For decades, West Texas cotton growers have had a fearless champion on their side: Steve Verett. As the recently retired CEO of Plains Cotton Growers, Verett advocated for both cotton growers and all of agriculture with passion and authenticity.
Verett joined Farm Policy Fact’s Groundwork podcast to reflect on his career and talk about what lies ahead for the next generation of farm leaders.
With so many issues affecting agriculture, it’s important that growers step forward and work together to defend the farm policies that support America’s farms and ranchers. One of Verett’s proudest accomplishments at the helm of Plains Cotton Growers was the investment he made in building coalitions to do just that.
“We have way more in common than we have in difference across commodities,” Verett reflected.
And the prevalent theme bringing commodities together throughout rural America? The importance of the farm safety net.
Farmers and ranchers relied on strong farm policies as they navigated the challenges of recent years, ranging from extreme weather to market uncertainty to trade disputes.
“Farmers would much rather get all of their revenue out of the market, if at all possible, but we know from time to time that’s not the case,” Verett said. “That’s why we have crop insurance, why we have the farm bill safety net.”
There are also big conversations happening on Capitol Hill about the environment, sustainability, and the proactive role that farmers and ranchers are taking in protecting our climate.
As Verett explains, “All farmers are very willing to do whatever is necessary to not just preserve – but to improve – the quality of the land and the condition of the land. We shouldn’t be satisfied with just maintaining. We need to be looking at doing things better and more efficiently.”
While Verett is a farmer at heart – his family has farmed in Texas for more than 100 years – he also stressed that a background in agriculture is not required to work in ag policy.
“I think the key thing is to have a belief in the people that you represent and what they bring to the table, what they mean for our nation,” Verett said.
It’s clear that Verett believes wholeheartedly in America’s farmers and ranchers. We are so grateful for his dedication to agriculture and the legacy that he leaves behind at Plains Cotton Growers.