Commentary: Farming is my family business

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I am a farmer. It’s what I am and what I’ve always wanted to be. It is a family business. In fact, agriculture today is kind of difficult to get into without a family history of it.

My name is Darrell Bowers, and I appreciate this chance to talk to my customers and Texas neighbors. I farm near Victoria, Texas, and I am 30 years old. I am married and have two children. The Texas Farm Bureau has chosen this week to make a special effort to connect with the people who are our customers. We call it Texas Food Connection Week. I appreciate you!

Part of what I do would be easily recognizable. I grow corn and grain sorghum, and I have planted cotton. I might yet do some this year if the rain falls at the right time. I am also a catfish farmer and that’s a bit unusual. I’ve been in that business since 2003, and I’ve seen good times and bad. That’s what I want to talk to you about today…profit.

At the end of the day, farming is a business, like many others. To commit myself to this life, I have to ask myself some serious questions: “Can I make a living for my family?” is the most important one. This means a decent living—one that includes not only healthy food and adequate clothing, but piano lessons, Little League baseball, a family vacation, a comfortable home and college educations for at least two children. I’m hoping for Texas A&M, but we’ll see.

Like other businesses, I have to be able to adopt innovations and have access to the latest technology. Without that, I cannot compete with my counterparts in Brazil and Asia, who have many advantages, like cheap labor. Technology and labor costs add a lot to my bottom line, and profit is the key if the next generation of farmers and ranchers is to stay on the farm.

In the catfish business, I’ve struggled through many tough years.  Fortunately, the last two have been pretty good ones.  The drought and how it has hurt grain and cotton crops is well known.  Prices have been pretty good, though. When you grow food, there are always ups and downs. I can handle that, if I know you are behind me.

I am skilled in the tools I use on your behalf. I am a steward of the land I farm. I know that when it is passed on to other hands it must sustain another generation.

I love the fact that, as a farmer, I participate every day in what I believe is an American food and fiber miracle. Ask me questions on this blog or on the Texas Farm Bureau Facebook page. I love growing food for Texas and America. Happy Texas Food Connection Week!

The above post is from Darrell Bowers, a Texas farmer from Victoria. Darrell is one of five guest bloggers who is talking about food and farming during Texas Food Connection Week, sponsored by Texas Farm Bureau Feb. 17-23.



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