“(O)ne of my first formal relationships with agriculture was at the Black Farmers Conferences and getting some history of what was going on with them and what had transpired…The few who held on, who actually worked the land and stayed there, were still facing difficult times, mistreatment by USDA, especially with respect to support farm loans, crop loans, crop insurance, things like that. It was something that was pretty prevalent and I knew about it. It was good to be able to be involved in the efforts of those conferences and see these people coming in and talking about their problems and getting information as to what could benefit them in terms of helping to be a little bit more prosperous. ..It was a well-balanced agency; it was probably better than any other. I can’t think of any other agency at that time that had that much diversity in its leadership.“
Jesse Oliver was elected to the Texas House of Representatives the same year Jim Hightower was elected Ag Commissioner. Jesse believed in the programs Hightower campaigned on, especially farmworkers, and helped him with legislation where he could. Later Jesse took Sam Biscoe’s place as General Counsel at the Department of Agriculture.