News and Information
U.S. Rep. Conaway visits Tarleton
Tarleton State University
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, February 13, 2012
STEPHENVILLE, Texas—While work continues on the 2012 Farm Bill, U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Midland) predicted during a Tarleton agriculture forum that the legislation is unlikely to pass before the current bill expires Sept. 30. In that case, he added, the current law would be extended.
Conaway, who represents the 11th Congressional District and serves on the House Agriculture Committee, visited Tarleton Feb. 10-11. He and Larry Combest, a former congressman from Lubbock, held a wide-ranging forum on agriculture policy attended by some 50 people at Tarleton on Feb. 11.
In opening remarks, Combest, who chaired the House Agriculture Committee from 1999-2003, lamented the fact that “fewer and fewer people know about agriculture. They don’t know about the challenges of production. They think food comes from the grocery store and clothes come from the mall.”
The fate of the 2012 Farm Bill, Conaway said, is complicated by the fact that it’s an election year, the state of the economy and the federal deficit. The federal government spending 25 percent of GDP is “unsustainable,” he said.
He defended proposed cuts in the nutrition (food stamp) program, saying that identifying “waste, fraud and abuse” could save substantial dollars “and not affect one calorie coming off anyone’s table.”
Both Conaway and Combest said the nation needs to embrace the technology of genetically altered food and fiber, with Combest adding that the agriculture industry must also “convince the people that the way it’s produced is safe and OK."
On the emotional issue of horse slaughter, Conaway said people need to understand that horses “are not pets or companion animals. They are livestock… They are property.”
Conaway’s current district, a sprawling 36 county area in West and Central Texas that includes Odessa, Midland and San Angelo, does not include Erath County. But under the map drawn by the Texas Legislature for the redistricting process, which is now in the courts, Stephenville and part of Erath County would be in Conaway’s district.
Tarleton President F. Dominic Dottavio and his wife, Dr. Lisette Dottavio, hosted a dinner for Conaway, his wife, Suzanne, and others at the Trogdon House on Feb 10.
“It’s been a pleasure spending time with Mr. Conaway and getting to know his passion for agriculture and the country,” Dottavio said at the ag forum.
For his part, Conaway said, “Suzanne and I feel like we’ve been made part of the Tarleton family. The hospitality has been fantastic.”
Tarleton State University
A member of The Texas A&M University System
Contact: Joe Michael Feist