Angela Lamb

“I’d like to offer you a piece of information that we’ve gathered in a survey. It’s how the citizens of this area feel about waste being brought into the area. And I would like to congratulate you because in the last two years you have discovered that this is the number one agricultural county in the state of Texas, which […]

Freddie Richards

“Initially, the (Texas Agricultural Finance Authority) program funded people who wanted to take ag from production to processing and marketing, from the commodity production side to the processing side. Then we tried to help people who wanted to fund specialty projects that included viticulture, bees and deer and Christmas trees which were also considered to be agricultural diversification. Not 100 […]

Alfred L. Parks

“We had a guy that came in from the Dallas area. He had no farming background, but he had married into a family that’s local here… “My family has land not far from Prairie View, and we want to get into watermelons.” He created a supply chain. What he had done was go out and develop some markets with Luby’s. […]

Jesse Oliver

“(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, […]

Barbara Meister

“It’s Hightower’s philosophy, go out and scour the countryside, find these folks who are doing these innovative things and bring them into the government structure.Give them a computer, give them a secretary, give them a travel budget, and say, keep doing what you’re doing. But do it in here, do it throughout the whole state. I remember that being a […]

Mack Martinez

“I think Hightower has pushed and has made some headway, it’s an ‘us’ issue. Until we’ve all crossed that line, until we’re all equal, ain’t none of us equal. I think that came across, and that’s why he was respected by African American leaders and by Hispanic leaders. It wasn’t an accident that John Vlcek also happened to be gay. […]

Jim Marston

“Hiring an openly gay guy to do important work and interact with folks – it’s kind of a statement that the Department of Agriculture hadn’t had before. Our state government was generally very white, male, straight but the Ag Department was really that way. We started hiring people who didn’t go to Texas A&M. That was a shock to many, […]

Barbara Lange

“If you remember one thing, it’s the educational part (of the Black Farmer Conferences). We talked about taxes. We talked about tax credit. We talked about funding, we talked about developing….That’s where Gus (Townes of the Texas Department of Agriculture) and the rest of the high-tech people came in. They knew where to go find specialists. There’s so many different […]

Nancy Epstein

“(W)we were the first state exchange with Israel. At the time that I left, there were 21 states that had their own memoranda of agreement with Israel. They weren’t all agriculture, some were commerce, some were technology. But we were the first that created a whole movement… There was funding from the Meadows Foundation to begin a demonstration farm in […]

Ben Delgado

“I was the mechanic, the admin guy who knew how to do contracts, knew who to call, figure out how to hire people how to bring people on board, how to schedule things out, how to organize meetings, all the understated and underappreciated, even to this day, admin stuff that has to happen in order to make an organization work…I […]