Uncertainty over the future of water supplies in the Lone Star State stirred members of the Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) Resolutions Committee to reexamine the organization’s water policy Nov. 8-9 at the new TFB Conference and Training Center in Waco.
“With a booming population and a finite amount of water, this issue is of concern to all Texans,” said TFB Resolutions Committee chairman and TFB Vice President Dewey Hukill. “Court cases concerning groundwater in the state of Texas are on the dockets as we speak. The Legislature will likely tackle water issues when it convenes in January.”
Members of the committee took a long look at recommendations submitted by county Farm Bureaus across the state and consolidated them into many water-related resolutions that will be decided by Farm Bureau voting delegates at the annual meeting in December.
They reaffirmed the belief that landowners have a vested right to use the groundwater beneath their land.
“We believe that the landowner has an ownership interest in the groundwater beneath the surface of their land,” the proposed resolution reads. “We believe that this ownership interest gives the landowner a vested or ‘constitutionally protected’ right to drill a well and produce groundwater. We believe that the ownership interest in groundwater beneath the surface and the vested right to produce groundwater may be regulated in a reasonable manner to protect the groundwater resources of the area. We do not believe the ownership interest in groundwater gives the landowner a vested right to a specific quantity of groundwater under their land.”
The TFB Resolutions Committee is composed of members representing all 13 Texas Farm Bureau districts. It reviews and consolidates proposed policies submitted by county Farm Bureaus throughout the state. Now, it will be up to some 1,100 voting delegates, who will gather for TFB’s 77th Annual Meeting in Waco Dec. 4-6, to approve or reject the resolutions.
Other issues that will be considered at the annual meeting include the following:
· Affirmation of humane treatment of animals, while recognizing that livestock and wildlife are part of the human food chain, and a belief that livestock and wildlife are not equal to humans and do not have human rights.
· Opposition to shifting maintenance of farm-to-market roads from the state to counties.
· Support for a state law that would require proper and sufficient notice be given when legislation is filed that could conceivably grant eminent domain powers.
Resolutions adopted at the TFB annual meeting become policy that guides the organization throughout the coming year. Those resolutions approved by American Farm Bureau Federation delegates at the national convention in January will provide a roadmap for the national organization in 2011.