Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A day in the Rio Grande Valley

Today I traveled to the powerfully productive Rio Grande Valley. It was great see sunshine and enjoy 65-degree temperatures. Isn’t Texas a great state?

My first stop was an orange grove near Santa Rosa. TDA is working with the citrus industry to produce an informative video about the threat of citrus greening. The disease is not harmful to human health, but could cause severe economic damage and cost jobs by crippling our citrus industry. So far, citrus greening has not been detected in Texas, but has devastated the Florida citrus industry. You can learn more by clicking on The video we worked on today should be posted here and on the TDA Web site in a few weeks.

Our next stop was at the Rio Grande Sugar Mill in Santa Rosa. This is the only sugar mill in Texas and processes 40,000 acres of sugar cane each year. The mill is also a model for renewable energy. The facility produces electricity from biomass and 100 percent of its internal energy needs are met by bioenergy. The sugar mill also produces excess energy that is sent to the electrical grid in enough quantities to power the entire nearby town of Santa Rosa.

I wrapped up today’s travels by visiting with a roundtable meeting of diversified growers. The Valley is a good example of why Texas agriculture is so strong and resilient.

Texas consumers can be confident our state’s farmers and ranchers are fighting hard to meet their needs.

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