§ 2.001. DEFINITIONS. In this chapter, "agriculture" means: (1) the cultivation of the soil to produce crops; (2) horticulture, floriculture, or viticulture; (3) forestry; or (4) the raising or keeping of livestock or poultry. Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 301, § 2, eff. May 29, 1999. § 2.002. FINDINGS. The legislature finds that: (1) agriculture has been a critical element in the economic, cultural, and historical development of this state; (2) the impact of agriculture in this state is declining, due to urbanization, economic changes, and changes in agriculture; (3) the effects of those changes are not limited to rural areas and the agricultural community but affect citizens throughout the state, including those in urban areas; (4) agriculture is a vital component of a diversified state economy and creates numerous businesses and job opportunities; (5) agriculture is directly and substantially affected by factors beyond the control of the industry, including adverse weather conditions and changes in world commodity markets; (6) agriculture renews the natural resources of this state through the annual production of crops and livestock; and (7) to ensure that agriculture remains a vital force in this state, the state must assess the condition of agriculture and the role of state government and develop an agricultural policy to guide governmental actions. Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 301, § 2, eff. May 29, 1999. § 2.003. POLICY. (a) The agricultural policy of this state must consider and address: (1) water availability issues, including planning for water supplies and drought preparedness and response, by ensuring that a high priority is assigned to the agricultural use of water; (2) transportation issues, by ensuring an efficient and well-maintained farm-to-market road system and intermodal transportation to provide adequate transportation for agricultural products at competitive rates; (3) state regulatory issues, by ensuring the efficiency and profitability of agricultural enterprises while at the same time protecting the health, safety, and welfare of agricultural workers and citizens of this state. (4) state tax policy, by encouraging tax policy that promotes the agriculture industry, including production and processing; (5) the availability of capital, including state loans or grants authorized by Section 52-a, Article III, Texas Constitution, by facilitating access to capital through loans and grants authorized by the Texas Constitution for agricultural producers who have established or intend to establish agricultural operations in Texas; (6) the promotion of Texas agricultural products, by promoting the orderly and efficient marketing of agricultural commodities and enhancing and expanding sales of Texas raw and processed agricultural products in local, domestic, and foreign markets; (7) eradication, control, or exclusion of: (A) injurious pests and diseases that affect crops and livestock; and (B) noxious plant and brush species; (8) research and education efforts, including financial risk management, consumer education, and education in the public schools, by encouraging promotional and educational programs involving all segments of agriculture and maintaining a solid foundation of stable and long-term support for food and agricultural research while improving accountability and gathering public input concerning research; (9) promotion of efficient utilization of soil and water resources, by encouraging efforts to sustain the long-term productivity of landowners by conserving and protecting the basic resources of agriculture, including soil, water, and air, while working within federal mandates relating to natural resources; (10) rural economic and infrastructure development, by enhancing, protecting, and encouraging the production of food and other agricultural products; (11) protection of property rights and the right to farm, by promoting and protecting agricultural activities that are established before nonagricultural activities located near the agricultural activities and are reasonable and consistent with good agricultural practices; (12) preservation of farmland, ranchland, timberland, and other land devoted to agricultural purposes, by encouraging the development and improvement of the land for the production of food and other agricultural products consistent with the philosophy of a private property rights state; (13) food safety, by continuing to support production of the safest food in the world with regulations based on sound scientific evidence; (14) efforts to participate in the formulation of federal programs and policies, by actively addressing the development of federal policy that affects this state; (15) promotion of rural fire service, by seeking opportunities to improve the sustainability and effectiveness of rural fire service for the protection of the general public and natural resources; and (16) promotion of value-added agricultural enterprises, by promoting efforts to increase the value of Texas agricultural products through processing, management practices, or other procedures that add consumer benefits to agricultural goods. (b) For the purposes of Subsection (a)(11), an agricultural activity is presumed to be: (1) reasonable and not a nuisance; and (2) a good agricultural practice not adversely affecting public health and safety if the activity is undertaken in conformity with federal, state, and local laws and regulations. Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 301, § 2, eff. May 29, 1999. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 3, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2001. § 2.004. AGRICULTURE POLICY BOARD. (a) The Agriculture Policy Board, through research and analysis, shall advocate and recommend strategies for agriculture that enhance agriculture production, income, and employment, that benefit consumers, and that promote efficient and sustainable use of natural resources. (b) The board is composed of the following voting members: (1) the commissioner of the Texas Department of Agriculture; (2) the chair of the House Agriculture and Livestock Committee; (3) three members of the house of representatives to be appointed by the speaker of the house, preferably with expertise in agriculture or from predominately rural or agriculturally oriented districts; and (4) four members of the senate to be appointed by the lieutenant governor, preferably with expertise in agriculture or from predominately rural or agriculturally oriented districts. (c) The members of the board shall elect from its membership a chair. (d) Employees of the House Agriculture and Livestock Committee and the Senate Natural Resources Committee Subcommittee on Agriculture shall provide staff services for the board. (e) The board shall continue the development of agriculture policy guidelines consistent with Section 2.003 and shall: (1) review all legislation that will impact agriculture in this state for compliance with the guidelines; (2) review all agriculture budget issues for compliance with the guidelines and establish priorities for agriculture-related research and agency budgets related to agriculture; (3) review all current statutes that affect agriculture in this state for compliance with the guidelines; and (4) review all agency rulemaking authority for compliance with the guidelines. (f) Service as a member of the board is an additional duty of the member's public office. (g) Legislative members of the board serve two-year terms and membership on the board terminates if the member ceases membership in the legislature for any reason. (h) A vacancy in an appointive position on the board is filled in the same manner as the original appointment. (i) Members of the board serve without compensation or reimbursement of expenses. Members shall be reimbursed in accordance with their public office. (j) The board shall create a 15-member ad hoc advisory committee to assist the board in carrying out the official duties of the board. Members of the advisory committee serve without compensation or reimbursement of expenses. (k) The board shall adopt rules necessary for the proceedings of the board. Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 62, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2001. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1328, § 1, eff. June 21, 2003. § 2.005. POLICY: BISON. The agricultural policy of this state must recognize that bison: (1) are wild animals indigenous to this state; (2) are distinct from cattle, livestock, exotic livestock, and game animals; and (3) may be raised and used for: (A) commercial purposes; or (B) the purpose of preserving the bison species. Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 41, § 1, eff. May 15, 2003. § 2.006. POLICY: PROTECTION OF STATE FROM CERTAIN PESTS AND DISEASES. (a) The agricultural policy of this state must recognize that it is of paramount importance to protect this state and the agriculture industry in this state against the intentional or unintentional introduction or dissemination of damaging plant and animal pests and diseases. (b) The department, with the assistance of the Texas Animal Health Commission, shall pursue a policy of ensuring that the borders of this state are secure from shipments of potentially dangerous plant and animal pests and diseases. Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., ch. 1337, § 1, eff. June 18, 2005.

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