Reflecting on three decades of Texas agriculture

I have a confession to make. I never meant to stay this long.

Nearly three decades ago, I was employed by Texas Farm Bureau—28 years, five months and 29 days to be exact. I was much younger then, searching for my calling with visions of my own business dancing in my head.

Then something funny happened. I started to believe. For the first time in my life, I was truly involved with the issues of agriculture. I witnessed the daily struggle of farmers and ranchers trying to stay ahead. I saw an organization with a steel resolve to make life better on the farm and ranch.

And I fell in love. With my job. With the men and women of agriculture. And the great organization called Texas Farm Bureau.

Now it’s time for me to move on. This is my final blog on Texas Agriculture Talks. I’m retiring today.

Three decades. So much history.

Many farm bills. Former House Ag Committee Chairman Kika de la Garza and his submarine story. Terrible drought. Good times.

GMOs. PETA. HSUS. An alphabet soup of acronyms.

Jim Hightower and Rick Perry. AGFUND. S.M. True. Kenneth Dierschke. A new generation of leaders. Like Russell Boening. And the young men and women making their marks in our leadership programs.

Communication revolution. Smart phones. Laptops. Tablets. Farmers tweeting. Facebook.

A rush of memories floods my mind. But what stands out are the people.

You hear a lot about the Farm Bureau family. And it’s true.

This last month I’ve had conversations with many of you, both leaders and staff. A common observation is the love and commitment shared for each other and this organization.

And that’s what makes Farm Bureau successful.

We care on a personal level. So many of you have shared the ups and downs of my life. Tragedy, grandchildren, sickness, triumphs. As I have yours. Lifelong friendships made across this great state.

We share common concerns. Texas agriculture is as diverse as anywhere in the world. What’s good for you may not be good for me. But in Farm Bureau, we don’t observe the world through tunnel vision. We work together. To solve the problems facing agriculture.

We share the love of a great organization. One unafraid to slay giants. Or quietly work behind the scenes to get the job done. Driven by dedicated leaders. And a committed staff.

It’s been a long ride. Not always easy. Quite often challenging. Forever looking over the next hill. To scout opportunities ahead. Dedicated. Riding for the brand.

It is truly an honor to have served with you all.

God bless Texas Farm Bureau. And God bless you.

Mike Barnett

Director of Publications
Texas Farm Bureau
I’m a firm believer that farmers and ranchers will continue to meet the needs of a growing world population by employing equal measures of common sense, conservation and technology.
Follow Mike on Twitter and Facebook.

7 Responses to “Reflecting on three decades of Texas agriculture”

  1. Marcia Bales says:

    What a great tribute to our organization. Thank you, Mike, for your years of being a part of that greatness. You will be missed. Sometimes those are just words. But in this case, they are truly genuine. I wish you many years of joy in retirement.

  2. Susan Pick says:

    Well, I am disappointed and happy all at the same time! Disappointed that I will not be seeing your blog that I truly enjoy reading each time and Happy that you are able to retire and enjoy your family and embark on a new journey. Your have a unique vision and insight about agriculture, the farmers and ranchers who make life happen and the way that Texas Farm Bureau works with each of them. I wish you all the best in your new endeavors! You will be missed!

  3. Mike,

    Congratulations on your retirement!……We all were a lot younger 30 years ago, but it has been a fun and fruitful ride and as long as the Good Lord continues to bless us, we must keep on contributing positively in some way!

    I know you’ll offer your talents in retirement as well!

    God Bless,

    Bobby McDonald

  4. Renae Willberg says:

    Mike – I wish you good health and peace during this next stage of your life. Thanks for your vision, insight, dedication, and exceptional articles throughout the years. You’re a great role model and inspiration to all of us in agriculture. Thanks for a job well done! renae

  5. Dan Shelton says:

    That’s a great statement Mike, one I’ve heard a number of times in our farm bureau family about finding a home and truly believing in our mission. I felt so fortunate to be able to be a small part for a brief time in our undertakings. Thanks for all you have done and for your friendship.

  6. Don Smith says:

    Thanks Mike for your support of Texas Agriculture and Texas Farm Bureau. Farmers and ranchers in this great state are better off today because of your insights into the many problems they face. Thanks for being our mouth piece for these many years. Enjoy your retirement and keep those great pictures coming.

  7. Jerry Lackey says:

    Mike… you and I go back maybe 40 years and the Texas Farm and Ranch News.

    I have retired two times, but the newspapers (San Angelo & Abilene) keep me working anyway (under contract). As long as they do and my health continues, I plan to keep on. I turn 74 this year!

    Best wishes for your retirement.

    Jerry Lackey

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