Wes Sims was re-elected to a ninth consecutive two year term as President of the Texas Farmers Union (TFU) during the organization’s 110th annual convention in San Antonio. Sims, a family farmer and cattle producer from Sweetwater, was first elected in 1996 to lead the Texas family farm and ranch group.
The TFU delegates also re-elected Mike Oldham, a farmer and cattle producer from Smithville to his fifth term as Vice President. Also elected as District Directors were; Betty Oldham, a cotton and cattle producer from Shamrock., Finley Barnett, a wheat and hay producer from Merkel, A.J. Priesmeyer, a rice and cattle producer from El Campo and Billy Miller, a dairy farmer from McGregor.
President Sims reported the convention passed several Texas Farmers Union (TFU) 2012 Policy Statements including support for a new farm bill that provides an adequate safety net that is counter cyclical and based on the cost of production, therefore enhancing the opportunity for Texas farm and ranch families to make a profit.
The 2007 farm bill provisions for disaster assistance, ACRE and SURE, are totally inadequate to sustain Texas family farms and ranches, Sims said. Therefore, TFU supports enactment of disaster assistance that is commodity specific and seasonal specific that will be a true safety net.
TFU delegates also oppose any change to the current insurance program which lowers the government portion of the premiums. The new bill should value the environment by fully funding authorized conservation programs as they were originally intended and value the less fortunate by fully funding food and nutrition programs.
Since the 82’ session of the Texas Legislature did not adequately fund Texas public education the Delegates Body of the 10th convention of TFU request the Governor and the Legislators of the State of Texas to adequately fund Texas Public Education. Also, Sims stated, the Delegate Body of TFU requested that the State of Texas leadership maintain the Defined Benefit Plan in the Texas Teacher Retirement System and not substitute this successful plan for the one being pursued by a group of private financiers known as the Texas Public Policy Foundation.
TFU passed other Special Orders of Business, Sims said, including strongly opposing any cuts to direct payments program, or propose changes to the farm child labor law by the Department of Labor that would not allow family farmers and ranchers to teach these core family values of becoming fair, respected and hard working adults. Also, TFU urges USDA to use the Risk Management Agency reports instead of the NASS (National Agriculture Statistic Service) surveys to determine unharvested acres.
“Texas Farmers Union will continue its fight for Fair Trade so our nation will once again prosper and grow,” said Sims. “We must have Fair Trade and open competitive markets if our economy is to once again be the strongest in the world. A line is clearly drawn in the sand, will we have a government by the governed or one that is bought and paid for by a few rich and greedy corporations which will continue the decline of our middle class and opportunity for future generations.”
Established in 1902 in Point, Texas-the Texas Farmers Union is the states’ oldest general farm organization that represents family farmers, ranchers and rural interests working to improve the quality of life for rural people through education, cooperation and legislation.