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I first met Mike Conaway when he and 18 other candidates did a forum in Lubbock. Back then Midland/Odessa was in the 19th Congressional District, and when then Chairman Larry Combest resigned the race for his seat was on. He was a nice guy who asked questions and was looking to learn more about agriculture. Well, we didn’t elect him that time and shortly after, through redistricting the 11th Congressional District came to pass. Well, the folks, the folks in the 11th District did elect Mike Conaway and I don’t if we can ever say Thank You enough.

Mike Conaway has been a friend to agriculture from day one, and was the Chairman of the House Ag Committee during the 2018 Farm Bill. I’ve said on many occasions that I can’t remember a Chairman who had to deal with more drama, and partisanship through a Farm Bill than Chairman Conaway. He had a countdown clock on his phone to remind him constantly of the Farm Bill deadline, and it wasn’t there for show. This wasn’t just a piece of legislation. He knew firsthand how important it was for producers in Texas and across the country. In one conversation last August with him, his genuine care and concern was particularly evident. He said, ”We’ve heard stories of fourth and fifth generation farmers who are committing suicide due to losing the farm due to the crisis we’re in.” That weighed on him as he dealt with petty Washington politics. The stakes were high and he had no time for folks who wanted to play games.

In the end after the November mid-term elections the Farm Bill was finished, mainly, due to Chairman Conaway’s diligence and tenacity. While I hear calls from folks for term limits, I just can’t say I’m ready for that. I see daily evidence of folks who do need to go, but then I think of Chairman Conaway and his work ethic and, the Christian values he not only talks about but lives daily. Folks like him are a rarity it seems these days in Washington. A politician who actually does what he says he will, and is the same fellow in front of farmers and ginners as he is in front of the retired teachers or any other group he’s speaking to. My hope and prayer is he continues to serve, because we need him and the country needs more like him.

This Friday the Western Peanut Growers are holding their meeting in Seminole, and it’s a Thank You to Chairman Conaway. All of us in agriculture need to be front and center and fill that community room up on Friday to say Thank You in person. Please take the time and make the trip to Seminole and let’s make sure we let Chairman Conaway know how much we appreciate the blood, sweat, and tears he shed in making the 2018 Farm Bill a reality…and more importantly, pray for him and our other elected officials daily…and let me say this one more time… Thank You, Chairman Conaway, for all you’ve done and continue to do for agriculture and our country, your service and dedication are much appreciated…

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