This coming election year may prove interesting. The so called “conservative” leaders in Texas may have some real horse races looming. Regardless of political leanings, no incumbent should have a lifetime license to hold office—with taxpayers footing the bills. Those qualified folks interested in the state wide offices, who can find the money to fund their race, will offer us some choices. All the major offices are up for contention.

One of particular interest is the Texas Land Commissioners seat. Jerry Patterson, an Aggie, Marine and all around decent fellow held the office for twelve years. Then he was enticed into running for Lt. Governor and was odd man out. Now Patterson wants to return to the General Land Office where he stuck to doing his job and without controversy. George P. Bush, a son of Jeb Bush is now the office holder. Bush has held the office three years and has created dissension from day one forward. Patterson, along with several State Senators, recently lambasted Bush for keeping secret a multi-million dollar Land Office project to remodel the area around the Alamo.

From what “insiders” in Austin are saying, Bush is more interested in laying the groundwork for higher office in Austin and following his grandfather and uncle to the White House. Heaven forbid!

The old timers have a saying that rain and bull calves are essential for a ranching operation. Well the calves keep coming — but the rains don’t! John Nielson-Gammon, our state climatologist, says October and November were the 12th driest on record since 1895 in most of Texas.

Concern is growing about fire danger, poor doing winter pastures and declining surface water for livestock — and humans. What it all boils down to is that our farmers and ranchers need to determine their game plans if the drought continues.

“You can fool part of the people part of the time, but you can’t fool all the people all the time.” Texas cattle producers, with the aid of politicians who sold them a bill of goods, barely passed a referendum to increase the beef checkoff by another $1 a head. That little dollar, coupled with the already mandatory $1 a head, raised the ante from our livestock producers to over $22 million a year.

Suffice it to say that producers in several East Texas counties voted against the extra collections. Henderson, Anderson and Houston Counties voted against the new “tax” with over 90 percent against.

But it passed statewide with less than five percent of cattle owners voting. Last week in Oklahoma cattle folks turned down the $1 a head increase with over 60 percent against the proposal. Those Oklahoma farmers figured out that the extra dollar “tax” could not be used to promote only Oklahoma — or U.S. beef.

We need to change the “beef, it’s what for dinner” advertising campaign to “American beef, it’s what for dinner.” Now that makes sense!