SAN ANTONIO — Not shy about being an advocate for agriculture, J Allen Carnes, owner of Uvalde-based Winter Garden Produce now has his sights set on the Texas Commissioner of Agriculture.
Carnes, 38, is running for the republican nomination being vacated by Todd Staples. Staples launched a bid for lieutenant governor this summer.
“I think we have a lot of challenges in Texas, but we also have a lot of opportunities,” Carnes said. “The Ag industry, especially in rural Texas, needs somebody who understands that.”
Carnes has long been active in agriculture leadership, and dipped his toes into the political realm in local government. After serving on the City Council of Uvalde, he was elected mayor in 2012.
His resume in agriculture leadership includes past president of the Mission-based Texas Vegetable Association, past board member of the Texas Produce Association, Texas representative for the National Council of Ag Employers and member of the United Fresh Produce Association Governmental Relations Council. Carnes was recognized in The Packer 25 in 2011.
Carnes said he’s enthusiastic about his bid for commissioner, and the timing seems “right.”
“I’ve been in the industry for the past 15 years, I have lots of miles,” he said. “What I am is a real guy, and I’m not necessarily looking for a political career. I’m doing it now because I have the opportunity.”
Carnes says Texas agriculture needs a strong advocate with on-the-farm experience.
“Unfortunately, the job seems like a stepping stone these days,” he said. “I want the job. I want to help provide direction to our leaders. As the state grows, it’s becoming more and more urban, but the urban Texas needs to know we need a strong rural Texas.”