FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 10, 2001
AUSTIN, TX--Today Lt. Gov. Bill Ratliff appointed state Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., D-Brownsville, to the Agriculture Policy Board.
"This is a critical role for me since most of the citrus crops and vegetables in Texas are produced in my district--the Rio Grande Valley," said the Senator. "I commend Lt. Gov. Ratliff for having the foresight to ensure that the Valley has a strong voice on this body."
The board is charged with advocating and recommending strategies for agriculture through research and analysis to enhance agriculture production, income and employment. Another responsibility of this group is to promote the efficient and sustainable use of natural resources.
"It is imperative South Texas be represented on the board, both because of domestic production of fruits, vegetables and other crops in the region, and because of the key and expanding role Mexican imports play in our industry," wrote Mr. John M. McClung, president of Texas Produce Association, in a letter to Lt. Gov. Ratliff recommending the Senator.
Mr. Ray Prewett, executive vice president of Texas Citrus Mutual, who also wrote to Lt. Gov. Ratliff, said, "We believe it is very important that South Texas have a representative on the Agricultural Policy Board created by House Bill 453 passed this last legislative session. Texas Citrus Mutual supports Senator Eddie Lucio for this position."
Members of the board will include the Texas Department of Agriculture Commissioner; the House Agriculture and Livestock Committee chair; the Senate Natural Resources Committee--Subcommittee on Agriculture chair; and three members from the House of Representatives appointed by the Speaker of the House and three from the Senate appointed by the Lieutenant Governor, all preferably with expertise in agriculture. The other Senate members are state Senators Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls and David Bernsen, D-Beaumont.
The board will also review all legislation impacting agriculture in the state and all agriculture budget issues.
"Our agricultural producers are the lifeline of this state and this nation," said Sen. Lucio. "These people, who depend so much on the elements, and who toil the earth to provide us sustenance, must be given not only our appreciation, but all the assistance we can offer. I feel that through this board I will be a greater part of this effort and duty."