Farm Bureau is ‘Voice of Agriculture’
PAT KOPECKI/Reprints at wilsoncountynews.com
Directors of the Wilson County Farm Bureau welcome Texas Sen. Judith Zaffirini to the Oct. 17 county convention held in the Wilson County Show Barn. See wilsoncountynews.com for video of this event.
FLORESVILLE -- The Farm Bureau, known as the “Voice of Agriculture,” lived up to its reputation during the Oct. 17 Wilson County annual convention, as two state officials gave addresses.
Sen. Judith Zaffirini and Rep. John Kuempel both outlined the influence of Farm Bureau members in the congressional halls in Austin.
Kuempel highlighted four key issues identified by Speaker of the House Joe Strauss, for the Legislature to address: education, transportation, transparency and truth in budgeting, and water.
Significant education reform was included in House Bill 5, Kuempel said, since the 15 end-of-course exams needed for graduation have been reduced to five.
Regarding transportation and the Eagle Ford shale oil and gas exploration, Kuempel announced that the Senate has proposed to the legislative board an additional $250 million in funding for the energy sector statewide. This is in addition to funding already allocated by the state. Six projects, located in southern Wilson County, are included on that list.
Zaffirini said Texas Senatorial District 21 is in the forefront of the Eagle Ford shale oil and gas exploration, since her district has the majority of the rigs and production and includes the highest-producing counties in the state.
Voters will have an opportunity to voice their support or opposition to a proposed transportation proposition that will be on the November 2014 ballot. If approved, additional funding will be made available to maintain and replace infrastructure suffering wear and tear by the trucking industry involved in the oil and gas exploration.
Speaking for himself and the senator, Kuempel said, “We are not Washington, D.C., ... and work for the common goal. Unlike Washington, we are constitutionally obligated to have a balanced budget.”
The Texas Legislature turned a $27 billion deficit around to an $8 billion surplus from the 82nd Legislative Session (2011) to the 83rd session in 2013, Kuempel said.
Kuempel, Zaffirini, and Texas Farm Bureau District XII Director Russell Boening all addressed state Proposition 6 on the Nov. 5 election ballots.
This is “the most significant vote that I will ever take in my lifetime,” Kuempel said.
Free Enterprise Speech
Three Wilson County youth -- Elizabeth Mutz of Poth, Jewel Jimenez of Floresville, and Chad Pargmann of La Vernia -- are continuing the Farm Bureau’s tradition as the “Voice of Agriculture.”
They all participated in the Texas Farm Bureau District XII Free Enterprise Speech contest Oct. 20 in Cuero.
Two of the participants -- Elizabeth and Jewel -- presented their speeches during the annual convention held in the Wilson County Show Barn.
After the meeting, Marcia Jones, manager of the Wilson County Farm Bureau office in Floresville, said Jewel won the District XII contest and earned a $1,500 scholarship.
Jewel will represent the district at state competition Dec. 7 during the Texas Farm Bureau state convention in San Antonio.
While Jewel and other district winners compete at state, Farm Bureau members will continue to make their voices heard, either in Washington, Austin, or with their neighbors.
Zaffirini affirmed the group’s purpose, saying, “Farm Bureau ... You are the Voice of Agriculture.”
For more on this event, see related article, below.