Press Release
From the Office of State Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr., District 27

For Immediate Release
Tuesday, August 16, 1999
Contact: Doris Sanchez
(512) 463-0127

Sen. Lucio joins Gov. Bush in bill signing of "GO TEXAN" Partner Program and Fund

AUSTIN, TEXAS - Today state Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., joined Texas Gov. George Bush, Agriculture Commissioner Susan Combs, state Rep. David Swinford, R-Dumas and other officials for the bill signing of House Bill 2719, the "Go Texan" Partner Program and Fund.

House Bill 2719, sponsored by Sen. Lucio in the Senate and by Rep. Swinford in the House, establishes the program to promote and expand markets for Texas agricultural products through the use of matching funds. Texas agricultural producers can join the program for a $25 fee, which authorizes them to use the "Go Texan" logo in promoting their products. Additionally, commodity groups that want to participate would have to provide a one-to-one match on all state funds expended on the program. This match will allow the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) to sponsor larger projects that otherwise would be impossible, and it will provide an opportunity for producers to become involved.

"This is a great program for our Texas producers," said Sen. Lucio. "I was honored to participate in this ceremony to bring to light a program that will benefit the entire state economically by encouraging residents to purchase homegrown products."

The bill creates a partnership arm that will allow TDA to work with producers, commodity organizations, cooperatives, and other organizations to raise consumer awareness and to expand markets for Texas agricultural products.

"While Texas ranks second in the nation in cash receipts from agriculture, it spends only $200,000 per year on marketing. The 'Go Texan' program will certainly boost the level of marketing we are doing in this state for Texas products," added Sen. Lucio.

In-state promotional programs have been successful elsewhere. In Washington, a $5 million one-year advertising campaign for apples increased sales by 12 percent. California spent $10 million promoting cheese and raised sales by 9 percent.

The "Go Texan" program applies to agricultural, horticultural, viticultural or vegetable products in their natural or processed state that have been produced, processed or otherwise had value added in Texas. Some of these products include bees, honey, fish or other seafood, forestry products, livestock, seeds and poultry. The legislation also creates an advisory board to help TDA implement the program, and would include at least eight members to be appointed by the agriculture commissioner. Another provision of the bill directs the Texas Department of Transportation to issue "Go Texan" license plates for cars and light trucks. License plate holders would pay a $30 annual fee, of which $25 would go into the "Go Texan" account and the remainder would go to the state highway fund for administrative costs.

The bill becomes effective September 1, 1999.

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Note: Staffer who handled legislation is Buddy Garcia, Legislative Director.

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