U.S. Congressman Mac Thornberry (R-Clarendon) today sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture Acting Secretary Michael Young requesting that he provide a 60-day extension of the Emergency Use of CRP Lands for the Texas Panhandle Fires. The text of the letter is below.
“I am writing to respectfully request a 60-day extension of the Emergency Use of CRP Lands for the Texas Panhandle Fires.
“As you are aware, many counties in the Texas Panhandle recently experienced devastating wildfires. With almost 500,000 acres burned, thousands of miles of fence destroyed, and more than 2,000 head of livestock killed by smoke and flames; livestock producers are in dire need of places to house remaining livestock while fencing is re-established in these disaster areas.
“While the 30-day emergency use that has been approved by the USDA is very welcome and appreciated, I have heard from several producers that will not be able to build fences in time to meet the short deadlines. Replanting grasses and finding other sources of forage within a month’s time will also be a daunting, if not impossible, task. Additionally, there are several counties in my district that experienced heavy losses that are only eligible for grazing once every three years.
“Along with falling prices for cattle and our recent lack of rain, this disaster has certainly added additional uncertainty to affected producers. An extension of the Emergency Use of CRP Lands would provide a better opportunity for fencing to be rebuilt while providing a safe home for livestock. It will also help these struggling producers recover and get back on their feet.“Within your rules and regulations, I ask that you give this request your full and prompt considerations. I look forward to our continued and shared work to ensure the viability of our nation’s agricultural producers.”
U.S. Congressman Mac Thornberry (R-Clarendon) is urging agriculture producers who have suffered livestock and property losses in the recent wildfires to file a Notice of Loss with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to begin the federal assistance process. A Notice of Loss must be filed within 30 days of the time of the loss by phone or in person at a local USDA county service center. County service center locations can be found on their website at https://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app.
“Sally and I continue to pray for those who have lost so much in recent days, especially the families and friends of Sloan Everett, Cody Crockett, Sydney Wallace, and Cade Koch. Nothing can ever replace the loss of their loved ones,” Thornberry said. “For those who have lost livestock and property, it is important to assess the losses as soon as it is safe and begin the assistance process with the USDA.”
To qualify, you must have legally owned the eligible livestock, poultry, or swine on the day they died, and they must:
The program excludes wild, free-roaming animals, or pets or animals used for recreational purposes, like for hunting, roping, or show.
You must have had possession and control of the livestock and a written agreement with the livestock owner. The specific terms, conditions, and obligations of both parties must be set.
The following resources and information have been provided by the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC).
Agriculture Indemnity Program
Several programs authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill provide benefits to livestock producers for livestock deaths due to wildfires and other natural disasters.
Livestock Supply Points
The following livestock supply points are currently receiving and distributing donated feed resources to producers impacted by wildfires. The Farm Service Agency (FSA) is not involved in the donation or distribution process. FSA is, however, raising awareness of the supply point locations where resources are available to producers located in counties affected by wildfires.
Supply Point 1
Serving ranchers in Gray, Wheeler and Roberts counties
301 Bull Barn Dr
Contact: Mike Jeffcoat
Supply Point 2
Serving ranchers in in Ochiltree, Lipscomb, Hemphill and Roberts counties
202 West Main St
Contact: J.R. Spragg
Texas Department of Agriculture Hay Hotline
TDA's hay hotline helps agricultural producers locate forage and hay supplies for sale. If you need hay or would like to donate hay, visit www.gotexan.org/hayhotlinehome.aspx or call 877-429-1998.
For questions about carcass disposal call the Texas Commission on Environment Quality (TCEQ) at 800-832-8224 or visit their website at www.tceq.texas.gov.
Lost or Found Livestock
U.S. Congressman Mac Thornberry (R-Clarendon) released the following statement about the Republican proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act:
“Obamacare is failing and is doing damage to the health care of all Americans. This is the first step in a process that will lead to patient-centered care that provides more choices and lowers prices instead of mandates.
“I am sure that the plan will be improved during the legislative process, but it is important to get started and get this job done.”
