Ag Commissioner visits Dalhart
By Nathan French
Texas Ag Commissioner Todd Staples paid a visit to Dalhart on Friday, touring Hilmar Cheese Factory, holding a public reception at the Coliseum, and riding in the Grand Entry of Friday’s XIT Rodeo. Commissioner Staples made a promise in his first term as Texas Ag Commissioner to visit all 254 counties of Texas. Staples first term focus has been on “connectivity between rural and urban/suburban communities, promoting the state’s agriculture/livestock economies, public food safety, school nutrition programs, rural Texas jobs, and fairly enforcing the state’s weights and measures laws including calibration of gas station pumps.”
Staples prides himself on serving as an advocate for Texas producers, whether that be in protection of water rights, promoting Texas’ produce nationally, or drawing tourism to all areas of Texas. Staples implemented a program, Go Texan, a program to benefit both tourism and Texas agriculture. Part of the program rests on linking Texas produce with Texas restaurants. Instead of Texas dining establishments acquiring produce from national suppliers; they instead get produce from Texas agricultural producers. Staples has already recruited over 400 restaurants into the program, and stated, “The program has been an overwhelming success.” More broadly, the Go Texan program promotes the products, culture, and communities of Texas.
Recently, Commissioner Staples announced that he will be running for a second term in 2010. Staples’ re-election campaign received immediate support from the Texas Farm Bureau, the state’s largest farm organization. The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association also supports Staples. Additionally, he has received recognition for his strong promotion of job creation in Texas from Carlton Schwab, President/CEO of Texas Economic Development Council.
In a brief visit with Staples at Friday’s reception, Staples stated that he had greatly enjoyed his visit to Dalhart and his tour of Hilmar Cheese Factory. On Hilmar, Staples stated, “Hilmar serves as a great economic opportunity not only locally, but for the entire state.” Staples was impressed with the economic progress of the local community and was looking forward to being part of the grand entry for XIT. He jokingly said, “If I get thrown from my horse tonight in the Grand Entry, just say I was never here.”
Commissioner Staples spoke individually to attendees at the reception, and his zeal for Texas was quite evident. He looks forward to the run for his second term stating, “The next four years demand thoughtful and careful planning as Texas continues its leadership role with agriculture in our nation and around the globe. As Commissioner, I will continue to approach all issues with the same question: How does this decision benefit Texas families?”