'We want a seat at the table': Texas farmers ready to work with the Biden administration

Posted at 1:26 PM, Feb 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-08 19:11:20-05

Russell Boening operates his family dairy farm and raises beef cattle in Wilson County, along with growing diversified crops.

"That includes feed grains, cotton, some wheat, some watermelons," Boening said.

As President of the Texas Farm Bureau, he's ready to work with the Biden administration.

"We want a seat at the table in agriculture. We want to be part of the solution," said Boening.

This includes going along with President Joe Biden's push to protect the environment.

"We're kind of waiting to see what the administration comes up with there," Boening said.

It's something farmers and ranchers are deeply committed to.

They care for the soil, water and natural resources which they depend on to make a living.

As long as it makes economic sense, "I believe agriculture will embrace it," Boening said. "It's those things and directives and folks don't use the science behind it that worries us."

Agriculture is fueled by science and technology, everything from genetics to GPS, with the goal of producing the highest quality and cost-effective products.

Boening said most years, 25-30% of net farm income comes from international trade, making the exports of those products crucial.

He credits the Trump administration with improving trade agreements.

"The administration came forward with payments that I guess you could say, kind of minimized the hurt," Boening said.

He also pointed out that the term corporate farming is misunderstood and gets a bad rap.

"We're a family farm here, my brother and our wives and our parents but we're incorporated. I mean that's sometimes a business decision and the fact that we're a corporation, does that make us a corporate farm? I don't know," Boening said.

Another big concern the agriculture industry has is regulatory overreach that increases costs.

"But we feel like the administration is going to work with agriculture...as Secretary [Tom] Vilsack has done in the past," Boening said.

He is hopeful the new administration and those who feed the nation and the world, American farmers and ranchers, will be able to cultivate success.