OPINION: Make 2022 Count

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, January 5, 2022

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The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to consider what will be important in the year ahead.

As an officer of Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, that means thinking about the long-term success of the cattle industry. Now, more than ever, that future is intertwined with policy and politics. Local, state, national and even international policy directly affect our decisions on the ranch.

An ordinance enacted by your county commissioners or city council may change what you can build on your land. A statute passed by the state legislature may impact the language required in a lease or easement. A new federal tax law might change how much you owe in taxes. Even international policy, such as trade negotiations, may change global beef demand and impact your marketing decisions for the year ahead.

Even though many of these policy decisions seem out of our control, they’re not.

2022 provides us with the opportunity to elect individuals who share our principles and are willing to fight for our ability to own land and raise cattle. Who we elect this year will play a significant role in shaping policy for years to come.

This election cycle is particularly important because of the recent redistricting process, which caused Congressional and State Legislative districts to be redrawn. The changes prompted numerous legislators to retire or seek another office. In Texas alone, some 35 state and federal elected officials have announced such plans.

With so many changes and new names on the ballot, there has never been a more important time to be engaged. Visit the candidates’ websites and learn about their values and background. Read articles about them and how they differ from their opponents. Attend events where they’re speaking to hear about their stances and shake their hands. You can even ask to meet one-on-one to discuss issues important to you and your fellow cattle producers.

Once you identify candidates who align with your goals and values, consider supporting their bid for elected office. Most importantly, cast your ballot for them. You can also put a campaign sign on your fence or donate time or money to help with the campaign.

For many races, organizations like the Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association Political Action Committee will provide voting recommendations and offer more ways to get involved.

Unfortunately, running a successful campaign requires a lot of money. PACs, like ours, allow like-minded individuals to pool their resources and direct assistance where it’s needed most. Sometimes, cattle producers’ biggest legislative advocate on a particular issue may be a lawmaker from the other end of the state or country. Donating to a PAC provides an opportunity to support their candidacy and your values even if you cannot vote for them directly.

However you choose to do so, I hope you will join us in supporting the candidates who support cattle producers. You can be certain the policymakers elected this year will have a tremendous impact on your future, so don’t miss an opportunity to shape that future.

Arthur G. Uhl III, Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association first vice president and TSCRA PAC vice-chairman