Advocacy Visits Lubbock, TX
By Rhett Davis, Region 6 Advocate
The Office of Advocacy conducted a small business regulatory forum in Lubbock, Texas on August 29. The Five Star Lubbock Chamber of Commerce hosted the event in conjunction with the SBA Lubbock-West Texas District Office, which is led by Calvin Davis.
Lubbock, home of Texas Tech University, is now one of America’s 100 largest cities. The Lubbock region produces more cotton than any other area in the world.
The director of a local cotton growers association spoke about the effect of federal regulations imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on his industry. He recommended a shorter review time for the approval of new chemicals by the EPA since the extended wait time is creating financial and timing issues in the farming and crop production industry. He said, “Sometimes, it takes a new pesticide a total of eight to nine years to be registered. That’s ridiculous.”
After a discussion of EPA’s clean air and pesticide regulations, he brought up diesel truck rules. He contends they add a cost of $30,000 to $40,000 for a tractor trailer, which can force companies out of business. He added that OSHA is adding more unnecessary costs to gin owners with their increased “flash” visits. The OSHA safety plans are needed, but the costs are definitely a problem, he said.
The director of a municipal development district detailed the need for greater support of exporting. He noted that several of his constituents’ businesses have asked to ease the many obstacles that make it difficult to ship products abroad and to receive overseas products. He added that most of his rural businesses hope to see streamlining of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) paperwork and process. Additionally, in order to help local small businesses, he said that prime contractors and other larger companies receiving federal contracts should be held more accountable in adhering to the Buy America Act. Increasing federal procurement goals for small business set-asides will help local and domestic businesses gain a fairer and more competitive advantage over foreign entities, he added.
A local rancher discussed what he sees as an unreasonable U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) mandate for livestock producers. Under current federal rules, he said, livestock producers are required to purchase specific antibiotics and are now required to take cows and calves to veterinarians to administer the antibiotics and are no longer permitted to administer antibiotics themselves. The increased vet cost is a big problem with large ranches and has proven to be very expensive. The costs of the vet visits sometimes exceed the cost of the calf, he said.
The Office of Advocacy thanks the 46 attendees who participated in the forum. I will expand on more comments from Lubbock in a future blog.
Rhett Davis serves as the Region 6 Advocate for the SBA Office of Advocacy, representing small businesses in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. Davis works with small business owners, state and local governments, and small business associations to bring the voice of Region 6 to Washington DC. He can be reached at Rhett.Davis@sba.gov.