ft. Worth, shines the spotlight on the deadly tactics used by the ruthless and heartless thugs inside drug cartels whose reach can spread far beyond border regions. This Fort Worth Star-Telegram article demonstrates the undeniable truths that I believe every citizen will conclude: we must defend our landowners; we must protect our sovereignty; and we will secure our border. 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Celebrating Great Dads this Father’s Day

On Sunday, we will celebrate Father’s Day and the men who make this day all the more special. Fathers not only teach their children how to ride bikes and play baseball, they provide the foundation for the guiding principles that carry their children through life. I’ve been blessed to have an amazing father, who was my role model and friend, and I am proud to be able to share the lessons he taught me with my own children.

Through my father’s example, I learned early in life the value of hard work and have incorporated that strong work ethic into my life and public service. My dad was a family man, showing our family strength and devotion every day. Even though he is no longer with us, I can still hear his voice and wisdom in my head, and that brings a smile to my face.

As a dad myself, I know being a father doesn't come with an instruction manual, although it would be nice if it did! We try to do our best to provide for our children, give them the best instruction and advice possible, and ask God to watch over our family.

To all Texas fathers, remember the best gift you can give your child is not something of monetary value, but the gift of time. The world is a tough place. To borrow from an old proverb, we need to not simply give our children a fish, but rather teach them how to fish so they can have the fulfillment and satisfaction of independence and self-reliance. 

Thank you for your perseverance, wisdom, discipline and support of your children. You’re helping make this world a better place. Happy Father’s Day!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Flag Day Celebrates Nation’s Independence, Principles

We celebrate Flag Day to commemorate the adoption of the American flag on June 14, 1777. The original flag displayed 13 stripes and 13 stars, which represented each of the colonies that had declared independence. Over the next two centuries, the number of stars in the American flag increased as the nation grew, finally capping at 50 when Hawaii joined the nation in 1959. 

As each star was added, the nation demonstrated its capacity to unite diverse groups of people around core American values. Each year, we celebrate Flag Day with a recommitment to our founding principles: democracy, liberty and independence. 

Democracy safeguards our liberty and independence in America. It’s through the democratic process that we have the right to choose our leaders, how we wish to worship and keep our government in check so our freedoms aren’t infringed upon.

A passionate commitment to liberty and independence has characterized Texas since the days of the Republic. Texans understand that we are better as a whole if each of our parts is strong. Our independent, can-do spirit is what makes the Texas economy one of the strongest in the nation. I hope Flag Day will inspire you to unify in renewing our commitment to liberty and independence.     

Monday, June 10, 2013

Porous Border Forces Texas Landowners Out Of Business

Every day, Texans are on the front line dealing with the challenges of having a porous U.S./Mexico border. Violence occurs all too frequently, and often, south Texas farmers and ranchers are the ones forced to deal first-hand with the dangerous, unsafe conditions that exist along the border.

Insufficient resources from the federal government and lackluster immigration reform are unacceptable to me. The dire nature of the current situation—a true lack of security along the U.S./Mexico border—becomes even more evident every time I hear personal stories from Texans dealing with the harsh consequences.

Rene Garcia of Penitas is one of these individuals. His story is all too often similar to many accounts we hear from the border. Garcia was recently highlighted in a KRGV-Channel 5 News report, which documented his family’s struggles including being forced to shutter their cattle business due to damage caused by illegal immigrants, who have trespassed and vandalized the land.

Garcia’s story highlights the federal government’s border security failures and the extreme lengths landowners have been forced to take to deal with the flow of illegal traffic. We know a debate is raging about our border: Is it secure? What does a secure border really look like? This video answers some of these daunting questions. To view the news story, click here.

Texans struggle every day in dealing with instability along the Texas/Mexico border. I invite you to visit, and join me in raising awareness about border challenges and help protect Texas landowners. 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Cattlemen Join the Call for Immigration Reform

In order to continue to provide the most safe and affordable food supply in the world, our nation’s farmers and ranchers need a reliable, dependable workforce. For real immigration reform to take place we must revamp our failed visa system for guest workers and international day laborers. 

The most recent guest column from the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association illustrates the desperate need for guest worker reform to help farmers and ranchers all across the U.S. Below is an expert of the column written by Pete Bonds.

“Let’s be clear, ranchers don’t support blanket amnesty. Amnesty and citizenship should be a separate debate. Let’s also be clear that these workers aren’t taking away American jobs. At our ranch in Falls County – a county with a high unemployment rate—we can’t find U.S. citizens who will do the hard work of ranching. We go through 5 or 10 U.S. employees a year because, when we do find someone, they typically quit within a few weeks. Migrant workers are simply doing the jobs that most Americans refuse to do.

“The livestock industry needs a steady, year-round workforce. This is why Texas ranchers support a plan that allows immigrants who want to work in the U.S. an opportunity to do so.”

I invite you to read the full column by clicking here.