U.S. Congressman Mac Thornberry (R-Clarendon) applauded the executive order signed by President Trump to rewrite the Obama-era regulation related to “Waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) and has introduced legislation to solve the problem permanently. Thornberry’s bill, the “Federal Regulatory Certainty for Water Act,” H.R. 1261, clarifies the definition of “navigable waters” in the Clean Water Act (CWA) as waters that are navigable-in-fact or are permanently flowing bodies of water that physically connect to navigable waters.
“This week, the President signed an executive order to begin reversing the WOTUS rule as it was finalized by the Obama administration. We should also clarify the definition of ‘navigable waters’ to prevent future administrations from using the CWA in ways that are far beyond its intended scope,” Thornberry said.
For decades, the courts and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have grappled over the scope of the CWA, which simply defines “navigable waters” as “the waters of the United States, including the territorial seas.” In May 2015, the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers finalized the WOTUS rule, which could allow the regulation of almost any wet area on private land that has some arbitrary connection to a navigable body of water.
“Folks who live and work in our part of Texas, especially the farmers and ranchers, understand the importance of clean water and work hard to be good stewards of the land. This bill will help protect the personal property and water rights that are so fundamental to the American way of life, a family’s business, and many people’s livelihoods,” Thornberry said.
Since 2013, Thornberry has introduced and supported several bills that offered simple, commonsense ways to protect private landowners from regulatory overreach by the EPA and the Corps.
The “Red River Gradient Boundary Survey Act,” H.R. 428, introduced by U.S. Congressman Mac Thornberry (R-Clarendon), today passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 250-171. The bill establishes a fair and balanced process to conduct an accurate survey of contested land along the Red River to find the proper boundary between public and private ownership.
“This bill essentially requires the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to do what they should have done all along. Its passage in the House is an important step toward providing these landowners with the legal certainty they deserve. I hope we can use this momentum to get the bill passed in the Senate and then signed into law by the President,” Thornberry said. “I will continue working with the landowners, local and state officials, and Senator Cornyn (R-TX) until this issue is resolved once and for all.”
For nearly a century, the BLM has failed to survey a small strip of federal land along the entire 116-mile stretch of the Red River between Oklahoma and Texas. The BLM has never actively managed the small strip of federal land, and its own estimates of how much they own have varied widely over the years.
As a result, private landowners along the River are now unsure whether the land that they have held titles to and have paid taxes on, in some cases for generations, will remain in their families or be confiscated by the federal government. Since concern first arose in December 2013, Thornberry’s office has held multiple meetings, phone calls, and other correspondence with landowners, as well as local and state officials, to coordinate action.
The legislation will provide legal certainty to property owners along the Red River by:
• Commissioning a survey of the entire 116-mile stretch of contested area along the Red River using the gradient boundary survey method developed and backed by the Supreme Court to find the proper ownership boundary between public and private land.
• Ordering that the survey be conducted by licensed and qualified surveyors chosen by Texas and Oklahoma.
• Providing states the authority to oversee the surveyors and approve the final survey to ensure the Supreme Court instructions are properly followed.
• Requiring that a notice of survey approval, a copy of the survey, and any related field notes be provided to each individual land owner after the survey is completed.
• Ensuring that nothing in the bill alters the Red River Boundary Compact, modifies the interests of the states, or harms the rights of the impacted federally recognized Indian Tribes.
You can download video interview footage for news purposes by clicking here.Read More
2329 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
A fifth generation Texan, Mac Thornberry has strong ties to the people he serves in the U.S. House of Representatives. Mac is a lifelong resident of the 13th District of Texas. His family has been ranching in the area since 1881 – a family business in which Mac remains actively involved.
Mac shares the values of the people he represents and continues to fight for the things that are important to them. He is a longtime advocate of lower taxes and limited government. Boosting domestic energy production, protecting private property rights, and reforming health care are top priorities for Mac. He strongly supports cutting government spending and creating the kind of policies that encourage economic growth, rather than suffocating it. Additionally, as one of the few Members of Congress personally involved in agriculture, Mac understands the challenges agricultural producers face and has been a key player in efforts to support producers in the 13th District.
Mac’s wife, Sally, is also a native Texan. They have two children.
Retweeted by mactxpress
Retweeted by mactxpress
Thornberry statement on House failure to pass health care bill https://t.co/WqZ49jBKI5
Retweeted by mactxpress