AUSTIN, Texas--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--Acre by acre, Texas is losing agricultural land faster than any other state in the nation. During a 10-year period (1997-2007) more than 2-million acres of family-owned farms and ranches were converted to other uses.
“Our country knows what it’s like to be dependent on foreign lands for our oil, and Texans don’t want to go down that path with their food”
“That loss threatens Texas' position as the second-largest agriculture state in the country and agriculture as the second-largest resource-based industry in Texas generating $100 billion a year for the economy,” says J Allen Carnes, mayor of Uvalde and the only farmer in the race for Texas Agriculture Commissioner.
Carnes recognizes the problem as a result of competing interests between the business and agriculture industries. Carnes is a third-generation Texas farmer from Uvalde with a degree in Finance from the University of Texas. He believes Texas needs an Agriculture Commissioner who can create an opportunity for dialogue between rural and urban Texas, and help bridge that gap.
Carnes says a priority as Texas Ag Commissioner will be to educate all Texans as to the vital role of Texas agriculture in keeping us fed, clothed and sheltered. “Texas has a proud history of private land ownership. When you break up a large farm or ranch, it harms more than the food supply. It hurts the textile and construction suppliers, threatens the drinking water supply and takes out large chunks of privately-managed wildlife areas that support a $16-billion recreation industry,” says Carnes.
In addition, Carnes points out that every year more and more agriculture is going south to Mexico and less to the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. “Our country knows what it’s like to be dependent on foreign lands for our oil, and Texans don’t want to go down that path with their food,” he adds.
“We need to be looking at this problem from both sides' perspective. My opponents in this race only see the Ag Commissioner's office as a rest stop on the way to the Governor's Mansion. I see it as a destination where we can all work together to come up with sensible policies to help Texas grow.”