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2009-04-09 digital edition

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2009-04-09 / Front Page

Local Farm Bureau Leaders Visit Nation's Capitol

Lee-Bastrop Co. Farm Bureau President Mike Organ (left) and Farm Bureau State Director Tom Pabin (far right) discuss issues with Representative Michael McCaul (center) last Wednesday in Washington D.C. Lee-Bastrop Co. Farm Bureau President Mike Organ (left) and Farm Bureau State Director Tom Pabin (far right) discuss issues with Representative Michael McCaul (center) last Wednesday in Washington D.C. Mike Organ and his wife, Nancy, of the Lee-Bastrop County Farm Bureau were among more than 130 local leaders of the Texas Farm Bureau who traveled to the nation's capital on March 31-April 3 for discussions on agricultural issues.

"Seeing this first hand and actually talking to our elected officials is vital," said Organ. "This is a critical time for America and for the agricultural industry."

Organ said the implementation of the farm bill, reopening Cuba as a full fledged market for U.S. products, addressing the increasing regulation of agriculture, and the Columbia and Panama Free Trade agreements were all on the visiting farmers' and ranchers' agenda.

"We believe Congress and the new administration made a mistake by eliminating the pilot program that allows Mexican trucks to operate on this side of the border because it technically puts the U.S. in violation of NAFTA," Organ said.

That program, recently terminated, caused Mexico to impose more than $2 billion in tariffs on a wide range of products, including some agricultural goods.

"Mexico is Texas' number one trade partner, and we think it's just bad business to risk a trade war in this fragile economy," the local president said. "This was a good time to be in Washington for discussions on this and other important agricultural issues."

The Farm Bureau group represented every region and many of the crops produced in the Lone Star State.

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