Mayor Mattie Parker, center, greets members of the Western Caucus on the rooftop of Reata Restaurant on March 2. Rep. Kay Granger, (R-Fort Worth), left, and Sid Miller, Commissioner of Agriculture for Texas, right, also spoke to the caucus members. (Fort Worth Report/Bob Francis)

Fort Worth’s rural roots took center stage recently as the city played host to members and staff of the Congressional Western Caucus. 

On tap for the caucus: touring agriculture-related businesses and attending a summit focused on farming and ranching.   

Caucus members and staff visited Eden Green Technology in Cleburne, a company that grows leafy greens vertically and hydroponically inside greenhouses, and Trinity River Distillers, a Fort Worth producer of whiskey and vodka. The summit was broadcast live on the Fort Worth-based The Cowboy Channel, and will be featured on RFD-TV.

“As the Modern West, Fort Worth is the ideal location for a conversation about meeting the needs of Texas’ rural farmers and ranchers as well as the innovative technologies and research happening in urban environments to support those producers,” said Mayor Mattie Parker. 

The Western Caucus Farm and Ranch Ag Summit was produced by local marketing agency Pugnacious, in conjunction with the Western Caucus Foundation. The three-day event brought in members of Congress and agriculture commissioners from several western states, to discuss  the farm bill. 

The Fort Worth summit was part of several visits around the country to agricultural communities as the caucus, along with the House Agriculture Committee, gathers information for a new farm bill. 

“Our members from all over the country, we need to come out where the food is grown so we can find out what kind of things need to be included in that farm bill,” said Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., chairman of the Western Caucus. 

The current farm bill expires in September, said Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson, R-Penn., who is House Agriculture Committee chairman and a member of the caucus.  

The committee is working on what should be included in the new farm bill, Thompson said. That is one of the reasons the caucus is in Fort Worth, he said. 

“Right now we’re listening,” he said. “We need to find out what (farmers and ranchers) need in terms of 2023 with this farm bill,” he said. “It’s going to last five years, so we’re talking 2023 through 2028.” 

Technology and innovation, like the caucus saw when it toured Eden Green, is key to the future of agriculture in the U.S., Thompson said. 

“If I had to pick three words, as chairman, to define American agriculture today, it would be science, technology, and innovation,” he said. 

Bob Francis is business editor for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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Bob FrancisBusiness Editor

Robert Francis is a Fort Worth native and journalist who has extensive experience covering business and technology locally, nationally and internationally. He is also a former president of the local Society...