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Pfluger Advocates for Texas Farmers and Ranchers

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Congressman August Pfluger (TX-11) sent a letter to House Agriculture Chairman G.T. Thompson and Ranking Member David Scott with his priorities for the 11th District of Texas for the remainder of the 118th Congress.

Rep. August Pfluger: "The 11th District of Texas is an agriculture powerhouse with a unique set of challenges to production. I am proud to advocate for the needs of our farmers and ranchers in the upcoming Farm Bill and in other products the Committee will consider in 2024. Food security is national security."

Read the full letter below:

Chairman Thompson and Ranking Member Scott:

Thank you for providing Members the opportunity to share our priorities for the 118th Congress. As the Representative of a rural district, my top priority is to champion policies which protect and promote a strong and secure food supply chain.

No other region in the world does more to contribute to our food security than Texas. In fact, my district is home to more than 15 million acres of farm and ranchland and generates over $1 billion in agriculture revenue each year. Agriculture production is not only the backbone of local economies, but also the epicenter of America’s food security.

As the Committee works to reauthorize the Farm Bill, it is critical that updates are made to reflect the challenges facing producers. 2022 was recorded as the third-costliest year for weather disasters in U.S. history, with an estimated $165 billion in total economic losses. A strong farm safety net is imperative, and the upcoming Farm Bill must address current ad hoc disaster programs, which have become a lifeline for farmers and ranchers dealing with extreme weather conditions, high input costs, and volatile prices.

The Committee must find ways to make disaster programs more consistent, while ensuring they work in tandem with crop insurance and other programs to protect our producers.

Previous Farm Bills have recognized that crop insurance is the linchpin of the farm safety net and is crucial to rural America. The upcoming Farm Bill must equally recognize this by ensuring crop insurance remains a reliable risk management tool for farmers, particularly during a time of heightened uncertainty for producers. Means testing, income limits, or any policies that limit or negatively impact risk pools should not be included.

It is critical that we provide the tools our producers need to meet growing food demand and maintain economic viability. Over the last several years, increased predation across the country has contributed to declining volumes of domestic livestock herds. In Texas alone, it is estimated that predation of sheep and goats results in approximately $25 million of annual revenue loss. Two decades ago, there were nearly twice as many sheep and goats in Texas. If Texas ranchers could better control predation, it could result in well over $100 million in farm gate sales. As producers work to meet growing demand, we must find ways to address native and invasive predators. The upcoming Farm Bill should extend, through FY2028, the Feral Swine Eradication and Control Pilot Program to help respond to the threat feral swine poses to agriculture, native ecosystems, and animal health. Additionally, the Farm Bill should include two bipartisan pieces of legislation that will help producers respond to predators: H.R. 2695, the WOLF Act to reimburse ranchers for livestock harmed by endangered Mexican gray wolves, and H.R. 4939 to allow producers to “take” crested caracaras in order to prevent livestock losses.

In addition to managing predation and invasive species, producers in my district are constantly working to control brush density. Cedar, mesquite trees, and other brush take valuable water from desirable plants, reducing healthy grass growth and resulting in soil erosion.

To help control brush, producers in my district have long utilized the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). There has been a concern that Texas ranks very low in overall EQIP funding, and I believe it is important that states receive their fair share of the program to help producers in these efforts. Overall, conservation funds must recognize diversity in practices and reward the environmental gains.

Robust funding of research in predation, crop sciences, and animal health should also be included in the Farm Bill. However, the Farm Bill should establish funding restrictions on institutions of higher education that have a relationship with Confucius Institutes.

We know that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is utilizing Confucius Institutes to infiltrate American university campuses to engage in espionage, steal our intellectual property, and funnel information back to the People's Liberation Army (PLA). It is imperative for our national security that the Farm Bill includes provisions that prohibit these institutions from growing their influence in the United States. Under no circumstances should American taxpayer dollars be used to enrich the CCP or the PLA.

The 118th Congress must boast policies that ensure an affordable and abundant supply of food, independent of foreign adversaries and nefarious actors, and bolster economic viability for producers and the communities they support. We must promote and protect American agriculture, and I look forward to working with you in these endeavors.


August Pfluger

Member of Congress