By Mike Barnett
2013 is gone but not forgotten. But it soon will be as we dig deeper into the New Year.
I decided to look back at 2013 through the eyes of Texas Agriculture Talks, posting the 10 favorite columns as decided by you, our readers. Gene Hall and I started the blog in 2009 to provide a proactive voice for agriculture, whose methods were being chopped apart by groups and individuals with an ax to grind. We found our voice in those tough beginning years. And although we’ve mellowed a bit with age, we’re not afraid to speak out—loudly—for all the farmers and ranchers who raise food and fiber. We’ve since expanded our efforts to include guest bloggers.
If you’re not familiar with Texas Agriculture Talks, this is a good cross section of what we do. If you’re a fan, we hope you’ll enjoy these blogs again.
Hold tight, because here we go:
10) In Are you a real cowboy?, Mike Barnett took a lighthearted look at what ranching is all about. For example: “You wear Wranglers to church, weddings and funerals, including your own.” Sound familiar?
9) Mike Barnett also wrote HSUS: 72 percent of Americans can be wrong, where he chided the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) for basing their fundraising tactics on the backs of pitiful looking puppies and kittens, while actually doing very little to help homeless animals. Barnett urged his readers to give locally.
8) Texas farming is give and take was written by guest blogger Chandler Bowers, who represents District 1 on the Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) Young Farmer & Rancher Advisory Committee. The grain farmer from Carson County details the struggles and rewards of being a passionate young farmer.
7) Gene Hall took on People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals in PETA beef ends in cyber-bullying of boy, slapping the animal rights group around for bullying a 14-year-old boy who raffled a beef animal that had been given to him to help pay for a trip to Europe. “Shameless,” Gene said.
6) In 5 things you should know about HB4, Texas water bill, Mike Barnett explained what the water funding bill in the Texas House of Representatives was trying to accomplish and what it meant for the future of Texas. TFB focused on HB 4 from the very beginning, and saw ultimate success as the constitutional amendment proposed by the bill overwhelmingly passed, helping to assure water to meet Texans’ needs for the next 50 years.
5) Guest blogger Erik Spain, who represents District 2 on TFB’s YF&R Advisory Committee, proved popular with Lessons learned at the end of a dirt road. This cotton, corn and small grains farmer from Olton urged his urban neighbors to step outside their lives and learn some lessons from those who grow their food and fiber.
4) In TxDOT decision could be the beginning of the end for FM roads, Mike Barnett took a look at the Texas Department of Transportation’s (TxDOT) decision to convert paved FM roads to gravel, and concluded Texas cannot afford to let its rural roads turn to “mud and dust.”
3) In Farmers get no respect for Chipotle’s latest round of marketing, (link italic to ) guest blogger Chuck Jolley, president of Jolley and Associates, a marketing and public relations firm, took on Chipotle’s “Scarecrow” marketing campaign and questions the fast food operation’s respect for the farmers who supply them.
2) TFB Legislative Director Steve Pringle penned HB 2748 is bad news for eminent domain in Texas. He rose up in opposition of HB 2748, one of the worst ideas to come out of the 2013 legislative session. HB 2748 would have greased the skids for pipeline companies to take private property. And because of grassroots action through phone calls and social media, the bill failed—another win for private property rights in Texas!
And the most popular blog for 2013:
- Mike Barnett’s The Farmers’ Almanac predicts an ‘unusually wet’ winter for Texas. Mike looked at the venerable institution’s “frosty and unusually wet” prognostication, and concluded it was good news for a state that has suffered three years of drought. Turns out The Farmers’ Almanac was right for much of the state. Parts of Texas are soggy…and no one’s disputing the frosty part!
So there you have it: Texas Agriculture Talks’ Top Ten. We hope you enjoyed it. And we invite you to continue reading as we tackle the trials and opportunities for 2014.