The legislation aims to protect the right to farming, ranching, timber production and wildlife management in rural, suburban and urban areas of Texas.
All three pieces of legislation — HJR 126, HB 1750, and HB 2308 — are supported by Texas Farm Bureau.
“HJR 126 will protect in the Texas Constitution the day-to-day practices used by farmers and ranchers. HB 1750 protects agricultural producers from city zoning and regulations that prohibit or restrict farming or ranching when there is no real threat to public safety,” TFB President Russell Boening said in a statement. “HB 2308 protects pre-existing agricultural operations from frivolous nuisance clams.”
In 1981, the Right to Farm Act was passed by the Texas Legislature to “conserve, protect, and encourage the development and improvement of its agricultural land for the production of food and other agricultural products.” Texas’ quickly-growing urban sprawl, though, has left many farmers int he pathway of urban regulations they were not an issue in 1981.
HJR 126 passed on April 10 with a 144-0 vote, HB 1750 and HB 2308 passed today on third reading by a voice vote.
“HJR 126 protects farmers and ranchers from regulatory overreach to sustain food and fiber production for our state’s rapidly expanding population,” said Boening. “It’s good to see our state representatives supporting farmers, ranchers and agriculture in our great state.”
Several Texas Farm Bureau leaders have testified throughout the session before state lawmakers to encourage support for the bills.
According to the Texas Farm Bureau, farming and ranching are vital components of the state, contributing over $159 billion to Texas’ economy. But each year, Texas loses over 240,000 acres of agricultural lands to development.
“Texas continues to rapidly increase in population, and it’s critical that farmers and ranchers be able to grow food, fiber and fuel for our state and nation as more and more agricultural areas are impacted by development and population growth,” Boening said.
The proposed constitutional amendment and right to farm bills only protect responsible uses of agricultural practices and ensure Texans have access to safe and affordable food in the future.
“Texas Farm Bureau appreciates the leadership of Reps. Burns and Ashby in championing these landmark efforts in the Texas House, and our organization looks forward to working with members and leaders of the Texas Senate in support of these important right to farm protections,” Boening said.
The proposed constitutional amendment and right to farm bills now head to the Senate for consideration.
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