Kenneth Dierschke elected to 10th term
CORPUS CHRISTI -- In a three-way race, Kenneth Dierschke, a grain and cotton farmer from San Angelo, was elected to his 10th consecutive one-year term as Texas Farm Bureau president. According to a Dec. 5 Texas Farm Bureau press release, the board re-elected Dewey Hukill of Lamb County as vice president during their 78th annual meeting held in Corpus Christi. The directors chose Russell Boening of Wilson County as secretary-treasurer.
Also during the meeting, the wildfires which ravaged nearly 4 million acres of Texas, and the accompanying drought influenced policy adopted by Texas Farm Bureau members as they wrapped up their annual meeting.
As Texas Farm Bureau and county Farm Bureaus reflected on donations totaling nearly $1.5 million to relief efforts for volunteer fire departments, voting delegates adopted a resolution to limit personal liability for volunteer fire departments and private citizens for any actions, on either public or private property, related to wildfires.
Delegates also supported a change in state and federal wildfire policy to require federal fire managers and incident commanders to coordinate with local fire departments and landowners when acting as first responders and contributing to firefighting efforts.
Addressing drought concerns, delegates said the selling of livestock, hay, grain, fiber, or nut production should not result in the loss of agricultural valuation status for a period of three years following the end of a declared drought or natural disaster.
Other policies the Farm Bureau directors supported:
•Legislation requiring that land controlled by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department and environmental/conservation groups be managed in a manner which improves water conservation and diminishes fire risks by reducing excess undergrowth and thinning forests.
•More aggressive programs to improve water conservation and water quality by removing and controlling non-beneficial/non-productive invasive plant and animal species that consume or impede water flow in streams, ponds, lakes, and estuaries.
•Continued programs of brush removal and riparian management that aids in flood control. They also supported intense research on beneficial plant species, animal species, and agricultural practices that will conserve water and more efficient methods of applying water and creating more efficient dry land farming techniques.
In national policy, delegates made technical adjustments to ensure crop insurance works better for Texas farmers. They also supported development of the 2012 Farm Bill focused on the following principles:
•If direct and/or counter-cyclical payments are eliminated or the loss is inevitable, support an enhanced revenue-based risk-management program, including livestock and forage losses, that would provide adequate producer risk mitigation.
•Conservation programs should be adequately funded with emphasis on the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP).
•Continued use of the commodity marketing loan program that accurately reflects the cost of production.