Susan DeMarco (D)
“The natural state of food production is that it’s small-scale, agrarian, and local. This is because plants and animals are living creatures. Economies of scale are achieved at a surprisingly small level, with both productivity and quality being enhanced by the ability of farmers and artisans to be personally involved with their crops and livestock. But the agribusiness powers perverted agriculture production from the high art and science of cooperating with nature into a high-cost, high-tech process of overwhelming nature.”
Susan DeMarco co-founded the Agriculture Accountability Project and co-authored Hard Tomatoes, Hard Times and several other books. She served as Assistant Commissioner for Marketing and Agricultural Development in the Texas Department of Agriculture from 1982-1985.
According to TDA press secretary Andy Welch, “DeMarco could be very personable . We’d have a reception and there would be these large guys, Ray Pruitt from Citrus, Ed Small, the cattleman. Carl King, he was of a different era. These big Bubba’s, and here was little DeMarco. She had such a competence and personality, she could just charm them. I remember one time during the open legislative session they were in town doing some business. I don’t think they had actually been invited inside the walls. She had a meeting with them. One of the knocks on her was that she was a vegetarian. I don’t know if that’s true, but she did not care for beef. She got a little plate of steak tartare. When these cattlemen came into her office to talk to her and make sure she understood how important the beef industry was to the Texas economy and how the TDA had always worked to serve the beef industry, Beef Council and all of that, she had sitting there this little plate of raw sirloin. She reached over and took a bite and then invited them to have some. These guys love their beef well done. And with a baked potato and green beans, I was not in the meeting, but we all knew what was going to happen afterwards. Their eyes were wide open. I’m sure as soon as they left, the phone lines lit up with, “Oh my gosh, she ate raw meat!”