Young Farmers stay active

September 27, 2017

Back in the ‘70s, the Farm Movement was active and working hard to make a difference. This was when the farmers all drove their tractors and invaded Washington, en masse. Fast forward about 40 years or so. The problems the farmers were facing then are not too different than what our guys are facing today. Basically, too high a cost of production and too low a market price and no margin for error in between the two.

Fortunately for producers today, there are those guys who, in spite of being busy on their own farms, are also staying busy promoting agriculture every chance they get and staying actively involved in the political side of farming as well.

Last week saw one such organization busy on both sides of things. The West Texas Young Farmers Association, founded only last year, hosted the Boots on the Bricks event on The Square in downtown Brownfield. This event was a fund raiser for the group’s Ag in the Classroom initiative. The evening featured a steak dinner, Terry County’s finest wines and a great dance band all on The Square.

According to organizers, the evening was a huge success and is already  in the plans for next year, perhaps more than once a year.

 It was a great night of dinner and dancing under the stars as these hard working guys and their wives hosted a fun event. If you missed out on it, you really missed a great time. Be on the lookout for the next one and be sure not to miss it.

But, that was just one thing the WTYFA did last week. The group went to Lamesa to hear new Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue, House Ag Committee Chairman Mike Conaway, Senator Ted Cruz, Dr. Joe Outlaw from Texas A&M and Dr. Dan Hudson from Texas Tech Department of Ag Economics.

The meeting, organized by the Southwest AgriBusiness Association, was hosted by BE Implement and was met with a packed house. An obvious sign that there is concern about where production agriculture, cotton in particular, is headed.

Attending the meeting representing the WTYFA were Jon Williams, Mason Becker, Barrett Brown, Rhett Green, Lexi Floyd and Kirk Martin. The Brownfield News spoke with Mason and Barret to get their take on what was said at the meeting.

Barrett and Mason are both impressed with Perdue so far. “He seems to be a very straightforward, no nonsense kind of a guy.

He doesn’t seem to want to sugarcoat anything,” stated Barrett. “He doesn’t really seem like a politician. He talks like a guy that just wants to get things done,” added Mason.

Both guys were impressed with Conaway, as are most in the Ag industry. In fact, Conaway received the only standing ovation of the day when he was introduced. “We just know he is going to go to work for us. We know he will battle and do whatever he can to help producers out,” stated Mason. “He seems like a guy we can trust,” concluded Barrett. They both spoke of the passion they see in Conaway. “We know he is the leader we need in Washington, right now,” stated Mason.

Cruz, on the other hand was met with a much less warm reception by the room full of row crop farmers. “I guess he is making some progress,” stated Barrett. “But, he sure has a long way to go to earn our trust after the 2014 Farm Bill.”

Cruz has been in the farming area more in the last year, perhaps taking a cue from his constituents that he needed to be more in touch with the area he represents.

Cruz spoke of Hurricane Harvey and the devastation of crops in the area and called on Perdue to get the Ginning Cost Share program in and to get the cottonseed as an oil seed designation in to help these South Texas guys.

Overall, the guys felt better after leaving the meeting. “Whether it was politics talking or really speaking from the heart, they were saying all the right things. We will just have to wait and see how it all plays out as we get into Farm Bill 2018,” stated Mason.

The speakers did all feel that  there is a better chance this time to get cotton back into the program in some way, due to the devastation on the coast. Something will have to be done to help those boys out.

Having cotton written back into the Farm Bill will make it much easier for a farmer to secure financing for the following crop year. With margins tight at best, every little bit can help when trying to keep your equipment payments up or just simply paying back the farm loan. When speaking of governmental help, both guys were quick to remind folks that any government help does not go into any padded savings account, but rather goes for payments on equipment or carryover debt.

The WTYFA intends to stay active in pushing for farm legislation. “We have to speak up and continue to speak up. If we don’t, as we have seen in the past, the narrative will be written for us,” stated Mason.

We are proud to have these young guys being the voice for agriculture in West Texas. For more information on the WTYFA, or to have them come to speak to your group, contact  the Brownfield News and we will get you in touch with them.

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