“I think you could take that eight years, and set it over here and say, This is unlike anything else. I don’t know of anybody that talked about farm worker safety before that. I don’t know of anybody that talked about organizing farmer cooperatives like that. Yes, there were cooperatives, but they were for farmers to gin their cotton or to store their grain, they weren’t for watermelon farmers of color. There was nobody who saw how important it was to protect the soil and land, and to consider alternative energy…That was really the beauty of it. It was taking state government, taking a cottage industry, attempting to make it sustainable, and saying, ‘Go forth and do good.’ You don’t hear that much before and you don’t hear much of that now.“
Andy Welch was TDA’s Public Information Coordinator. His goal was to help facilitate the message and make it so that it didn’t sound like crop futures, market prices and stuff like that. He could help tell the story and get past the minutiae. For example, at Thanksgiving, he would break out what a pumpkin farmer gets per pound, per pumpkin, same with the turkey farmer. That was one of Andy’s gifts, to leading with the message: Farmers are not making any money off this turkey dinner.