When the Texas House voted last week to ban diners at restaurants from buying from a farm, they were just doing what farmers have been doing for years: raising livestock.
The bill passed by a 217-195 vote, with Democrats in favor and Republicans against.
It was one of many agricultural-related bills that passed the House last week, including a $4.6 billion farm bill that will help with the drought.
“I’ve been here since 1974, and we’ve never had a problem raising livestock in Texas,” said Rep. Ron Estes, a Republican from Houston.
“We’ve had some good years, but there are some issues.
We’re trying to address them.”
But this year, the state’s agriculture policy has been on the chopping block.
The ban was introduced last month and passed by the House, but was blocked by the Senate.
The House voted for it, and now that the Senate has voted, the bill will move to the full House for consideration.
“Farmers across Texas have been working for decades to raise cattle and poultry in the state,” said Republican Rep. Steve Cohen, a Democrat from Austin.
“Now they will be able to do so again, but only if the Texas Legislature puts its will into action.”
This year, farmers have already been doing what they have been going through for years.
In addition to raising cattle and chickens, farmers across the state have been raising pigs, pigs and other meat products.
And they’re doing it all with local farms that are open year-round.
For instance, in Galveston, farmers raise the pigs that are raised for their chicken production.
The state is one of only a few that has no restrictions on who can grow and sell their own food, said Jim Martin, president of the Texas Pork Producers Council.
That makes it very convenient for farmers to raise their own meat, which can be a lot cheaper and healthier than buying meat in large grocery stores, Martin said.
“The state is the most important market in Texas.
We have more people in the country who want to eat locally, and it’s easier for farmers and ranchers to sell locally because of that,” he said.
And it’s not just about meat, either.
The federal government and some state governments also are cracking down on the meat trade, banning some meat and poultry exports, and even requiring that meat be labeled as such.
“You’re not going to get your meat from the U.S. or Canada, or China, and you’re not buying it from your neighbor,” said Jim Pugh, president and CEO of the American Meat Institute, which advocates for a humane and responsible approach to meat production.
“That’s not good for the environment and it does a disservice to consumers.”
In addition, there’s the potential for the ban to cost the state millions of dollars a year in extra taxes.
But that’s not the main concern here, Pugh said.
Instead, it comes down to the fact that Texans have always been eating meat, regardless of where they live.
“It’s really a case of people not eating their meat when they live in Texas, but when they’re in New York or wherever else,” he added.
That’s not to say that all of Texas is going to have to go vegan.
There are already laws in place to help keep meat out of restaurants.
And a new bill from the state Senate that was introduced earlier this year would give some more protections to the vegans and vegetarians who eat the most meat in the United States.
“Texas is home to more than 50 million vegetarians, who are the healthiest and most well-rounded people on the planet,” said Sen. Donna Campbell, a Houston Democrat.
“With this new bill, the Texas Senate will pass legislation to protect these communities, and protect their health and well-being.”
That’s why, according to Pugh and others, it is crucial that Texas farmers continue to grow their own livestock.
“In a country that is so heavily dependent on meat, and where people are eating far more meat than they should, it doesn’t make sense for farmers like me to get all these animals,” Pugh explained.
“They’re the only ones who have to feed the people.
When I’m raising the pigs, I don’t think about the cows and pigs, or the pigs and chickens. “
When I get my chickens, I’m just trying to feed my family and raise the chickens.
When I’m raising the pigs, I don’t think about the cows and pigs, or the pigs and chickens.
It’s all about raising the animals.
That really is the only thing that matters to me.”