Texas Side Of Things

Jim Banner, Southern Livestock Standard

March 18, 2024

Back in the fall of 1976, I began classes at Texas A&M University. Now, when you talk about a country boycoming to town, I was the poster child of what they were talking about. One of my very first classes that I remember was called Ag 101 and it was taught by Dr. Curtis Lard, the assistant dean of agriculture. It was a simple one-hour class that all freshmen were required to take, introducing them into the college of agriculture. I remember in the very first class,Dr. Lard said, “Look around. You and the other students sitting around you will one day be responsible for feeding theworld.” At the time, I was fascinated about what he had just said, and really couldn’t imagine that some 48 years later…U.S. agriculture is still feeding not only our country’s needs, but people all over the world.

I don’t know about you, but probably the best known agricultural commercial that I have ever heard was the speechby Paul Harvey delivered to the 1978 Future Farmers of America convention, “So God Made a Farmer.” This speechcould easily have been played to our class had it been written then, and every student would have left that lecture roomeither bawling and crying or ready to face the world, right there and then. I still get teary-eyed every time I hear Mr.Harvey’s voice, recite those words of wisdom about life in agriculture and why we do it.

You might ask why I have brought up these two topics. It’s because I have been proud to be a part of agriculture all mylife, but never prouder than I am, today. As most of you know by now, the Texas Panhandle has been on fire for almost two weeks, scorching over 1.1 million acres. It just so happened that my wife, Vicki, and I were around Amarillo the day after the Smokehouse Creek fire started and we could see how it had grown in just one day. Later that day we ended up having to drive back through the Windy Duece fire that was located between Channing and Amarillo. On Thursday, two days later, farmers and ranchers across Texas were already asking for hay, feed, fencing material or money donations to send to panhandle. The volunteers who came to their aid didn’t know many of the producers who had been burned out, theyonly knew them as fellow farmers/ranchers that needed help immediately. I’ve read reports that over 700 semi-trucks loaded with hay have been delivered. Feed companies and producers have sent truckloads of cattle cubes, horse feed and milk replacement to the area. And this didn’t all come from Texas. Many other states sent supplies, as well. I even heard some stories about people at truck stops coming up to the drivers of trucks and pickups offering to pay for their fuel tohelp any way they could.

I’m proud to be a member of the agricultural family. We are a proud group that offers help to those who need it and stand by our words when we say them. We don’t have special handshakes, just a firm grip when we greet one another.We don’t pay monthly dues, our dues are paid in full by the sweat on our brows, the calluses on our hands and the satisfaction of knowing that we do our best when we sell our product. We stand together when tragedy hits and wemourn for those that have been hurt. We are the men and women of American agriculture and yes, we do feed our great country and the world, just like Dr. Curtis Lard said we would some 48 years ago!

Southern Livestock

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