“When Hightower comes around, and they’re starting to put emphasis on organics, that was an attraction. By the time I got there, I was already working on farm worker issues and it was obvious pesticide protection was going to be a major thing that we would have to fight for, all the way until Rick Perry came along. I definitely wanted to be involved with that. The whole concept of family farms because that was my background. Then the farmworker issues led me into minority farmer issues. Think we did a lot of good work… I think part of the reason why Hightower wanted me on the team was I had so many of those guys as my friends that were Farmers Union members. I’ve never had a problem with Pete Laney ever and that saved us ultimately in ’89 more than just about anything else. He was willing to work with us. He wanted to have everything as many different ways as he could to keep as many donors if he could. But bottom line is on agricultural issues he was Farmers Union…I think some of the stuff is surviving and will continue to survive. All the major stuff we got done for farmworkers is still on the books, and probably not going anywhere, in a negative sense. Both sustainable and organic agriculture are here to stay. After Hightower left office, I was appointed to the Southern United States Sustainable Agriculture Board and served on that for several years. I’m still a member and still a supporter of it. Their programs get bigger every year too, and that incorporates organics and then some one-off organics, which is kind of hard to describe. They do use some kinds of commercial fertilizer, for example, but not pesticides, not herbicides. That’s with us to stay and those are only going to get bigger….
Farmer’s markets are everywhere now. We have one here in Wimberley. A friend of mine offers his property for the New Braunfels farmer’s market. Started a few years ago and it’s just huge, overwhelming.”
In January ’81 Mike Moeller was elected President of the Texas Farmers Union. When Hightower announced his campaign for Texas Commissioner of Agriculture in 1982, Texas Farmers Union began to help him to the extent that they could. Early April, ‘85, Mike Moeller met with Jim Hightower and DeMarco. They asked him to be the number two guy at TDA. He came on the payroll June 1 when the legislative session was over. That was the same time period that DeMarco resigned from her $1/year job with TDA as Director of Marketing and was replaced by John Vlcek.