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Commodity, South Plains leaders express farm bill needsCommodity, South Plains leaders express farm bill needs

Senator John Cornyn hosts a roundtable discussion to learn more about what Texas South Plains and Panhandle producers need in the upcoming farm bill.

Shelley E. Huguley

July 24, 2023

9 Slides

Texas South Plains and Panhandle commodity and industry leaders met with U.S. Senator John Cornyn recently to express their specific needs and priorities for the upcoming farm bill. Cornyn acknowledged there's no "one-size-fits-all" when it comes to the farm bill.

“The cost of production has outpaced the farm bill protection we have," said Jimmy Clark, Southwest Council of Agribusiness executive director as he addressed the Senator. "We certainly need a new farm bill that protects our farmers and ranchers."

Cornyn said his role at the roundtable was to listen. "I'm interested in learning from you what your priorities are, not what Chuck Grassley's priorities in Iowa are, or what Debbie Stabenow announced priorities are in Michigan. We need to make sure this farm bill addresses your needs, and that's why I'm here today," Cornyn told the 16 roundtable participants.

"We need to make sure we continue to preserve the safety net that comes from crop insurance funding, eradication efforts of feral swine and cattle fever ticks," Cornyn said. "We're interested in creating an animal disease vaccine bank to help prevent, respond to disease outbreaks. These pandemics don't just occur among humans. As we know, they can actually have a devastating impact on animals. So, these are just a few examples, but the main reason why I'm here is to listen."

Tom Sell, co-founder/manager, Combest, Sell & Associates, moderated the discussion, which included the following individuals and organizations:

  • Walt Hagood, Board of Directors, Texas Farm Bureau

  • Jimmy Clark, Executive Director, Southwest Council of Agribusiness

  • Curtis Parrish, Judge, Lubbock County

  • Martin Stoerner, Board President/Producer, Plains Cotton Growers

  • Kevin Brinkley, President and Chief Executive Officer, Plains Cotton Cooperative Association

  • Kody Carson, Board Member/Producer, National Sorghum Producers

  • Brad Bouma, Chairman Emeritus, Select Milk Producers, Inc.

  • Eddie Womack, Producer, Texas Wheat Growers

  • Dr. Clint Krehbiel, Dean, Texas Tech University Davis College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources

  • Dr. Britt Conklin, Associate Dean/Professor, Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine

  • Michael Bezner, Board Chair/Producer, Texas Cattle Feeders Association

  • Joe Leathers, Board of Directors, Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association

  • Robbie Blount, Executive Director, Western Peanut Growers Association

  • Joe Reed, Board Member/Producer, Texas Corn Producers Association

  • Garrett Couts, Agriculture Committee Chair, Lubbock Chamber of Commerce

Take a look through this gallery to hear what some of the leaders had to say on behalf of their producers and members and agriculture as a whole.

"What's unique about us in agriculture is no one is monoculture. We all support each other," said Kody Carson, National Sorghum Producers board member and producer. "So, as we go into this farm bill, you're going to see a lot of unified requests."

Read more about:

Farm Bill

About the Author(s)

Shelley E. Huguley

Editor, Southwest Farm Press

Shelley Huguley has been involved in agriculture for the last 25 years. She began her career in agricultural communications at the Texas Forest Service West Texas Nursery in Lubbock, where she developed and produced the Windbreak Quarterly, a newspaper about windbreak trees and their benefit to wildlife, production agriculture and livestock operations. While with the Forest Service she also served as an information officer and team leader on fires during the 1998 fire season and later produced the Firebrands newsletter that was distributed quarterly throughout Texas to Volunteer Fire Departments. Her most personal involvement in agriculture also came in 1998, when she married the love of her life and cotton farmer Preston Huguley of Olton, Texas. As a farmwife, she knows first-hand the ups and downs of farming, the endless decisions made each season based on “if” it rains, “if” the drought continues, “if” the market holds. She is the bookkeeper for their family farming operation and cherishes moments on the farm such as taking harvest meals to the field or starting a sprinkler in the summer with the whole family lending a hand. Shelley has also freelanced for agricultural companies such as Olton CO-OP Gin, producing the newsletter Cotton Connections while also designing marketing materials to promote the gin. She has published articles in agricultural publications such as Southwest Farm Press while also volunteering her marketing and writing skills to non-profit organizations such as Refuge Services, an equine-assisted therapy group in Lubbock. She and her husband reside in Olton with their three children Breely, Brennon and HalleeKate.

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